The Diviners

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Title: The Diviners

Author: Libba Bray

Summary: Evie O’Neill finds herself in big trouble over a little parlor trick she performed at a party.  She only meant to get a little attention when she took Harold Brodie’s class ring and attempted to divine a few of his secrets for the crowd.  Instead, she ended up incurring the wrath of the Brodie family and getting banished from her small town of Zenith, Ohio to her Uncle’s home in New York city.  But being sent to one of the most lively cities in the country during the 1920’s is hardly a punishment for a girl who has always been too much for her hometown.  New York city is exactly where Evie wants to be and all she has to do to stay is live with her Uncle Will, a man who stirs up his own fair share of gossip being the head of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, and abide by the few rules he sets.

It doesn’t take long before Evie is swept up into the bustle of New York City and reacquainting herself with a childhood best friend and making friends with an exotic Ziegfeld girl, but the good times grind to a halt when a grisly serial killer with ties to the occult starts to accumulate a body count.  Uncle Will is called in by police to help decipher the cryptic symbols left at the murder scenes and Evie talks herself into being included in the case.  It’s a case where her ability to divine secrets from personal objects may just be the key to stopping the killer or in possibly marking her as the next victim.  However, Evie isn’t alone in her efforts to catch the killer or in possessing a unique and otherworldly gift.  Her uncle’s assistant, Jericho hides a secret while her new friend, Theta, is trying to escape from her past. And then there’s Memphis, a young man who has lost his parents and his gift but fights to protect and take care of his younger brother.

Who will like this book?:  Anyone with an appreciation for intelligent and well-written stories will throughly enjoy Libba Bray’s writings.  It’s rare to find a mystery/thriller driven by such well-developed characters, especially one where the paranormal is a key aspect of the storyline.   She’s the only YA author who can make 578 pages seem like a quick read and have you wishing the book was longer.

If you like this, try this:  Thank goodness this is the first in a proposed trilogy because this story is simply too big (and too good) to be confined to one book.  While you wait for the sequel to come out, try some of Libba Bray’s other writings, especially her Gemma Doyle trilogy.   If you are looking for another great historical fiction book try Code Name Verity, there’s no paranormal in the story, but it is an amazing historical story featuring strong female characters in life-and-death situations.  Ruta Sepetys, Out of Easy is another great historical fiction mystery that doesn’t feature the paranormal.  But if paranormal historical fiction is what you want to stay with, give Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy a try.

Recommended by:  Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

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Paper Valentine

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Title: Paper Valentine

Author: Brenna Yovanoff

Summary: Hannah just wants things to go back to normal. She wants to enjoy the summer, hang out with friends, and maybe even talk to the brawny, delinquent, possibly not-to-bright but surprisingly kind cute, Finny Boone.  But how can anything ever be normal again when your best friend dies? Lillian died six months ago, but she’s not gone…at least not for Hannah. Hannah sees Lillian everywhere, in her room, at the mall, even at her job at the local photo developing place. She’s haunted by Lillian, not just the thought of her, but the actual nagging specter of her friend.

Then the murders start happening and Hannah’s small-town becomes locked down with fear. Young girls are being murdered and the biggest clue police seem to have is a paper heart left at each crime scene.  Hannah finds herself drawn into the mystery by her ghostly friend and soon realizes that she may be the only one who can stop the killing.

Who will like this?: At its heart, this is a mystery but there is also a bit of romance, a fair amount of friendship and fighting, and of course the paranormal (it is a ghost story after all.)

If you like this, try this: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Every Other Day

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Title: Every Other Day

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Summary:  Every second day Kali is just your average 16-year-old girl, who reluctantly transferred halfway through first semester junior year from a gifted high school program run by her father’s university to public school.  She has no friends,  a mother who disappeared when she was just a kid, and an absentee father who doesn’t seem to understand her at all.

But every other day she is something else entirely.  She is confident and beyond strong.   And, on those days she is not human.  She is the thing that hunts and kills supernatural creatures that would do harm to the human race and she is practically indestructible.   Kali doesn’t know what she is on those days, but she knows there is no denying her need to hunt and destroy evil.

One day, Kali notices a demon mark on the back of the most popular girl at school.  A mark that means she will be dead within 24 hours.  Unfortunately,  it is on a day when Kali is simply a human.  Without the benefit of super strength or extraordinary healing powers Kali decides to try to save this girl.  It’s a decision that will change everything.  It will create friendships, threaten family relationships, endanger lives, and change the hunter within Kali.

Who will like this book?:  If you like strong-willed, tough female main characters in paranormal settings this is the book for you.

If you like this, try this: Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Raised by Wolves and Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Summary: When Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital she has no idea how she got there.  She doesn’t remember what she was doing in the building that collapsed and left her trapped until rescuers pulled her free.  And, she doesn’t remember that the three friends who accompanied her into the building weren’t so lucky.  All Mara knows is that she seems to have a very loose grasp on her sanity and that she can’t continue to live in the same town and go to the same school without her now dead best friend.

To help her deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder, Mara’s family packs up and moves to Florida where Mara and her older brother enroll at a prep school.  The only problem is Mara’s mental illness appears to be progressing to the point where she is now seeing things and people who no one else can see.  It’s definitely not the right time to get involved with the school heartbreaker, but he might be just what Mara needs in her life.  Because, he may hold the key to understanding Mara’s visions/hallucinations and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deadly accident that brought them together.

Who will like this book?: Fans of paranormal mysteries with a healthy dose of Twilight-like romance will fly through this page-turner.  The only part you won’t like is waiting for the sequel to come out in the fall.

If you like this, try this: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Fallen by Lauren Kate, or City of Bones by Cassandra Clare,

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

A Monster Calls

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Title: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Illustrator: Jim Kay

Summary: When the giant yew tree from Conor’s backyard comes to life it doesn’t really scare  him. Because it’s not the monster he’d been expecting. Not the one from the nightmares he’s been having ever since his mom got sick. This monster is different: He is ancient, wise and a little snarky. As we follow Conor through his days being picked on at school, reuniting with his visiting Dad who has moved to America to start a new family and battling with his grandmother who insists he start planning for a future without his mom, the monster visits at night and tells Conor three stories. They are not what Conor expects them to be, but they force him to confront both the demonic monster of his nightmares and the reasons for its existence.

Like the monster’s stories themselves, this book is not what you expect it to be. It might sound like a typical kid-with-sick-mom story with a monster thrown in for good measure. But just when you think you know how the story will go, it will take another surprising turn. Patrick Ness, author of the terrific Chaos Walking trilogy and talented illustrator Jim Kay, who provides dynamic and just-plain-creepy images throughout, completed this book after Siobhan Dowd’s untimely death. Like her stories, this tale is so much more than the sum of its parts. This short book tells a story about growing up that you will never forget.

Who will like this book?: Readers of all ages who like a lot of heart and soul with their thrills and chills. Fans of fractured fairy tales and illustrated novels.

If you like this, try this: M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman. Harvey: How I Became Invisible by Herve Bouchard.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

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Title: This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Author:  Kenneth Oppel

Summary:  Written as a prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this story introduces us to a young Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother, Konrad. They are as close as two people can be, yet in some ways their personalities are in direct odds with each other.  Konrad is the one everyone loves and respects.  He is smarter, more athletic, and kinder and it all seems to come so easily for him. Victor knows Konrad is the better of the pair and deep in his heart he is starting to resent his brother’s goodness.   

Then Konrad becomes deathly ill. Doctors can’t seem to cure him, but Victor believes he has found a way. Hidden in a secret underground dark library Victor finds a book on potions that contains an entry for the forbidden Elixir of Life. Victor enlists the help of his cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry to embark on a dangerous mission to collect the ingredients for this lifesaving draught.  Victor knows he can save his brother if only he is willing to go against everything he was raised to believe, forgo the love of which he dreams, and sacrifice a part of himself.    

Who will like this?: Oppel’s tale of gothic horror holds appeal to fans of adventure, alchemy, heart-wrenching emotions, love, and mystery.

If you like this, try this: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey.

Recommended by: Jen, Branch Teen Librarian

Find this book at the Fairfield Public Library or Fairfield Woods Branch Library.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

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Title: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Author: Lish McBride

Summary: Sam is just your ordinary college drop-out passing the time working in a fast-food restaurant and hanging out with friends.  It’s a rather unremarkable, bland life until a disturbing encounter with Douglas, a powerful necromancer, changes everything.   Douglas senses Sam’s previously undetected and undeveloped powers as a necromancer and believes him to be a threat with which to be swiftly dealt.  Now Sam has a sinister new archenemy bent on converting him to an evil apprentice or getting rid of him altogether, the undeveloped talent for raising the dead and controlling them, a re-animated friend who is missing her body from the neck down, and a hot werewolf girl for company.     

Who will like this book?:  This fast-paced buddy action book combines humor, horror, supernatural fantasy, and a bit of romance to create a highly entertaining and addicting read for mature teens. 

If you like this, try this: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series by Heather Brewer, Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins, Thirsty by M.T. Anderson, Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian