The Spring 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List

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Here is a preview of the Spring Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Children’s White Box.

The four-page, full-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for the spring publishing season and an additional 40 titles organized by age group. All Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The top 10 titles are also featured on downloadable shelf-talkers.

The deadline for nominations for the Summer 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List is April 15.  The Summer Kids’ List will focus on titles published between May 1 and July 31.  Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley. (On Edelweiss, navigate to the book page of your choice, click “Your Review” and select “Submit to Indie Next.” On NetGalley, click the green “Title Feedback” button for any title in your account.)

The Spring 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List

The Top Ten

1. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton
(Candlewick, 9780763665661, $17.99)
“Ava Lavender knew she wasn’t going to have an ordinary life. She would have loved to be a normal 1950s teenager but her heritage — of love, loss, and magic — and her speckled wings prevented that. Walton’s eloquent tale of a girl trying to fit in and a family trying to understand their fate has the feel of classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and Chocolat. This is a book that’s timeless, beautiful, and perfect for lovers of magical realism.” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books and Café, Wichita, KS

2. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems, selected by Paul B. Janeczko, Melissa Sweet (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9780763648428, $16.99)
“This collection of short poems for children takes your child’s imagination on a journey through the seasons. The brevity of the poems is enhanced with bold and surrealistic scenes by illustrator Sweet and together they introduce children to masterful poets like Langston Hughes, Ted Kooser, William Carlos Williams, and Emily Dickinson. Firefly July reminds us that poetry and visual art are not mutually exclusive and may even inspire your children to create some art of their own.” —Julie Oliver, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

3. Cress: The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer
(Feiwel & Friends, 9780312642976, $18.99)
“I’ve been addicted to Meyer’s dystopian fairy tales since I first read Cinder. With Cress, Meyer continues the stories of Cinder and Scarlet and adds another: a fractured version of Rapunzel. Cress is an expert hacker and has been trapped in a satellite orbiting Earth and her native Lunar since she was a little girl. Now she’s a teenager and ready to break free by whatever means necessary. She is a damsel in distress, but where is her Prince Charming? I can’t wait for the next volume in this great series!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

4. Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith
(Dutton Juvenile, 9780525426035, $18.99)
“Jonathan Safran Foer meets John Green meets War of the Worlds in this thoroughly original, completely engrossing novel. With a fresh and funny voice, Smith unleashes the mess and marvels of teen love, friendship, and other, unexpected terrors. Grasshopper Jungle is an emotional roller coaster, a goofy fun house, and a monstrous freak show all rolled up into one thrilling package.” —Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

5. The Secret Box, by Whitaker Ringwald
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062216144, $16.99)
“Take one 12-year-old girl with insatiable curiosity and a talent for getting into trouble, give her a mysterious box from an estranged aunt that will only open in one location, throw in a couple of mismatched boy cousins, and stir. Ringwald’s The Secret Box gives the middle school set their own smart and snazzy intellectual mystery series. With spot-on characters who are very much of this world — and are at times downright funny — and a story that threatens to transcend accepted reality, The Secret Box is an exciting and engaging read.” —Susan Petrone, Loganberry Books, Cleveland, OH

6. Following Papa’s Song, by Gianna Marino
(Viking Juvenile, 9780670013159, $16.99, available April)
“From the mystery of the sea comes this delightful tale of Little Blue, a curious young whale who ventures out a little too far alone, only to remember the wise words of his father. The vivid illustrations help us to visualize Little Blue’s journey both with his father and when he goes out on his own. Children will love the serenity of this story.” —Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

7. The Boundless, by Kenneth Oppel, Jim Tierney (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781442472884, $16.99, available April)
“The Boundless is the most luxurious train of its time. Its passengers range from poor civilians to the rich to circus folks and one murderer whose eyes are set on a tightly guarded treasure that is in a tomb on board. Then there’s William Everett, aspiring artist, son of the man who is driving the train, and the sole witness to a murder that sets off a chain of thrilling adventures. Accompanied by a dashing tightrope walker and a sly ringmaster, William is in for the ride of his life. Oppel’s newest novel is a wonderful mix of magic and mystery, with a couple Sasquatches thrown in for good measure!” —Courtney Kane, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

