The Winter 2013–2014 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the Winter 2013 – 2014 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 winter publishing season and an additional 42  titles organized by age group. All Next List picks are based on nominations from independent booksellers across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The top 10 titles are also featured on downloadable shelf-talkers, which are available here.

The deadline for nominations for the Spring 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List is Friday, January 17, 2014.  Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss. (Go to the Edelweiss book page of your choice, click on “Your Review,” and select “Submit to Indie Next.”)

The Top Ten

1. The Scar Boys: A Novel, by Len Vlahos
(Egmont, 9781606844397, $16.99, January)
“Vlahos’s debut is big-hearted and bold. The Scar Boys is a coming-of-age novel that tackles trauma and recovery, toxic friendships, first love, first passions, and the power of music. It is set in the 1980s, but the stings and elations of teen years are timeless, and adults and teenagers alike will recognize themselves in — and be rooting for — Harry and all the rest of the characters.” —Jenn Northington, WORD, Brooklyn, NY

2. The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Viking Juvenile, 9780670012091, $18.99, January)
“Hayley and her father have left behind life on the road in his 18-wheeler and have moved into her father’s childhood home. She is attending regular high school, and ‘normal’ should be setting in anytime now — only it can’t. Hayley’s father is in the throes of post-traumatic stress disorder from his army tours, where he saw violence that no teenage girl should ever have to hear about. But Haley does. She’s the one trying to keep everything together, and that doesn’t leave much time for teen angst, drama, or mischief. When Hayley meets Finn, she just might have found something for herself. Laughter through tears and all manner of matters of the heart make this novel a standout for any reader 15 and up.” —Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

3. Paul Meets Bernadette, by Rosy Lamb
(Candlewick Press, 9780763661304, $14)
“Paul is alone and passes his time by swimming round and round in circles, until one day Bernadette is plopped into his bowl. Bernadette shows Paul a world he never knew, and he is no longer alone. Stunning illustrations accompany this love story that will have you in tears! Kids will giggle, adults will cry, but everyone will love the story of Paul and Bernadette.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

4. Seven Stories Up, by Laurel Snyder
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780375869174, $16.99, January)
Seven Stories Up is heartfelt and honest, emotionally gripping and intellectually stimulating. In short, it is pitch-perfect. Annie, who has never met her grandma before, travels with her mom to the Hotel Calvert where her grandma is on her deathbed. I don’t want to give away too much about what happens, but this story is not morose, it’s just real and full of love on every page. Comforting, fulfilling, and optimistic, Seven Stories Up is exactly the kind of book that every young reader deserves to have on his or her shelf to be shared and loved for generations to come.” —Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

5. All the Truth That’s in Me, by Julie Berry
(Viking Juvenile, 9780670786152, $17.99)
“Four years ago, Judith and her friend disappeared from their small town. Two years later, only Judith returned, but she is unable to speak. What happened to her in those two years is slowly revealed. Sometimes shocking, and at times full of passion and longing, the narrative is addressed to Lucas, the young man Judith has loved since childhood. This fast-paced and multilayered novel is part murder mystery, part romance, and most powerfully, the story of a young woman who overcomes trauma and ultimately finds her voice.” —Erica Caldwell, Present Tense, Batavia, NY

6. The Carpet People, by Terry Pratchett
(Clarion Books, 9780544212473, $17.99)
“With all the charm of Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, The Carpet People will be fascinating to his long-time fans and will garner new ones as well. Written when Pratchett was only 17, this humorous young adult novel grew out of his weekly column in a local newspaper. Illustrated by the author, The Carpet People tells the story of the Munrung tribe. Their village is destroyed by the Fray, which sets two Munrung brothers on a series of adventures in their tiny world. Enjoy this funny, slightly strange glimpse into the genius of Terry Pratchett!” —Michele Harvey, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

