Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere[1]When she wakes up, Liz Hall is dead. She doesn’t know it at the time. Just like she doesn’t know how she ended up in a room on a cruise ship with some stranger, a girl about her age sleeping in the next bed over. She doesn’t know where the ship is headed or why the captain is a seven-year-old boy.

It turns out she the ship is headed to a place called Elsewhere. This is the place you go when you die. It looks a like Earth. There are roads, houses, businesses, people, and pets. But there are some big differences too. Just like with our idea of Heaven, you will be reunited with people you know who died before you. Liz ends up seeing her grandmother. But you don’t stay in Elsewhere forever. Instead, you age backwards from the time you die until you are just seven days old when you are sent back to earth to be reborn as a totally different person.

Liz was only 15 when she died. That means that she will never graduate high school or college, become an adult, get married and have kids. She has to figure out how she will spend the next 15 years of her life.

Which is not to say that some of those things are not possible. There is a love story here but that is all I will say. To find out the rest, you will have to read the book.

Heir Apparent by Vivian Van Velde

heirapparentYou are the Heir Apparent. The king has died. You are only a peasant, and apparently the secret heir to the crown. You will be crowned in three days, that is, if you can make it there without getting killed by your half brothers, the queen, your future subjects, magic….

If you do get killed, then no problem. You can start the game over again. In the real world, it is sometime in the near future. You are a hooked up to a Total Immersion Virtual Reality game. Your brain is hooked up directly to the game. You smell the smells. You hear the sounds just like you are there. You have 30 minutes (or 3 days in the game) to make the right decisions, the right alliances, if you want to win the game.

But what kind of story would that be? Keep starting over until you win without any real consequences?

A group called Citizens to Protect our Children, a group who is protesting the virtual reality game, has broken into the building and damaged the machine running your game. The longer you are attached to the machine, the more you risk fatal overload. And that means death. Not just the death of your character, but your physical one too. And the only way to escape that fate is to win the game.



Impossible by Nancy Werlin

impossibleFor generations, the women in Lucy Scarborough’s family have been under a curse. According the legend of the curse, every girl in the family will become pregnant and have a baby girl at age 18. If they cannot solve three seemingly impossible puzzles before the birth of the baby, they will go completely insane.

It all started with her ancestor, a girl named Finella. The story goes that an elfin king fell in love with Finella and wanted to marry her, but she refused. Angered, the king cursed Finella and all of her female descendants.

Lucy is now 17 and there doesn’t seem to be any chance of her getting pregnant, especially without a boyfriend. But on the night of her high school prom, she is raped and becomes pregnant with a baby girl.

To break the curse, she has to solve three seemingly impossible tasks that are part of an old Scottish ballad. Here is part of the poem.

The Elfin Knight

…From the sting of my curse she can never be free

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Unless she unravels my riddlings three

She will be a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a magical shirt

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Without any seam or needlework

Else she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to find me an acre of land

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Between the salt water and the sea strand

Else she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to plow it with just a goat’s horn

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
And sow it all over with one grain of corn

Else she’ll be a true love of mine
And her daughters forever possessions of mine


Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link


Who knows why the monster didn’t eat James Lerber…right away…Maybe it was because he was a geeky kid from Chicago who thought monsters were cool and who didn’t want to go to camp in the first place. Maybe it was because the other guys made him wear a dress and he was covered in mud. Maybe it was because the monster was already too full after eating all of the campers in Barracks 4 and 6.

The Wrong Grave

He should never have gone back for the poems he had impulsively put in his dead girlfriends coffin, but Miles was one of those self-involved poet types. He had to try to dig up her grave almost a year later to try to get the poems back. Too bad it was  the wrong girl in the grave who then decided to follow him home so she could teach that idiot a lesson.



Beastly by Alex Flinn

beastlyKyle Kingsbury is many things:

Popular , rich, good looking, smart.

But he is also arrogant, shallow and mean to anyone he considers beneath him.

So it is a big surprise when he asks Kendra, the new girl in his class, to a school dance. She is a goth chick with all black clothes, green hair and a long hooked nose.

But of course, it is all a cruel prank. He shows up with his girlfriend and makes Kendra feel like a fool.