8. Sparky! by Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780375870231, $16.99)
“What happens when you want a pet and Mom says no to all the obvious options? You do some research and order a sloth online, of course. Sparky definitely isn’t your usual pet. Tricks are a bit beyond him. He sleeps through most games and is really only good at playing statue. Still, the bond between child and pet is there, and while his owner wishes he were a little more lively, Sparky is loved and accepted for what he is. This is a wonderful picture book for storytime with a timeless message.” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

9. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316199988, $17, available April)
“On an island far away, an imaginary friend waits to be chosen by a child. Tired of waiting, he takes matters into his own hands and journeys to the real world, where life is not as he expected. Santat’s signature illustrations enhance this tale of friendship, both real and imaginary.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

10. A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd
(Scholastic Press, 9780545552707, $16.99)
“This book begs to be read aloud just for the joy of Lloyd’s way with words. Felicity Pickle is a collector of words but she can’t seem to get them out of her mouth unscrambled. She wants a home, but her mother has a bad case of wanderlust. Felicity is hoping that there is a ‘snicker of magic’ left in Midnight Gulch to make her mother want to stay put.” —Diane Morse, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

For Ages 4 – 8

Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780375869242, $16.99)
“A green dot learns the word ‘Go!’ and lots of commotion follows his repeated use of the word. When all seems doomed, a red dot who only knows the word ‘Stop’ comes along to save the day. As both these dots work together, the flow of the traffic seems to move right along. Then a newcomer enters on the last page — do you know who it might be?” —Paula Primavera, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Monument, CO

The Good-Pie Party, by Liz Garton Scanlon, Kady MacDonald Denton (Illus.)
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545448703, $17.99)
“Posy is moving. She doesn’t want to pack and she definitely doesn’t want to say good-bye. In an attempt to cheer themselves up, Posy and her friends bake a pie. Pie is so good and so sweet — if they can’t say good-bye, they can have a good-pie party instead! A sweet book about good friends and moving away, with lovely, expressive illustrations, this is the perfect going away gift, especially if you pair it with a pie!” —Marika McCoola, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Grudge Keeper, by Mara Rockliff, Eliza Wheeler (Illus.)
(Peachtree Publishers, 9781561457298, $16.95, available April)
“Giving all grudges to the Grudge Keeper seems to keep the townsfolk a bit aloof and distant from one another. When a mysterious wind turns things topsy-turvy, the townsfolk aren’t sure what to do, but the conclusion to this folktale-themed story will surely delight. Brimming with movement, a bounce here and there, billowing dresses and courtly shirts, Wheeler’s lyrical drawings perfectly complement Rockliff’s tale of forgiveness. This is a warm-hearted book to savor and read over and over again.” —Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
(Candlewick, 9780763666484, $16.99)
“This picture book has it all. A boy and his dragon! Beautiful splashes of color among black-and-white pages! Hidden pictures! Different items to count on each page! Follow along and help find the lost dragon in this tale that is great fun for everyone!” —Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons, by Jon J Muth
(Scholastic Press, 9780545166683, $17.99)
“Muth’s beloved panda, Koo, visits us again, this time to show us the beauty and rhythm of each new season. The 26 featured haiku help stretch our imaginations as we visualize the square-eyed children who are victims of too much wintertime TV, and move on to the violets flowering in the new spring grass. Koo takes us on a marvelous journey, teaching us the wonders of each season.” —Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, by Barb Rosenstock, Mary GrandPré (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780307978486, $17.99)
“Wasily Kandinsky is considered one of the first abstract painters of the 20th century. Before he achieved fame as a painter, Kandinsky was a boy who loved to paint the colors he heard in his head. Although he loved to paint, he followed a career into law, but the sounds of the colors never left. Kandinsky left the law and followed his dream as a painter and eventually joined the Bauhaus and formed the Blue Rider group of painters. Rosenstock’s language and GrandPré’s illustrations bring Kandinsky’s story to life with gorgeous sweeps of words and colors.” —Jannis Mindel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780375870361, $16.99, available April)
“Peanut Butter and Jellyfish love being best friends and exploring their underwater home, but they don’t love Crabby, who constantly heckles the two friends and tries to make them feel bad. When Crabby finds himself in trouble, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish decide to do the right thing and help him, despite his previous bad behavior. Crabby is thankful that the two would help him after how horrible he has acted, and gathers the courage to apologize and tell Peanut Butter and Jellyfish why he was so mean. A simple story about saying ‘sorry’ and doing the right thing.” —Sara Grochowski, Blue Phoenix Books, Alpena, MI

Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure, by Anna Walker
(Clarion Books, 9780544259003, $16.99)
“Walker’s use of soft colors and a palpable sense of movement make Peggy, a small black chicken, stand out on every page — even when she is surrounded by the bustle of the city. Then there is the wonderful story! Peggy gets blown out of her home and dumped in unfamiliar and rather inhospitable surroundings, but she doesn’t let that ruffle her feathers as she makes new friends and sees new sights. This is a great picture book for kids who are moving, starting school, or facing other changes in their daily lives.” —Elizabeth Anker, Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, NM

Some Bugs, by Angela DiTerlizzi, Brendan Wenzel (Illus.)
(Beach Lane Books, 9781442458802, $17.99)
“Everyone loves bugs, even little ones who aren’t quite old enough for those big, encyclopedia-style bug books. This illustrated rhyming picture book is perfect for those little bug-lovers. The watercolor collage illustrations are bright and vibrant, and the text is simple and clear. A perfect springtime pick!” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Splash! by Candace Fleming, G. Brian Karas (Illus.)
(Atheneum, 9781416954033, $16.99)
“Mr. McGreely has bunny trouble! Everywhere he looks there are bunnies, ‘in his garden, shed, cupboard and even bed!’ In an effort to escape the bunnies, Mr. McGreely decides to have a fun day at the beach — alone! But bunny trouble ensues. What will Mr. McGreely do? A sweet, funny read-aloud reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s Mr. McGregor.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Two Speckled Eggs, by Jennifer K. Mann
(Candlewick, 9780763661687, $14.99)
“When Ginger’s mom insists that she invite all the girls in her class — or none — to her birthday party, Ginger is disappointed that she has to include Lyla, who is a bit, well, different from the others. But when things don’t go quite as planned at the party, Ginger finds a new friend when she least expects it. A wonderful story of friendship with a great message about acceptance and kindness!” —Kaley DeGoursey, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

The Worst Princess, by Anna Kemp
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780385371254, $16.99)
“This is a tale for anyone who feels traditional fairy tales with formulaic princesses leave something to be desired. Princess Sue longs for her very own Prince Charming and has read all the books on how to do it. A prince finally comes for her, but Sue’s relief is short-lived as she finds out that he expects her to sit prettily in her tower and amuse herself with fancy dresses. When Sue joins forces with a dragon, proving herself the Worst Princess, she learns that it’s OK to be herself, even if it’s not what’s expected of her.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

For Ages 9 – 12

The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
(Graphix, 9780545453479, paper, $11.99)
“What better way to tell the story of becoming an author/illustrator than through the very medium you love! The Dumbest Idea Ever is a fun story that not only details the author’s life, but also shares a message of determination and inspiration with young readers.” —Beth Page, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile, by Marcia Wells
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544238336, $16.99, available April)
“Readers are going to love fast-paced, funny, and action-packed Eddie Red, Undercover. Eddie has a photographic memory, which the NYPD would desperately like to use to catch crooks. Wells tells the story in flashback, and readers are ready to learn how all of the pieces fall into place. Kids will relate to the horrible embarrassment that parents inflict on their children every day. I laughed out loud, and I know readers will as well.” —Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, by Sheila Turnage
(Kathy Dawson Books, 9780803736719, $16.99)
“In this sequel to Newbery Honor Book Three Times Lucky, rising sixth-graders Mo LeBeau and her best friend, Dale, are back in action with a new mystery to solve for the Desperado Detective Agency. When the old, decrepit inn in Tupelo Landing goes up for sale and Miss Lana accidentally buys it in an auction, the unread fine print indicates a ghost is in residence. As Mo and Dale set out to find out just who this ghost is, they captivate readers once again in a new adventure.” —Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Islands of Chaldea, by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062295071, $17.99, available April)
“In the novel that Diana Wynne Jones was working on at the time of her death and that was finished by her sister Ursula, the smaller islands of Chaldea are cut off from the main island, Logra, by an impassable barrier. According to legend, the barrier can only be broken if a wise woman and a man from each island crosses it. When the High King decides to start a quest to finally breach the barrier, Aunt Beck, the Wise Woman of Skarr, and her niece, Aileen, are chosen along with Ivar, King Kenig of Skarr’s youngest son, and his ‘servant,’ Ogo. It quickly becomes evident that someone wants the quest to fail, and a wonderful reading adventure awaits!” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus books, Fishers, IN