7. Bits and Pieces, by Judy Schachner
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803737884, $17.99)
“Tink is a well-loved cat who has everything he could ever want. When he’s taken to the vet one day, Tink begins an obsession with the great outdoors that even a kitten companion can’t overcome. It takes a big adventure for Tink to learn how much his family really does love him in Schachner’s new picture book that kids are sure to love to ‘bits and pieces!’” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

8. Reality Boy, by A.S. King
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316222709, $18)
“I’m not sure if there is a subject that A.S. King cannot handle with perfect dexterity. She wins your trust by creating characters that are real and then paves the story’s way with glass shards, heartbreak, and, ultimately, gold. Reality Boy is a fascinating emotional dissection of life under the watchful eye of the American public and the subsequent fallout for one angry young man.” —Jane Knight, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, VT

9. Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Octavia Spencer, Vivienne To (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781442476813, $16.99)
“In this rollicking good mystery, 12-year-olds find themselves in danger, but with new friends and a good detective kit, anything is possible. The sleepy town of Deer Creek is a letdown after the adventure of New York City, but savvy Randi Rhodes finds mystery, adventure, and friendship when and where she least expects it!” —Ellen Scott, The Bookworm, Omaha, NE

10. Love Is Real, by Janet Lawler, Anna Brown (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780062241702, $15.99, December)
“With utterly delightful, gentle rhyming text accompanied by lovely pictures, this book is perfect for a bedtime read-aloud. My favorite part is that the loving grown-ups pictured aren’t necessarily limited to mom and dad. They could easily be aunts, uncles, older siblings, family friends, or anyone who has unconditional love for the children in their lives.” —Heather Elia, Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, NY

For Ages 4 – 8

Baby Bear, by Kadir Nelson
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062241726, $17.99, January)
“In this beautifully illustrated story of encouragement, Baby Bear gets lost and seeks the advice of the various animals he meets as he travels along. Each gives him hope but not much practical help. Baby Bear listens to what he is told and persists in his journey, finally getting home safely. Baby Bear needed the courage to keep going, and this courage came from knowing that he was not alone.” —Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

Baby Bear Counts One, by Ashley Wolff
(Beach Lane Books, 9781442441583, $16.99)
“I love, love, love the new adventure of Baby Bear! The art in this story is even lovelier than that in Baby Bear Sees Blue and has that tinge of nostalgia that fall always brings. What a beautiful way to show preschoolers the change of seasons as well as provide a lesson about numbers through the use of nature. This is going on my ‘ought-to-win-an-award’ list!” —Susan Kunhardt, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Bedtime Monsters, by Josh Schneider
(Clarion Books, 9780544002708, $16.99)
“What a great book to conquer the nighttime fears of little ones! Each bedtime monster that appears in this story is afraid of yet another monster. They all end up huddled in bed with the little boy — and he is the one they are all scared of in the end! Very simple and sweet, this is a wonderful read-aloud.” —Connie Brooks, Battenkill Books, Cambridge, NY

A Book of Babies, by Il Sung Na
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385752909, $15.99, January)
“Il Sung Na, author of the beloved A Book of Sleep, returns with a new story similarly populated with whimsical illustrations and a tender depiction of families in all shapes and sizes. A Book of Babies is sure to capture the attention and hearts of parents and children alike.” —Sara Grochowski, Blue Phoenix Books, Alpena, MI

Duck, Duck, Moose!, by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
(Disney, 9781423171102, $16.99, January)
“The simple text of Duck, Duck, Moose! makes this perfect for even the youngest of readers. The illustrations are fun, quirky, and tell a story on their own. The irrepressible, impatient, and imperfect Moose is a character kids will relate to and cheer for, and the over-the-top humor is sure to delight. A great friendship story!” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Elephant’s Story, by Tracey Campbell Pearson
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 9780374399139, $17.99)
“Whoops! After Elephant accidentally sneezes out letters from Gracie’s missing picture book, the perplexed pachyderm seeks assistance in putting the words back together again. His friends have their own ideas of how the story should go. Will the book ever be fixed and returned to its rightful owner? Cleverly and joyfully illustrated, Elephant’s Story is a celebration of both wordplay and friendship.” —Beth Wagner, Phoenix Books, Essex, VT