What Kyle doesn’t know is that Kendra is a witch and she is going to teach him a lesson. She casts a spell and turns him into an hairy, ugly beast, with hair all over his body, fangs and claws.

She tells him that he has two years to try to get a girl to fall in love with him and to prove it with a kiss.

If he can’t, then he will remain a beast forever.



Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

shiverGrace has been watching the yellow-eyed wolf outside her window ever since she was a little girl. And from the edge of the woods near her house, he watched her too. He was her wolf. She only saw him in the winter, but when it was warm again, he vanished.

When one of the boys in her high school is killed by a pack of wolves, a group of men in town vow to find and kill the pack. Grace decides to act and stop them. And she does. But when she gets home, there is a crumpled form on her porch leaning up against her back door.

It was her yellow eyed wolf. And then it wasn’t. The wolf turned into a boy right before her eyes—a boy with yellow eyes. He is covered with blood from a wound in his neck. She did what she could to get him out of sight and to stop the bleeding.

His name is Sam. They start spending every moment together and fall in love. But little does Grace know, time is running out and she may lose him forever.



The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

lightningthiefEven though Percy Jackson had been kicked out of 5 schools in 5 years, it wasn’t his fault! At least, none of the things he did were ever intentional. Odd things were always happening to him. Unexplained things that he would get blamed for. For instance, on a school field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He didn’t really push Nancy Bobofit into the fountain outside the museum. Or at least he didn’t think he did.

But that wasn’t the weirdest thing about the trip. It went something like this: His teacher, Mrs. Dodds (who never liked him very much anyway), pulled him aside to yell at him. She starts telling him that he has to confess, that his time is up. And then, out of nowhere, she turns into some sort of monster. Bat wings, yellow teeth, claws.

All of a sudden, Mr. Burnner rolls in with his wheelchair. He tosses Percy a pen (show the pen). The pen transforms into a sword. He cuts the monster down. But strangest of all, when he rejoins his school group, no one has ever even heard of Mrs. Dodds. Mrs. Kerr is there and everyone thinks she has always been their teacher, not Mrs. Dodds.

After that day at the Museum, Percy is no longer safe. It turns out that the gods of the Greek myths he learned about in Classics class are real. And there is trouble in Mt. Olympus, home of the Greek gods. The gods are ready to go to war with each other because someone has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt scepter. Soon, Percy finds out that he is a demigod himself–half human, half god. He also learns that he has been framed for the theft of the lightning bolt. If he doesn’t find the bolt and clear his name, the resulting war between the gods will destroy all of humanity in its aftermath. And with some mythical creature trying to kill him whenever he turns around, it won’t be easy either.



Wish List by Eoin Colfer

thewishlistHave you ever done something so bad that you thought, “Oh man, I’m going to end up in Hell for this when I die?”

Well that has finally happened to Meg. She is killed in an explosion while running away after robbing an old man’s house. The only problem is that they won’t let her into Heaven she doesn’t have enough “points” in her favor—she hasn’t done enough good in the world.

To set things right, she has to return as a ghost to help the old man, who is dying himself, complete a wish list of things he had always wished he had done. Sounds easy, right?

Not when she has to deal with a cranky old man and the devil who wants her soul.



The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

334123[1]This book is about a young English boy who lives with this horrible family. You see, he finds out he is a wizard and he is taken away to train. Maybe you have heard of the series this is part of…

Yes, there are some similarities with Harry Potter. But this boy’s name is Nathaniel. There are no muggles and wizards who hide from them. Everyone knows there are wizards. There are the ones in charge of the country. Wizards are in Parliment and they are the rich and powerful.

Like Harry Potter, Nathaniel has to stop a plot by a group of evil wizards who are planning a horrible crime. But he can’t do it by himself. You see, wizards have no power by themselves. They are masters at trapping demons and bidding them to do their will. He decides to call up a midlevel demon named Bartameus.

And then this becomes Bartameus’ story more than Nathaniel’s. This sarcastic and sneaky demon is totally full of himself. And I hate to admit it, but he is a lot more fun than Harry Potter (at times).