Knightley & Son, by Rohan Gavin
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781619631533, $16.99)
“Could there be anything more evil than a fatuous self-help book? The answer lies in the pages of Knightley & Son, where it shares space with some terrific espionage, puzzle solving, humor, and some very entertaining, if belated, father-and-son bonding. As enjoyable as it is engaging, Knightley & Son succeeds in its dual plans of unmasking a nefarious conspiracy and captivating middle grade readers.” —Kenny Brechner, Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME

The Last Wild, by Piers Torday
(Viking Juvenile, 9780670015542, $16.99)
“This is a gripping page-turner with beautifully crafted characters, a compelling storyline, and a critically important set of lessons about the nature of courage, answering the call for justice no matter how difficult the path might be, and maintaining faith when things seem darkest. For a bookstore focused on peacemaking, gender equality, and sustainable living, this book hits all of the criteria for belonging on our shelves and in our customers’ hands, including a most important measure — it is a darned good read!” —Craig Wiesner, Reach & Teach, San Mateo, CA

The Mark of the Dragonfly, by Jaleigh Johnson
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780385376150, $16.99)
“Piper has always been good with anything mechanical. Living in a scrapper town where danger is always present and poverty is a way of life, she dreams of using her abilities to find a way out — maybe a job in the big city. Then, during one of the monthly meteor storms, she rescues a young girl with the mark of the dragonfly. This mysterious girl may just be the opportunity that she has been looking for to escape her scrapper life. Highly recommended!” —Judy Hobbs, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Riverman, by Aaron Starmer
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 9780374363093, $15.99)
The Riverman is masterful psychological suspense. The reader is never quite sure of what is real and what is imagined, brewed in the disturbed mind of a young Fiona. Starmer treads a fine line, letting readers see just enough to suspect that Fiona is not making the whole thing up. And even if she is, readers have to keep turning the pages to find out where this story came from and what makes this girl tick. The Riverman will leave readers terrified of basements and wary of doors into the unknown!” —Elizabeth Anker, Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, NM

The Shadow Throne: Book 3 of The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer A. Nielsen
(Scholastic Press, 9780545384172, $17.99)
“Finally, the third book in this trilogy is here! Jaron may be king, but with neighboring countries closing in, he may be about to lose his crown, his country, his life, and those he loves most. It will take more than simple schemes for Jaron to stop the armies and save his home — especially if he wants to make it through alive. This intricately plotted, high-stakes novel will have you racing to the end!” —Marika McCoola, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Steering Toward Normal, by Rebecca Petruck
(Amulet Books, 9781419707322, $16.95)
“Diggy had one goal for eighth grade: win Grand Champion at the state fair. That is, until Wayne’s dad dumped Wayne on Diggy and Pop’s doorstep. ‘He says you’re my dad and I have to live here now,’ Wayne tells Pop. The next year is spent training steers, pulling pranks, teaching and fighting, doubting and trusting, hating and loving. This blue-ribbon tale full of truth, pathos, humor, and 4-H tells a story of fathers, sons, and a brother who discovers himself and a family he never knew he needed.” —Summer Laurie, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Storm: The SYLO Chronicles 2, by D.J. MacHale
(Razorbill, 9781595146670, $17.99)
“The adventure continues as Tucker, Tori, Kent, and Olivia struggle to find meaning behind the apparent civil war between the Air Force and SYLO that has wiped out billions of people throughout the United States and the entire world. The top concern is still ‘Who can we trust?’ as the young teens travel across the country, narrowly escaping danger and capture, meeting survivors, and finding out that everyone may not be who they seem to be. An excellent, riveting sequel that will leave you eagerly anticipating Book 3!” —Pat Holly, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803740013, $16.99)
“Theodora Tenpenny is an independent 13-year-old with a lot of responsibility. After her grandfather dies, she is in charge. Her mother is a bit odd, her mind stuck in the past, and their NYC townhouse is crumbling and they’re running out of money fast. Theo, desperately searching for the ‘treasure’ her grandfather said was in the house, accidentally spills rubbing alcohol on his favorite painting of a chicken egg. What she finds when the paint rubs off changes her life. Full of quirky characters, new friendships, and unexpected twists, this clever art mystery is a treat for all!” —Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

West of the Moon, by Margi Preus
(Amulet, 9781419708961, $16.95, available April)
“From the very first sentence, Preus draws the reader into her story, both through her lyrical language and the suspense she creates when 13-year-old Astri is sold to a cruel goat farmer and forced to work for him. Tension builds as Astri longs to escape, reunite with her little sister, and follow their father to America. Set in 19th century Norway, the book skillfully weaves Norwegian folk tales, mystery, and Preus’ own family history into one satisfying tale.” —Carla Ketner, Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, NE

For Teen Readers

Alpha Goddess, by Amalie Howard
(Sky Pony Press, 9781626362086, $16.95)
“Howard’s Alpha Goddess is a breath of fresh air for any young adult fantasy fan. Sera’s adventures in discovering her parentage and her existence as the reincarnation of Lakshmi, one of the most powerful beings in the created universe, are exciting and interesting. Sera finds herself caught amid the battle between good and evil and must choose to take her place as the savior of the known world. Howard’s writing is excellent and her concept stands out among the flood of angel and demon fiction already populating the genre.” —Demi Marshall, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

Breakfast Served Anytime, by Sarah Combs
(Candlewick, 9780763667917, $16.99, available April)
“In this heartfelt debut, Gloria discovers that being disconnected from the rest of the world can give you the space to find new friends and form bonds that will last past high school. Though at first she dreads it, spending the summer at geek camp offers Gloria the chance to take a long hard look at who she is and what she really wants. She knows she needs to get away from the place she calls home, and she’s finally been given the opportunity to examine what that means and to wonder what comes next. Combs draws from her own personal camp experience, and writing this novel is really a gift to her readers.” —Beth Reynolds, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

Dangerous, by Shannon Hale
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781599901688, $17.99)
“Maisie Danger Brown is a unique and charismatic main character. After living a quiet, sheltered life, the excitement that follows her time at astronaut camp is the perfect shock for her and the reader. Technology, friendship, hormones, betrayals, prosthetics, superpowers — this book really has it all!” —Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

A Death-Struck Year, by Makiia Lucier
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544164505, $17.99)
“Although the Great War is still raging in Europe, for Cleo and her classmates the real fear is the Spanish influenza. When the epidemic reaches Portland, Oregon, Cleo notices a plea for nurses at a local makeshift hospital for influenza patients and decides to volunteer. Her own history compels her to return each day to offer comfort and assistance to the patients who need it — patients who have been abandoned by others. Challenging readers to think critically about what each of us would be willing to endure when the people around us are dying, A Death-Struck Year is a well-researched and amazingly written account of an event in American history that is often overlooked.” —Sara Hines, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

The Geography of You and Me, by Jennifer E. Smith
(Poppy, 9780316254779, $18, available April)
“Sometimes the timing is just right, even if the circumstances are all wrong. When Lucy and Owen are thrown together briefly in a stalled elevator, everything changes and nothing — not life, distance, or other people — can interrupt the very real feelings these two young people have for each other. A charming story with a believable cast of characters.” —Anne Holman, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT

Half Bad, by Sally Green
(Viking Juvenile, 9780670016785, $18.99)
“The exciting new voice of author Sally Green manages to create a world where witches can only be black (bad) or white (good). To be anything else is perilous. Unfortunately, Nathan finds out only too soon what it means to have a pure white witch mother and a pure black witch father. Nathan is labeled by The Council as a B Naught Point Five (B 0.5) — Half Bad. Now it’s up to Nathan to determine who he is and who he will become.” —Judith Lafitte, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

The Here and Now, by Ann Brashares
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780385736800, $18.99, available April)
“When Prenna was 12, she and her family emigrated to New York — not from another country, but from another time. It was 2098, and the planet was becoming uninhabitable due to pandemics caused by mosquito-borne illnesses. Doctors and scientists were trying to fix the problems and were even considering colonizing the moon, but people were dying too quickly. The only colonization scheme that seemed viable was to transport the population to the past. But will they be in time to save the planet? And what will it take to convince people, both from the future and the present, that they need to make sacrifices for future generations? Another winner for best-selling author Brashares.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Noggin, by John Corey Whaley
(Atheneum, 9781442458727, $17.99, available April)
“Travis has lost his girlfriend, his best friend, and five years of his life. That’s what returning from the dead can do to you. Thanks to science, the decapitated head of a teen near death has been attached to a ‘healthy’ cadaver. Travis is back and determined to restore his life as it was, to the beyond-belief joy of his parents, the horror of many, and the same miserable high school teacher! A heads up: Travis tackles weighty issues with a lot more humor than you might expect.” —Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

