The Summer 2010 Children's Indie Next List

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1. The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafn
(Little, Brown Young Readers, $17.99, 9780316044776)
"Zafn's erie ghost story is illuminated with the lyrical descriptions and intriguing complexities his adult readers have come to rave about. Here, savvy middle-grade readers and young teens will fall prey to Zafn's haunted tale. An evil magician, a protective lighthouse keeper with dark secrets, three young people, and a series of gambles risk the lives of everyone involved." -- Angela K Sherrill, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL

2. City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems & Jon J Muth
(Hyperion Books for Children, $17.99, 9781423103004)
"From a dynamic duo, this is one of those picture books that manages to capture sweet without being saccharine. City Dog becomes friends with Country Frog. Jon J Muth's dreamy watercolors show them playing during spring, summer, and fall. When winter begins, City Dog runs to find Country Frog, but Country Frog isn't there. Spring comes again and City Dog is sitting near Country Frog's rock, when Country Chipmunk finds him, and the reader knows the friendship cycle, like the seasons, will begin all over again." -- Rebecca Fabian, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

3. The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1: The Shadows by Jacqueline West
(Dial, $16.99, 9780803734401)
"An 11-year-old girl named Olive, a pair of spectacles that allows her to climb into the paintings in her house and three clever talking cats are the core of this delightfully scary tale. As Olive's curiosity leads her to discover a menacing presence in her house, she isn't sure whom she should trust. But trust me, you don't want to miss this terrific opener in what is sure to be a grand new series!" -- Joyce Tiber, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

4. Dark Life by Kat Falls
(Scholastic Press, $16.99, 9780545178143)
"After global warming-induced floods and landslides drastically reduced the amount of dry land to live on, Ty's family were among the first pioneers to populate the ocean floor. But when the government demands that the settlers capture a deadly band of undersea outlaws on their own, Ty must join forces with 'Topsider' Gemma in order to save his very way of life. A fantastic dystopian young adult debut!" -- Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

5. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
(Amulet Books, $12.95, 9780810984257)
"Is Origami Yoda part of the Force? Or just a wad of paper stuck on the end of Dwight's finger? Dwight, who appears to be the biggest loser at McQuarrie Middle School, has kids lining up to ask for his advice. Surprisingly, the advice actually works. This book is funny and clever, with amusing illustrations and directions for folding your own Origami Yoda. May the Force be with you!" -- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

6. The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780375861901)
"Coming of age in 1961 Cuba abruptly becomes fleeing Castro's revolution and leaving home and family far behind when 14-year-old Lucia's parents send her and her little brother to the safety of the U.S.. Lucia's struggles to adapt to life in rural Nebraska and her discovery of what home truly is make for a terrific read and powerful historical fiction." -- Jeanne Snyder, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
(Dutton Juvenile, $17.99, 9780525421580)
"Will Grayson, meet Will Grayson! Two very different dudes living in separate suburbs of Chicago, who have the same name and the same problems when it comes to matters of the heart. Fortunately, big, loud and flamboyantly gay Tiny Cooper is there to save the day. A funny and moving coming-of-age novel focusing on friendship, trial and error, love, longing, but most important of all, being true to yourself." -- Jet Hopster, The Book Works, Del Mar, CA

8. How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog) by Art Corriveau
(Amulet Books, $16.95, 9780810982987)
"Nicky Flynn has to cope with his parent's recent divorce, a move to the city, and a new school. His mother's adoption of their new dog Reggie complicates the picture, especially because Reggie used to be a seeing-eye dog, but doesn't realize that his new owners can see just fine! A funny and heart-warming novel!" -- Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

9. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
(Philomel, $15.99, 9780399252648)
"Mockingbird tells of Caitlin, an 11-year-old girl living with Asperger's syndrome. Erskine offers a remarkable window into the world of an autistic child. Readers will gain both understanding and empathy. We think of heroes as those who save the lives of others. Often, real heroes simply live out their own lives. This is a memorable and moving book." -- Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

10. The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, Renata Liwska (illus.)
(Houghton Mifflin, $12.95, 9780547215679)
"Who would have thought there are so many kinds of quiet: some pleasing (coloring in the lines quiet), some not so pleasing (jelly side down quiet), some thoughtful (first snowfall quiet) and some just wonderful (best friends don't need to talk quiet). Deborah Underwood's text and Renata Liwska's pictures perfectly capture the wide array of a child's experiences that don't involve words. This book begs to be read quietly." -- Beth Puffer, Bank Street Bookstore, New York, NY

For Ages 4 to 8

Barry: The Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 9780375858949)
"This is an exercise in silliness and laughter! Barry shows all the bored fish of the ocean how many things they could do if they just had fingers! This will be a fun circle time book to play with fingers, thinking of all their uses, and practicing wiggling and tickling!" -- Katherine Fergason, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA

Beaver is Lost by Elisha Cooper
(Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780375857652)
"Beaver is floating serenely down his river when he realizes that home is no longer in sight. He starts off on a great adventure through zoos and ponds, drainpipes and gutters, until he once again finds his river and the way back home. Elisha Cooper's picture book is mostly wordless, so the impact of her lovely watercolor illustrations is all the more pronounced." -- Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Bonyo Bonyo: The Story of a Brave Boy from Kenya by Vanita Oelschlager, Kristin Blackwood, Mike Blanc (illus.)
(Vanita Books, $8.95, 9780981971445)
"Since the death of his much-loved infant sister, Bonyo Bonyo dreamed of leaving his Kenyan village to get an education, and coming back as a doctor to save the lives of other children. This is a children's book at its best: memorable story, strong illustrations and a theme each child can take to heart." -- Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

Bun, Onion, Burger by Peter Mandel, Chris Eliopoulos (illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $12.99, 9781416924661)
"This simple story about the hamburger-making process is accompanied by incredibly bright, cartoon-like illustrations that leap off the page! Kids of all ages (even the adult ones) will adore Bun, Onion, Burger." -- Lauren Peugh, Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop, La Verne, CA

A Dignity of Dragons by Jacqueline Ogburn, Nicoletta Ceccoli (illus.)
(Houghton Mifflin, $17, 9780618862542)
"After reading this book, you'll know what to call those groups of magical creatures you saw yesterday: a splash of mermaids, a grace of unicorns, or a faculty of centaurs. Jacqueline Ogburn includes a charming description of each creature, while Nicoletta Ceccoli's colorful, mixed media illustrations evoke an enchanted world for young readers." -- Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

Dogs Don't Do Ballet by Anna Kemp, Sara Ogilvie (illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15.99, 9781416998396)
"Oh, yes, they do! My dog pirouetted right into my face last night. This book is adorable. Perfect for reminding kids they can do anything they set their minds to." -- Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Errol and His Extraordinary Nose by David Conway, Roberta Angaramo (illus.)
(Holiday House, $16.95, 9780823422623)
"Errol the elephant has a problem. All of his friends at the Acacia Tree School have wonderful talents except for him, and when his teacher announces that the school will have a talent show, Errol worries that he will have nothing to contribute. Through much trial and error -- and with a little help from his Dad -- Errol eventually learns that there is much more to him than a big nose, and puts together an exciting and special routine that only he could do." -- Amanda, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The First Pup: The Real Story of How Bo Got to the White House by Bob Staake
(Feiwel & Friends, $16.99, 9780312613464)
"With bright illustrations rendered in Bob Staake's usual eye-catching and original style, First Pup tells the story of President Obama's adoption of Bo from various sides of the story -- the puppy in Texas waiting for the right family, Senator Ted Kennedy's match-making role, and Sasha and Malia, hopeful for a puppy since the campaign days." -- Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

Food Chain by M.P. Robertson
($17.95, 9781845079291)
"The food chain will never seem the same after a boy throws a goldfish down the toilet to see what happens. The story comes full circle to a hilarious conclusion." -- Becky Anderson, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780810984684)
"McClure's cut paper illustrations beautifully depict the long, confounding wait for the changing seasons. And it's printed on recycled paper!" -- Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Orangutans Are Ticklish: Fun Facts from an Animal Photographer by Steve Grubman with Jill Davis
(Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780375858864)
"Where does a grizzly bear get his name? Does a hippo's yawn really mean he's sleepy? How smart is a chimpanzee? What's the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? All the answers to these questions are combined with beautiful photographs of animals to create a truly fun survey of some favorite animal friends." -- Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Princess Posey & The First Grade Parade by Stephanie Greene, Stephanie Roth Sisson (illus.)
(Putnam Juvenile, $12.99, 9780399251672)
"What rates high on any child's list of anxieties? Why, the first day of school, of course, and Posey is nervous about saying goodbye to Mom in the 'Kiss & Go' lane. How Posey solves her dilemma, and with whom, will charm early readers and get them thinking outside the box as well." -- Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, with Kelly DiPucchio, Tricia Tusa (illus.)
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423124849)
"What a cute story of how two friends opinions can change a friendship and a school's view on what people eat. Salma and Lily are wonderful friends, but one little comment changes their view of each other. Through funny mishaps these two friends find that they are truly best friends." -- Christy Fuenfhausen, River Reader, Guerneville, CA

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, Tom Lichtenheld (illus.)
(Little, Brown Young Readers, $16.99, 9780316007627)
"Such boy fun when a shark and a train try to outdo each other. Each page brings a funnier situation than before, and by the end, everyone is laughing. A great read-aloud with perfect illustrations." -- Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead, Erin E. Stead (illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, 9781596434028)
"A steadfast friend to the animals at the zoo, Amos McGee's careful routine ensures that he never misses a day to sit quietly with the penguin (who was very shy) and lend a handkerchief to the rhinoceros (who always had a runny nose). So when the day comes that Amos is sick in bed, his friends come to his house to visit him. Reminiscent of The Napping House, children will love this gentle story of friendship and quiet fun." -- Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Swim! Swim! by Lerch
(Scholastic Press, $16.99, 9780545094191)
"Lerch the fish is a very friendly fish, but there's one problem: There's no one to be friends with. The pebbles won't talk to him, the scuba diver won't talk to him, and the bubbles just ran away and popped. But then the cat sees Lerch in the tank and comes over to see him. Will this finally mean a friend for Lerch, or is it the end?" -- Maryam Yachnes, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Who Said Coo? by Deborah Ruddell, Robin Luebs (illus.)
(Beach Lane Books, $16.99, 9781416985105)
"Deborah Ruddell has collaborated with her identical twin sister, Robin Luebs, on this delightful book about the pig, Lulu, who is having trouble getting to sleep. Children and adults can both relate to this story of what happens when you may not be on your best behavior when you're trying to get some sleep!" -- Mary Beth Nebel, I Know You Like a Book, Peoria Heights, IL

Wonder Horse: The True Story of the World's Smartest Horse by Emily Arnold McCully
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780805087932)
"Bill Key loved animals. He was born a slave, but after emancipation he became a vet, believing that kindness was the only way to treat our four-legged friends. When his beloved mare dies, he is so distraught that he cannot even take care of the new colt. But it turns out that Jim Key is a very unusual horse. Based on a real story, Caldecott winner McCully brings this bit of American history to life!" -- Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

You Are My Wish by Maryann Cusimano Love, Satomi Ichikawa (illus.)
(Philomel, $16.99, 9780399247521)
"With lines like 'I am your fishing line, you are my squirmy bait' and 'I am your slow steps, you are my hurry up', the author of You Are My I Love You has written the perfect read-aloud for a grandmother and her grandchild. With charming illustrations by Satomi Ichikawa, they spend the day together, ending with a snuggle on grandma's lap." -- Carol Dunn, Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI

For Ages 9 to 12

As Simple As It Seems by Sarah Weeks
(HarperCollins, $15.99, 9780060846633)
"With a family like hers, 11-year-old Verbena Colter wonders how she could be anything but bad news. But when a new neighbor arrives for the summer, Verbie has the opportunity to be someone entirely different. A sweet, funny, heartwarming story from the author of So B. It." -- Sally Bulthuis, Pooh's Corner, Grand Rapids, MI

Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty, Dan Santat (illus.)
(Amulet, $12.95, 9780810984165)
"This book is a fun-filled adventure about twins, Kevin and Joules, who go to summer camp, Camp Whatsitooya, and discover that fluffs (giant bunnies) are going to take over the world. It is up to Kevin and Joules and their new friend Nelson, to defeat the giant bunny menace!" -- Weda Bailey, River Reader, Lexington, MO

The Billionaire's Curse: The Archer Legacy, Book 1 by Richard Newsome
(Walden Pond Press, $16.99, 9780061944901)
"Twelve-year-old Gerald Wilkins inherits 20 billion pounds when Great-Aunt Geraldine dies - or, should I say, is murdered. Solving the crime is only the beginning of what promises to be an action-packed trilogy." -- Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Boom! by Mark Haddon
(David Fickling Books, $15.99, 9780385751872)
"What a clever, exciting, and funny novel! Mark Haddon (as he also showed in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) has an incredible knack for writing perfectly in the voice of an outside-of-the-mainstream adolescent boy. And if reading Boom! doesn't make you want to walk around hailing everyone you know with a hearty 'Spudvetch!' then your sense of humor is definitely broken." -- Heather Elia, Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, NY

The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond
(Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763642174)
"The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon has all the humorous oddities of classic Ronald Dahl, but the heart and warmth of E.B. White. The story follows a boy who longs for something, but he doesn't know exactly what. Dunbar's illustrations bring his journey to life, as we follow from the basement of an apartment all the way to the moon and back again. This is a touching story about the power of friendship and imagination." -- Jacqui Teruya, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer
(Philomel, $14.99, 9780399252365)
"Enola's most dangerous case yet! Enola is looking for a missing noblewoman and, at the same time, her brothers are looking for her. Sherlock has received a letter from their mother that only Enola can open. The siblings must work together to bring the mysteries of both missing ladies to a close. This is Enola Holmes at her best!" -- Sara Glassman, Little Professor Book Center, Homewood, AL

Countdown: A Novel by Deborah Wiles
(Scholastic Press, $17.99, 9780545106054)
"In this fantastic debut historical novel, 11-year-old Franny is growing up in the early 1960s against a backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. What makes this book unique is the nonfiction component that Wiles integrates into the book. Between each chapter there are pages of real images from the 1960s that serve to help the reader better imagine the era." -- Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books And Music, Millerton, NY

Dodger for Sale by Jordan Sonnenblick
(Feiwel & Friends, $16, 9780312377953)
"Dodger's countless fans will love the third book in the Dodger trilogy! Like the others, it is wildly funny, but suspense, also, runs high. The woods -- and the Field of Dreams -- may be sold to a developer! Can Dodger, Willie, and Lizzie save Dodger's home? Their efforts result in a battle of epic proportions, including a kidnapping by leprechauns! I love the book's 'green' earth-friendly theme, and the ending is perfect!" -- Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
(Greenwillow Books, $16.99, 9780061866845)
"Diana Wynne Jones again works her storytelling magic to weave a marvelous tale of an orphan, an absent-minded professor, a most mysterious house, and the even stranger characters who live there. When young Aiden finds himself pursued by supernatural enemies, Melstone House is the only place he can go for protection. His fate is somehow entwined with the house itself, particularly the magical stained glass windows that seem to tell a story. With all the charming, quirky characters you'd expect from this beloved author, and a rich plot full of twists and turns, this book will keep Jones' fans happy and win new ones." -- Jocelyn Koehler, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Fairies and the Quest for Never Land by Gail Carson Levine, David Christiana (illus.)
(Disney Press, $18.99, 9781423109358)
"The premise of this series is that every daughter of Wendy goes to Never Land in their youth. Gwendolyn longs to travel there not to meet Peter Pan, but rather Tink and the fairies. However, when she arrives, she is told that there is danger coming to Never Land and she may or may not be the cause of it! David Christiana's art is fantastic!" -- Emily Grossenbacher, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail, Matthew Cordell (illus.)
(Feiwel & Friends, $16.99, 9780312532901)
"Poor Justin! He is a worrier. Robbers, tests, even earning Superstars in school are sources of stress. He tells his story in a series of short journal entries that follow his third grade school year from September through June. Readers will cheer -- and laugh! Justin (Case) Krzeszewski is my new hero!" -- Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

Kid vs. Squid by Greg Van Eekhout
(Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, $16.99, 9781599904894)
"This is the perfect book for middle school boys and reluctant readers. The hysterical dialogue, bizarre sea creatures, and action packed fight scenes will latch on to the reader with tentacle-like suction! I dare you to read this book and not enjoy it!" -- Summer Moser, Summer's Stories, Kendallville, IN

Nice and Mean by Jessica Leader
(Aladdin, $6.99, 9781416991601)
"This is the story of two girls from opposite sides of the proverbial tracks (or boroughs, since this is set in New York City) who are paired together for a video project that makes both girls look a little inside themselves to see what's truly important. Well-written, insightful and a lot of fun to read!" -- Andy Terrell, Destinations Booksellers, New Albany, IN

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, Angela Barrett (illus.)
(Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763636746)
"Flory chose to become a Day Fairy after being injured by a bat. She now lives in the beautiful garden of the Giantess with all the animals and adventures a Day Fairy would face. She becomes friends with Skuggle, a squirrel, and rescues a hummingbird from a spider's web. The beautiful full-color illustrations are a wonderful enhancement to the story." -- Amy, Butterfly Books, De Pere, WI

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow
(Amulet, $15.95, 9780810984219)
"Two fifth grade best friends turn their investigative abilities toward finding the secret to popularity. But does success lie in imitating the popular girls? Heavily illustrated in notebook style, their running commentary will give readers something to chew on, and laugh about." -- Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

The Seventh Level by Jody Feldman
(Greenwillow Books, $16.99, 9780061951053)
"The Seventh Level has one of the most unique character voices I've read in ages. Boys especially will identify with Travis and his problems. Concentrating on the middle school milieu, Feldman captures the setting perfectly, as well as what kids this age are concerned about and have to deal with." -- Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books, St.Charles, MO

Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan
(Houghton Mifflin, $16, 9780547076591)
"Sam moves to Jackson, Mississippi, with her mother in 1962. Through the lens of her camera she experiences a very different culture than the one she knew in the North. Her photos help bring justice to the racially divided community. McMullan's carefully constructed prose highlights camera metaphors bringing light to the darkness." -- Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

Spaceheadz: SPHDZ, Book 1 by Jon Scieszka & Francesco Sedita, Shane Prigmore (illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $14.99, 9781416979517)
"Michael K is the new kid in the class, and he has been assigned to sit with Bob and Jennifer. But who are they really? It turns out that Earth is being invaded by aliens! Does Michael K want to be a SPHDZ? What about Agent Umber from AAA? And who is Major Fluffy? Will we all have to be SPHDZ to save the world? Using lots of graphic art, this story is fast paced, funny, and leaves you wanting more!" -- Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Thirteen Plus One by Lauren Myracle
(Dutton Juvenile, $16.99, 9780525422228)
"Lauren Myracle is Judy Blume for the tech generation! She's funny, and readers can easily relate to her stories. The Winnie series is great for girls of all ages." -- Lauren Peugh, Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop, La Verne, CA

Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan
(Katherine Tegen Books, $14.99, 9780060279714)
"A new MacLachlan! Time to sit back and savor the words and the joy of a good story. From 'On the fourth day of the fourth month of the new year of fourth grade, a famous writer came to spend time in our class' to 'It was the last hour of the last day of our last month with Ms. Mirabel,' this book is a 'must read!'" -- Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

Zombiekins by Kevin Bloger
(Razorbill, $10.99, 9781595141774)
"Stanley and his friend Miranda try and save their school from a zombie plague. A hillarious send-up of the zombie genre set in elementary school complete with the stock characters and scenes, but punched up with funny touches and illustrations to boot!" -- Patrick Hunter, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Teen Readers

Bamboo People: A Novel by Mitali Perkins
(Charlesbridge, $15.95, 9781580893282)
"In this classic coming of age story in a setting almost unimaginable to the American reader, Perkins tells the story of Burma at war. Young men are forced into the army and others escape into the jungle to fight with the resistance. Chiko is thrust into the army while Tu Reh, an ethnic minority, struggles to survive against the oppressive army. Through the eyes of these two young men we experience violence, prejudice and the abuse of power as well as what courage and heroism really mean." -- Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
(HarperTeen, $16.99, 9780061134081)
"All isn't well before Tennyson and his twin sister, Bronte, meet Bruiser, the kid the school voted 'most likely to get the death penalty.' But then things change. Their troubles disappear, or at least they believe they have, until they discover that Bruiser has an ability no one should know about. A haunting story that blurs the lines between fault and innocence." -- Dave Richardson, The Blue Marble, Fort Thomas, KY

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, Peter Sis (illus.)
(Scholastic Press, $17.99, 9780439269704)
"The inner life of a young boy growing up in Chile, confined to bed with illness and bullied by his father, is beautifully illuminated by the words of Ryan and the illustrations of Sis. We are not surprised to learn that Neftali, observant of every detail in the natural world, treasuring the words he hears and reads, and sympathetic to the plight of the native people, grows up to become the beloved poet Pablo Neruda." -- Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Chicago, IL

The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
(Hyperion, $16.99, 9781423121114)
"The Half-Life of Planets is a poignant account of the friendship that forms when two lives unexpectedly collide, as told from the perspectives of two unlikely friends. Liana, a reputed kissing addict, and Hank, a marginalized teen with Asperger's syndrome, embark on a journey to accept themselves and each other on their own terms rather than allow themselves to be defined by others. This book is an anthem that inspires readers to live beyond the limits of labels." -- Anna Weddington, Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, NC

My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
(Scholastic Press, $16.99, 9780545073547)
"Heidi feels pressured to date, but when she decides to make up a fake boyfriend she creates a lot of real problems. Her hilarious schemes to keep everyone in the dark are perfect entertainment for any teen." -- Darcie Lochinski, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423121923)
"Desi Bascomb just wants to start high school like a normal girl, with no drama. Well, maybe a little -- if Hayden Garrison would only notice her. When she learns she has 'Magic Potential' and is swooped off to impersonate not one but three different princesses; Desi learns some important lessons about love, honor and the pursuit of happiness. This one is sure to please the 12-and-up crowd." -- Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo, Nathan Huang (illus.)
(Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99, 9781423118985)
"Riding Invisible is a journal written by 15-year-old Yancy, who is running away from home with his horse, Shy. Yancy is actually running away from his brother Will, who has a 'conduct disorder' that, according to Yancy, prevents him from being human. The journal format and illustrations allow Yancy to tell his heart-aching story with humor and angst in an original style that will impact teens and adults alike." -- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Sea by Heidi R. Kling
(Putnam Juvenile, $17.99, 9780399251634)
"How do you carry on when your mother's plane disappears over the Indian Ocean? This is the question that has haunted Sienna for three years. When her father, a psychiatrist, announces he is going to Indonesia to try to help children who escaped the tsunami, Sienna grudgingly agrees to go with him and there she meets a little girl, Ellie, who melts her heart, and Deni, a charismatic boy who is the uncrowned leader of the survivors and to whom she is inextricably drawn. Sienna learns so much about herself and the way forward from this boy who really seems to understand her." -- Angela Mann, Kepler's Books & Magazine, Menlo Park, CA