Monthly Archives: December 2012

Most-Anticipated Book to Movie Adaptations of 2013

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We’re a big fan of book to movie adaptations here at Novel Novice — and while 2013 movies2012 was a good year for that, 2013 looks to be even more amazing. Sure, two of our favorite franchises have bid farewell (Harry Potter, we miss you! And The Twilight Saga has only DVD releases left), but there is SO much more excitement ahead for fans of books, and YA in particular. (Plus, let’s not forget those oh-so-amazing comic book franchises!!) Here’s a look at some of the movie adaptations we’re most excited about in 2013!

Warm Bodies
February 1st

Called a “zom-rom-com” (Zombie Romantic Comedy), Warm Bodies is based on the best-selling novel by Isaac Marion. Though published as an adult title, it has had huge success with YA audiences.

Beautiful Creatures
February 13th

Based on the best-selling YA series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

Safe Haven
February 14th

Another Nicholas Sparks adaptation. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Carrie
March 15th

Based on Stephen King’s cult classic, this updated remake features Chloe Moretz in the role previously made famous by Sissy Spacek.

The Host
March 29th

The OTHER novel by Stephenie Meyer (of Twilight fame). This is Meyer’s take on a body-snatchers type Sci-Fi storyline, packed with action and romance. I was a huge fan of this book, and hope she follows-up with some sequels soon!

Iron Man 3
May 3rd

A dark-looking follow-up to The Avengers, and the latest movie in Marvel’s on-going franchise based on the classic comic books.

The Great Gatsby
May 10th

Baz Luhrmann’s lavish adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved classic features an all-star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan.

Man of Steel
June 14th

The classic DC comic book superhero Superman gets a grittier reboot in this new adaptation featuring Henry Cavil as Clark Kent.

World War Z
June 21st

Zombies. War. Brad Pitt. Based on the best-selling (adult) novel by Max Brooks.

The Wolverine
July 26th

From Marvel’s other franchise, this is another chapter in the X-Men universe featuring Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine character.

the wolverine movie poster

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
August 16th

The second movie based on the best-selling Percy Jackson series.

City of Bones
August 23rd

The first adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s best-selling series, The Mortal Instruments.

I, Frankenstein
September 13th

A new twist on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this time based off a comic book series that pits the monster in a battle between two immortal clans.

Ender’s Game
November 1st

An adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved science fiction novel, featuring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley & more.

Thor: The Dark World
November 8th

Marvel’s Avengers universe continues with this sequel to Thor (and, presumably, another continuation after the events of The Avengers).

thor the dark world

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
November 22nd

The Hunger Games sequel. ‘Nuff said.

Frozen
November 27th

Disney’s latest animated adventure is a new twist on the classic Hans Christian Andersen story of the Snow Queen.

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For the comments: Which adaptations are YOU most excited about in 2013?

New YA Releases Coming in 2013

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There are so many new books heading our way in 2013, it’s pretty much impossible to keep track of them. But we’ve done our best to compile as many of the new 2013 YA releases as possible right here — all in one place — just for you. Because of how publishing schedules are released, you’ll notice the list of new releases is a bit scarce for the latter half of 2013 … that’s just because the books and release dates haven’t all been announced yet. And feel free to mention any books we failed to include in our list in the comments section below!

In the meantime, start making your wish list for 2013 now by browsing the upcoming new YA releases below:

January

The Essence by Kimberly Derting

Falling for You  by Lisa Schroeder

Empty by K.M. Walton

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

essence, the falling for you empty teeth

Love Is All You Need by Deb Caletti

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Crash by Lisa McMann

love is all you need madman's daughter prodigy crash

Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick

Victoria Rebels by Carolyn Meyer

The 13th Sign by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

  then you were gone victoria rebels 13th signlevel 2

What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Catherine by April Lindner

what the spell through the ever night revolution 19 catherine

Return to Me by Justina Chen

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

return to me altered shades of earth dragonswood

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Rise by Andrea Cremer

Salvation by Anne Osterlund

just one day paper valentine rise salvation

Slated by Teri Terry

Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard

Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

slated try not to breathe Everbound boundless

Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton

Ravage by Jeff Sampson

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

asunder shadows in the silence ravage uses for boys

February

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Mistle Child by Ari Berk

unravel me Sever mind games mistle child

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Kissed by Cameron Dokey

The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson

Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer

scarlet kissed gathering dark arcadia burns

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

pivot point Etiquette and Espionage midwinter blood goddess inheritance

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

The Ruining by Anna Collomore

indigo spell madness underneath out of the easy ruining

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock

Fragments by Dan Wells

Pieces by Chris Lynch

Pulse by Patrick Carman

sweet revenge of celia door fragments pieces pulse

Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan

crash and burn

March

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey

Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

clockwork princess legacy of the clockwork key fox forever unremembered

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Thirst No. 5 by Christopher Pike

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

murmurings, the poison  thirst no 5  let the sky fall

Everafter by Elizabeth Chandler

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Sharon M. Draper

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

everafter requiem panic mila 2.0

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph

Trinkets by Kirsten Smith

spellcaster pretty girl-13 flowers in the sky trinkets

When We Wake by Karen Healey

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan

Imposter by Jill Hathaway

when we wake 17 and gone wasteland imposter_slide

April

The Program by Suzanne Young

Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

True by Hilary Duff

Light: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant

program-the Vengeance Bound true light

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Rise by Anna Carey

Furious by Jill Wolfson

Taken by Erin Bowman

rising, the rise_anna carey furious taken

Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Fearless by Cornelia Funke

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

dead silence this is what happy looks like fearless rapture practice

Game by Barry Lyga

Zom-B City by Darren Shan

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves

game zom-b city elite silver dream

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The Ward by Jordana Frankel

unbreakable life after theft boyfriend app ward, the

Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers

It’s Our Prom (So Deal with It) by Julie Anne Peters

Naturals by Tiffany Truitt

darious and twig it's our prom naturals

May

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Invisibility by David Levithan & Andrea Cremer

Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Towering by Alex Flinn

last princess Invisibility reboot towering

If I Should Die by Amy Plum

Parallel by Lauren Miller

Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

The Originals by Cat Patrick

if i should die parallel truth or dare originals

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Icons by Margaret Stohl

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

thousand words lucy variations icons 5th wave

Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Firecracker by David Iserson

Imposter by Susanne Winnacker

our song five summer firecracker imposter

All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Goddess by Josephine Angelini

September Girls by Bennett Madison

The Dark Shore by Kevin Emerson

all i need goddess september girls dark shore

Golden by Jessi Kirby

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

golden book of broken hearts

June

The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell

Infamous by Lauren Conrad

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schenider

Another Little Piece by Kate Karuys Quinn

elementals infamous severed heads, broken hearts another little piece

A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Elegy by Tara Hudson

Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

a trick of the light born of illusion elegy rules of summer

Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Defy the Dark (Anthology)

boy nobody watcher in the shadows when you were here defy the dark

Phoenix: A Black City Novel by Elizabeth Richards

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Proxy by Alex London

How to Not Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine

phoenix star cursed proxy how to not find a boyfriend

Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

The Hidden Summer by Gin Phillips

This Side of Jealousy by Lili Peloquin

The Moon & More by Sarah Dessen

ashes on the waves hidden summer this side of jealousy mooon and more

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

The Saturday Boy by David Fleming

The Keep by Veronica Wolff

In the After by Demitria Lunetta

tarnish saturday boy keep, the in the after

The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison

Seige & Storm by Leigh Bardugo

siege ands torm

July

The Strange and Familiar Place by Rachel Carter

Half Lives by Sara Grant

Belladonna by Fiona Paul

No Easy Way Out by Dayna Lorentz

strange and familiar place half lives belladonna no easy way out

Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Enders by Lissa Price

shadow of the mark earthbound darkness strange and lovely Enders

August

The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin

Flicker & Burn by T.M. Goeglein

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

forgive me leonard peacock wise young fool flicker and burn between the devil and the deep blue sea

September & Beyond

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth

Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell

Spellspinners 4 by Heidi Kling

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz

For the comments: What 2013 YA releases are YOU most excited about? Also, be sure to tell us about other 2013 YA releases we forgot to include in our list above!

