The Spring 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Below is a preview of the Spring 2015 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 35 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 nomination deadline for the Summer Kids’ Indie Next List is April 14, 2015. The summer 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 Top Ten

1. The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616203726, $17.95, available March)
The Walls Around Us shares the stories of two very different girls — Amber, imprisoned for a terrible crime for so long that she can’t remember what the world outside is like, and Violet, a Julliard-bound dancer with a dark and terrible secret that threatens her at every turn. A third girl, Orianna, connects Amber and Violet in ways that none of them understand and that may be the key to setting everyone free. This deep, tense mystery spurs the reader on at every turn, leading down long, winding tunnels of regret and self-loathing, threatening to expose the characters’ most private selves, and keeping the pages turning late into the night. This is a gripping tale of what ambition can make friends do for — and to — each other.” —Emily Hall, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

2. An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
(Razorbill, 9781595148032, $19.95, available April)
“I devoured this fast-paced thriller that tells the tale of conflicted Martial Empire soldier Elias, who is wrestling with his destiny, and rebel Scholar girl Laia, who longs for nothing more than to save her older brother from the death grip of the Empire. In this story, readers experience the love, courage, cunning, and true bravery of both Elias and Laia. Brilliant foes and terrifying plot twists will have readers racing to the end of this excellent debut!” —Kelsy April, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

3. Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
(HarperTeen, 9780062310637, $17.99)
“Mare Barrow is despised as a Red in a kingdom ruled by Silvers. The Silvers have special powers and treat the Reds with scorn and contempt, making them fight their wars and live in poverty while the Silvers enjoy lives filled with wealth and luxury. Soon, it is discovered that Mare is not like other Reds. She also has powers, but to keep her family safe she must play a dangerous game of deception. With danger, intrigue, and a touch of romance, this book is sure to keep readers enthralled and anxiously waiting for the next installment.” —Lisa Nehs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

4. Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062252074, $17.99)
“It says ‘Red’ on his label, but the crayon Red cannot make strawberries or fire engines or combine with yellow to make orange. Even with all types of advice from fellow crayons, like ‘press harder,’ ‘apply yourself,’ and ‘give yourself time,’ Red fails. Then a purple boat asks Red to make a blue ocean, which turns out perfect. From then on Red turns out blue jeans, blue birds, and blueberries all of which are beautiful. Finally, Red is accepted for what he can achieve, not for what is written on his label. A timeless and true tale for all ages to share and enjoy.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

5. Mosquitoland, by David Arnold
(Viking Juvenile, 9780451470775, $16.99)
“Debut author Arnold is a magician, a sage, and a warrior who lays his voice bare on the page. His magic resides in the heroine of Mosquitoland, Mim, and all of the ways she manages to change her future and rewrite her own destiny. Arnold’s wisdom is what speaks to every reader as they hop a Greyhound bus with Mim as she sets out on a path in search of her better self. The fight, the struggle, and the sacrifice of the warrior are felt at every turn, as this brave young woman lets nothing and no one stand in the way of her quest to find her mother, escape her father, calm the beautiful anger inside of her, and protect her adopted companions. Mim’s story will carve a hollow in your heart that can only be filled by sharing the journey with her.” —Katie Capaldi, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI

6. Home, by Carson Ellis
(Candlewick, 9780763665296, $16.99)
Home is a poignant and lovely reminder of the very primal need to have a place — any place — that is one’s own. The homes portrayed in her gorgeous collection are widely varied, from castle to cabin, wagon to wigwam. Some homes float in water, others sit in trees. Locations and climates all over the world are included, showcasing a stunning variety. More important than the myriad differences, however, is the one binding connection: whatever or wherever home is, it is a place of vital refuge.” —Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

7. We All Looked Up, by Tommy Wallach
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481418775, $17.99, available March)
“This confident debut novel follows four very different teenagers as they reevaluate their lives and identities in the shadow of Ardor, the asteroid on an unavoidable path towards Earth. The global fear of the impending collision is balanced with the emotional struggles of the characters, so that one beautifully highlights the other. We All Looked Up reads like The Breakfast Club for a new generation of lovers of dystopian fiction!” —Mary-Catherine Breed, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

8. Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Scholastic Press, 9780439874021, $19.99)
Echo is an incredible story following the lives of three children — Friedrich Schmidt in Germany in 1933, Mike Flannery in Philadelphia in 1935, and Ivy Lopez in California in 1942 — during the time they are blessed with the possession of a certain magic harmonica. Each child faces challenges, from rescuing a father to protecting a brother, until their lives become intertwined with the path of the harmonica. An amazing story combining history with the loving bonds of family, Echo is a must-read!” —Jannike Caspari, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO

9. Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman
(Wendy Lamb Books, 9780385389587, $16.99)
“Sidwell, Massachusetts, is known for three things: sweet pink apple pie, the curse of a witch, and Sidwell’s very own monster. Twelve-year-old Twig knows this all too well and carries a very big secret — a secret that has kept her family isolated from the rest of the town. When the descendants of the notorious witch move in next door, everything changes. Hoffman shares a summer of magic, sweet herbs, friendship, and mystery in her first book for middle-graders. Readers will discover the beauty of her writing as they uncover the secrets of Sidwell in this spellbinding tale of friendship and magic.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

10. Wolfie the Bunny, by Ame Dyckman, Zachariah OHora (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Young Readers, 9780316226141, $17)
“A baby wolf ends up on the stoop of a family of rabbits. Mama and Papa rabbit are smitten from the beginning, but of course big sister Dot says ‘He’ll eat us all!’ As Wolfie and his appetite grow, Dot plays at friends’ houses without him, while Wolfie just wants to hang out with his big sister. Then, one day they are shopping together and run into a bear, and both Dot and Wolfie learn what it means to be a family. Families are made in all different ways and their adventures together can test their strength, but your big sister will always be there to protect you!” —Anna Brindley, Blue Phoenix Books, Alpena, MI

For Ages 4 – 8

Families, Families, Families!, by Suzanne Lang
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780553499384, $16.99, available March)
“Some books have that special something — something that engages children, opens their minds, and encourages acceptance. Families, Families, Families! is one of those books. Many children will see their own unique family on its pages, while others will see other families they know. Families, Families, Families! celebrates the beauty and diversity of everyone’s most precious love — their family. It belongs on every child’s bookshelf!” —Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, by Sean Taylor, Jean Jullien (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9780763675783, $15.99)
“Bold, colorful illustrations complement this suspenseful tale of a clever and hungry little hoot owl. He uses many disguises in his hunt for dinner, but they don’t seem to be enough to do the trick. Will his last attempt finally be masterful enough to succeed? You will never look at a decorative birdbath the same way again!” —Ashley Despain, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, by Dev Petty
(Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780385378666, $16.99)
“This is the story of a frog who would rather be anything other than a wet, slimy, bug-eating amphibian. Anything — he’s sure! — would be better than being a frog. He can hop like a rabbit, and he’s sure he could stomach garbage like a pig, but one by one his alternatives are proved unsatisfactory. It isn’t until a hungry wolf with a diverse appetite comes along that frog realizes being just who he is isn’t so bad after all. Laughs and a worthwhile message about being yourself are guaranteed!” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

Meet the Dullards, by Sara Pennypacker, Daniel Salmieri (Illus.)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062198563, $17.99, available March)
“How can Mr. and Mrs. Dullard keep their children from experiencing exciting things like books and the outdoors? Perhaps by dressing them in dull colors, by having them watch the paint dry on the walls, and by moving them when things get too exciting. But will they succeed? Siblings Blanda, Borley, and Little Dud have other ideas!” —Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

Monkey and Duck Quack Up!, by Jennifer Hamburg
(Scholastic Press, 9780545645140, $17.99)
“Monkey wants to go on a three-day cruise by winning a rhyming competition. He just knows that he and his friend Duck can do it! He says, ‘Soap, rope, hope,’ and Duck says, ‘Quack.’ He says, ‘Cat, hat, rat,’ and Duck says, ‘Quack.’ This isn’t going as expected. But Monkey hatches a clever plan to trick Duck and win the competition. Will he do it? This is a wonderful rhyming read-aloud!” —Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

