Publishers Weekly reported on the YA and Middle Grade Editor’s Buzz panels highlighting their favorite fall releases.
The YA Favorites
Carrier of the Mark revolves about Megan, a girl who’s just moved to Ireland, where she falls in love with the mysterious Adam. But they are two of four “marked ones,” editor Erica Sussman of HarperCollins explained, with powers linked to the natural elements; their romance threatens the entire world.
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick, is, “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Ferris Bueller with a dash of John Green,” as a suburbanite kid takes a geeky Lithuanian exchange student to his high school prom in New York City. But she turns out to be a trained assassin, and the two embark on an adventure as he tries to foil her plans. “It’s an intelligent, fast-paced thriller,” Raymo said, “And it really captures New York City at its best. It’s the city that never sleeps; anything is possible here.”
The plot of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of the “sexiest, most exciting mysteries” she’s ever read. “The ending threw me for a loop,” she said of the tale of a girl who wakes up from a coma after an accident in which her friends are killed, not knowing what happened. Like Mara Dyer, Max, the main character in Down the Mysterly River doesn’t know what happened either, when he finds himself in a forest populated by talking animals. Before long, Max and his friends are on the run, fleeing from hunters who want to change their very essence. “It’s a story with unforgettable characters,” editor Susan Chang declared, explaining that the author is a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs. “It’s the kind of fiction that comes out of the pulp fiction tradition.”
The Middle Grade Favorites
The Dragon’s Tooth is N.D. Wilson’s fifth book, and launches the five-book Ashtown Burials series. The Dragon’s Tooth employs some of the Americana and mythology present in Wilson’s earlier books (including a connection to his first book, Leepike Ridge), The Dragon’s Tooth, like Wilson’s other books, isn’t just about escapism. Rather it’s about recognizing the wonder in the real world (for example, of the speed at which the Earth hurtles around the sun—18 miles per second) and getting kids to “go out and engage in it.”
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. The book’s premise—a world in which 13-year-olds who display any creativity are sent to their deaths—is particularly well-suited to the insecurities of the tween years. Referencing the book’s title, Abrams said, “Who among us has never felt unwanted?” adding, “No one feels it in the most powerful, painful way than a 12-year-old.”
Wildwood by Colin Meloy, set in a magic-inflected version of Portland, Ore., is a book with “bizarre mystery,” pacing, humor, and characterizations. “If you need a reason to buy the book, it’s on page 173 and it’s a badger with a rickshaw,”—85 illustrations by Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis, appear throughout—“It doesn’t get better than that.”
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy (Colin Meloy’s sister) kept with the family theme with modern-day readers possibly finding parallels between the book’s 1950s London setting, amid fears of nuclear war, and the “constant low-grade or maybe high-grade tensions” and what they might themselves feel regarding current world events.
I've added these to my "to read" list for the fall. Which book(s) sounds good to you?