Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Spring 2016 Roundup
I’ve been a book reviewer since 2002, when I was finishing up my master’s degree in children’s literature at Simmons College in Boston and started reviewing for The Horn Book Guide and the now-defunct KLIATT. I still review for the Guide, as well as VOYA and SLJ, and, of course, here at TLT. As you might guess, this means that hardly a day goes by where the UPS man isn’t ringing my doorbell and dropping off books. Nice work if you can get it, right?
Recently, I got a great big box of books from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They are good about keeping me in books. Even nearly 14 years into book reviewing, there’s nothing more exciting to me than getting a shipment of books and reading them months before they come out.
You can look back at my September post with a roundup of their Fall 2015 titles. What follows are titles from their Spring 2016 list. All summaries are from the publisher or WorldCat.
And hey, guess what? Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is offering 3 copies of The Art of Not Breathing and 3 copies of It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel to give away to our readers. Head on over to the Rafflecopter to enter. Contest runs 12/8 to 12/15 and winners will be notified via email.
Yonie Watereye lives in the bayou. The water there is full of guile, a power that changes people and objects. Yonie, 16, makes a living investigating objects affected by guile, but in fact it’s her talking cat, LaRue, who has the power to see guile.
Yonie becomes aware that someone is sending harmful guile-changed objects to certain people, including herself. Her investigation becomes entwined with her hunt for the secrets of her mother’s past and leads her to discover dangers hidden within her own family.
In the suspenseful adventure that follows, Yonie and her furry sidekick face challenges that could end their adventuring forever.
It’s 1920s Chicago—the guns-and-gangster era of Al Capone—and it’s unusual for a girl to be selling the Tribune on the street corner. But ten-year-old Isabel Feeney is unusual . . . unusually obsessed with being a news reporter. She can’t believe her luck when she stumbles not only into a real-live murder scene, but also into her hero, the famous journalist Maude Collier. The story of how the smart, curious, loyal Isabel fights to defend the honor of her accused friend and latches on to the murder case like a dog on a pant leg makes for a winning, thoroughly entertaining middle grade mystery.
Does who you are in high school brand you for life?
Nick sure hopes not. It’s senior year, and he has decided that his loser friends may be going nowhere fast, but he isn’t. Instead, Nick has created the perfect list of rules for remaking his life. But meeting dark-eyed Dawn and hanging out with teen thug Zod are nowhere on that list. And making illegal deliveries definitely isn’t on it. So why is Nick caught up with these people and their dangerous schemes? Will Nick’s list help him to be a hero—or turn him into a fall guy?
Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six. They love playing pirates, but they like playing Sherlock and Watson-style detectives even more. It’s their pursuit of a case of drugstore theft that lands the daring duo in real trouble. Humor and heartache intermingle in this lively look at two budding writers in the 1930s South.
Odette Zyskowski has a list: Things That Aren’t Fair. At the top of the list is her parents’ decision to take the family on the road in an ugly RV they’ve nicknamed the Coach. There’s nothing fair about leaving California and living in the cramped Coach with her parents and exasperating younger brother, sharing one stupid cell phone among the four of them. And there’s definitely nothing fair about what they find when they reach Grandma Sissy’s house, hundreds of miles later. Most days it seems as if everything in Odette’s life is far from fair. Is there a way for her to make things right?
With warmth and sensitivity, Elana K. Arnold makes the difficult topics of terminal illness and the right to die accessible to young readers.
Only 150 years ago, most animals in America were subject to horrific treatment. They needed a champion to protect them from abject cruelty, and that person was Henry Bergh. After witnessing the beating of a horse in the streets of New York and attending a bullfight in Spain, Bergh found his calling. He became an enforcer of animal rights and founded the ASPCA, as well as created many animal cruelty laws. He even expanded his advocacy to children. When Bergh died in 1888, the idea that children and animals should be protected from cruelty was widely accepted: “Mercy to animals means mercy to mankind.”
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
Sam Bennett falls for Hadley St. Clair before he knows her last name. When Sam finds out she is thatSt. Clair, daughter of the man who destroyed Sam’s family, he has a choice: follow his heart or tell the truth about the scandal that links their families. Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.
It’s time for Grayling to be a hero. Her mother, a “wise woman”—a sort of witch—has been turned into a tree by evil forces. Tangles and toadstools! Lacking confidence after years of being called “Feeble Wits” by her mother, Grayling heads off dubiously into the wilds in search of help, where she finds a weather witch, an aromatic enchantress, a cheese soothsayer, a slyly foolish apprentice, and a shape-shifting mouse named Pook! A fast-paced and funny coming-of-age odyssey from a Newbery medalist.
There are two sides to every story.
It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They’re BFFs . . . until suddenly they’re not. Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is the story of a friendship from first meeting to breakup, set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys, and backstabbing.
Catherine Lo makes her debut with an honest, nuanced tale about the intricacies of female friendship.
Meet fifteen-year-old Jack “The Jackdaw” Dawson, a young man with a serious plan. Daydreaming in class one day, Jack gets an idea he knows can’t fail: an app that stops you from daydreaming in class. (Ahem . . . ) Fame, glory, and tons of money seem just around the corner. But Jack runs into some trouble, and suddenly this sure thing doesn’t seem quite so sure.
Ricocheting from the absurd to the profound in his first book for teens, Stuart David uses his extraordinary intelligence and wit to tell the story of a boy trying to scheme his way out from under the weight of his parents’ expectations. Readers will root for The Jackdaw from beginning to end.
Meet Agatha Parrot, the irresistible star—and narrator—of the first in a series of very funny illustrated novels!
Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories. He chooses to remain in the quarantined zone, caring for a group of orphaned kids in a mountain camp with the help of the former brutal school bully, now transformed by the virus into his best friend. But then a strong-willed and mysterious young woman appears, and the closed-off world Cardinal has created begins to crumble.
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Poitier Sharpe is a gutsy, outgoing girl who spends her summer days hurling herself out of planes at her parents’ skydiving center in the Mojave Desert. Fiercely independent and willing to take risks, she challenges those around her to live life fully. But after a brush with death, Ryan is severely altered—she’s not the same thrill-seeking girl she once was and seems to be teetering on the edge of psychosis. As her relationships crumble and her life unravels, Ryan must fight the girl she’s become—or lose herself forever—in this eerie and atmospheric thriller.
Wax by Gina Damico (9780544633155, August 2, 2016)
Paraffin, Vermont, is home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. There, seventeen-year-old Poppy finds something dark and unsettling: a room filled with dozens of startlingly lifelike wax sculptures. Later, she’s shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. Poppy wants to return him to the factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop.
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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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