Orion and the Dark, by Emma Yarlett
(Templar, 9780763675950, $16.99, available April)
“Orion is afraid of a lot of things, but most of all he is afraid of the dark. He tries everything he can to avoid it. But one night when he yells at the dark to go away, the Dark comes alive and drops into his room. That night, the Dark teaches Orion that darkness is not always scary and can be fun! With detailed illustrations that pop off every page, this story is a wonderful exploration of how sometimes the things we fear the most are just things we don’t understand.” —Phoebe Dyer, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Skunk, by Mac Barnett, Patrick McDonnell (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781596439665, $17.99, available April)
“Barnett has done it again in this hilarious tale of a skunk who won’t stop following the narrator, a man dressed in a tuxedo. The man takes wild turns to escape the skunk, hiding behind shrubs, even seeking to lose himself in a crowd at the opera, but still the skunk manages to trail him. McDonnell’s minimalist illustrations give the book the feel of a black-and-white movie that switches to full-color with a turn in the story. This witty tale will make a great read-aloud!” —Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Such a Little Mouse, by Alice Schertle, Stephanie Yue (Illus.)
(Orchard Books, 9780545649292, $16.99, available March)
“Every season of the year, this little mouse pops out of his hole and goes about exploring the world. Sweet and poetic, this latest book from the author of Little Blue Truck is a perfect addition to any child’s library and is a wonderful read-aloud when you just want to share some quiet loveliness.” —Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

There’s No Such Thing as Little, by LeUyen Pham
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385391504, $17.99, available April)
“‘Everyone says I’m little. I really don’t agree. If only they could see what I see when I look at me.’ There’s really no such thing as little according to the narrator of this cute picture book, who comes up with all kinds of words to describe things that other people might see as little — a unique snowflake, a brave fish, a fantastic idea, a strong hand. This is an inspiring book for grownups to share with children to show them just how amazing they really are.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Tommy Can’t Stop!, by Tim Federle, Mark Fearling (Illus.)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781423169178, $16.99, available April)
“Tommy can’t stop bouncing around his house. He tries playing softball and swimming and other activities, but none of them are right until his sister suggests tap dance class. In tap class, Tommy hops, kicks, and leaps his way to stardom. Children will delight in the toe-tapping rhythm of Federle’s words and Fearling’s lively illustrations. Tommy Can’t Stop! danced its way into my heart!” —Caitlin Luce Baker, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

For Ages 9 – 12

Blackbird Fly, by Erin Entrada Kelly
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062238610, $16.99, available March)
Blackbird Fly is a wonderful story about the struggles of being different, trying to fit in, and still being true to yourself. Apple, who moved to Louisiana from the Philippines with her mother, is trying to fit in at school where she is teased about her heritage. She is able to find comfort in music and becomes a guitar prodigy, using her musical abilities to find new friendships, and, ultimately, herself and acceptance.” —Amy Lacy, Petunia’s Place, Fresno, CA

Catch You Later, Traitor, by Avi
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616203597, $16.95)
“It is 1951 and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s search for Communists is reaching its zenith. No one and nothing seems to be safe from his reach. Twelve-year-old Pete Collison leads a normal life. He goes to school and enjoys reading Sam Spade novels and listening to the radio, so when his teacher suddenly accuses him and his family of being Communists he has no idea why. Then the FBI shows up at his apartment and wants him to spy on his parents and report any un-American activities. When Pete starts to investigate, he is amazed when he uncovers a family history that he never knew about. In a book about secrets, Pete discovers that family is what matters most.” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

