What a month! May has many fabulous Teen releases, but we've narrowed it down to our Top 10:
Gilt by Katherine Longshore. A new historical series that's being pitched as Gossip Girl in The Tudors era.
Endure by Carrie Jones. The latest in the series of pixies with poisonous kisses. Team Teen member, Melanie, has been waiting for this one. You can see her review of the first book of the series, here.
The Enchantress by Michael Scott (5/22). The FINAL book of Michael Scott's epic The Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series.
Fated by Alyson Noel (5/22). The Soul Seekers is Alyson Noel's new series, and this book starts it all. Daire Santos can walk the worlds between the living and the dead, but is the boy of her dreams her destiny or her enemy?
Order of Darkness: Changeling by Philippa Gregory (5/22). A YA debut from the Queen of Historical Fiction. Luca Vero maps fears for the Church in a time when people still truly believed in changelings and werewolves.
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (5/22). A debut novel about merfolk that we think you're going to love. What makes this difference from all the others? It's about a merman.
Also, here are five titles out in paperback that you've probably been waiting for:
Passion by Lauren Kate. The third book of Lauren Kate's Fallen series.
This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel. Winner of this year's Red Cedar award in the Forest of Reading, and first book in the Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein trilogy.
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (5/29). The first book in Michelle Read's new Bloodlines series set in the same universe as Vampire Academy.
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (5/29). Second of the Heist Society novels.
Finally, five bonus books that I've got my eye on this month:
Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready. This is the final book in her wonderful paranormal romance trilogy, which features the only love triangle I support. (Besides Damon, Elena and Stefan, of course.) Shade (Book 1) and Shift (Book 2) have also been repacked with lovely new covers.
Queen of the Dead: Silence by Michelle Sagara. If you are tiring of insta-romance and just want to read a great paranormal book with characters who so believable you'll think you know them then this one is for you. Bonus points for it being set in Toronto and being writing by a T.O. author.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. I am so ashamed that I didn't read this sooner, but grab the shiny new paperback version and get ready to love this book. Funny, smart, and scary = highly recommended for all of you who love Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock. A debut from a Canadian author! Not everything is as it seems, as Mac investigates the murder of her best friend Amy and trackers search her town for a white werewolf.
We’ve always got our eyes open here at Indigo for what reading trends are coming next. Paranormals like ghosts and vampires and werewolves have all but been vanquished. Contemporary is making a comeback, and Dystopian futures are fading in favour of historical fiction.
We’ve seen plenty of Victorian Era novels: Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, Y.S. Lee’s The Agency series, Anna Godbersen's The Luxe series, and Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine. We’ve also got early twentieth century novels, like Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan and Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity.
However, Kristin Cashore’s much anticipated fantasy Bitterblue (ok, it's technically not history) and Kenneth Oppel’s award-winning This Dark Endeavour herald a new interest in older settings. Here are three other historical YA novels on our radar:
The Royal Circle: Book One: Gilt by Katherine Longshore. Out this week, this debut novel and first book in a new series has been explained as Gossip Girl set during The Tudors. Cat and Kitty, two friends who serve the Duchess of Norfolk, navigate the tricky court politics of Henry the VII after Cat becomes queen. You thought scandal originated in the Upper East End of NYC? Think again!
Order of Darkness: Book One: Changeling by Philppa Gregory. (May 22) Philippa Gregory is the Lady of Historical Fiction. Her adult novels, like The Other Boleyn Girl and The Lady of The Rivers, have a massive readership. Now, Gregory is trying her hand at YA fiction. What makes Changeling interesting is how it brushes against paranormal. Set during a time when people honestly believed in things like changelings or werewolves, the book features a cast of older teen characters who have been commanded by the church to “collect fears” for the church.
His Fair Assassin: Book One: Grave Mercy by R.A. LaFevers. This historical novel set in France is rich with intrigue and romance. Ismae escapes an arranged marriage to the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still worship the gods of old. She becomes a handmaiden of Death, taking the lives of others in order to claim her new life. Her first mission takes her to the court of Brittany, where she must weigh her heart against her sworn duty.