Exclusive Book Trailer Debut: Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder

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Today, we are SO thrilled to be one of just a few blogs exclusively revealing the book trailer for Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder. Lisa’s new book comes out on Tuesday, January 1st (what a way to ring in the New Year!!!) and you can pre-order it HERE.

And now, on with the show …

falling for youHere’s more about Falling For You:

Rae’s always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her…and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.

Links:

About Lisa:

lisa schroederLisa Schroeder is the author of four teen verse novels including I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and its companion, CHASING BROOKLYN, FAR FROM YOU, and the Oregon Book Award finalist, THE DAY BEFORE. Her latest book for teens is a combination of prose and poetry and is titled FALLING FOR YOU. She’s also the author of the middle grade novels IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES and SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. Her books have been translated into several languages and have been selected for state reading lists. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two sons, and the most adorable dog and cat in the entire world.

2013 YA Desktop Wallpaper Calendar

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It’s the day after Christmas, and that means it’s time for OUR gift to YOU … the annual desktop wallpaper calendar is here! And like last year, we are now featuring a plethora of YA books and series. We’ve got some of your classic favorites: Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Hunger GamesAnd a few new series & standalone favorites. You even helped choose by voting on your picks earlier this year.

To download: click each thumbnail to view full-size, then right-click to save each image. Please remember, these are intended for private use only. DO NOT REPOST these on any other websites. Thanks!

January2013_TFiOS

February2013_beautiful creatures2

March2013_HushHush

April2013_VampireAcademy

May2013_Perks

June2013_Twilight

July2012_delirium

August2013_TMI

September2012_vampirediaries

Oct2013_Divergent

November2013_CatchingFire

December2013_HarryPotter

For the comments: Tell us which month is your favorite!

Book Review: Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

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Today, I am so excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin — a debut indie author, and also one of my favorite people on the planet. (Yep, full disclosure: we’re friends.) Also, she’s giving away a Kindle Touch to celebrate the release of her first book! Details after the review …

That said, Forever My Girl is a sweeping love story that fans of romance and second chances will adore.

forever my girlI was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.

I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.

And now I’m going back.

After ten years.

I hope I can explain that after all this time.

I still want her to be my forever girl.

Told in alternating perspectives, Forever My Girl asks: can lost love be found again? The real beauty of McLaughlin’s writing is that she keeps you guessing. You think that you know how the story will end; you think you know who will end up with whom. But whether you guess correctly or not, McLaughlin keeps you guessing and second guessing with every page. And that’s a great feeling — to be kept on your toes by an author as you read.

McLaughlin has written a true love story filled with romance, longing, heartache, and determination. And did I mention some steamy love scenes? HOT! A layered, multi-faceted story (which also lays the groundwork for more books featuring these characters) — Forever My Girl is an addictive read that will keep you up late at night. And in the morning, when you’re exhausted from not getting enough sleep? You won’t feel guilty about it at all.

Forever My Girl is available December 27th.

More from Heidi McLaughlin: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Enter here to win a Kindle Touch from Heidi McLaughlin
(open internationally)

Novel Novice’s Best YA Books of 2012

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I read some pretty kick ass books in 2012. A lot of them. So many that sometimes it’s hard to remember what they all were. But I’ve kept notes throughout the year, marking what I consider to be the year’s BEST books — though it was definitely a hard list to narrow down. I have so much love for so many of the books I read each year.

So step aside Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly. Here are the Best YA Books of 2012, according to me (in no particular order):

amelia anne is dead and goneAmelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

This book is so painstakingly beautiful, it hurts. Every word is carefully chosen and each sentence poetically written. Rosenfield has made a stunning debut on the literary scene, and I sincerely hope she has more to offer soon — because I have yet to find another novel that compares to the majesty of this undone coming of age saga.

It’s only a bonus that I happened to be buying this book when my now-fiance popped the question in the middle of the YA section at our local B&N.

Hero's Guide to Saving Your KingdomThe Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

I don’t read a ton of middle grade fiction, but when I do, I have high expectations — expectations which this book far exceeded. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom may be marketed to the middle grade set — but honestly, this book is perfect for anyone. From adults reading aloud to younger children — to adults reading silently to themselves, and everyone in between. This book will have you in stitches from laughing so hard, and you’ll be delighted by this refreshing, new twist on the classic fairy tale princes.

Team HumanTeam Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan

I’m a sucker for vampire stories (pun intended, always) — but Brennan & Larbalestier’s collaboration on Team Human has completely raised the bar when it comes to this blood-sucking genre. This duo has revamped the vampire-human romance — both paying homage to and sending up this beloved paranormal theme. Funny, poignant, touching. They pack a lot of punch into this standalone stunner of a novel.

vesselVessel by Sarah Beth Durst

I loved this book so much that when I finished reading it, I hugged the book (really) and then started re-reading it immediately. I only regret having to force myself to stop re-reading it when I realized how massive my “to be read” pile remained. Nonetheless, Vessel is an absolute masterpiece of storytelling: magic, romance, adventure, destiny & fate. Durst has outdone herself.

divinersThe Diviners by Libba Bray

Jeepers creepers. Completely. Bray’s latest forray into historical fiction is creepy to the max. But she’s also written a lively, colorful, flapper-filled account of 1920s New York City — filled with murder, mystery, mayhem, and magic. I just want to crawl into the world of The Diviners and stay for a while. (But maybe not stay too long, what with all the death at every turn …)

last dragonslayerThe Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

I know I’m not the only Harry Potter fan who’s been a bit homesick for Hogwarts ever since J.K. Rowling wrapped up her beloved series. But Fforde’s first book for younger readers made me forget about that longing for a while. The Last Dragonslayer harkens back to everything I loved about Harry Potter: magic colliding with Muggle, unlikely heroes, an ecclectic and lovably bunch of characters. Everything Fforde has mastered in his adult books (like the much loved Thursday Next books) shines through in The Last Dragonslayer.

rebel heartRebel Heart by Moira Young

I adored Moira Young’s debut novel, Blood Red Road, so much that I called it “better than The Hunger Games.” Not surprisingly, the publishers liked that — and now my blurb is on the cover of both the paperback and the hardcover sequel, Rebel Heart. And with this second book now on my “read it and loved it” pile, I can safely say that I still stand by my original statement. Young took everything I loved about Blood Red Road and far surpassed my expectations with Rebel Heart. It was painful and difficult and aching and wonderful and beautiful all at once. The conflicting emotions I felt as I raced through each page were almost too much to handle, but I couldn’t resist. This book is just spectacular.

black heartBlack Heart by Holly Black

I experienced an intense conflict of emotions upon finishing Black Heart, the third book in Black’s Curse Workers trilogy. You see, I was elated by the book itself. Utter perfection, this series could not have ended more satisfactorily. And yet, when I realized this was the end, I slipped into a bout of literary depression. You know the one: when one of your all-time favorite series is over, and you realize … there are NO more new books coming. That this is it. That’s how I felt after finishing Black Heart. I’ve moved on by clinging to the dim hope that someday, Holly may return to the Curse Workers and write more. For now, I’ll have to anticipate her new novels.

MasqueRedDeath hc c-1Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

This is genre-bending at its best. Historical, romance, mystery, dystopian … I don’t know what to call Masque of the Red Death other than simply stunning. Griffin deftly draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name, while crafting her own unique vision of a world undone and a story packed with intrigue. Part one of a two-book series, the conclusion — Dance of the Red Death — is definitely one of my most-anticipated releases of 2013.

InsurgentInsurgent by Veronica Roth

The follow-up to Divergent probably doesn’t need my help — this series is already a best-selling success, with a movie adaptation in the works. But nonetheless, Insurgent was definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. Not only was the action and pacing dynamic and engaging — but the big twist at the end proved that Roth hasn’t just churned out a new YA dystopian series. She has, in fact, crafted one of the most ingenious entries into the realm of science fiction literature.

fault in our starsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I don’t need to tell you why The Fault in Our Stars is one of the best books of 2012, because everyone else has already done so. I’m actually getting kind of sick of all the hype — but the fact of the matter is, this really is one of the best books of the year — and quite possibly, Green’s finest novel to date.

Best book from 2011 that I read in 2012:

Peter NimblePeter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

And I must give one last shout-out to Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes. This book was released in 2011, but I didn’t get around to finishing it until earlier this year. But every second spent within its pages were well worth it. Magical, charming, evoking the spirit of J.K. Rowling and the classic fairy tales. Mixing a bit of grimness with whimsy, Auxier’s novel is pure artistry and a delight for readers both young and old.

For the comments: What were YOUR favorite books of 2012?

Best of Middle Grade 2012

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2012 has been a great year for Middle Grade! I have to admit, trying to selected “the best” is an impossible task, but alas, I’ve put together 10 of my favorites:

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdomby Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. heros-guide-to-saving-your-kingdomPrince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes–a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure

The enchanting true story of a girl who saw fairies, Fairy Ringand another with a gift for art, who concocted a story to stay out of trouble and ended up fooling the world.

Frances was nine when she first saw the fairies. They were tiny men, dressed all in green. Nobody but Frances saw them, so her cousin Elsie painted paper fairies and took photographs of them “dancing” around Frances to make the grown-ups stop teasing. The girls promised each other they would never, ever tell that the photos weren’t real. But how were Frances and Elsie supposed to know that their photographs would fall into the hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? And who would have dreamed that the man who created the famous detective Sherlock Holmes believed ardently in fairies— and wanted very much to see one? Mary Losure presents this enthralling true story as a fanciful narrative featuring the original Cottingley fairy photos and previously unpublished drawings and images from the family’s archives. A delight for everyone with a fondness for fairies, and for anyone who has ever started something that spun out of control.

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

An enchanting—and twisted—tale of two Summer Birdsisters’ quest to find their parents

When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely—Down—one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen.
With breathtaking language and deliciously inventive details, Katherine Catmull has created a world unlike any other, skillfully blurring the lines between magic and reality and bringing to life a completely authentic cast of characters and creatures.

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) Liar and Spymoves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

The One and Only Ivan by Patricia Castelao

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big  One and only IvanTop Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

May B by Caroline Starr Rose

I’ve known it since last night: May B
It’s been too long to expect them to return.
Something’s happened.

May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again.

Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love

The Mighty Miss Malone by Paul Curtis

“We are a family on a journey to a place called Might Miss Malonewonderful” is the motto of Deza Malone’s family.

Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie’s beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father.

The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

One of America’s most influential Hispanics — revolution-of-evelyn-serrano‘Maria’ on Sesame Street — presents a powerful novel set in New York’s El Barrio in 1969

There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo? her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.

Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones by Christopher Krovatin

Ian was the one who chased the majestic buck into Gravediggersthe forest. Kendra and PJ followed him. They all hoped to return to the hiking trail before anyone noticed they were gone. However, the mountain had other plans for them: dark, sinister plans that only nightmares are made of.

The Goonies meets The Evil Dead in this series about three kids who become separated from their backpacking group in the Montana wilderness and discover they are stranded in the heart of zombie country.

Ian was the one who chased the majestic buck into the forest. (His motto: Act first, think later.)

Kendra didn’t want to become separated from the other sixth graders, but she followed Ian anyway, despite what her analytical mind told her.

PJ followed him, too. Even though he was scared, he figured he might catch some amazing footage with his video camera.

They all hoped to return to the hiking trail before anyone noticed they were gone. However, the mountain had other plans for them: dark, sinister plans that only nightmares are made of.

Now they don’t know where they are. They don’t know how to get home. They don’t know what gruesome creatures lurk in the shadows-but when they find out, will they be able to defeat these monsters and escape the mountain together?

This first book in the Gravediggers series is a scary, mysterious, wild ride that will thrill readers to the very last page.

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans

Enter a wonderful world filled with real magic,  Hortens Miraculous Mechanismsmystery … and danger.

As if being small for his age and also having S. Horten as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony–a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth–and Tony’s marvelous, long-lost workshop.  Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who’s also desperate to get hold of Tony’s treasures.

A quirky, smart, charming page-turner, Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms will enchant young readers–as well as teachers, librarians, and parents.

For the comments: What are your favorite Middle Grade reads of 2012?

Win a signed copy of Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

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To wrap up our week-long celebration of Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, we are giving one of you lucky readers a chance to win a signed copy! Thanks to Sarah for donating a signed copy to this contest. Now, details:

vesselThe Contest

Fill out the Novel Novice + Vessel Contest Entry Form and tell us what or who you would be willing to sacrifice yourself for.

The Prize

One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of Vessel courtesy of Sarah Beth Durst

The Rules

  • One entry per person
  • U.S. only
  • Use the entry form

The Deadline

All entries are due by midnight (PT) on Friday, December 21st.

Questions? Leave ‘em in the comments & we’ll reply!

Interview with Vessel author Sarah Beth Durst — Part 2

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What’s next for Sarah Beth Durst? And what dream vacation do we both have in common? Read on for more! (And check out part 1 of our Q&A here.)

sarah beth durstCan you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?

I am working on a YA novel called SWEET NOTHINGS (though the title will most likely change).  It’s about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by dreams of carnival tents and tarot cards, must remember her past and why she has strange abilities before a magic-wielding serial killer hunts her down.  It’s coming out in fall 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker.

And I am also working on a contemporary fantasy trilogy for adults called THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND about a woman who runs from her empty life and is trapped in a town full only of lost things and lost people.  The first book is coming out in fall 2012 from Harlequin/Luna.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Living or dead, who would you like to have dinner with?

My husband.  He’s always my favorite person to have dinner with.  :)

Pizza toppings?

None.  (But I like a lot of sauce.)

Private concert: who’s playing?

John Williams conducting the Boston Pops playing the music from all the Star Wars movies.  Preferably in my living room with a copious supply of snacks.

Perfect vacation?

Disney World with zero lines.

Look at your desk right now. Name five things within reach.

A pen.  A print-out of the latest draft of my work-in-progress.  My to-do list.  A stone carving of a polar bear.  And a bag of Raisinets.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Interview with Vessel author Sarah Beth Durst – Part 1

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Today, we are thrilled to bring you the first part of our two-part interview with Vessel author Sarah Beth Durst.

sarah beth durstVESSEL is such a breathtaking novel — I was completely swept up in the world, the romance, the characters, the setting … how did the novel come together for you? What came first, and what followed?

I knew I wanted to write about a desert.  A few years ago, I’d written about the Arctic (in my polar bear fantasy novel ICE), and this time, I wanted to write about the sun and the heat.

So I researched the Gobi, the Sahara, and other deserts, and I melded them together and infused them with magic: gods that walk across the sand within human bodies, wolves made out of sand that hunt within sandstorms…

But the story didn’t come together until I had the idea for Liyana, a girl who is destined to sacrifice herself so that her goddess can inhabit her body and save her clan.  She started as a single image: a girl dancing barefoot on the desert sand.

For me, stories don’t come as massive lightning bolts out of the blue.  They come as sparks — lots of little ideas — that coalesce together to form a flame.

vesselThe opening chapter of VESSEL is really gut-wrenching. The emotion of willingly sacrificing one’s body for the greater good is so charged. Just reading about Liyana’s struggle made me tear up. What was it like writing such an emotionally charged passage?

I cried when I wrote the scene when Liyana says goodbye to her four-year-old brother.

Were the society or the gods in VESSEL inspired by anything? How did you develop the mythology of your world?

I love mythology, and I’ve read a ton of it.  So I’d have to say that the mythology of VESSEL was inspired by pretty much all the mythology that I know!  I tried to create a lore that felt rich and ancient by drawing on the rhythm of the stories, the universal themes, and the archetypes that pervade various cultures.

Only one god was directly inspired by existing mythology: Korbyn.  He’s a trickster god.  When Liyana first meets him, he offers to save her life, and she offers to skewer him.

VESSEL very much plays with the idea of destiny versus free choice. Talk a little bit about the interplay of these themes throughout the novel.

My debut novel had a free will theme too.  It was about fairy tale characters who escaped the fairy tale to live in secret in the real world but now the fairy tale wants its characters back.  I am endlessly fascinated by the concept of fate versus free will.  No idea why.  Maybe I was a teddy bear or a rock in a former life and am now obsessed with the ability to choose…

VESSEL is about what happens after you lose your destiny.  Liyana doesn’t want to die, but she’s willing to accept her fate if it means saving her family, especially her beloved baby brother… and then that choice is taken from her.  She has to shape her own future when she never expected to have one.

Tune in tomorrow for part 2!