The Imaginary, by A.F. Harrold, Emily Gravett (Illus.)
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9780802738110, $16.99)
“Amanda and her imaginary friend, Rudger, spend their days exploring the Amazon in hot-air balloons, bouncing on the surface of alien planets in space suits, and chasing strange, cat-like creatures. Their adventures are limited only by the immense imagination of Amanda, but when the sinister Mr. Bunting, an old man who eats imaginary friends, shows up and is intent on consuming Rudger, the two friends race against him and the constraints of adult imagination. In parts creepy, in parts exquisitely soul-wrenching, this is a masterpiece and Gravett elevates it even higher with her absolutely stunning illustrations.” —Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA

The Island of Dr. Libris, by Chris Grabenstein
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780385388443, $16.99, available March)
“Grabenstein has done it again! Yet another interesting and mysterious storyline, an authentic voice, and a unique nod to the classics. Billy is spending his summer vacation in the lakeside cabin of the enigmatic Dr. Libris. Without internet, phone, or friends, Billy must resort to the only source of entertainment this unusual cabin offers — a library full of books! Grabenstein creates a wonderful world where book characters come to life while also touching on deeper issues.” —Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly, by Ted Sanders
(HarperCollins, 9780062275820, $16.99)
“When Horace, a clever and curious young boy, enters the House of Answers he comes into possession of a mysterious box. It doesn’t take long for Horace to discover that the box contains extraordinary powers and there are those who will do anything to hunt down it and the one who keeps it. Soon, Horace and a fiercely loyal girl named Chloe, who holds a powerful object of her own, embark on a dangerous adventure that will change their lives forever. The first book in what is sure to be a fantastic new series!” —Katie Anderson, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

The League of Beastly Dreadfuls: Book 1, by Holly Grant
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780385370073, $16.99, available April)
“On the morning her parents die in a tragic vacuum-cleaner accident, Anastasia has only two things to worry about: wearing her Halloween costume the second day in a row and her gerbil taking revenge by pooping in her shoes. By the end of the day, her world has been changed forever by the sudden appearance of her long lost ‘aunties’ Prim and Prude, who whisk her off to live in their Victorian home. Previously St. Agony’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane, Anastasia’s new home is not what she ever imagined and she soon starts to suspect that something is afoot. This book is the ultimate read-aloud, filled with humor, bravery, and adventure reminiscent of Roald Dahl.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Listen, Slowly, by Thanhha Lai
(HarperCollins, 9780062229182, $16.99)
“When Mia, a young Vietnamese-American girl, accompanies her grandmother to Vietnam to find out what happened to her grandfather during the war, she discovers more than what she expected. Mia finds an extended family, a new friend, a knowledge of the Vietnamese language, a new understanding of her parents, but mostly she discovers herself. Moving slowly through the weeks in this very different country is often trying, but also very satisfying in strange, unexpected ways. Another wonderful story from National Book Award-winning author Lai.” —Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

Ms. Rapscott’s Girls, by Elise Primavera
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803738225, $16.99)
“Finally, a book that pokes hilarious fun at the results of busy parents everywhere! Nestled inside a lighthouse, Great Rapscott School for the Daughters of Busy Parents is the perfect destination for readers who adore Amelia Bedelia, Mary Poppins, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Roald Dahl, and Pippi Longstocking. All will appreciate the irresistibly feisty spirit evident throughout this book, which is sure to charm.” —Jesica Sweedler DeHart, BookPeople of Moscow, Moscow, ID

The Penderwicks in Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780375870774, $16.99, available March)
“The Penderwick family is back, and all their loyal fans will be in heaven. Batty, the youngest sister and the focus of this book, struggles with the loss of her beloved pet and learns the story of her mother’s death. Birdsall has written a very moving book that maintains the gentle humor and delightful characters of the earlier installments. Highly recommended!” —Nancy Felton, Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA

Red Butterfly, by A.L. Sonnichsen
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481411097, $16.99)
“Born with a disfigured hand and abandoned at birth, Kara has only known life with her adopted American mother in the Chinese city of Tianjin. When a random emergency throws their life into disarray and authorities no longer allow Kara to live with her mother, she is left at an orphanage. Influenced by Sonnichsen’s own time living and working in China, this novel in verse triumphs by showing that a family is made up of the people you love, and home is wherever in the world they might be.” —Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803740167, paper, $12.99)
“Astrid’s mother’s cultural excursions are generally boring — until they end up at a roller derby and Astrid falls in love. Astrid throws herself into derby camp, but can she survive the drills, the girls, and the fact that her best friend has ditched her? After all, friendships can have just as many bumps, turns, and bruises as a bout on the roller rink. Fans of Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels will devour this!” —Marika McCoola, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Thickety: The Whispering Trees, by J.A. White
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062257291, $16.99)
“What a wild and wonderful ride this second book in the Thickety series takes readers on! White has a wonderful sense of timing, a huge imagination, and a gift for describing the creatures that live in the world he has created. One-eyed birds, sunflowers that eat shadows, and, my favorite, a place where anything that falls gets turned into a simulacrum bent on destroying the original. This is a very tense, ‘can’t put it down till everyone is safe’ kind of book!” —Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

The Water and the Wild, by Katie Elise Ormsbee, Elsa Mora (Illus.)
(Chronicle Books, 9781452113869, $16.99, available March)
“Every year on her birthday, Lottie receives an anonymous letter granting her a wish from the magic apple tree in Thirsby Square. When the illness of her best friend, Eliot, takes a turn for the worse, Lottie asks for one thing: a cure to save his life. Instead of a letter, Lottie receives two sprites who take her through a door in the apple tree and into their world. There, she must weigh the importance of Eliot’s life against the lives of an entire world of sprites. This is a fun debut, perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia.” —Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

For Teen Readers

The Alex Crow, by Andrew Smith
(Dutton Juvenile, 9780525426530, $18.99)
“A summer camp for tech-addicted teenage boys. A failed 19th-century Arctic expedition. A schizophrenic man who hallucinates Joseph Stalin. A boy in a clown suit hiding in a refrigerator while his village is ravaged. These stories — while independently absurd — are woven together with Smith’s trademark wit and existential scrutiny to create a Russian nesting doll of literary brilliance. Evoking elements of Kurt Vonnegut and David Mitchell, Smith once again pushes the boundaries of young adult literature and the concept of ‘genre’ altogether.” —Lelia Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, VA

Ask the Dark, by Henry Turner
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544308275, $16.99, available April)
“Who could be a more convincing and compelling detective than a rough and roughly used boy who can’t afford illusions? Ask the Dark takes hold of the reader with remarkable vigor. Its narrative extends into the reader’s inner landscape and stirs up a nest of sleeping assumptions. How narrow is the distance between what we regard as moral and its behavioral opposites? If character is revealed only under pressure, is safety a dangerous luxury? Ask the dark.” —Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME

Denton’s Little Deathdate, by Lance Rubin
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553496963, $17.99, available April)
“What if you grew up knowing the day you would die? Would you live your life differently? Denton Little was told when he was five that he would die during his senior year of high school. But when his deathdate approaches, weird things begin happening and a stranger appears that will turn Denton’s short life upside down. This is an exciting and mysterious tale that readers won’t be able put down!” —Suzanne Droppert, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA

Kalahari, by Jessica Khoury
(Razorbill, 9781595147653, $17.99)
“When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens are stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, must keep them alive and get them to safety. Corpus is a scientific research company that experiments on everything and has no regard for the lives that are affected. The result of a Corpus experiment becomes the stranded group’s greatest challenge. Filled with first loves, romance, adventure, and a crazy scientific experiment, Kalahari captivates readers from the first page. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Corpus series!” —Dalene Kolb, Mystery Ink, Huntington Beach, CA

My Heart and Other Black Holes, by Jasmine Warga
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062324672, $17.99)
“Aysel is sure she wants to die; she just doesn’t know if she can do it alone. When she stumbles upon FrozenRobot’s listing for a suicide partner online, she’s sure that she’s found the person she needs. But Aysel never expects that there might be other things holding her back: questions about physics and potential energy; the desire to see the man who ruined her life one last time; and an unexpected spark lit by none other than FrozenRobot. Sometimes sorrowful, sometimes funny, and always honest, this novel tackles the difficult topic of suicide with tact, while acknowledging that life can be messy, sad, and happy all at once.” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