Does this mark the start of a return to the past for teen books? If they’re all as good as these ones then we hope so!
After the cliffhanger of City of Fallen Angels, we’ve all been waiting for Cassandra Clare’s City of Lost Souls so we could find out what awaits Jace, Clary, Simon and…Sebastian? That’s right, my favourite homicidal rogue Shadowhunter, Sebastian Verlac AKA the real Jonathan Morgenstern, is back in City of Lost Souls and eager to settle the score.
Chills, am I right?
But you’re here for the first word in our #IndigoCOLS Scavenger Hunt. Five words have been scattered across the net that form a secret phrase. You'll find clues tweeted from @chaptersindigo throughout this afternoon (May 8, 2012) with the final clue coming at 5:00 pm ET. Then you have until 6:00 pm ET to tweet the complete secret phrase to @chaptersindigo with the designated hashtag #IndigoCOLS. Miss a clue? Check the hashtag! Want to see all the rules and regulations? Here they are.
Six people are going to win a prize pack including a City of Lost Souls t-shirt, a Shadowhunter family ring (various kinds - sorry,you don't get to choose which one), and the Indigo Exclusive Edition of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare!
Are you ready for the first word?
Your next clue will be on @chaptersindigo at 2:00 pm ET, so look for it then.
Review has spoilers for Divergent.
Veronica Roth’s Insurgent is one of the most anticipated titles this year for Team Teen, as we were all so blown away by Divergent last year. I couldn't put down the pulse-pounding, adrenaline-spiked story of Beatrice "Tris" Prior. Her future Chicago divided into Factions who embody five different virtues captivated me. It made me wonder where I'd end up: Amity (peace), Abnegation (service), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (courage), or Erudite (knowledge.)
While the oddmakers may be wondering what the next Hunger Games will be, I'm telling you that you can bet on it being The Divergent trilogy.
In Divergent, Tris chose to leave her native Faction of Abnegation and join the Dauntless. She also learned that she is a Divergent—someone who has affinity for more than one virtue. She survived the intense and ruthless Dauntless initiation and then uncovered an Erudite conspiracy to turn her fellow Faction members into simulation-controlled slaves.
But stopping the simulation comes at a terrible personal cost to Tris, and we watch her struggle with the fallout in Insurgent. Divergent built her to be a strong character capable of amazing sacrifice, but in Insurgent we see her knocked down and broken. Both the stakes and the body count in Insurgent are higher than they were in Divergent, as Tris fights a divided Faction to try and save her city.
Also, there’s her relationship with Tobias “Four” Eaton. Four and Tris are a pair of flawed characters struggling in a conflicted world to be better for one another. That's one of the things I really appreciate about Roth’s Trilogy: NO LOVE TRIANGLE. Finally, an action-packed book that knows a single relationship has enough struggles and triumphs to keep it interesting.
Roth expands the our view of the Factions in this second instalment, as we only really saw Abnegation and Dauntless in the first book. With Insurgent, we visit Amity and Candor. So much thought has gone into this world—everything from how conflicts would be resolved, to the architecture and jobs of the Factions reflect what they do. I love it.
The trick with a second book in a series is that it either has to be bigger or it has to dig deeper. I like that Roth chose to expand while keeping the events centred in Chicago. One of the biggest questions at the end of Divergent for me was what happens next? And Roth balances swift pacing with a sense of time passing so that things happen in a realistic manner. Character grieve and suffer as people would, which adds to the realism of her book.
If you adored Divergent for Tris and Four, its world and its didn't-see-that-coming-plot, then get to one of our stores on May 1 2012 and ask for a copy of Insurgent. Read it in a day, and then we'll countdown to the epic finale. together.
Where has April gone? It feels like it just got started! If you're looking for something to read, here's a list of the titles this month that has our team at Indigo excited:
The Calling by Kelley Armstong. The second in her Darkness Rising trilogy.
The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad. Lauren returns to show us what happens on the other side of the camera.
Ascend: A Trylle Novel by Amanda Hocking. Find out how it all ends in the final book of The Trylle Trilogy.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher in paperback. Gemma gets stalked, kidnapped, and then expected to love the guy who did it.
Immortal City by Scott Speer. The most famous Angel in the city and the one girl who doesn't care hunt a serial killer. (C'mon, you know you're curious.)
Opposite of Tidy by Carrie Mac. From the Vancouver author, this is a contemporary novel about a girl who's mother is a hoarder.
Whisper by Alyson Noel. Newest in The Riley Bloom series.
Black Heart by Holly Black the previous books White Cat and Red Glove are out in paperback with lovely new covers. Also, Zombies vs. Unicorns—which was co-edited by Holly Black—is now out in paperback. Read our interview with Holly.
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. A stunningly atmospheric debut that draws its inspiration from an Edgar Allen Poe short story of the same name.
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. The new series from Julie Kagawa is set in a dystopian future where vampires rule humanity. Forced to become a vampire, Allie searches for the key to save humanity. It's already been optioned for a film.
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han in paperback. The final book in the Summer trilogy and the paperback has bonus material.
Special mentions this month to...
The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson. A book set in Toronto and filled with Carribean culture. Looking for something different? Give this one a try.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. I read an ARC of this book after it was suggested to me when I was lamenting that there isn't anything like Dexter in the teen section. This isn't quite teen Dexter, but it is so good. It hits all the emotional triggers, the characters are fantastic and I can't wait for the next installment. But it is not for the faint of heart!
The wait for City of Lost Souls is almost over! May 8th we’ll all get to learn what happens next to our favourite Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Even better, Indigo has an exclusive edition of the book with a special letter from Stephen Herondale to Jace. (If you don't know why Stephen Herondale would write a letter to Jace, then you'd better read The Mortal Instruments pronto.)
That’s not all: Cassandra Clare is doing an exclusive video City of Lost Souls interview for us!
We’re seeking the best questions you have. Anything you need to know about Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec and Magnus? While we’re all dying to know about the cliffhanger ending of City of Fallen Angels, she probably can’t answer any plot-related questions about City of Lost Souls. (Spoilers, and all that.)
Submit your questions for Cassandra Clare in this blog post’s comments or on Facebook, we’ll pick the best ones, and then she’ll answer some of them in a video we’ll post here on the Indigo Teen Blog later this month.
Holly Black's books are magic. From White Cat through Red Glove and now to Black Heart, The Curse Workers series comes up behind you, slips off its glove, and works you until you can't remember what it was like before Cassel and Lila were in your reading life. (Do you want to know how to create a world? Read Holly Black, because her books do it well and deep; the magic The Curse Workers is more than just surface--it's all the way to the bone.)
With the release of this third book the inevitable moment has come when our con artist with the heart of gold, Cassel, leaves us. But he gives us a thrill ride of a goodbye first. Black Heart is a satifsying end to one of the standout series in the teen section.
We are very pleased to have Holly Black with us to answer a few questions about The Curse Workers, her next projects, and her life.
Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): The question everyone must be asking you: Is this the end of The Curse Workers? I’m very happy with how it ends, but I’d also LOVE to read more!
Holly Black (HB): I think this is a good stopping place for the series and I won't say that I'll never come back to it, but for right now this is the end.
ITB: You’ve had author events in many different cities. Which one do you think Cassel and Lila would most enjoy visiting?
HB: Well, given the ending, that's a particularly interesting question! I think Cassel has always dreamed of going to go to Paris with Lila because he remembers her coming back smoking Gitanes, wearing a lot of eyeliner, and generally seeming very sophisticated. They'd enjoy eating beignets and drink chicory coffee in New Orleans, shopping for fabulous vintage clothes in Austin, browsing at The Strand in Portland, and eating at beautiful restaurants in Montreal, just to name a few cities they'd love -- and that I love too.
ITB: The three books in The Curse Workers series have such a strong sense of story and character arc. How much pre-planning did you do before writing them?
HB: Thank you! I have to say that The Curse Workers series absolutely forced me to change the kind and amount of planning that I did. Before, I could make a general plan and wander through the chapters, changing things and wandering off course, and sometimes changing the plan entirely along the way. A book like Tithe or Valiant has a beginning that sets up the plot and an ending where everything comes together, but the middle is full of character stuff with only a few little plotty bits that turn up relevant later. Not so with The Curse Workers. There are fun character bits, but a lot of them have to do double-duty or serve as misdirection -- and there is no room for wandering off course. I really feel like I learned a lot while writing this series and it's unnerving but also a little bit of a relief to be working on a less rigidly constructed book now!
ITB: Can you tell us more about THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLD TOWN? (As I believe that’s your next project?)
HB: In 2013, I actually have TWO books coming out.
I have a middle grade called DOLL BONES, about three kids -- Zachary, Poppy and Alice -- who go on a journey, despite their own uncertain friendship, to bury a doll that may or may not be made from human bones. It's creepy and fun and it may be the most difficult thing I've ever written, but I am really, really proud of it.
The second book is a teen novel, called THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. It's based on a short story I wrote a few years ago and it's set in a world where the sudden spread of vampirism caused the United States to wall off parts of cities, creating "Coldtowns" where humans and vampires live side by side in a lawless and decadent détente. Outside the quarantined zones, people watch videos uploaded from inside with fascination, making instant celebrities of monsters. When only Tana Bach and her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, survive a lockdown party massacre that leaves both of them infected, they have to travel with a half-mad vampire named Gavriel, into the heart of everything Tana has always feared.
It's hard to summarize COLDTOWN because I'm not quite finished with it yet!
ITB: Who’s your fictional hero?
HB: You mean, my hero who is fictional or a writer of fiction who is my hero? I am going to assume the latter.
It's really inspiring to look at the careers of other writers, at their ups and downs, and take from that both the knowledge that being a writer is a long game with plenty of twists and turns. Fortunes rise and fall and the most important thing is always making each individual book the best it can be. Writers who've been really brave with regard to trying new things and writing in different ways are incredibly inspirational. I look at writers like Neil Gaiman and Jane Yolen who've written for many different ages and in many different formats -- and it makes me feel like I'll be able to write all the crazy, unique, strange books I can dream up too.
ITB: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
HB: Hmmm. I have eaten chicken feet, raccoon and squirrel barbecue, alligator sausages, fermented soy beans, snails, and raw sea urchin -- all of which I found weird at the time, but the weirdness of which really depends on where you live and what you're used to eating.
When I was in the Philippines, I tried to get my mother in law let me try balut, which is an egg with a small chick embryo in it, but she didn't believe that I would actually eat it and declined to order it for me.
ITB: When the unicorn-apocalypse happens, how do you plan to defend yourself?
HB: I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that my house is full of swords. When the apocalypse comes, I am going out Game of Thrones-style.
That said, I would seriously consider surrendering to our pointy overlords.
Thank you so much to Holly Black for answering our questions, and to Simon & Schuster Canada for facilitaing the interview. Black Heart is now available.
May I present recent release Starters by Lissa Price? You’ll notice that Kami Garcia’s blurb on the cover of this sci-fi debut claims “fans of The Hunger Games will love it.” We see many debuts promising to be the next Hunger Games, but this is one of the few that I believe is a good match for fans of Katniss. (Divergent and Glow are the other two.)
Starters, like The Hunger Games, is one of those novels you can read along the surface for a swift action-packed story. Also, like The Hunger Games, Starters can prompt discussion of our world if you're willing to read a little deeper.
In the near future envisioned by Price, the Spore War has decimated the middle generation of the population—only kids (Starters) and seniors (Enders) have survived, as they’re the two groups of people who are inoculated first. Through a technological process that’s not fully explained—but it’s ok, the how isn’t important—Enders are able to borrow the bodies of Starters to enjoy being young again. (Kind of like Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse—if Dollhouse had been interested in discussing ageism.)
Like in The Hunger Games, the world of Starters is divided into those with immense wealth and those who barely survive. In Starters, an entire class of orphaned kids squat in abandoned buildings. These unclaimed minors are constantly in danger of being rounded up and forced to work. School, showers, and food are all luxuries that none of these kids are guaranteed.
Our protagonist is Callie, a sixteen-year-old Starter, who agrees to rent her body to the Enders via Prime Directions. The lucrative paycheque will enable her to get a home for her and her ill younger brother, who were left orphans after the Spore War.
Except something goes wrong, and Callie wakes up in the house—and life—of the Ender who has rented her body. Suddenly Callie has access to wealth, privilege, and maybe even love. But at what cost? What plans did the Ender have for Callie’s body?
This book, for me, was really about division of wealth. Not just material wealth, as seen in the abundant finances of the majority of the Enders versus the squalor and poverty of the Starters. The Enders also had a wealth of power. But if you think about it, the Starters had the wealth of youth. One of the things I enjoyed the most was how Callie made friends with people regardless of their age; it’s a positive message and something we can carry on into our own lives.
Part techno-thriller and part Cinderella-story, Starters has plenty of plot twists. While it may not have been a perfect book for me, I feel its last few chapters set up its sequel, ENDERS (December 2012), well enough that I’m compelled to read more. Price has a solid grasp on how to build the future and keep a reader turning pages, while staying true to what science fiction does best—talk about the present.
Hello Hunger Games Fans! We were lucky enough to score a Q & A with series publisher David Levithan, a multi-talented YA powerhouse with many feathers in his cap.
Some exciting facts about David:
- He is also an author.
- His first novel Boy Meets Boy began as a Valentine’s story written for friends (a tradition he still maintains, +21 years later!)
- He has collaborated with some fantastic authors like Rachel Cohn (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares) and John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson.)
- He is the founding editor of the Push Imprint, searching for inspirational new YA voices.
- He is an Editorial Director at Scholastic.
- If you google “Star Wars” his name comes up! He has edited over 100 Star Wars books for Scholastic (How rad is that? So very rad)
Thanks for taking the time to answer our burning Hunger Games questions David!
David Levithan (DL): Scholastic Press was lucky enough to publish Suzanne’s first series, The Underland Chronicles, so we were already huge fans and would have followed her wherever her storytelling took her. When the first manuscript came in, we were completely blown away. It came in on a Friday, and on Monday morning we were all raving to each other about it.
ITB: Scholastic is well known as a children’s publisher, was it a big decision for them to get behind a darker teen series? When did you get a sense of how big this was going to be?
DL: We’ve published some extraordinary teen novels, so there was no hesitation on that part. We knew we had something extraordinary, and if we got as many advanced readers’ copies as we could out there, we’d soon have a whole lot of allies in making it huge.
ITB: We’re wondering how you managed to edit the series without being totally sucked in by the twists and turns! Do you put on an Editor’s Hat that helps make you immune?
DL: The editorial team – Kate Egan, Jennifer Rees, and I – went into it blindly … we didn’t want to know what happened until we read it. And of course, the first time we read it, we read it much more as readers than as editors. It was only going back a second (and third, and fourth, and so on) time that we put on our more analytical caps. The first time was just as much of a thrill as it is for someone who picks it up at Indigo this afternoon.
ITB: Do you have a favorite scene from the series? Which moments are you most excited to see on the big screen?
DL: Almost any answer I could give would be a spoiler! So I’m going to remain mum here.
ITB: Readers are curious about the Editor/Author relationship. Can you talk a little bit about working with Suzanne and perhaps your favorite shared milestone so far together?
DL: I think all of us are continually astonished and awed by how many people are reading the books and taking them to heart.
ITB: Fans are eager for any news of Suzanne’s next project. Any chance you and Suzanne might be working on something new together? (Secretive hints welcome!)
DL: Any answer I could give would be a spoiler. :)
ITB: Just for fun, we’d like to know: Which district would you say you’re from? And, who was your favorite character in the series?
DL: I’m not sure about the district – strangely, the publishing industry doesn’t seem to be as germane to a dystopian world in much the same way that, say, the coal industry is. And while Katniss is my favorite character, I also have a soft spot for Cinna. He’d make a great editor.
Thanks, David Levithan, for answering our questions and thanks to Scholastic Canada for facilitating this great opportunity!
We are excited to have a guest post from one of our Kids Inventory Analysts, Paul Dipede, who gives us the guy's perspective on reading The Hunger Games. May the odds be forever in his favour.
Alright everyone, first things first, I’m going to come clean and level with you. I am not your traditional teen reader. As a matter of fact, I typically tend towards, boring, stuffy, old adult fiction. The more award nominations or the higher on the “greatest books of the 20th century” list, the more likely it is to be found sitting on the pile beside my bed. Now, with that unpleasantness over and done with, I can say without a word of a lie, that The Hunger Games trilogy was without a doubt one of the most exciting things I treated myself to last year; movies, TV, and videogames all included here.
Now, I have to guess that a lot of other people felt the same way, given that there is a major motion picture opening at theatres on March 23rd, some truly excellent swag (check out the boss Mockingjay pin), and movie tie-ins lining all the shelves for both hard-core and casual fans. In fact, on my daily travels, I am beginning to see a whole different audience embrace this story. Atypical of many popular teen books, there are a noteworthy number of male readers openly embracing the books. Everyone from teens hanging out at the mall and undergrads reading before class, to the King Street business crowd. Everyone loves The Hunger Games, but more than ever before, so do the boys. And really, who can blame them?
Suzanne Collins creates a suspenseful, exciting, fast paced world where bright lights, exciting images, exotic locales and danger are standard fare. I’m not exactly sure who the reader is that finds these elements to be, well, not really their thing, but if and when you meet them, please let me know so I find out how to finally cure my insomnia. Needless to say, these books are for anyone to pick up and impossible for anyone to put down.
Moreover, The Hunger Games adds a real sense of depth with one character in particular. Haunted by the ghosts of the past, drowning in his alcohol and the screams of tributes long dead, we find Haymitch Abernathy; lacklustre advisor and trainer to Peeta and Katniss. What’s that you say? Winning the games should be something wonderful? Think of the fame that comes with a victory where you know the whole of Panem is cheering. Think of the acclaim you’ll enjoy as you return home to your district as the conquering hero, bringing with you safety and provisions for everyone you know, maybe everyone you’ve ever met and more.
But nothing is ever that simple, not in our “real world”, nor the 13 districts of Panem. This great victory comes at a significant cost to all involved, including the last living, and therefore triumphant tribute. In this swirling maelstrom is where we find Haymitch; victorious, acclaimed, famous, twisted and shattered. He finds no glory in the Games, only hopelessness, regret, and pain. Searching for solace, he finds naught but the bottom of his next glass of “drink.” Robbed of all sentiment, afraid to let others close to him, he drifts alone until asked to mentor Peeta and Katniss. Belligerent and truculent, drunk more often than not, he pushes them to become tougher. Well, when he is sober enough to bother, anyway…
Amidst all the excitement and violence, Suzanne Collins is very pointed and careful to illustrate that the “games” are anything but. The violence is graphic and the consequences are lasting and deadly. Clearly not a simple a case of “winner takes all," with the dead quickly buried and put out of our minds. In such a warped, violent, fascist society, the only winner of the Games is The Capitol. Tribute after tribute, time after time, era after era, without exception, the house always wins.
In closing, if you liked dystopian fiction, or even just fiction with decidedly high stakes and consequences to match, may I recommend some of the following fiction for adult fiction readers:
Also, do check our our Dystopian Teen Fiction shop.
Anyway, it’s been a blast! Enjoy The Hunger Games movie, I know I will.