Macmillan 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 this week, some books from the Fall 2015 list from St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan (pictured to the left). All annotations here are via WorldCat, Goodreads, or the publisher. For a previous post in this series, check out the Houghton Mifflin Harcount Fall 2015 Roundup.
Cast out by her kingdom and far from home, she’s the Kanin people’s only hope.
Bryn Aven-unjustly charged with murder and treason-is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the gorgeous and enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him?
As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light… and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holms and the Trylle kingdom? Nothing is as it seems, but one thing is certain: an epic battle is underway-and when it’s complete, nothing will ever be the same…
It’s Christmastime in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. Jess wasn’t sure how she felt about moving to Port Sentinel when her mom dragged her there right in the middle of high school, but even Jess has to admit the town has completely outdone itself for the holidays. There’s a Christmas market complete with a mini ice-rink and fairy lights, and the bare trees stand stark against the sky.
But for Gilly Poynter, one of Jess’s classmates, the Christmas season is anything but magical. She’s disappeared, leaving behind only her diary and a lot of questions. Has she run away from her unhappy home, or has something more sinister happened? And will Jess be able to find her before it’s too late?
BEFORE HE COULD FORGE A BAND OF ELITE WARRIORS… HE HAD TO BECOME ONE HIMSELF.
Brandon Webb’s experiences in the world’s most elite sniper corps are the stuff of legend. From his grueling years of training in Naval Special Operations to his combat tours in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, The Making of a Navy SEAL provides a rare and riveting look at the inner workings of the U.S. military through the eyes of a covert operations specialist.
Yet it is Webb’s distinguished second career as a lead instructor for the shadowy “sniper cell” and Course Manager of the Navy SEAL Sniper Program that trained some of America’s finest and deadliest warriors–including Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle–that makes his story so compelling. Luttrell credits Webb’s training with his own survival during the ill-fated 2005 Operation Redwing in Afghanistan. Kyle went on to become the U.S. military’s top marksman, with more than 150 confirmed kills.
From a candid chronicle of his student days, going through the sniper course himself, to his hair-raising close calls with Taliban and al Qaeda forces in the northern Afghanistan wilderness, to his vivid account of designing new sniper standards and training some of the most accomplished snipers of the twenty-first century, Webb provides a rare look at the making of the Special Operations warriors who are at the forefront of today’s military.
Explosive, revealing, and intelligent, The Making of a Navy SEAL provides a uniquely personal glimpse into one of the most challenging and secretive military training courses in the world.
Evan and Alma have spent fifteen years living in the same town, connected in a dozen different ways but also living worlds apart — until the day he jumps into her dad’s truck and slams on the brakes.
The nephew of a senator, Evan seems to have it all – except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two, surrounded by a large (sometimes smothering) Mexican family. They both want out of this town. His one-way ticket is soccer; hers is academic success.
When they fall in love, they fall hard, trying to ignore their differences. Then Immigration and Customs Enforcement begins raids in their town, and Alma knows that she needs to share her secret. But how will she tell her country-club boyfriend that she and almost everyone she’s close to are undocumented immigrants?
What follows is a beautiful, nuanced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives. This page-turning debut asks tough questions, reminding us that love is more powerful than fear.
For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.
Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.
At St. Stephen’s Academy, the students are on the verge of revolt. While the younger boys plot an insurrection, the older ones are preoccupied with sneaking out-of-bounds, thrashing each other, tearing each other’s clothes off-or some combination of the three. Morgan Wilberforce, for one, can’t take it any longer.
Everything Wilberforce touches turns to disaster in his desperate attempts to fight off desire, boredom, and angst. He knocks himself unconscious tackling the unattainable Spaulding on the rugby pitch, his headmaster detests him for crimes committed years ago, and even his closest friends are subjecting him to physical tortures normally reserved for juniors. When an accident at the boarding school leaves him with more suffering than he could have fathomed, he finds himself alone and adrift. And the workaday charms of cricket practice, Victorian pornography, canings from classmates, and fumbling with the pub-keeper’s daughter can only do so much to mend a broken body and a restless heart.
Stylishly inventive, H. S. Cross has crafted an imaginative, ritualistic world of men and boys narrowly confined by tradition and authority. Wilberforce is an indelible portrait of a young man caught between lust and cruelty, grief and God, frustrated love and abject longing-and a tour de force that heralds the arrival of a brilliant new novelist.
When Jason Marshall’s younger sister passes away, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates–Mario, Jordie, and Chick–to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who’s not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on.
A witty and emotionally moving tale of friendship, first love, and loss, Breakaway is Kat Spears at her finest.
Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.
Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on the right track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.
When Summer’s behavior manage to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Ann Jacobus’ Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.
“Tell the story to its end,” says Eren with a grin.
His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night.
“When I reach the end,” I say, “what happens? You’ll have the whole story.”
“Hmm,” he says, looking at me and licking his lips with a dry, grey tongue. “What happens then? Why don’t we find out?”
People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad isn’t there, too. Why hasn’t he come with them? Has something happened? Why won’t anyone talk about it? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic…
Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.
With Eren to listen, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening. But Eren is powerful, and though he’s willing to help Oli, he’s not willing to do it for free; he wants something in return. Oli must make a choice: he can learn the truth — but to do so he must abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever.
From striking new voice Simon P. Clark comes Tell the Story to Its End; richly atmospheric, moving, unsettling, and told in gorgeous prose, it is a modern classic in the making
Georgia has always lived life on the sidelines: uncomfortable with her weight, awkward, never been kissed, terrified of failing.
Then her mom dies and her world is turned upside down. But instead of getting lost in her pain, she decides to enjoy life while she still can by truly living for the first time. She makes a list of ways to be brave-all the things she’s always wanted to do but has been too afraid to try: learn to draw, try out for cheerleading, cut class, ask him out, kiss him, see what happens from there.
But she’s about to discover that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But in the process, you realize you’re stronger than you ever imagined…
This fearless, big-hearted, deeply moving book will make you laugh, cry, and inspire you to be brave.
He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck.
When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it’s too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole’s father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?
Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.
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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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