Monday, in my mailbox (or more appropriately on my desk) I got copies of the following books:
Wish by Alexandra Bullen: Olivia looks up from the wreckage of many months following the death of her twin to find herself uprooted across the country to San Francisco by her grieving attorney-mother and inconsolable contractor-father. Without Violet as a social and emotional crutch, Olivia doesn't know how she can face Golden Gate Prep. The touch of magic is subtle as the teen stumbles upon a hole-in-the-wall seamstress who agrees to mend an old dress of Violet's for a gathering at her mother's new firm. Instead, Olivia finds herself wearing a beautiful custom creation with a butterfly that bursts from fabric into life as Violet is wished back into Olivia's life. No one else can see or hear her, but Olivia's confidence is bolstered enough that she soon becomes friendly with Calla, the most popular girl in school, and catches the eye of skater cutie Soren. Complications ensue when Soren breaks up with Calla, and Olivia launches a clandestine romance, with a couple of dresses left to wear and wishes left to spend. This first-time novelist has produced an enjoyable variation on the three magical wishes scenario with nicely executed and believable characters, not so much fairy tale as realistic story—with some teen drinking. Olivia works through the wishes to realize her strengths and learn to face the world on her own.
Ash by Malinda Lo: Described as "Cinderella…with a twist," Ash is in many ways the familiar fairy tale about a girl's move from comfort to despair to true love (with a little help from fairies and magic). Standard Cinderella images set up the story: after losing her mother and later her father, Ash is treated as a servant in the home of an unkind stepmother and two unfriendly stepsisters. She has ties to the fairy world, attends the royal ball in an enchanted dress, catches the eye of the prince, and finds love by the end of the story. However, while structural similarities exist, ideologically Lo's beautiful and dark tale takes the story to a new place. It is not about Ash being found and saved by a charming prince; instead, it is about her courtship with Kaisa, the King's huntress, a relationship that burgeons over time and is based on more than just initial attraction. Despite Ash's grief, oppressive guardianship, and dangerous flirtation with the fairy Sidhean, who promises to steal her away from her sadness, the protagonist finds her own salvation and chooses to live and love in the real world and on her own terms. Ash will appeal to readers looking for GLBTQ titles, but fans of romance, fantasy, and strong female protagonists will also embrace this fine debut novel.
Poseur by Rachel Maude: Charlotte Beverwil, Janie Farrish, Melissa Moon, and Petra Greene attend exclusive Winston Prep in the Hollywood Hills. And that's all they have in common. But hang out together? They'd rather be hanged. Borrow one another's clothes? They'd sooner borrow a zit. So when these four sophomores are forced into a class to create their own fashion label, they Clash with a capital C. Janie thinks Melissa and Charlotte are Beverly Hills brats. They dismiss Janie as a Valley rat in sheep's clothing. And Petra, well . . . Petra couldn't care less. Can a cool coquette, a shy punk, a hippie goddess, and a ghettoglam egomaniac make beautiful couture together? At Winston Prep, survival of the fittest comes down to who fits in-and what fits.
The Daughters by Joanna Philbin (ARC): Fourteen-year-old Lizzie Summers always expects fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother. But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer who believes that she’s “the new face of beauty,” Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the
media’s spotlight. In this debut young adult series tailored for younger teens, author Joanna Philbin explores what it’s really like to grow up in the thick of the celebrity world. As Lizzie and her two best friends (and fellow daughters-of-celebrities) juggle normal high school events with glamorous family functions, they discover the pitfalls of fame and the importance of friendship. (Pub Date: 5/1/2010)
Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson (ARC): Torn between two destinies...Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: She's a werewolf. As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever. (Pub Date: 5/18/2010)
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (ARC): Best. Birthday. Ever. At least it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a crucial gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night for her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last. Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone. Well, sort of. Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and talk to ghosts. This mysterious ability had always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because Dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost. It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding - and so very alive. HIs support means more to Aura than she cares to admit. As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift. (Pub Date: 5/4/2010)