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Take 5: 5 ARCs I Picked Up at ALA That I Can’t Wait to Read

This year at ALA Annual I learned lots of things, met lots of people, and came back with a ton of ideas I wanted to pitch. But in the end, it always comes back to the books for me and I saw lots of great ones. From rain that will kill you to a book that asks you to determine the truth from the lies, here are 5 of the ARCs I picked up at ALA 2014 that I am dying to read asap. All the descriptions are publisher’s descriptions, but they are intriguing. You’ll also want to check out these 5 fall YA lit titles that I have read and Highly Recommend.

H2O by Virginia Bergin

It’s in the rain…and just one drop will kill you.

They don’t believe it at first. Crowded in Zach’s kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach’s parents’ frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, “It’s in the rain! It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure.”

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby’s only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he’s even still alive.

Coming October 2014 from Sourcebooks Fire. ISBN: 9781492606543

Karen’s Note: End of the world scenarios? Sign me up. With real world concerns about today’s water supply and environmental issues, this is a timely read. It also sounds like it would make a good pairing with Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis.

Press Play by Eric Devine

Greg Dunsmore, a.k.a. Dun the Ton, is focused on one thing: making a documentary that will guarantee his admission into the film school of his choice. Every day, Greg films his intense weight-loss focused workouts as well as the nonstop bullying that comes from his classmates. But when he captures footage of violent, extreme hazing by his high school’s championship-winning lacrosse team in the presence of his principal, Greg’s field of view is in for a readjustment.

Greg knows there is a story to be told, but it is not clear exactly what. And his attempts to find out the truth only create more obstacles, not to mention physical harm upon himself. Yet if Greg wants to make his exposé his ticket out of town rather than a veritable death sentence, he will have to learn to play the game and find a team to help him.


Combine the underbelly of Friday Night Lights with the unflinching honesty of Walter Dean Myers, and you will find yourself with Eric Devine’s novel of debatable truths, consequences, and realities.

Coming October 2014 from Running Press Teens. ISBN: 9780762455126 

Karen’s Note: Eric Devine is an excellent author who writes powerful, gritty stories from the male point of view. He also has written several posts for us here at TLT and wrote a chapter in the upcoming booking The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services. He has a heart for getting guys to read and you should definitely check him out. 

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

Coming October 2014 from Walker Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9780802737564

Karen’s note: If you haven’t yet read CONJURED by Sarah Beth Durst, you really should rectify that quickly. CONJURED is a bizarre and twisted in every epically awesome way possible retelling of the Pinocchio story with circuses, serial killers, and a teenage girl who can’t remember who she is and when she does it may be deadly.

There Will be Lies by Nick Lake

New from Printz winner Nick Lake—the ultimate thrill ride about the lies others tell us . . . and the lies we tell ourselves.

Shelby Jane Cooper’s world is the town of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she’s home-schooled, hits balls at the batting cage, visits the library, and sees The Boy. Life in her city in the desert is one big routine, like ice-cream-for-dinner Fridays: normal.

But in four hours, she’ll be struck by a car, and that’s when normal ends.

Barely recovered from the accident, Shelby is inexplicably whisked away by her mother—away from the hospital, her home, and everything she loves—on a manic road trip to the Grand Canyon.

Shelby’s mother says that everything’s fine. But with mile after mile falling fast behind them, Shelby starts to question everything she knows about her life and tries to piece together what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can ultimately trust.

Master storyteller Nick Lake hooks readers from page one in this emotional rollercoaster which rockets from one dramatic twist to the next until the book’s shocking conclusion.

Coming in January 2015 from Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9781619634404

Karen’s Note: Everything about this sounds good. Sign me up. The cover has not yet been revealed for this title.

Sublime by Christina Lauren

True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read”.

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

Coming October 2014 from Simon &Schuster. ISBN: 9781481413701

Karen’s Note: Sometimes I am shallow, but I think this is a pretty cover. And I know that tons of my readers will be lining up for this one. Beautiful and haunting are some of my favorite book descriptors so I am in.

And Now for a Giveaway

I accidentally picked up two copies of THERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake while at ALA. Or perhaps the Tween picked one up. However it happened, I accidentally got two which means someone else didn’t get one so I am going to give one of mine away. You can enter to win two ways: 1) Leave a comment here with follow back information like an email or Twitter handle and/or 2) Tweet about the giveaway – helping to spread the word – and copy and paste a link to your tweet in the comments. We’ll accept entries until this Sunday, the 13th, at Midnight. Open to U.S. residents.

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to? Share in the comments. I would hate to miss a great book!   

Book Review: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

“Don’t contact anyone from your past.  Don’t tell anyone about your past.  Forget the rules . . . and die.”

Eve remembers nothing of her past.  She is in witness protection.  They need her to remember and testify; she has escaped a serial killer that uses magic to kill his prey.  They say she knows something, but she isn’t sure what.  What if she doesn’t want to remember?  What if she knows more than she would like?

Sometimes she dreams.  There is a carnival tent.  Buttons being sewn onto her skin.  And she can do things, but she tries to keep this hidden.  What would people think if they found out what she could do?

While she is remembering, or at least trying to, Eve shelves books in the local library.  There she meets some others that see hints of who she is and what she can do.  And just like those that guard her in the witness protection program, their motives are sometimes questionable.  Do they want to help her – or exploit her: “This shouldn’t be a tough call. They plan to kill you, Eve. We don’t. Align yourself with us.” (p 157).

Conjured is a super freaky, updated take on Pinocchio.  It is a fascinating cross between haunting paranormal and serial killer thriller. If you, like me, like those kind of books, you will be gloriously satisfied with Conjured.  If you don’t, well, we’ll agree to disagree.  The magic is fascinating, and the storytelling has the slowly picking off a scab to reveal the bloody underneath quality to it.  The truth of who Eve is, where she came from, what she has seen and what she knows, is horrifically enthralling and a clever twist.  The ending has a breathless climax full of magic and confrontation.  And at the heart of it all is one of the most basic questions of the teenage years : who am I really?

“Lie. Lie to everyone until you know the truth.” 

4 out of 5 stars. Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst was published by Walker Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury, in September of 2013.  ISBN: 9780802734587.  Pair this with The Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby and books written by Neil Gaiman.