Guinea Pigs Online, by Jennifer Gray and Amanda Swift, Sarah Horne (Illus.)
(Quercus, 9781623650377, $12.95)
“While Fuzzy and Coco are hutch mates and friends, they couldn’t be more different. Fuzzy wants to be a great chef, while Coco just wants to return to life as the Queen’s guinea pig. Famous celebrity chef Scarlet Cleaver is opening a new restaurant and when Fuzzy discovers a want ad looking for ‘guinea pigs,’ he knows that it’s the opportunity he’s been waiting for. He heads off to apply and promptly disappears, and it’s up to Coco to save the day. With a burgeoning mystery on her hands and guinea pigs disappearing daily, Coco turns to the Internet for help. This book combines high adventure with a charming mystery. The jokes are silly and the rescue a delight.” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

Henny, by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781442484368, $16.99, January)
“Henny is a chicken like any other except for one thing: Henny was born with arms. Having arms makes you different and that can be hard. It also gives you lots more to worry about. Questions about what to wear — mittens or gloves? — trouble Henny, but she soon starts discover all the things she can do! This adorable, albeit unconventional, story of self-discovery will charm all ages.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

I Am Abraham Lincoln, by Brad Meltzer, Christopher Eliopoulos (Illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803740839, $12.99, January)
“In this latest title in his Ordinary People Change the World series of biographies for younger readers, Meltzer both surprises and delights with his portrayal of history and a very positive and inspirational message about standing up for your beliefs and what is right.”
—Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me, by Daniel Beaty, Bryan Collier (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316209175, $18)
“This is the beautiful story of a young boy who loves his father and relies on him to be a strong presence in his life. When his father stops ‘knock knocking’ on his door, the boy waits and wonders why his father is absent, ever hopeful for his return. Knock Knock honors the relationship of a father and his child and teaches children how to be the person who would make a father proud . A great book to give to anyone who is dealing with the loss of a parent.” —Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Once Upon a Memory, by Nina Laden
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316208161, $17)
“‘Before’ and ‘after’ take on new meanings in Laden’s book, which follows a child trying to determine if a feather remembers when it was a bird or if a book remembers that it used to be just words. Gorgeous illustrations accompany the whimsical text in this picture book that asks, ‘What will you remember?’ A book to be shared and cherished by parents and children everywhere.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian, Jeremy Holmes (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780375866906, $17.99, January)
“Written by U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and award-winning children’s poet, Douglas Florian, this book is the perfect combination of silly and wonderful. The cars described are fantastical and include a Grass Taxi, the Supersonic Ionic Car, a Fish Car, and others just as crazy. The poems are tremendous and the illustrations detailed and engaging. This is a book to be read joyfully again and again!” —Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

The Silver Button, by Bob Graham
(Candlewick Press, 9780763664374, $16.99)
“Graham wraps up all the loveliness and hope in the world and makes it a gift to readers in his books. The Silver Button takes a larger view of our greatest accomplishments and puts them in perspective with all that we do, create, and love in one small moment. Graham’s ability to capture the ‘stuff of life’ — a cozy, cluttered kitchen filled with children’s artwork and last year’s calendar still hanging on the wall — makes the reader feel right at home.” —Jane Knight, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, VT

The Tiny Mouse, by Janis Ian, Ingrid and Dieter Schubert (Illus.)
(Lemniscaat USA, Dist. IPS, 9781935954309, $19.95)
“Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Janis Ian has created a charming story — and song — about a dapper mouse who decides his life needs excitement. And that’s just what he gets when he goes to sea and discovers the captain of his ship is a cat! Ian and a band of merry men perform the title tune on an accompanying CD. Fun for all ages!” —Mary Grey James, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

