The best mail contains books.

A few weeks ago I left a comment on a whatchYAreading? blog post, and the reward for that was tremendous! I won all these books!

Big thanks to whatchYAreading? for hosting this giveaway on their blog. And be sure to read the comment thread along with the blog post (assuming you clicked that link there) because there is a very interesting & important discussion happening about book  bloggers, librarians, and publishing companies, and the intersection of all three in the promotion of reading.

But really, let’s get to the books now. Here’s how I got the books below: Christine from whatchYAreading? sent me an email telling me to pick 6 of 12 titles, and I did, and she mailed them to me. Publisher information & date of publication is noted in the captions of the covers, and I expect to post a review for each book, if not on the day of publication, in the appropriate month of publication.

So, these are the six books I picked and why.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 3/27/2012

The Stalker Chronicles by Carley Moore

I’m the first to publicly admit that in mid-school and high school I was a tad boy crazy. I really liked flirting with boys; having dates to all the dances (fact: I attended every dance from 6th grade to 12th grade; at first because I was on the committees, and at the end, just to have this fact); and having someone to stand in the impossibly long lunch line for me as long as I promised to hold his hand for the period.

When I first saw the title, and then cover, of this novel, I was a little skeptical. (I’m just now coming around to accepting pink as a color.) However, when I read the synopsis–Cammie has some stalker, boy-crazed tendencies–I knew I had to give this novel a shot. Now that I’m older I can read about the insane things teenage girls do to catch a boy’s affections without cringing because finally I don’t see myself in the character. Thank goodness for growing up!

Little, Brown & Company, 4/17/2012

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

“Everyone said sending teenagers into space would be their opportunity of a lifetime…” (qtd. from synopsis).

Sending teenagers into space seems, to me, like a colossally bad idea. Absolutely nothing about this plot concept should go right, and I’m very intrigued about all the things that will be going wrong. But of course, something should go right somewhere… right? maybe?

Also, only one of the three main teenagers has her culture identified (Japanese, from Japan), and I’m left wondering where Mia (I’d assume English descent) and Antoine (I don’t have a guess) are from; there is the opportunity for cross-cultural perspectives to come into major play in a sci-fi-esque YA novel. To me, that seems like a large load to handle, but I’m also totally on board that rocket ship to see where this goes.

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 5/1/2012

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

Zach and London grew up as the children of missionaries, spending formative years of their childhood in Africa and Latin America. And then Zach dies, and everything becomes shambles, and London wonders if Zach took his own life or if it was, somehow, her fault.

I’m a very big fan of “sibling books” — that is, books that focus around the relationship between siblings and the identity siblings form as individuals and as related to one another.  When Zach dies, London must figure out how to cope with this loss: both of her brother and a strong part of her identity.

I’m most curious to see how the redemptive process takes place in this novel; I’d like to know if London’s feeling of responsibility has a seed in truth and I’d like to know how much the religious tones of the book play into the redemption of London–with her family and within her self.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 6/19/2012

The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer

The reason I want to read this book requires a less in-depth explanation: I really like historical fiction.

For some reason, though, I never seem to read YA historical fiction. Or rather, I haven’t read much historical fiction in YA that is primarily historical fiction. I’ve been reading plenty of steampunk and historical fantasy and time travel stories in the last few years, but it’s been a while since I’ve read “pure” historical fiction in YA.

I’ve never read or heard of Carolyn Meyer, and this is apparently a grave oversight on my part as a historical fiction lover and an avid YA reader.  She’s written a ton of books similar to this one, and I’m hoping The Wild Queen proves a nice entrance in her work.

Hyperion, 6/26/2012

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

This is a book about a girl who discovers Sherlock Holmes– a detective she admires and longs to work with in an escape from her aristocratic country life–is her biological father. But then, he’s dead and she’s trying to solve a mystery, and I’m betting things get real outta hand.

This is a book that I hope to love for it’s backdrop against Sherlock Holmes, but I will be undoubtedly (and maybe unfairly) critical of this backdrop, as well.

Of course, I should probably do a bit of a refresher in Sherlock Holmes (the Sir Arthur Canon Doyle works, not the various adaptations or remixes) before I get around to reading this novel. I loathe to be critical through a musty critical lens; it may need to be dusted off a bit first.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 7/10/2012

Lost Girls by Ann Kelley

It seems the official cover for this novel has not yet been released, so I will not be sharing the cover of my ARC either.  There is a possibility the cover may change, I suppose (I’ve seen it happen between ARCs and published copies), and if you’re anything like me, the cover helps inform your initial  judgment of a novel.

As far as I can tell, this is a novel in the same flavor as The Lord of the Flies, except a little modernized and with girls. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the prospect of GIRLS trapped on a deserted island fighting for their lives and trying to figure out why one of their friends is dead and where their boatman has disappeared to.



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