New and Recommended YA Fiction for February

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011--an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it "an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters." This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrines island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

 

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets, by Evan Roskos 

 "I hate myself but I love Walt Whitman, the kook. Always positive. I need to be more positive, so I wake myself up every morning with a song of myself." Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à la Whitman) at his abusive father ever since he kicked his beloved older sister, Jorie, out of the house. James's painful struggle with anxiety and depression--along with his ongoing quest to understand what led to his self-destructive sister's exile--make for a heart-rending read, but his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the world and keen sense of humor keep this emotionally charged debut novel buoyant.

 

The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own. Will being back home help Andy's PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down. 

 

The Madman's Daughter, by Megan Shepherd

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London--working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true. Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward--both of whom she is deeply drawn to--Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius--and madness--in her own blood. Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

 

The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen, by Nicholas Christopher

This richly-detailed historical novel from master storyteller Nicholas Christopher features an unforgettable hero: Nicolo Zen is all alone in 1700s Venice, save for his clarinet, which a mysterious magician had enchanted, allowing its first player to perform expertly. Soon Nicolo is a famous virtuoso, wealthy beyond his dreams, but he can't stop wondering if he earned the success himself -- or what might happen if the spell were removed. And throughout it all, he continues to think about the girl he met in Venice, what she might be doing and if she's safe from harm.aWith a guest appearance by composer Vivaldi, and brimming with fascinating period details, this is a compelling coming-of-age story full of universal themes and a love story that will conjure memories of Romeo and Juliet, perfect for teens who love stories set in other times, but without a paranormal storyline (as long as you don't count a magician who dresses all in white and can be in two places on once . . . ).

 

Palace of Spies, by Sarah Zettel

"A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don't." Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she's impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy--perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . . History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.

 

Champion: a Legend Novel, by Marie Lu

The explosive finale to Marie Lu's New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy.  He is a Legend. She is a Prodigy. Who will be Champion? June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic#151;and each other;and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government's elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic's border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country's defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu's bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.