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Recommended Page-Turners: High School Fiction and Nonfiction

bow_scorpion rulesBow, Erin  The Scorpion Rules
368 pp.     McElderry     2015     ISBN 978-1-4814-4271-8
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-4273-2

Pan Polar Confederacy princess Greta and the world’s other royal children are held hostage: if a leader goes to war, his or her child is killed; if that child survives to eighteen, he or she is released. There’s a welcome spin on the damsel-in-distress-falls-for-rebellious-boy trope — Greta’s love interest is Da-Xia, Daughter of Heaven, rather than insurrectionary hostage Elián. A smart, compelling Hunger Games read-alike.
Subjects: Emotions—Love; Kings, queens, and rulers; Princes and princesses; Prisons and prisoners; War; Homosexuality; Dystopias

bruchac_trail of the deadBruchac, Joseph  Trail of the Dead
387 pp.     Lee/Tu     2015     ISBN 978-1-62014-261-5
Ebook ISBN 978-1-62014-262-2

Killer of Enemies series. Lozen (Killer of Enemies) leads refugees through the desert toward Valley Where First Light Paints the Cliffs. They face many dangers, and Lozen is afflicted with something her Apache-Chiricahua ancestors called Enemy Sickness, or post-traumatic stress. The sardonic protagonist is as magnetic, the peril as intense, and the invention as fresh as ever as Bruchac develops his dystopian world in intriguing directions.
Subjects: Dystopias; Survival; Native Americans—North America—Apache; Legends—Native American; Supernatural—Extrasensory perception; Monsters; Genetic engineering; Science fiction; Assassinations

castellucci_stone in the skyCastellucci, Cecil  Stone in the Sky
311 pp.     Roaring Brook      2015     ISBN 978-1-59643-776-0

The life of Tula Bane (Tin Star), the only Human inhabitant of Yertina Feray Space Station, is upended when a vital medicinal plant is discovered on the planet the station orbits. Castellucci’s robust galaxy is convincing, with a gutsy heroine who must navigate interspecies politics and affairs of the heart, while grappling with what it means to be Human.
Subjects: Science fiction; Space—Space stations; Extraterrestrial beings

fombelle_prince without a kingdomde Fombelle, Timothée  A Prince Without a Kingdom
443 pp.     Candlewick     2015     ISBN 978-0-7636-7950-7

Translated by Sarah Ardizzone. Mysterious loner and orphan Vango (Vango: Between Sky and Earth) continues his quest to discover his origins while pursuing the wicked international arms dealer Voloy Viktor. In the years between 1936 and 1944, the cast dashes about the United States, Europe, and Russia like pieces in a game of Risk. A cinematic, quickly paced, and clever novel with an adventurous, romantic aura.
Subjects: Books in translation; Orphans; Voyages and travels; Adventure and adventurers; Identity

giles_endangeredGiles, Lamar  Endangered
282 pp.     HarperTeen     2015     ISBN 978-0-06-229756-3

Lauren leads a double life as a vigilante photographer exposing her cruelest classmates’ dirty secrets via an anonymous blog. After Lauren photographs mean girl Keachin in a compromising position, a mysterious “Admirer” goads her with a series of photographic dares. The escalating game of cat and mouse unfolds with unremitting tension in this psychological thriller with a full-throttle plot.
Subjects: Schools—High schools; Photography; Mystery and detective stories; Mixed-race people; Blogs

griffin_adriftGriffin, Paul  Adrift
231 pp.      Scholastic     2015     ISBN 978-0-545-70939-2
Ebook ISBN 978-0-545-70941-5

Matt and John meet wealthy Portuguese teens Driana, Stef, and JoJo in Montauk. Stef impulsively decides on a little midnight windsurfing; the others borrow a poorly maintained motorboat to bring her back to shore. A string of mishaps turns this into a marine variant on the classic wilderness survival adventure. As tensions rise, the teens’ backstories are seamlessly woven into the plot.
Subjects: Survival; Oceans; Hamptons (NY); Seasons—Summer; Vehicles—Boats and boating; Sports—Windsurfing

hopkinson_courage and defiance 2Hopkinson, Deborah  Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark [nonfiction]
339 pp.     Scholastic     2015     ISBN 978-0-545-59220-8

In April 1940, the Danish government pretty much rolled out the red carpet for Hitler’s army. What no one foresaw was the way many Danes, angered by their leaders’ capitulation, would fight back. Some spied on the Germans; others aided Danish Jews. Hopkinson pulls together these narratives with truly propulsive storytelling and great attention to the humanity involved. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Europe; History, Modern—World War II; Denmark; Hitler, Adolf; Nazism; Spies; Righteous Gentiles

latham_scarlett undercoverLatham, Jennifer  Scarlett Undercover
311 pp.     Little     2015     ISBN 978-0-316-28393-9
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-28389-2

Teen detective Scarlett investigates a possible murder (ruled a suicide by the authorities); soon she’s launched into a dangerous mystery that involves a shadowy group determined to find a mystical relic of the Muslim faith. Sarcastic yet sensitive, Scarlett’s voice drives this Veronica Mars–meets–Da Vinci Code narrative. Familiar mystery trappings are dressed up with fresh, diverse characters and settings.
Subjects: Detectives; Private investigators; Murder; Mystery and detective stories; Religion—Islam; Supernatural; Genies; Secrets

moriarty_tangle of goldMoriarty, Jaclyn  A Tangle of Gold
470 pp.     Scholastic/Levine     2016     ISBN 978-0-545-39740-7
Ebook ISBN 978-0-545-77735-3

Colors of Madeleine series. With marvelous surprises and her usual perfect timing and panache, Moriarty’s final book in a trilogy set in two worlds is jam-packed with secret identities revealed and talents discovered. An alluring mix of fantasy, humor, coming-of-age, romance, history, mystery, and political intrigue, Moriarty bends (and blends) genres the way the good people of Nature Strip, in the Kingdom of Cello, bend Colors.
Subjects: Fantasy; England; Color; Magic; Princes and princesses

reynolds_all american boysReynolds, Jason and Kiely, Brendan  All American Boys
316 pp.     Atheneum     2015     ISBN 978-1-4814-6333-1
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-6335-5

When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into police brutality, high school classmates Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) are linked and altered by the violence — Rashad as victim and Quinn as witness. This nuanced novel explores issues of racism, power, and justice with a diverse (ethnically and philosophically) cast and two remarkable protagonists.
Subjects: African Americans; Police officers; Race relations; Prejudices; Schools—High schools; Violence

smith_edgeSmith, Roland  The Edge
236 pp.     Houghton     2015     ISBN 978-0-544-34122-7

Fifteen-year-old Peak (Peak) agrees to participate in a Peace Climb — climbers assigned to mountains around the world for a television special. But once he arrives in war-torn Afghanistan to tackle the Pamirs, most of the party is kidnapped. An exciting tale ensues as Peak tracks down the kidnappers. Present-tense journal entries interspersed with the past-tense main narrative create an interesting dual storyline.
Subjects: Sports—Mountain climbing; Mountaineers; Afghanistan; Kidnapping; Adventure and adventurers; Survival; Animals—Snow leopards

wein_black dove white ravenWein, Elizabeth  Black Dove, White Raven
357 pp.     Hyperion     2015     ISBN 978-1-4231-8310-5
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4847-0780-7

Em (white) and Teo (black) have grown up together, their mothers American stunt-pilots who met after WWI. After Teo’s mother dies, Em’s mother moves them to Ethiopia. Em’s and Teo’s own skills as pilots come into play in surprising ways when Mussolini invades Ethiopia. Wein weaves a complexity of political and cultural understanding into her plot and affecting characters.
Subjects: Pilots; Family—Siblings; Adoption; Adventure and adventurers; Race relations; Vehicles—Airplanes; War; Ethiopia

wynne-jones_emperor of any placeWynne-Jones, Tim  The Emperor of Any Place
328 pp.     Candlewick     2015     ISBN 978-0-7636-6973-7

A strange book was sent to Evan’s father just before his sudden death. As Evan reads the book — the translated journal of a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a mystical island with an American Marine — he experiences a sense of déjà-vu. Wynne-Jones skillfully weaves the World War II journal into Evan’s story, building suspense and creating a cracking mystery. An affecting, unforgettable read.
Subjects: Islands and island life; Soldiers; History, Modern—World War II; Diaries; Death; Family—Father and son; Japan; Ontario; Mystery and detective stories; Supernatural

The 5th WaveYancey, Rick  The 5th Wave
460 pp.     Putnam     2013     ISBN 978-0-399-16241-1

Cassie, sixteen, prepares herself for the fifth wave of aliens, the final takeover, fearing that she may be all that’s left of humanity. She’s alone until she meets “very good-looking” Evan Walker, and together they must figure out how to fight back. Yancey vividly portrays Cassie’s existential crisis in a broken world: how to live, why to live, and what to care about.
Subjects: Extraterrestrial beings; Survival; War; Science fiction; Family—Siblings

From the July 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?: “What Makes a Good Page-Turner?”

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