Recommended Reading: If you’re done with the Twilight series…

Have you read all the Twilight books (twice) and seen all of the movies?   Or are you sick of vampire books? Either way, if you are looking for something new, you might like these series.

F Clare,C 
Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones. 
New Yorker Clary Fray just wanted to go have a good time at the Pandemonium club. She never expected to witness a murder committed by three other teenagers with strange tattoos and unusual weapons. Also, the three teenagers were invisible to everyone else and there was no body or even blood to report to the police. Clary later learns that the other teens were called Shadowhunters, a secret society dedicated to killing demons. In the next twenty-four hours, she is attacked by a demon herself and mother ends up missing. With the help of the gorgeous Shadowhunter Jace and his friends, she learns of a whole new world that has always co-existed with ours.

F Marr,M 
Marr, Melissa. Wicked Lovely. 
Rules #1-3. Do not stare at invisible faeries, do not speak to them, and definitely don’t draw their attention to you. Aislinn has always been able to see faeries, but these rules have always kept her safe, until now. Everything changes when Keenan, the Summer King, choses her as his mate. She is now involved in the 900 year old struggle between Keenan and his mother, the Winter Queen. If Aislinn refuses him, summer will cease to exist and mortals and faeries will all die. If she accepts, she will lose her own humanity.

F Noel,A 
Noël, Alyson. Evermore.
Since the car accident that killed her family but spared her, sixteen year old Ever can see other people’s auras, hear their thoughts and know their life story by touching them. She goes out of her way to avoid contact with other people until she meets the mysterious. Damen Auguste. She feels an instant connection with him. When she is with him, the noise and chaos in her head subsides. He doesn’t have an aura and he always seems to know what she is thinking. But she doesn’t really know who, or what, he really is.

F Stiefvater,M 
Stiefvater, Maggie. Shiver.
Grace has watched the wolves outside of her window every winter for years, but she had always been drawn to the mysterious yellow eyed one who seemed to take an interest in here too. What she doesn’t know is that these wolves turn into their human form during the summer months. When she meets a boy with the same yellow eyes, she knows somehow that it is him, her wolf. As they start fall for each other, she learns when winter comes again, and with it the change, this could be last year as a human. He will lose Grace and himself forever.

F Taylor,L 
Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Karou is a beautiful young art student in a Prague boarding school. Her natural bright blue hair and her sketchbook is filled with pictures of horrible monsters, drawings of the only family she has ever known, the Chimaera, She speaks many languages, not all of them human. She occasionally runs errands for the devil Brimstone, a wishmonger and father figure who has her collect teeth from around the world, especially human ones. You can understand why she doesn’t know who she really is or where she came from. One fateful day she meets the seraphim Akiva with whom she feels an instant connection, she finally starts to get the answers she seeks, even if it means the end of her life as she knows it.

Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (editors)

7171748[1]Since the dawn of time one question has dominated all others: Zombies or Unicorns?
Now it is time for you to decide for yourself. Which side are you on?

Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

There are 12 stories in this anthology: 6 about zombies, 6 about unicorns.

Zombies are scary, Unicorns are for 8 year old girls, right?


Here you will find zombie love stories, killer baby killer unicorns, a group of high school students who have decided to hold prom despite the fact that the world has been overrun by zombies, and a unicorn named Princess Pretty pants that helps a teenage girl get revenge on her cheating boyfriend.

Read it. Pick a side.


Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

30334[1]“I took a deep…
…in the fire of a dropped lantern.”

pg. 3

War is all that Princess Danica and her people have known for centuries, so long that no one can remember why the fighting started in the first place.

Danica’s people are avian shape shifters, and their enemies, the Serpiente, are serpentine shape shifters. In other words, each race of people can shift between animal (bird or snake) forms to human ones.

Danica is tired of the bloodshed and the destruction. She will do whatever she needs to do to bring peace to the her kingdom, even if it means taking Zane Cobriana, prince of the Serpiente, as her mate, bringing the two royal families together.

As she negotiates an uneasy peace, she discovers that there are those who will go to great lengths to sabotage her efforts. It could even mean the destruction of her kingdom and her own death, if she is not careful.