NEW MIDDLE-GRADE & TEEN FICTION PREVIEW

As we, at last, enter some form of Spring, we wanted to give you a peek at snippets of some of the excellent children’s fiction* coming out over the next two months – perfect for reading outdoors when the sun’s out (or hiding indoors when it’s not)!

*Age recommendations are in brackets next to the title


EVERY SHINY THING by Cordelia Jensen & Laurie Morrison (8+)

About Every Shiny Thing

In this beautifully constructed middle grade novel, Lauren’s autistic older brother has recently been sent to a therapeutic boarding school, and it seems to Lauren that her parents are unfairly ‘living it up’ now that he’s gone. Lauren joins a simplicity group at her Quaker school and recruits Sierra, her new neighbour, for the group. She misunderstands the group’s anti-materialism mission and slowly begins to take things from her parents and to shoplift, using the money she gets selling stolen goods to give to kids on the autism spectrum. Meanwhile, foster kid Sierra has been in a toxic relationship with both of her parents, as an enabler and caretaker. Sierra realises she’s falling into the same enabling patterns with Lauren. And Lauren must learn that what she is doing is not fighting injustice, however good her intentions. Told in alternating viewpoints between Sierra’s verse chapters and Lauren’s prose chapters, this is a story about fairness for young readers first grappling with an unequal world.

Out now!


THE GIRL WITH MORE THAN ONE HEART by Laura Geringer Bass (8+)

About The Girl With More Than One Heart: 

When Briana’s father dies of a heart attack, she feels a new heart grow inside her body. Through this heart, her father’s voice speaks to her. It guides Briana through her grief as well as her new, not-so-normal life at home. When her mother’s own grief becomes debilitating, Briana feels like she’s solely responsible for her autistic little brother, Aaron. As she begins to spend much of her time and energy caring for Aaron, she begins to wonder: did his special needs hurt her father’s very fragile heart? The voice of Briana’s ‘new heart’ helps her to navigate the messy uncertainties, as she balances her first feelings of romance, making new friends, and following her dream of writing for the school newspaper. And as Briana finds strength and knowledge in herself, she’s finally able to let go of her new heart and rely solely on her own.

Out now!


LUMBERJANES: THE MOON IS UP (Book #2) by Mariko Tamaki (illus. Brooklyn Allen) (8+)

About Lumberjanes: The Moon Is Up: 

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counsellor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. As the camp gears up for the big Galaxy Wars competition, Jo and the gang get some help from an unexpected visitor—a Moon Pirate! Book Two will focus on Jo, the ingenious inventor of the group who also happens to be trans.

Pub date: 08 May 2018


BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS by Tiffany Schmidt (14+)

About Bookish Boyfriends:

Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, 15, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep–where all the boys look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.

When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving…

Pub date: 01 May 2018


THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL by Maxine Kaplan (14+)

About The Accidental Bad Girl:

After getting caught ‘in the act’ with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracised by her peers. She plans to keep her head down until she leaves for the prestigious Young Astronomers Talent Search program in three months. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for drug theft, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking on the outskirts of her Brooklyn private school. The longer she plays the role of ‘bad girl,’ the more she becomes her new reputation. If she wants to preserve her only chance of escaping high school early, repairing her tattered reputation, and ultimately saving her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is, and own it. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.

Pub date: 15 May 2018


Happy Spring-Reading!

ALONG THE INDIGO | EXTRACT

The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River. It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.

With a fresh concept and gorgeous prose, this novel is an intensely atmospheric read for young adults and adults alike.

Along The Indigo publishes on 20 March 2018, order your copy here.

A TAXONOMY OF WHY I WROTE ‘A TAXONOMY OF LOVE’ | BY RACHAEL ALLEN

Firstly, a bit about the book – which is out now

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too. Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Rachael Allen is the author of 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children and two sled dogs. Visit her website here.


We fell in love with Spencer’s taxonomy charts in the book so we couldn’t resist asking Rachael to make a taxonomy about… Taxonomy! See her beautiful hand-written creation below:

a taxonomy of why i wrote taxonomy

From sibling relationships to neurodiverse characters to peach ice cream (x3), not only does A Taxonomy of Love span 6 years of the characters’ lives, it also incorporates some of the most important aspects of family, friendship, love and loss while subverting stereotypes in the process.


If you’re still not sure, you can dive into an extract here!

Let us know your thoughts at @ACBYA using #TaxonomyOfLove

Devil & the Bluebird | Chapter Preview

The Devil and the Bluebird

Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass. Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself up to finding family in unexpected places.

In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a captivating depiction of loss and hope.

Dive into this captivating book today, click here to read the first two chapters!

The Steep & Thorny Way | Chapter Preview

“It was a beautiful book. With a beautiful story. I couldn’t have loved it more than I did. The Steep and Thorny Way is one of a kind.” Carina Olsen
“I was completely swept away by this Hamlet-inspired supernatural/historical mashup where the people are scarier than the ghosts. Spectacular.” Kate Ormand

The Steep and Thorny Way

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

A thrilling re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

Read the first chapter of this thrilling new historical fiction from Cat Winters today: The Steep & Thorny Way 1st Chapter.

Countdown to Untamed | A.G Howard answers the questions we’ve been dying to ask!

Untamed

With less than a week to go excitement is building for the release of Untamed, with humans and netherlings alike!

To celebrate the release of this final trip down the rabbit hole, we asked A.G Howard to answer some questions we’ve been dying to ask:

  1. Do you have a favourite book in the series? Untamed, because I love happy endings! :)
  1. Which book in the series has your favourite cover? Unhinged. Purple and blue are my two favorite colors.
  1.  Who would you cast to play Alyssa in a Splintered movie? Emily Browning or Avril Levine.
  1. Which character do you identify with with most? We both love to thrift shop and have a fear of heights.
  1. Who is your favourite Alice In Wonderland Character? The caterpillar, naturally. ;)
  1. What would be the one piece of advice you would give your teenage self? The most important thing you’ll ever need is a strong core of self-respect. Self-respect comes from knowing, accepting, and loving who you are. We’re all individuals. So how can someone else’s idea of normal be the same as yours? We have different gifts that make us unique. Find what yours are and embrace them—nurture and grow them. Because if you’re true to yourself, even if you’re teased about it sometimes, you will find your own version of “normal.” And in turn, you’ll find your happiness.

Also, you can read more advice I’ve given to my teen self on this Dear Teen Me Interview from a couple of years ago.

  1. What has been your favourite YA release of 2015? I just finished a wonderful retelling of the Little Mermaid by Esther Dalseno called DROWN (October 2015 by 3 Little Birds Books). This was nothing like the Disney version. It was dark, lush, and touching. It broke my heart in several places. Everything a good retelling should be.
  1. What are you writing now? I’m working on my next YA classical spinoff for Abrams, called ROSEBLOOD. Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads: This Phantom of the Opera retelling / spin-off follows a high school senior who is sent to RoseBlood Academy—a French boarding school for musical arts inside a renovated opera house rumored to have ties to the classic opera—only to discover a very real danger lurks within that has awaited her for over a century. I’m having a lot of fun in this new, haunting world filled with music, magic, unrequited love, jealous rivals, and eccentric and mysterious personalities. Can’t wait to share it with everyone in 2017!
Thank you A.G. Howard for bringing the Splintered series into our lives! We can’t wait to read Untamed! LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO! Celebrate the release of this final installment with us; share your favourite moments from the series with us on Twitter @ACBYA!

Splintered Series

Here are some of our favourite reviews for the series, thank you to all the amazing bloggers who have jumped down the rabbit hole with us year after year!

“The setting was jaw-droppingly awesome, the characters jump off the page, the adventure was badass in every level and the twist in the end was unexpectedly heartbreaking. Need I say more?” Books For YA

“Splintered, you’re gothic and twisted but you’re mine. Now let’s officially move you onto my favourite bookshelf”. Reflections of a Booksworm

“Splintered is a wonderful retelling of the original Alice in Wonderland. Readers will love the madness, romance, action, and the dark twists and turns of the story. Howard’s outstanding writing, bizarre but loveable characters and mysteriously fresh tale will take you to a whole world where everything is unexpected yet fascinating” – Word Contessa

“Splintered is an utterly captivating story on so many levels and I am sure is set to be a classic in its own right. A feast for the imagination as well as the eyes”. – Book Angel Booktopia

“I really can’t urge everyone enough to go pick up this highly addictive book, because I can promise you that you’ll not have read anything like it before!” – Fiction Fascination

“I highly recommend this series to you all. Take a tumble down the dark brightly coloured rabbit hole, play with devious and alluring Wonderland creatures and put your mind to the test and see if you want to resurface from this read.” Big Book Little Book Blog

“The perfect continuation from Splintered, Unhinged was madness and crazy combined into a pocket of badassery encased with gruesome creatures and magic. Suspense and a cliff-hanger that’ll leave you wanting Ensnared the minute you finish reading, Wonderland really was only the beginning.” Studioreads Blog

“‘Unhinged’ builds on ‘Splintered’ in the best way, and Howard has really done an excellent job with this development. It’s a gripping read, that really works on the mystery behind the story, and, more than anything, leaves me dying for Book Three. 2015 can’t come quicker.” One Round Panda 

“This story had me under its spell from page one. Ensnared is a terrific (and satisfying) conclusion to an amazing series.” Kate Ormand

Everything described is just so wonderfully insane and bizarre that I just can’t help but love every single aspect of it. A.G. Howard’s writing and world building is so incredibly good. She has this way with words that make a story come alive.” - IrisjeXx Blog

“Ensnared is an epic adventure, full of deception, romance, and lots of magic.” - Much Loved  Books Blog