Panic, by Lauren Oliver
(HarperCollins Books for Children, 9780062014559, $17.99)
“One of my favorite middle grade authors returns to the young adult genre with this heart-pounding thriller! Twists and turns complicate the competition known as The Panic in the small, blue-collar town of Carp. Heather never intended to enter The Panic, but she finds herself swept up in a moment of impetuousness. Though some competitors treat the tasks and challenges as nothing more than a game, Heather knows the true stakes — and the dangers. With an unlikely group of allies, she must attempt to win The Panic ... or die trying.” —Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Salvage, by Alexandra Duncan
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062220141, $17.99, available April)
“This smart, realistic, sci-fi epic follows its heroine, Ava, from an interstellar cargo ship to the streets of a futuristic but still familiar Mumbai. Emotionally charged and powerful, this is the best kind of science fiction: the kind that forces us to look at ourselves and our society and follow the impacts of our actions to their logical conclusions. If you loved The Hunger Games and Divergent, this book is for you.” —Emily Ring, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

Sekret, by Lindsay Smith
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781596438927, $17.99, available April)
“In Communist Russia in the middle of the Cold War, Yulia will do whatever it takes to keep her mother and younger brother safe. Her unique skills that until now have helped her family survive have attracted the attention of the KGB. Because of her ability to read people’s minds, the KGB has ‘recruited’ Yulia for their psychic spy program which trains gifted children to sabotage the Americans. The first lesson Yulia learns very quickly: trust no one, ever. Sekret is a page-turning thriller!” —Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Sunrise: The Ashfall Trilogy, by Mike Mullin
(Tanglewood Press, 9781939100016, $17.99, available April)
“I was so excited to read Sunrise, the third book in what I consider to be the best YA series being published right now. Mullin is a talented writer whose characters are lifelike, smart, and engaging, and his ideas are well planned and thought out. After the events of Ashfall and Ashen Winter, Alex and his girlfriend, Darla, use their brains and their skills to lead the remaining people to a safe place to live. They name their new village Speranta, which means Hope. This is an absolutely brilliant ending to a wonderful series.” —Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

Tease, by Amanda Maciel
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062305305, $17.99, available April)
Tease is an emotionally charged YA novel from debut author Maciel that gives voice to a different perspective in this age of bullying — from the dirty viewpoint of the tormenter. ‘Bully’ Sara Wharton has been charged with counts of harassment and stalking after fellow student Emma Putnam commits suicide. Alternating chapters tell the story from the beginning of the school year as the alleged events occurred, to present day as Sara deals with the aftermath of suicide. The power behind this story is how Maciel portrays Sara not as a green-eyed monster, but as a kind person with a good heart caught up in strong, unfamiliar emotions. This is a must-read for teens, parents, and school administrators.” —Bina Valenzano, The BookMark Shoppe, Brooklyn, NY

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781442426702, $17.99, available April)
“I can’t remember the last time I was so inspired by a character as I was by Lara Jean, the 16-year-old protagonist of Han’s latest novel. Lara Jean has devised a brilliant way to come to terms with unrequited love: she writes letters to the boys she can never have, and she leaves all her feelings for them behind when she puts the letters in her mother’s old hat box. Things get complicated when her letters — five in all — somehow get sent out, and suddenly Lara Jean finds herself facing the feelings she thought she had put to rest. This is one of the most honest and endearing stories of high school relationships that I have ever read.” —Lelia Nebecker, One More Page, Arlington, VA

The Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 9780374384678, $17.99)
“In this incredible tale of love, loyalty, and tremendously difficult choices, Kestral is a young, highborn woman in a world where her only option is to marry or join the army. Her struggle with this lack of freedom and her need for more than the social formalities of her world leads Kestral to confide in and befriend her newly bought slave, Arin, a strong-willed, quiet, and skillful blacksmith whose people used to live freely in the land in which they now are slaves. But it wasn’t chance that led Arin to the house of General Trajan, Kestral’s father, but a well-devised plot to take back what belongs to Arin’s people. Heart-wrenching!” —Amy Duke, Branches Books & Gifts, Oakhurst, CA