Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
The Sin-Eater’s Daughter

Melinda Salisbury. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-545-81062-3

..
This dark fantasy, Salisbury’s debut, transports readers to a kingdom ruled by a terrifying mad queen, the product of generations of incest, who has her enemies hunted down and torn apart by hounds. Seventeen-year-old Twylla, the prince’s betrothed and the human embodiment of the daughter of the gods, endures her duties at court—which include executing traitors with a mere touch of her poisonous skin—in hopes that money sent home will better her younger sister’s life. Though the clear-sighted prince hopes to enlist her as an ally against his cruel mother, Twylla begins to fall for her fearless and skeptical new guard, Lief, who reveals a shocking twist about Twylla’s position. In a triumph of characterization, Salisbury makes the path of duty represented by the prince and that of passion represented by Lief equally compelling. In addition to creating vivid and varied characters, Salisbury has a talent for worldbuilding, populating her world with shiver-inducing legends, original customs, and political and religious debates. First in a trilogy, this novel leaves many questions unresolved, but the open ending is nonetheless satisfying. Ages 14–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
My Heart and Other Black Holes

Jasmine Warga. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-232467-2

..
Debut novelist Warga addresses adolescent depression and suicide with honesty and grace in this story of a scientific-minded Turkish-American 16-year-old who is preparing to end her life. Those in Langston, Ky., who don’t know Aysel Seran have likely heard of her father, who “slashed the Olympic dreams of the whole town” by murdering its most talented young athlete. Since her father’s incarceration, Aysel has been terrified that she inherited the gene that will make her a violent “monster” like him. Death seems like her only escape, but she doesn’t want to die alone. Thus she makes a suicide pact with Roman, a teen she finds on a website for those considering suicide. When they meet, Roman’s good looks and compassion are unexpected distractions; the more Aysel comes to understand Roman’s talents, desires, and regrets, the less certain she is that they are making the right decision. Through an eloquent first-person narrative, Warga crystallizes the significant turning points in Aysel’s attitudes and emotions, and celebrates the sparks of hope combatting the dark thoughts that threaten to destroy her. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
I’ll Meet You There

Heather Demetrios. Holt, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9795-5

..
After receiving a full scholarship to a San Francisco college, budding artist Skylar thinks she’s won a ticket out of Creek View, Calif., a town consisting of “a trailer park, a few run-down houses, a couple of business that barely made enough to keep their doors open, and the Paradise Motel,” where she works part-time. Standing on the threshold of a promising future, Skylar confronts forces holding her back: she’s worried about leaving her mother, who has lost her job and started drinking again, and she’s also drawn to Josh, a Marine who has returned to Creek View physically and emotionally damaged. Demetrios (Exquisite Captive) paints a vivid portrait of a teen overburdened with responsibility and confused by conflicting passions. Skylar’s thoughts, interspersed with Josh’s memories of war and his uncertainties about his future, dramatically convey how the two come together before being pulled apart by fear. If the ups and downs of their romance are slightly drawn out, the striking details of small-town life and well-developed supporting characters will keep readers engaged. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Odyssey of Falling

Paige Crutcher. Paige Crutcher (www.paige-crutcher.com), $3.99 e-book (260p) ISBN 978-0-9909205-0-2

..
After Audrey’s friend Meredith is killed in a car crash, Audrey struggles with grief, her feelings for Meredith’s boyfriend, and her guilt over texting Meredith just moments before the wreck. Accidentally discovering Meredith’s journal and a to-do list designed to make her senior year memorable, Audrey attempts to pays tribute to the future Meredith won’t have by completing the tasks herself, which include getting noticed, making out with a guy at a party, and falling in love. Debut author (and PW contributor) Crutcher offers an honest take on a dark theme. In life, Meredith seemed perfect, but her journal reveals her flaws and unease, which serve as a foil for Audrey’s muddled attempts to figure out her own desires. Audrey’s self-doubts should make her relatable to wallflowers aching to be noticed and confused teens trying to fit in. Although Audrey’s homage to her friend descends into a haze of parties, drug experimentation, and school suspension, this departure from routine helps her realize that she’s stuck in a spiral of self-sabotage and allows her to stop blaming herself for Meredith’s death. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Fish in a Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-16259-6

..
Sixth-grader Ally Nickerson has been to seven schools in seven years, and the same thing happens at each one: she spends more time in the principal’s office than in class. The pattern is repeating at Ally’s current school until a long-term substitute teacher, Mr. Daniels, discovers that Ally is acting out to hide the fact that she can’t read. Ally is deeply ashamed and has bought into what others have told her—that she’s dumb and worthless—but Mr. Daniels helps her understand that she has dyslexia and see her talents and intelligence. As Ally’s fragile confidence grows, she connects with two other classroom outsiders, Albert and Keisha. Hunt (One for the Murphys) leans heavily on familiar types (a two-dimensional mean-girl and her sycophantic best friend, a teacher with unconventional methods) and a surfeit of relevant metaphors (coins valuable because of their flaws, former planet Pluto—“Too small. Too far away. Orbit not just right”—and so on). Nevertheless, her depiction of Ally’s learning struggles is relatable, and Ally’s growth and relationships feel organic and real. Ages 10–up. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Mark of the Thief