Read Between the Lines, by Jo Knowles
(Candlewick, 9780763663872, $16.99)
“Everyone has a secret — the kid who is always bullied, the cheerleader, the guy at the fast food counter, the basketball star, the new teacher. They are all hiding behind the faces they present to the world and are all hoping that someone will be able to ‘read between the lines’ and see them for who they really are. Knowles gets into the hearts and minds of these characters whose lives intertwine in surprising ways.” —Sandy Scott, Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

The Sculptor, by Scott McCloud
(First Second, 9781596435735, $29.99)
“For those who would give anything to do what they love for a living, this book is both a glimpse of the dream realized and a warning to be careful of what you wish for. McCloud’s artwork adds depth to his story and life to his characters, alternating between panes full of detail and complexity that provide a sense of place and simplistic, intimate images of the characters that give readers a window into everything running through their minds. This is a graphic novel for all readers — an important story about life, love, art, and doing what it is that you are born to do, no matter what the cost.” —Kari Meutsch, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT

Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780385744072, $18.99)
“Quin has trained her whole life to become a Seeker, a defender of the good who can teleport and wield incredible weapons. When she and her cousin learn that modern Seekers are essentially paid assassins, they escape to the gritty reality of Hong Kong. When an old flame and the need to do right force Quin back into action, she must fight her family, her boyfriend, and even herself to protect the world. Dayton has created an epic world full of new technologies, power struggles, ancient families, and fantastic possibilities. Seeker is the start of an original new series spanning continents and centuries that will satisfy fans of fantasy and adventure novels alike.” —Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Shadow Cabinet: The Shades of London, by Maureen Johnson
(Putnam Juvenile, 9780399256622, $17.99)
“If the end of Johnson’s previous book, The Madness Underneath, left you reeling, you’re not alone. This third installment of the Shades of London quartet has been a long time coming, and it may be the most satisfying book in the series so far. Picking up where they left off, Rory, Callum, and Boo are grappling with unexpected tragedy while trying to solve the mystery of Jane and her cult, dealing with ghosts, and hiding from just about everyone. If you thought things were weird in the first two books, just wait — this one is off-the-charts strange and you’ll love every minute of it!” —Paige Mushaw, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062348678, $17.99, available April)
“Albertalli offers a beautiful coming-of-age story that leaves the reader with much to think about. Through the voices of her characters, Albertalli has done a fine job of pointing out the many outdated prejudices and assumptions still held by too many in today’s world and how unfair and unnecessary they are. I have long believed that it will be the current generation that will finally achieve the change we need to allow issues of sexual identity to become a thing of the past, and this book and these wonderful characters give voice to many insights that are spot on. Absolutely everyone should read this book!” —Emoke B’racz, Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café, Asheville, NC

Solitaire, by Alice Oseman
(HarperTeen, 9780062335685, $17.99, available March)
“Tori Spring is a typical mopey teen. She feels most at home on the Internet and regards her peers with equal parts disdain and distrust. She worries about her brother, who has a serious eating disorder, and feels increasingly distant from her best friend, whose life seems more and more to revolve around boys and parties. A friend from the past, a mysterious stranger, and an anonymous pranking organization called Solitaire will push Tori toward more actively engaging with her life. As Solitaire’s antics escalate, Tori is forced to make decisions that will affect both her and everyone around her.” —Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA

The Winner’s Crime, by Marie Rutkoski
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, 9780374384708, $17.99)
“The second book in the Winner’s Curse series — political, romantic, and smart — does not disappoint! Kestral is a young woman torn between the duty she feels toward her warrior nation and her first, impossible love whom she is desperately trying to save. With witty conversation and heart-wrenching intrigue, Rutkoski draws readers back into her always mesmerizing, sometimes soul-destroying series!” —Morgan Turnage, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA