Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Fall Roundup
One of the many really fun aspects of being part of Teen Librarian Toolbox is getting tons of books to consider for review. I try to mainly focus on books that deal with LGBTQIA+ characters, incorporate some kind of diversity, may fly under the radar, or are just exceptional books. I don’t spend a lot of time writing negative reviews unless it’s a book that is either really doing a disservice to a community/topic or is something that’s getting a lot of great press but my view differs. I figure we all have better things to do with our time than write about or read about a book that isn’t worth seeking out.
While I try to review a lot of the books that come my way, there are many that I get but choose not to review. I’d love to review everything, but between parenting, librarianing, TLTing and writing reviews for various journals, it’s just not possible. I end up passing all of the ARCs (both the ones I read and the ones I skip) along to my teen pals in the young adult book club and teen advisory board that I run through the public library. They then swap them back and forth and we talk about them in our meetings.
Something new I’m going to start doing is recapping what book mail I get, whether that’s a book here and there from a publisher or a giant box of books. Even if it’s something we ultimately do not end up reviewing, getting a chance to see what’s out there or is forthcoming will hopefully help you as you consider what to pick up and read or order for your library.
Up first, some books from the Fall 2015 list from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers (pictured above). All annotations here are via WorldCat, Goodreads, or the publisher.
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell. Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first. Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.
High school drama! Pirates! Emotions! The Ignatz Award-winning comic about a young man who has the power to turn into a boat is back in a new full-color graphic novel, with a never-before-seen story that combines all the ANGST of being a teen with all the THRILL of being a boat!
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.
In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.
Sixteen-year-old Clair Taylor has neighbors who are what locals call whippoorwills, the kind of people who fill their yards with rusty junk. Clair tries to ignore her surroundings, choosing instead to dream of a future beyond her rural New Hampshire town. But, when a black dog named Wally is chained up to a pole next door, Clair can’t look the other way. Clair decides to save Wally, and the immediate connection she has with the lovable dog catches her off-guard, but even more surprising is her bond with eighteen-year-old Danny Stewart, the boy next door.
“GET ANGRY. We should all be so pissed at the Church of America that we’re willing to break our hands in the metaphorical punching of its metaphorical face.” —Harpreet Janda, fugitive
The predicted Rapture by Pastor Frick’s Church of America has come and gone, and three thousand Believers are now missing or dead. Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple and her best friend, Harpreet, are revolutionaries, determined to expose the Church’s diabolical power grab . . . and to locate Viv’s missing heartthrob, Peter Ivey. This fast-paced, entertaining sequel to Vivian Apple at the End of the World challenges readers to consider how to live with integrity in a disintegrating world.
Maisie is excited to visit the the country for the first time as a companion to her best friend, Alice. But as soon as they arrive, the girls are warned that the manor house they’re staying in is haunted. Strange sounds and sightings of a spectral cat terrify Alice, and it’s up to Maisie to prove there’s no such thing as ghosts. This third book in The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins series is the spookiest one yet!
“Folks say Old Auntie takes a girl and keeps her fifty years—then lets her go and takes another one.” Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn’t believe Brody Mason’s crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster’s Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody’s probably just trying to scare him since he’s the new kid . . . a “stuck-up snot” from Connecticut. But Daniel’s seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been “took”?
Mustangs have thrived for thousands of generations. But now they are under attack from people who see them as pests. The lucky ones are adopted. Some are sent to long-term holding pens; more and more are sold for slaughter. But courageous young people are trying to stop the round-ups and the senseless killings. They are standing up to the government and big business to save these American icons.
With eye-witness accounts, cutting-edge science, and full-color photographs, Terri Farley and Melissa Farlow invite readers into the world of mustangs in all its beauty, and profile the young people leading the charge to keep horses wild and free.
The International Peace Ascent is the brainchild of billionaire Sebastian Plank: Recruit a global team of young climbers and film an inspiring, world-uniting documentary. The adventure begins when fifteen-year-old Peak Marcello and his mountaineer mother are helicoptered to a remote base camp in the Hindu Kush Mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. When the camp is attacked and his mother taken, Peak has no choice but to track down the perpetrators to try to save her. Fans of the bestselling Peak will be thrilled with this gripping, high-stakes sequel.
The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.
When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.
That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.
Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.
Jack, 12, tells the gripping story of Joseph, 14, who joins his family as a foster child. Damaged in prison, Joseph wants nothing more than to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, whom he has never seen. When Joseph has begun to believe he’ll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice.
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake…
After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it?
Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-‐fi nightmare.
Sophie loves the hidden shop below her parents’ bookstore, where dreams are secretly bought and sold. When the dream shop is robbed and her parents go missing, Sophie must unravel the truth to save them. Together with her best friend—a wisecracking and fanatically loyal monster named Monster—she must decide whom to trust with her family’s carefully guarded secrets. Who will help them, and who will betray them?
Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.
In this time-travel dinosaur adventure, Max Pierson-Takahashi and his friend Petra return to the days of the dinosaurs, where they must survive attacks from mosasaurs, tyrannosaurs, and other deadly creatures, including a vengeful, pistol-toting girl from the 1920s. The fast pace, mind-bending time twists, and Greg Leitch Smith’s light, humorous touch make this an exciting, fun choice for readers looking for adventure and nonstop action. Companion to Chronal Engine.
Daniel has nothing in common with his family or classmates and has only two friends. He feels so alienated that he might as well be an alien. When he learns that his mom has saved a newspaper clipping about a meteor that landed nearby on his birthday, he embraces his alien heritage and launches a mission to return to his home planet. Despite mishaps, mixups, and a crisis at every turn, Daniel and his mission team—friends Eddie and Gordon the geek—energetically pursue their goal. But when Mom and Dad are drawn into danger as a result, Daniel may have to rethink his plan. This is a fast-paced illustrated page-turner with a laugh on every page.
In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that Eli, the young man she’s attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author’s note gives the historical inspiration for this story.
Part mystery, part literary puzzle, part life-and-death quest, and chillingly magical, this novel has plenty of suspense for adventure fans and is a treat for readers who love books, words, and clues. Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam’s older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the void, risking their own lives in the process.
With the plague of bogles in Victorian London barely contained, bogle hunter Alfred Bunce needs all the help he can get. So Ned Roach becomes a bogler’s apprentice, luring child-eating monsters from their lairs just like his friends Jem and Birdie. It’s dangerous work that takes Ned into mysterious and hidden parts of the city. Yet times in London are changing; as the machine age emerges, the very existence of bogles is questioned, and the future of bogling is in jeopardy. And the stakes get even higher for the team of boglers when an old enemy appears—a threat that may be deadlier than any bogle.
In the tradition of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and PIPPI LONGSTOCKING comes a heart-warming novel about love, family, grief, joy and the power of laughter and imagination.
When Inge Maria arrives on the tiny island of Bornholm in Denmark to live with her grandmother, she’s not sure what to expect. Her grandmother is stern, the people on the island are strange, and children are supposed to be seen and not heard. But no matter how hard Inge tries to be good, mischief has a way of finding her. Could it be that a bit of mischief is exactly what Grandmother and the people of Bornholm need?
Cheryl Blackford’s debut novel is set in England during WWII and told from the dual perspectives of 10-year old Lizzie, a homesick girl evacuated from bomb-blitzed Hull to the remote Yorkshire valley, and Elijah, a local gypsy boy. When Lizzie discovers an abandoned baby, she goes in search of the child’s parents. But Lizzie’s quest to reunite the baby with her family leads her to a forbidden friendship with Elijah, and both of them must come to terms with a world clouded by prejudice and fear.
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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