As promised, I wanted to share some of the titles that I heard about in the publisher previews at the KidLitCon precon. I was invited to both Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, and I've separated them by that. I'm not going to talk about all of the books I heard about because that would take forever, but I am going to highlight the books that stood out to me.
Descriptions come from WorldCat and some from Goodreads. I've included my notes where possible, including genre and/or whether the title is a debut or not.
Simon & Schuster
33 Minutes Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My Butt by Todd Hasak-Lowy (January 2013): An epic lunch period leads to a fateful showdown as small, skinny seventh-grader Sam's former best friend--now a popular athlete--promises to beat Sam up at recess in exactly thirty-three minutes.
This middle grade novel takes on the topic of what happens when a friendship ends, and they were very excited to point out it was RJ Palacio's first blurb for a book.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (January 2013): Seventeen-year-old Felicia Ward is dead and spending her time in the hive reliving her happy memories--but when Julian, a dark memory from her past, breaks into the hive and demands that she come with him, she discovers that even the afterlife is more complicated and dangerous then she dreamed.
They called this one a paranormal adventure with romance and described it as high concept. Having read it, I would agree with the adventure, romance, and high-concept bits, but I'm not so sure on paranormal. It's got bits of it, but I think labeling it as paranormal makes it sound like something it's not.
They Call Me A Hero: A Memoir of My Youth by Daniel Hernandez and Susan Goldman Rubin (February 2013): There's not a WorldCat description up on this one yet, but it's a non-fiction memoir from Hernandez. Who is that? Well, he's the teenager who helped save Gabby Giffords's life. It's a story of his youth and what led him to act as he did on that day. Note: he's only 19 or 20 now, so this should make for a really interesting read.
The Program by Suzanne Young (April 2013): When suicide becomes a worldwide epidemic, the only known cure is The Program, a treatment in which painful memories are erased, a fate worse than death to seventeen-year-old Sloane who knows that The Program will steal memories of her dead brother and boyfriend.
I like Suzanne's writing, so I'm looking forward to this one. They called it fast paced, and said there is a sequel coming out next year (2014).
Panic by Sharon Draper (March 2013): As rehearsals begin for the ballet version of Peter Pan, the teenaged members of an Ohio dance troupe lose their focus when one of their own goes missing.
This one was talked up as being a book where the girl who goes missing chooses to get into a car with a guy who ends up kidnapping her. He then uses her and posts videos of her on the internet, except this book never shows these things on page. It's all alluded to, making it more chilling.
There were other titles talked about at the preview, but the bulk were picture books or middle grade novels that didn't necessarily resonate with me. I'm positive other bloggers will talk them up, though.
I'm going to be really selective about which titles I'm talking about from Harper because they showcased so many. These are the ones that caught my eye in some way or that I plan on reading. I'm going to sneak in a few others that might not be my thing but would be of interest to others.
The House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini (April 2013): The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff's dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family's secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.
So, we know Vizzini, right? This is a middle grade adventure book that will kick off a series, and while it's not my thing, I'm stuck on the fact it's cowritten by Chris Columbus . . . the one from The Goonies.
The Madman's Daughter (January 2013): Dr. Moreau's daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father's island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle.
This one was described as very atmospheric, and it's a debut novel. It's also the first in a trilogy.
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan (February 2013): Steven "Crash" Crashinsky relates his sordid ten-year relationship with David "Burn" Burnett, the boy he stopped from taking their high school hostage at gunpoint.
Aside from being a contemporary novel and a debut novel, this book is huge. I got an ARC of it and am really excited to read it...but it is 530 pages in ARC form, with tiny font. I can't imagine the size when it's a standard book. Either way, it sounds great.
A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger (June 2013): Fifteen-year-old Mike desperately attempts to take control as his parents separate and his life falls apart.
This is another contemporary and it tackles the voice of an anorexic male. It was called out as dark, meaning it moved to the top of my books I want to read pile.
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown (June 2013): Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?
Brown's book is the first in a trilogy and it was drawing comparisons to Anna Godbersen's The Luxe but with magicians, as well as comparisons to Libba Bray's The Diviners.
The End Games by T. Michael Martin (May 2013): There's not a good description of this one yet, and Goodreads's is pretty dumb, but here it is anyway -- Martin's debut, The End Games, is about two brothers braving the apocalypse in the wilderness of West Virginia, pitched as The Stand meets John Green.
Obviously, this is a debut and it's about the zombie apocalypse. The folks at Harper were really keen on the "x meets y" pitching method during the preview, but their pitch for this one was The Road meets The Stand. I don't even get why John Green is mentioned in the Goodreads description. I'm assuming because the characters are probably realistic. I realize this is tangential, but these sorts of pitches are fairly meaningless and dumb. Because really? The Stand meets John Green? Fortunately, the description they gave at the preview beyond the pitch made this sound great. No cover yet.
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (February 2013): Told in their separate voices, eighteen-year-old Will who has aged out of foster care, and fifteen-year-old Zoe whose father beats her, set out for Las Vegas together, but their escape may prove more dangerous than what they left behind.
It's a debut contemporary and it's a paperback original. The pitch was Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay, which again, pretty much means nothing. The description sells it way better.
Mind Games by Kiersten White (February 2013): Seventeen-year-old Fia and her sister, Annie, are trapped in a school that uses young female psychics and mind readers as tools for corporate espionage--and if Fia doesn't play by the rules of their deadly game, Annie will be killed.
This was sold as a dark psychological thriller and that it was a page turner. I'm game. There is a sequel to come.
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn (June 2013): A year after vanishing from a party, screaming and drenched in blood, seventeen-year-old Annaliese Rose Gordon appears hundreds of miles from home with no memory, but a haunting certainty that she is actually another girl trapped in Annaliese's body.
Literary horror that is dark and gritty! This was likened to Sara Shepard and Stephen King.
I'm not going to name names (September Girls by Bennett Madison, out June 2013), but there is another mermaid book coming out. Actually, the pitch was that this was a realistic book "with a twist" and that "twist" was a "touch of mermaid." It tackles gender and sexuality, which sounds really fascinating, but I'm completely turned off by the touch of mermaid.
Pulse by Patrick Carman (February 2013): In the year 2051, when most Americans live in one of two gigantic, modern States, Faith Daniels, part of a dwindling group that lives between, learns that she, like other misfits, has unusual abilities that could help when the inevitable war begins.
The pitch was that this was the start of a new futuristic fantasy trilogy and that it was the best book Carman has written to date.
Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley (March 2013): Sixteen-year-old Angie finds herself in her neighborhood with no recollection of her abduction or the three years that have passed since, until alternate personalities start telling her their stories through letters and recordings.
It's a debut contemporary title, and it tackles multiple personality disorder. It was described as "disturbing." Yes, please.
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (March 2013): Sixteen-year-old Mila discovers she is not who--or what--she thought she was, which causes her to run from both the CIA and a rogue intelligence group.
They called this one a spy-thriller with artificial intelligence and suspense. Driza is a debut author.
Arclight by Josin McQuein (April 2013): There is the Light. There is the Dark. And no one survives The Fade. These are the absolutes... until a teenage girl stumbles out of the shadows with no memory of how she survived. Her appearance brings hope, but also danger as a race of parasitic, chameleon-like creatures known as The Fade begin attacking those who have given her shelter. Torn between the possibility that she's the key to defeating the Fade, and the growing dissent that would sacrifice the girl in hopes of stopping the attacks, she's hard pressed to find anyone she can trust. She finds a strained ally in the son of the man who died to bring her to safety. And when the two teens stumble across a captive Fade who begs them for help locating his lost mate, they begin to wonder if the Fade are the enemy they've been taught to believe.
That's the lengthy Goodreads description, but in short, it's a scifi thriller and the cover (which I couldn't find online) is shiny. Very shiny. McQuein has a couple of books coming out next year but I believe this one is her debut.
Reboot by Amy Tintera (May 2013): Two teens who have "rebooted" after dying must work together to rescue their kind from enslavement and end up falling in love in the process.
Tintera's book is a debut and the first in a series. This was sold as a great next read for Divergent fans.
Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum: Twenty years after robots designed to fight wars abandoned the battlefields and turned their weapons against humans, siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass must risk everything when the wilderness community where they have spent their lives in hiding is discovered by the bots.
Robots. Robots. ROBOTS. That's all there is to say on that. This is also a debut, and it comes from the creators of Homeland and Destination (which I'm taking to mean this is a packager, but either way, it's robots and that sells me).
Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph (March 2013): Fifteen-year-old Nina Perez is faced with a future she never expected. She must leave her Garden of Eden, her lush home in the Dominican Republic, when she's sent by her mother to seek out a better life with her brother in New York. As Nina searches for some glimpse of familiarity amid the jarring world of Washington Heights, she must uncover her own strength. She learns to uncover roots within foreign soil and finds a way to grow, just like the orchids that blossom on her fire escape. And when she is confronted by ugly secrets about her brother's business, she comes to understand the realities of life in this new place. But then she meets him-that green-eyed boy- who she can't erase from her thoughts, the one who just might help her learn to see beauty in spite of tragedy.
Asylum by Madeleine Roux (April 2013): About three teens at a summer program for gifted students who uncover disturbing secrets beneath the sanatorium-turned-dorm where they're staying - secrets that connect all three of them to the asylum's dark past.
This one was described as Miss Peregrine meets The Shining -- it includes images of abandoned asylums. It's "creepy."
I have maybe touched on half of the books talked about during the Harper presentation, and I noticed when I got to the end of my note-taking, the notes were becoming more one-word notes than anything else ("end" or "friendship" are among some of the thoughtful and thorough notes I took). That said, a number of big series are wrapping up next year, including Michael Grant's Gone series, Lauren Oliver's Delirium series, and Josie Angellini's Starcrossed series.
This is the small pile I (mostly) took home. A few didn't end up making it into my bag because of space issues. I'm pretty excited about these!