For Ages 9 – 12

The Abominables, by Eva Ibbotson, Fiona Robinson (Illus.)
(Amulet Books, 9781419707896, $16.95)
“While visiting Tibet with her father, Lady Agatha Farlingham is kidnapped by a huge, brown, hairy beast known as a yeti or, as some folks prefer to call them, an abominable snowman, who can tear a human limb from limb. But this yeti is a widower with three small yetis and simply needs someone to help him care for them. Lady Agatha is smitten and decides to stay and care for the yetis. When tourists start arriving with the goal of being the first to see an abominable snowman, it is time to move, but where can you safely hide five huge yetis? This is vintage Ibbotson, who will be missed by her devoted fans.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Bugs: A Stunning Pop-Up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies, by George McGavin, Jim Kay (Illus.)
(Candlewick Press, 9780763667627, $19.99)
“This book is so cool! Bugs are ooey-gooey, creepy, skin-crawling, fascinating, totally neat creatures, and McGavin and Kay’s book captures all of that and then some. Bugs focuses on the curiosity-inducing bits of insects’ lives with super cool pop-ups, including one that shows the anatomy of a beetle. Perfect for the amateur entomologist!” —Hannah Johnson Breimeier, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Constable & Toop, by Gareth P. Jones
(Amulet Books, 9781419707827, $16.95)
“Sam Toop was different from his schoolmates in 1880s Victorian London. He was able to see and talk to ghosts! The shy and reticent ghost Lapswood loves working alone pushing paperwork in the Ghost Bureau, which regulates all ghost activities, but he is transferred to London and charged with the impossible task of determining the cause and elimination of Black Rot, a spiritual infestation consuming ghosts and threatening the living. In Constable & Toop, the separate journeys of Sam and Lapswood intersect in a spellbinding and wonderful tale of kindness, compassion, hatred, and exorcism — a frothy mix sure to reward all readers!” —Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother, Washington, DC

Herman and Rosie, by Gus Gordon
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781596438569, $17.99)
“This is the story of two lonely creatures — Herman, an alligator, and Rosie, a white-tailed deer — living in the big, busy city. Their paths nearly cross many times, but they never quite meet until the perfect moment when a jazzy little song finally pulls them together for a happy ending. Gordon’s fabulous illustrations of a New York City perfectly populated by the animal world totally charm and carry the reader along in a wonderful love story for all ages.” —Jeanne Snyder, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

How to Catch a Bogle, by Catherine Jinks, Sarah Watts (Illus.)
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544087088, $16.99)
“Ten-year-old Birdie McAdam is an orphan who escapes the slums of Victorian London by apprenticing herself to Alfred Bunce, the local Go-Devil Man in charge of exterminating bogles — scary monsters that live in dark places and eat children. Birdie’s job is to fearlessly turn her back to the bogle’s lair and sing it out into the open so Alfred can kill it with the legendary Finn MacCool’s spear. Alfred’s lost only one apprentice over the years and Birdie is a complete professional, but when a nosy socialite, a wicked thief, and a desperate necromancer get involved, sassy Birdie’s nerve is shaken and her job is on the line. Birdie must fight for her right to bogle!” —Mel Morrow, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig, Patrice Barton (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781582464503, $16.99)
“No one noticed Brian. He didn’t take up very much space and he didn’t say much. Brian was invisible to everyone, even to his teacher. One day, he put a note in the new kid, Justin’s, backpack. Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project and soon Brian doesn’t feel quite so invisible. The collage-like illustrations show Brian’s growing self-confidence as he turns from black-and-white into vibrant color. This is a wonderful story for children who don’t quite fit in as well as for teaching the importance of welcoming everyone!” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud
(Disney, 9781423164913, $16.99)
The Screaming Staircase involves a group of three young ghostbusters who solve the mysterious death of a young actress that occurred more than 50 years ago. Stroud’s characters are well developed, the plotting is fun, and the writing is full of lots of humor that counterbalances the scare-factor and action. Readers who are looking for something a little creepy will definitely enjoy this book!” —Mark Adam, Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop, La Verne, CA

Locomotive, by Brian Floca
(Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 9781416994152, $17.99)
“It is 1869 and a family travels from Omaha to Sacramento on the Transcontinental Railroad. Glorious watercolor-and-ink illustrations depict the changing landscape, the fascinating and comic details on board, and, of course, the mighty locomotive, while a spare text highlights the momentous journey. Presented in an appropriately oversized format, this is another stunner from the author of Moonshot and Lightship.” —Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

The Mesmer Menace: Gadgets and Gears, Book One, by Kersten Hamilton
(Clarion Books, 9780547905686, $16.99)
“This is a most amusing mechanical march among malevolent mesmerizers! It’s 1902 and 12-year-old Wally Kennewickett is a young inventor from a family of inventors living at Kennewickett’s Amazing Automated Inn, where the staff are all clockwork robots. Wally’s parents are out of town when President Theodore Roosevelt arrives disguised as a hobo. He has a secret mission for a scientific mind, and Wally steps up to the challenge. Aided only by his trusty dog Noodles, Wally must save the day and intercept a speeding train. I can’t wait for the next installment in this new series!” —Clare Doornbos, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, CA

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery With Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself, by Science Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
(Quirk Books, 9781594746482, $12.95)
“Nick and Tesla are 11-year-old twins. When their parents mysteriously vanish, the twins are sent to live with Uncle Newt, a classic mad scientist who has parts for this and that littering his house. The twins are free to use these parts and make them into whatever they want. Their first experiment is a low-tech rocket launcher, but it doesn’t work quite as planned and ends up in the yard of a supposedly abandoned house where they notice a girl in the window. Since the police force consists of one man who is also the meter maid and dog catcher, it’s up to Nick and Tesla to figure out what’s going on. And for that they need — well, you need to read this book to find out!” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, by Karen Foxlee
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385753548, $16.99, January)
“My love for this book stems from the magic and prophecy and fantastical world-building, but most of all from the depiction of remarkable young ladies who are inquisitive and caring and wonderfully quick-witted. Ophelia truly exhibits the best — though at times the most under-appreciated — quality of children: an unquenchable curiosity. She is a scientist in truly the best possible way: logical and knowledgeable, but absolutely open to the seemingly impossible when presented with proper evidence. This novel, with its great leading lady, delightful setting, and engaging plot, is sure to charm readers all the way through.” —Brittney Gabbard, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Sky Jumpers, by Peggy Eddleman
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780307981271, $16.99)
Sky Jumpers is an absolutely thrilling, seat-of-your-pants adventure for middle school readers. Fans of The Emerald Atlas and Percy Jackson will rush to this tale about a village that, after WWIII, is one of only a few remaining on what is left of Earth, as ‘green bombs’ have devastated the planet. Sky jumpers plunge into a rarified air pocket that protects and shields the village but that has deadly consequences if one is unaware of the invisible danger. Led by 12-year-old Hope, a group of friends is on a dangerous mission to save their village. This perfect book for younger fans of The Hunger Games is truly fun, inventive, and exciting!” —Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Star Wars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown
(Scholastic Press, 9780545505178, $12.99)
Star Wars, humor, comics, and journal entries — you can’t go wrong with this book. I mean, don’t you want to know the funny things Yoda says? Or see all the mishaps an Ewok pilot can get into? Plus, you’ll hear all about the difficulties of learning to use the Force and light sabers. You’re still reading this? Seriously? Just go get the book already!” —Marika McCoola, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog, by Tom Watson
(HarperCollins, 9780062110817, $12.99)
“Stick Dog and his right-angled friends are back, and they are on another epic quest to steal food for their hungry bellies — this time, hot dogs from Peter’s Frankfurters. Poor Peter — or Pumpkin Head, or Prickle Pop, or Patsy Puffenstuff, depending on which dog is talking — never knows what’s coming as he stands peacefully on the corner with his hot dog cart, blithely rearranging his condiments. Meanwhile, the dogs come up with one hilarious plan after another to get the goods — if only they could trick Piddly-Pants into thinking that Karen, the dachshund, is the world’s biggest frankfurter, or one of them knew how to fly a helicopter! The drawings are hilarious, the dialog is clever, and the ending is satisfying for two- and four-legged creatures alike. You don’t want to miss the ongoing adventures of these funny, furry friends.” —Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