Jennifer Nielsen. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-56154-9

..
In vivid first-person narrative, Nielsen (the Ascendance Trilogy) sketches a slave’s-eye view of the Roman Empire. Five years of hard labor in the mines haven’t quelled Nic’s will to survive. Neither naïve nor a fool, his main weakness is lack of experience. Thus his story is as much about his education in the deviousness of human behavior as it is about Nic’s magical fate. Dropped down a mine shaft to search for a possible buried trove, Nic emerges with a griffin, a scar, and a golden bulla, a magical amulet that once belonged to Julius Caesar. Freedom is within reach, but Nic won’t abandon his younger sister. Instead, he and the griffin are turned over to Rome, where Nic becomes a pawn of schemers struggling to control the city—or destroy it. Set during the reign of Tacitus, the story is true to the political and social culture of the time without committing too closely to its political history. This maximizes Nielsen’s scope for creating page-turning twists while evoking a milieu that retains its appeal for history buffs. Ages 10–14. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Wish You Weren’t

Sherrie Petersen. Sherrie Petersen (www.sherriepetersenbooks.com), $7.99 paper (150p) ISBN 978-1-4947-6682-5

..
In this diverting blend of science and magic, 11-year-old Marten grumps when his mother, an aspiring astronaut, urges him to wish on a shooting star during a meteor shower. It’s never worked before, but Marten gives it a go, wishing away his annoying six-year-old brother, Aldrin. At a science museum the following day, Aldrin suddenly fades away, and Marten’s parents and other museum patrons become frozen, statuelike, in time. A pale man with a glowing stopwatch (who turns out to be a wish-granting “star spirit”) approaches Marten and his friend Paul, whisks them back in time to meet a younger Marten, and brings them to a limbo where Aldrin awaits a decision on his future. Though first-time author Petersen’s story flits through time and space, it’s easy to follow, and the pieces snap together neatly. Marten’s remorse at wishing Aldrin gone, his determination to save his family, and his banter-rich friendship with Paul all combine to ground the novel. Petersen supplements her passing references to constellations, supernovas, and NASA telescopes by including links to websites for readers to explore. Ages 8–up. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Red Butterfly

A.L. Sonnichsen, illus. by Amy June Bates. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1109-7

..
Evocative first-person poems divided into three sections—“Crawl,” “Dissolve,” and “Fly”—combine with small, delicate b&w illustrations from Bates to provide a framework that helps organize the chaotic feelings 11-year-old Kara struggles to express. Mysteries pervade her life: although ethnically Chinese, she lives in China in near poverty with her Caucasian mother, hiding her misshapen right hand in long sleeves, speaking English at home, unable to attend school. Mama promises that someday they will live with Kara’s father in Montana, but for now: “Don’t ask me,/ Kara,/ don’t ask me.” Piecing together her story, Kara realizes Mama discovered her, an abandoned baby, and stayed in China illegally to raise her. After this transgression is discovered, Kara finds herself in an orphanage as her Montana parents vie with another family to adopt her. Sonnichsen creates a palpable sense of yearning for home and belonging (“I want to explain, but/ I can’t make my mouth form words./ How a place so beautiful/ can make me feel so sad”) in this heartbreaking, heartwarming, and impressive debut. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Kate Schafer Testerman, KT Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!)

Alison DeCamp. Crown, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-39044-6

..
Set in 1895 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, DeCamp’s exuberant first novel introduces 11-year-old Stan Slater who, readers quickly come to realize, is unknowingly vocalizing some of his rambling thoughts and wild imaginings, saying aloud things better kept to himself. Once readers acclimate to this narrative quirk, they’ll easily become invested in Stan’s story, which begins with him learning that the father he thought was dead is actually just a deadbeat. (Stan, however, remains “pretty sure he’s a rich cowboy or exploring the wilds of North Pole, unable to contact us because of life-or-death matters.”) Because of the family’s precarious financial situation, Stan, his mother, and his acerbic Granny move to a remote logging camp, where Stan becomes convinced a lumberjack named Stinky Pete is a “cold-blooded killer,” clashes with his cousin Geraldine, and is intensely displeased by his mother’s suitors. Vintage images with irreverent captions (ostensibly taken from Stan’s scrapbook) and imagined letters from Stan’s absent father pepper the pages, adding another layer of comedy to Stan’s freewheeling narration. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Listen, Slowly

Thanhhà Lai. Harper, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-222918-2

..
All high-achieving 12-year-old Mai wants is to hang out at home in Laguna Beach with her best friend and her crush-that-shall-not-be-named: “This is the summer I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” she explains. Instead, she is forced to accompany her father and her grandmother (Bà) to Vietnam to determine whether her grandfather (Ông) might still be alive. (He disappeared during “THE WAR,” as Mai thinks of it, and has long been presumed dead.) Mai’s self-interested annoyance gives way to fascination as she becomes swept up in her Vietnamese heritage, helps find out what happened to Ông, befriends a headstrong girl named Út, and enjoys a deepening relationship with Bà. As she did in her National Book Award–winning Inside Out & Back Again, Lai offers a memorable heroine and cultural journey—ones that are clever near-opposites of those in that book, as Lai trades verse for prose and an immigrant’s story for one of a girl fully immersed in American culture. The story capably stands on its own, yet considered alongside Inside Out, it’s all the more rewarding. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/28/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.