After the Snow, by S. D. Crockett

After the SnowLast week’s snow was something else, wasn’t it? 7.5 inches here in Indianapolis. And the whole city seemed to stop for a day. But then the sun comes out, the snow melts and spring comes back every year, doesn’t it?

But what if it doesn’t? Enter S.D. Crockett’s After the SnowSet in a dystopian future where the Earth is in a modern Ice Age, this is the story of Willo, the son of a survivor/trapper, who is pretty good at surviving and trapping on his own. WIllo and his family live far outside the city, living on the land and on their own. But all that changes when Willo returns from a solo trip out trapping and hunting only to find his family gone, taken by the government he was taught to mistrust and stay away from. For the first time, he finds himself alone. Willo sets off across the frozen snow and ice to search for them, listening to the voice of a dog in his head. (You’ll understand when you read the book, I promise.)
During the journey, he meets and falls for a young girl. He also has to dig into his own family’s history and secrets, including who he really is and where his future lies.
Told in a dialect that is different at first, this story quickly brings you into the adventure and keeps you connected through the book. You’ll be reading this coming-of-age novel in one sitting and wanting to know more.

The Selection, by Kiera Cass

The Selection300 years in the future, the world has been reshaped by war, and society reformed by a rigid caste system. A ruling family has emerged, and a new princess is chosen in elimination style, televised for entertainment. America Singer is chosen from her district to live at the palace and vie for the heart of Prince Maxon. At first, she resents this intrusion into her plans for the future, but she comes to see that perhaps life is more complicated than anyone can anticipate. Although the palace is beautiful, the competition can be fierce, and there is always the threat of a rebel attack, which can and does happen at any time. Part dystopian novel, part fairy tale, The Selection is a fast read, and it’ll leave you wanting more, which will be out next spring in the form of “The Elite”.
But for those of you who can’t wait until the next book, there will also soon be a TV show! Check out http://www.theselection.org/!

Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Team HumanImagine if vampires had been living in America during colonial times. Now, imagine if they still not only co-existed with humans in the US, but also helped found a town. New Whitby, Maine, is such a town. The main character in Team Human, Mel, is human, but finds her life entwined with those of the vampires she despises who share her town. Her best friend, Cathy, falls in love with a vampire, and Mel also meets Kit, a human guy who was raised in a shade, or a group of vampires who live as a family. This book is very refreshing, funny, and thought provoking. I laughed out loud several times, and also found parts of this book so fascinating, I could not put it down. This is a fabulous read, full of interesting, well rounded characters. And not everything works out the way you think it will. I call this a teen human fiction, with vampires on the side.

The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett

The Wee Free Men

Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching is very observant and thinks about things all the time, in fact she might be a witch like her Granny Aching. Witches are wise women in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, noticing what is really happening around them. Things are already getting strange for Tiffany Aching when the Nac Mac Feegles, the six-inch-high, kilt-wearing, blue-skinned men whose favorite things are thievin’, fightin’, and drinkin’, show up. Her little brother goes missing and she joins forces with the Nac Mac Feegles to find him and bring him back. The Nac Mac Feegles have their own plans for Tiffany. They also have plans for steeling the sheep. The Wee Free Men is part of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and Discworld is a popular destination for fantasy readers who want a smart, witty read with many other books in the series. The Tiffany Aching subseries is great for teens and adults.

 

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, by Annabel Pitcher

My Sister Lives on the MantelpieceJamie was only five years old when his sister Rose was killed by a bomb in London. Now ten, Jamie lives with his dad and Jas, Rose’s twin sister. When his mum and dad split up, each got a portion of Rose’s remains. Jamie’s mum ran off with a fellow member of a bereavement group and his dad has retreated into the comfort of alcohol and is barely aware of his and Jas’ existence. Life gets even harder with the start of school in a new place where he becomes a bully’s target. It seems that his only friend is to be Sunya, a girl whose family is from Bangladesh and who wears a hijab. “Dad would go mental if he knew.”

Pitcher’s first novel deftly tackles the death of a child and the struggles of the family left behind. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece was hard to put down! It reminded me of other favorites like About a Boy by Nick Hornby and Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Looking forward to more books by this talented British author! Check out her website at http://www.annabelpitcher.com.