Wake Up Missing, by Kate Messner
(Walker Books for Young Readers, 9780802723147, $16.99)
“This is an intense, well-researched middle grade novel. At an elite brain science center in the Florida Everglades, kids are sent to recover from brain injuries, but little do they know they are being used for an experiment in which scientists hope to ‘reprogram’ each child with the DNA of a famous dead scientist. Can Cat and her fellow patients expose the plot and save themselves from being lost forever?” —Sarah Galvin, The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, NY

For Teen Readers

Across a Star-Swept Sea, by Diana Peterfreund
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062006165, $17.99)
“Inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, this novel has everything that I loved from Peterfreund’s previous book, For Darkness Shows the Stars, but with a story all its own: a fast-paced plot, a captivating post-apocalyptic setting, crazy-enough-to-be-plausible technology, and a simmering romance. Across a Star-Swept Sea is an enchanting amalgam of adventure, political espionage, romance, and science fiction, tinged with humor and wrapped in a sparkling futuristic world.” —Lelia Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, VA

Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062224736, $17.99, January)
Cruel Beauty is a brilliant cross between Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and the classic Beauty and the Beast. Nyx has been brought up knowing she has to marry a demon to avenge her mother and save her existing world. However, the more the reader thinks they have things figured out, the more the story twists and turns into something entirely unexpected. I absolutely loved this book!” —Heidi Koenitzer, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

Curtsies & Conspiracies, by Gail Carriger
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316190114, $18)
“Finishing school might just finish Sophronia this year! Despite having successfully completed her first year — which included the fine arts of etiquette and espionage — an even greater challenge awaits her. Not only must Sophronia up her game and deal with her pariah social status for her sterling grades, but she must also uncover the particulars of a conspiracy that threatens humans and supernaturals alike! This is a deliciously frothy yet thoughtful mix of humor, comedy of manners, mystery, and vampire/werewolf steampunk that transcends genres. Carriger is fabulous!” —Rachel King, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Defy, by Sara B. Larson
(Scholastic Press, 9780545597586, $17.99, January)
“Larson wows readers with this debut set during a raging war between two nations. When Alexa and Marcel’s parents are killed, to spare herself from a breeding house for orphaned girls Alexa cuts off her hair and is drafted into the army disguised as a boy. Years later, Alex, now an undefeated fighter in the prince’s guard, is sworn to protect the arrogant and lazy prince. After an attempt on the prince’s life, Alex sees another side to him and is swept into a plot that may save the kingdom. Action-packed and heart-wrenching, Larson’s tale takes readers on a journey of courage and love.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

The Extra, by Kathryn Lasky
(Candlewick Press, 9780763639723, $16.99)
“This important historical novel tells the little-known story of the fate of the Gypsies during the Holocaust. It is told through the eyes of a courageous girl chosen to be an extra in the propaganda films made by Hitler’s filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. As seen through the eyes of this 16-year-old, the frightening horrors of the Holocaust come to life in a new way. An informative book for all ages, and a great new resource for educators.” —Isabel Berg, Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH

Heartbeat, by Elizabeth Scott
(Harlequin Teen, 9780373210961, $16.99, January)
“Every day after school Emma talks to her mother, but she never responds. Her mother is in a coma, kept alive by machines until she can deliver the baby she’s carrying, the step-sibling Emma doesn’t want to think about. Emma also doesn’t want to think about Dan, the stepfather she loved until her mother’s death showed his true colors. He wants to move on with his new baby and his new family and forget about Emma and her mother and the family they once were, or at least that’s how it seems. Scott knows just how to create empathy for characters ravaged by grief and guilt. There’s no easy ending here and Scott doesn’t try for one, which ultimately makes this a beautiful and affecting story.” —Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

How to Love, by Katie Cotugno
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062216359, $17.99)
“Reena has always loved Sawyer, but Sawyer wasn’t ready for that all consuming love, so he left. Three years later, he returns to find that life as he knew it has changed. Reena isn’t the same happy-go-lucky girl she was, but now is a mother to a three-year-old who looks a lot like Sawyer. Told in alternating chapters, ‘Before’ and ‘After,’ readers will fall in love with Reena and Sawyer and travel through the pages into their lives where they’ll learn that all mistakes have consequences but not all consequences are bad.” —Alexis Sky, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

Inhuman, by Kat Falls
(Scholastic Press, 9780545370998, $17.99)
“This futuristic tale begins amidst a zombie-like apocalypse that has rocked the United States. People aren’t turning into zombies as we know them, but rather gradually take on animal characteristics until they become feral and lose their humanity completely. Delaney Park has grown up on the side of a massive wall that keeps the remaining uninfected humans safe from the feral beasts, but when she finds herself on the other side of the wall, she realizes that some of these ‘beasts’ may be more human than anyone knows.” —Madison Butler, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA

Just One Year, by Gayle Forman
(Dutton Juvenile, 9780525425922, $17.99)
“In this sequel to Forman’s Just One Day, readers are given Willem’s story. Willem travels from one place to the next and one girl to the next, but after one day in Paris with Allyson he is changed forever. He travels the world searching for Allyson but on the way he finds himself. Willem connects with people from his past and learns that love is more than a ‘stain.’ Forman knows how to pull at readers’ heartstrings and offers an incredible novel about a boy and his breathtaking journey toward romance.” —Darlene Kolb, Mystery Ink, Huntington Beach, CA

The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield, by John Bemelmans Marciano, Sophie Blackall (Illus.)
(Viking Juvenile, 9780670014064, $16.99)
“Alexander is a horrible boy. It runs in his family. The Baddenfields are the source of pretty much every bad thing that has ever happened, and Alexander is no different. He is determined to steal the eight extra lives of his cat, and after tracking down a scientist mad enough to attempt such a procedure, he finds himself with nine lives. The Baddenfields have notoriously short lives, but with all of his extra ones Alexander decides he has to discover the most interesting ways to die and try them out for himself. This book is absolutely hilarious, chock-full of morbid humor.” —Morgan Turnage, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Picture Me Gone, by Meg Rosoff
(Putnam Juvenile, 9780399257650, $17.99)
“Rosoff, as always, delivers a stunning, emotional read with Picture Me Gone. Mila, a twelve-year-old Londoner, has accompanied Gil, her father, to New York where his estranged best friend, Matthew, has disappeared. Mila is an observer with a keen eye and she connects small details others dismiss or overlook. She’s puzzled by Matthew’s disappearance, and as she and Gil attempt to unravel the mysteries of Matthew’s life — his motives, his relationships, his guilt — Mila comes to important realizations about life, trust, and the things that define who we are. A brilliant story beautifully told.” —Sara Grochowski, Blue Phoenix Books, Alpena, MI

Roomies, by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
(Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316217491, $18)
Roomies is a novel in two voices — that of Elizabeth, a Jersey girl who is preparing to fly across the country to escape life with her mom for a new start at a San Francisco college, and Lauren, a Bay Area native who is torn between a need for some space of her own and worry over leaving her big, chaotic, loving family. Assigned to be roommates, they begin a summer-long correspondence, progressing from mini-fridges to deeper concerns about friends, family, and boys. As the first day of school — and move-in day — approaches, tensions at home spill into their new and fragile friendship, making each girl wonder about her ability to take this next big step toward adulthood.” —Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

Where the Stars Still Shine, by Trish Doller
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781619631441, $17.99)
“When she was a child, Callie was stolen from her family by her mother and has been on the run for more than 10 years, living in very rough circumstances. When the past finally catches up with her mother, Callie is returned to her family and she must figure out how to move on from her damaging past and learn to be part of her family again. Doller captures an authentic voice for Callie and makes this story impossible to put down.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX