Children’s and Young Adult Newsletter 10: October 2014

One year ago, 17-year-old Sylvie’s brother vanished, leaving her alone and the under-aged heir to their dead parents’ Victorian estate. One month ago, on the eve of an arranged marriage to a man many years her senior, Sylvie ran away to find her brother’s killer. Her only hope-her only suspect-is the last witness to see her brother alive: London’s greatest detective, Alistair McClellan. At nineteen, he is also London’s youngest detective. And though a serial killer has personally challenged him, and despite the people camped on the front lawn begging him to stop the Cloaked Killer’s crime spree, Alistair refuses to take the case. What the desperate public doesn’t know is that during the incident in which Sylvie’s brother disappeared, Alistair sustained a head injury that resulted in a form of short-term memory loss; his memories only last the duration of an investigation. Using this to her advantage, Sylvie has lied her way into his life, planning to learn his investigative techniques and eventually use them against him. Though Alistair tried to carry on as before, his first client after the accident was killed before he could solve her case, and as a result, he has sworn off murder cases. Now he investigates lost lap dogs and missing jewels-with a scheming Sylvie at his side. But time for Sylvie is running out. In less than a year the Detective’s mentor will return from a trip abroad, and her cover will be blown. She has to stay in disguise for a season. One season to discover what happened to her brother. To come to terms with her ambiguous feelings about the Detective. To solve the three cases the Detective has agreed to investigate, as well as the one he’s refused. Because the Cloaked Killer isn’t going away. THE SINISTER SEASON is Bethany Griffin‘s first book in a thrilling new series about Sylvie and the detective, their hunt for a serial killer, and Sylvie’s quest to bring her brother’s killer to justice. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

Emmy-nominated TV personality, mother of two, and breast cancer survivor, Samantha Harris, with her husband, Michael Hess, embark upon a new adventure in their first children’s picture book, LILLY LEMONADE MAKES NEW FRIENDS. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing three surgeries, including a double mastectomy, Samantha wanted to stay focused on the positive. So, she and Michael launched to inspire positivity in the face of adversity. In an effort to help teach their young daughters how to face disappointing situations by turning them into a positive, they decided to extend their new brand. Each book in the series will elaborate on this theme – making lemonade out of lemons. Based on their own girls, the first book in the Gotta Make Lemonade series introduces 6-year-old Lilly, a talented closeted-performer, and her silly, high-energy 3-year-old sister, Lila. The story reveals Lilly’s sadness and nervousness about entering kindergarten without her safety-net best friend from preschool. After clinging to her parents on the first day, a crying Lilly discovers another girl in her class with a similar sadness. With a little help from their kind new teacher and some bonding time on the playground, Lilly discovers a newfound friend. When life deals you lemons, as her parents tell her, you “gotta make lemonade.” And so she does, proclaiming, “Just call me Lilly Lemonade!” Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

Seventeen-year-old Nora Ives loves fashion, money, and herself. And sometimes her best friend Steph. After a shocking family event sends Nora reeling, she is forced to confront life for the first time without the armor of designer clothes and a bottomless bank account. When she begins to look closely at what she has always held dear, Nora is shocked by the dark reaches of her own heart and how carelessly she has treated other people. With a missing father, a best friend who wants nothing to do with her, and a school full of people thrilled to see the rich bully brought down, she has no one to turn to but Malcolm, the arty coffee shop guy who finds her vapid self-affection amusing. K.M. Walton‘s GIRL IN PROGRESS is a bracing consideration of power and privilege shot through with a lot of heart and forgiveness and compassion. It is challenging, essential reading. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

One wintry morning, Bear wakes up early from hibernation and wants to go fishing. Rabbit explains that the stream is frozen and will stay that way until Spring when the sun melts the ice. But stubborn Bear doesn’t want to wait. So he grabs his fishing pole and heads for the highest mountain he can find. Since he knows the sun swallows up the stars every morning, he catches a star and hooks it to his line for bait. And then, he catches the sun. But when he brings the sun back to the woods, things don’t go quite the way he planned-the sun melts Racoon’s snowman, wakes up the owls, and even starts a fire! What will Bear do now? With SUNFISHING, veteran author/illustrator Joe Kulka (MY CROCODILE DOES NOT BITE, WOLF’S COMING) weaves a charmingly fanciful story that shows young readers how the seasons work, and how one silly Bear can throw everything out of whack. Please note, John Rudolph is the agent on this project.

The clock is ticking for diminutive high school sophomore and eternal optimist Agnes Delaney. Trapped in the body of an 85-year-old, Agnes suffers from progeria, a rare disease that causes her to age at roughly ten times the normal rate. Fortunately, her best friend and protector is Amazonian-sized goth girl Moira Watkins, who is fierce and unwavering in her loyalty. Moira is horrified when, after an altercation in the cafeteria, Agnes befriends seething loner Boone Craddock, a boy they were both close to back in fifth grade but who drifted away after his father’s death. When the school sends Boone to Agnes’ house to do yard work as part of a new zero-tolerance bullying policy, the three of them slowly begin to recreate the bond they once shared. This time, though, new feelings of longing start to surface along with anger over old betrayals. As tensions between Agnes, Boone and Moira reach a boiling point, Agnes’ health takes a dramatic turn for the worse. During one final night together, the three of them must find a way back to connection or risk losing each other forever. Nicole McInnes writes in an unsparing yet life-affirming vein about the differences that set us apart and bring us together. A contemporary young adult novel with strong adult crossover appeal, 100 DAYS explores what it means to accept the challenge of living life to its fullest before ultimately letting it go. Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

If you’re a kid with a problem, seven-year-old Veronica Rossi has a solution. Inventive, exuberant, and totally unforgettable, this first grader loves helping kids in need, like Maya who’s too worried to play at recess, or Noah, who’s getting bullied after school, or Dylan, who’s protesting his parents’ divorce. Veronica’s got a heart of gold and a head full of big ideas, but sometimes her big ideas backfire, and her solutions create more problems. To help kids who are struggling, Veronica needs help herself-so she mobilizes a motley crew of problem-solving city kids called THE FIXERS; a chapter book series that takes beloved elements of early reader literature-the precocious kid narrator, the brother/sister odd couple, the club trope-and does something entirely new: it opens up a world of socio-emotional issues and makes them accessible and engaging for children, just as The Magic Tree House did for history. Combining the likability of Junie B. Jones with the substance of WonderTHE FIXERS will be as appealing to educators and parents as it is to kids. Nicole C. Kear is the author of the recent memoir, Now I See You (St. Martin’s, June 2014) which was described by People magazine as “hilariously inspiring … a showstopper,” and is herself the mother to three adorable children, not unlike the siblings in this series! Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows, covered in ash, and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California, and unable to reach his father, a NYC detective likely on the way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? Gae Polisner‘s THE MEMORY OF THINGS tells a stunning story of friendship and first love, and carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy, all against a backdrop of loss and unforgettable pain. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

Jane Maye’s life changes the day she discovers her enigmatic, recently deceased Grandma Adoette’s antique twin lens camera. Intrigued, she enrolls in the photography class at the middle-of-nowhere high school she’ll be attending until her parents can renovate and sell off Adoette’s creepy old Victorian house that’s cluttered with artifacts that pique Jane’s curiosity about her family’s past. Born and raised a city girl, Jane is less than thrilled about her new rural surroundings, but the change of scenery might be just what she needs to start over after her recent stint at New Beginnings-a youth mental health facility. She uses her grandma’s camera to take photos of the cat outside her bedroom window, the quiet girl sitting next to her in class, the crush-worthy guy who gave her the cold shoulder her first day of school. But when it comes time to develop the film, her new hobby turns deadly. Every photo she took is marred by a second image, a mysterious double exposure which shows how the person will die. Before Jane can determine the source of the images, the lives of everyone she aimed her camera at are in danger. Now it’s her responsibility to save those she inadvertently condemned from the grim ends they were never intended to meet. But is it possible to change what the camera exposed? DEADLY FOCUS by Bethany Neal is an eerie YA mystery about insidious family secrets that explores what determines our destiny, our lives, our deaths. Is it fate? The choices we make? Or something else entirely…something sinister? Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

Kiva lives on the planet Gle’ah in a primitive matriarchal society where a female telepath called the Vagra rules the tribe. When Kiva has a vision of Strangers arriving from beyond the stars, she’s chosen to become the next Vagra and lead her people in preparation them for the coming threat. Meanwhile, Matthew has been forced by the North American government to fly across the galaxy in search of a habitable planet for the resettlement of Earth. He thinks he’s been given a death sentence: 50 years in cryostasis, followed by a quick death on some barren world. But then he and his crew land on Gle’ah and discover the strange, beautiful creatures who live there. Human and alien, Kiva and Matthew should be enemies: If Matthew tells Earth that Gle’ah is the planet they’ve been looking for, it will mean the end of Kiva’s way of life. But instead, they discover an emotional connection they never expected-and as they begin to delve into the secrets of Matthew’s mission and the dark truth behind the seeming paradise of Gle’ah, the choices they make will have consequences for both of their worlds. With its epic interstellar romance, an inventive new world where women are in charge, and plenty of action and adventure, Andrew DeYoung‘s KIVA AND THE STRANGER will appeal to fans of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy and Alexandra Duncan’s Salvage. Please note, John Rudolph is the agent on this project.

Josie Brown has no idea the Organic Food Store is haunted until he sees the rotting, shrieking ghost baby in the paper towel aisle. Then the nightmares start. The little girl across the street disappears from her bed, and Josie wakes up in her room the very night she goes missing. Just about everyone in Sydney, Australia – including his workaholic parents and ambivalent teachers – thinks Josie took the little girl from her bed. It isn’t long before the police, reporters, and an angry mob accuse the weird, quiet 14-year-old of being a monster. When the little boy down the street goes missing, Josie wonders if maybe they’re right. Maybe he did do it. Maybe he is a monster. Only two people might believe in him – Emerald, the new girl and daughter of the great marine biologist, who has been tracking the children’s disappearances, and Manhattan, local surf star, intimidating wild girl, and sister of one of the missing kids. Together, the three discover that what is taking the children is not human at all, but something much more ancient, powerful, unstoppable and deadly. Josie will have to face whatever lives in the Organic Food Store, and the monster himself – Bangkok, a centuries-old, baby-eating, amphibious, giant squid, with moray eel tentacles. But first, he’ll have to face his own demons, and learn to trust his new friends, if he’s going to clear his name and save the missing kids. HAUNTED ORGANIC by Kim Foster is a creepy and unique upper middle grade reading experience that will delight kids of all ages. Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

Trenton Coleman is a creative twelve year old with a knack for all thing mechanical, but his talents are less than appreciated in Cove-a steam-powered city built inside a mountain, where creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word. Expecting that he’ll be assigned to train as a mechanic, he’s heartbroken when he’s sent to Food Production to keep him away from the temptation of playing with the machines. Though frustrated to be there, he’s intrigued to meet Kallista Babbage, repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, who supposedly killed himself and others in an explosion while trying to modify a water heater-an incident held up as an example of the danger of creativity. Working together, they discover that Kallista’s father was developing a secret project when he perished. Following clues he left before his death, they begin to assemble a machine neither of them can at first identify. When they realize the machine they are building is actually a steam powered dragon, they worry that maybe Leo had lost his mind. But as they begin to question everything around them, they realize he wasn’t crazy, and that what they know about their city and its history couldn’t be further from the truth. And now two kids and a coal-burning mechanical dragon might be the only chance to save their city from a threat they never could have imagined-real, live, fire-breathing dragons. COVE is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series from Case File 13 series author J. Scott Savage that is equal parts Dragon Rider and City of Ember. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

A hundred years have passed since Earth was annexed by the zhree. A few diehard extremists still oppose alien governance, but seventeen-year-old Donovan Reyes isn’t one of them. His father is Prime Liaison of West America’s collaborationist government, and Donovan’s political pedigree along with his exocel-a remarkable alien technology fused to his body-guarantee him a bright future in the security forces. Then a routine patrol goes awry and Donovan is abducted by the terrorist group Sapience, whose goal is to end zhree control once and for all. What initially appears to be a play for ransom spirals into a far more complicated and dangerous situation when Donovan discovers a devastating personal connection to the terrorists, and becomes caught in a web of conflicting loyalties that will place into jeopardy the ultimate survival of Earth itself. SOLDIER IN ERZE is the second high-action science fiction novel by Fonda Lee (Zeroboxer, Flux, Spring 2015). A thrilling story of personal conviction in a world without easy answers, it offers a completely fresh and morally challenging take on alien invasion-a Battlestar Galactica for intelligent young adults. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

Twin sisters Crystal and Amber Robbins have taken care of themselves for almost as long as they can remember. With alcoholic, gambling-addicted parents, that’s just the way it is in their family. But they have plans to change their lives, and they’re going to do it together, like always. So when Amber gets pregnant right before junior year, they vow to raise the baby as a team. Their lives are so intertwined anyway, and they have the same goals: graduation, full-time work, and a safe neighborhood for themselves, and now, their baby, Natalie. It’s hard, but they know they can make it work together, like always. But then, at the beginning of their last year of school, Crystal’s excellent grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor. When she hears of Crystal’s plan to work with cars for the rest of her life, she’s determined to get this smart girl into a program in Kansas that offers a degree in Crystal’s one true passion-automotive restoration. Assuming she’ll never get in, she applies. But when the acceptance letter arrives, Amber is furious; furious that she didn’t know, and scared that she’ll be left behind. Crystal is left with a choice: follow her dreams and start a better life, or stay behind and support her sister, like always. Julia Markham‘s debut novel FAST FORWARD is a realistic and very readable story about two teens trying to find a better life for themselves and a child, all while trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

Jared and Marcus aren’t like other 11-year-olds…they’re also Revengers. They fix problems and they’re awesome at it-at least, they will be if they ever get a chance to show off their skills. What they need is exposure. Luckily, they have the perfect target in mind: Jared’s sister’s boyfriend. He’s a jerky, wannabe rock star, a relentless bully and he smells like old gym socks. Enough is enough. The tone deaf jerk’s days are numbered. There’s only one hitch: Marcus already offered their services elsewhere. A stray cat with serious aggression issues apparently has a whole neighborhood boarding up their windows. What the boys think will be an easy-money job quickly turns into a dangerous game of wits. The cat’s a monster. It takes all the ingenuity the boys can muster and all the calming teas they can get their hands on to deal with this beast. Two targets at once. It’s time to prove themselves as the awesome after-school problem-solvers they know they are. That is, if their plan doesn’t backfire. Because they’ll either be feared fixers or a couple kids who can’t even take out a kitten. Steve Whibley‘s debut, SIXTH-GRADE REVENGERS, is a delightful romp about two friends using ingenuity and intrigue to do things no parent would ever approve of. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

For preschoolers, there are three things in life that are certain: seatbelts, shopping carts and miles of aisles at the supermarket. Throw in a turbo-charged imagination and a need for speed and you’ve got a formula for the ultimate preschool shopping experience in the ultimate preschool driving machine: SUPER CART. This 210-word rhyming picture book, by award-winning author Denise Dowling Mortensen, takes the reader on an imaginary race through the aisles of the local Mega Mart. From pole position (sliding doors) to finish line (checkout line), SUPER CART‘s expert driver skillfully maneuvers past slow-poke drivers (“past the competition-DUST!”), through hazardous track conditions (“accidental cookie dough”), and into a tense and exciting pit stop (a hot dog from the snack bar, eaten on the fly) that almost derails his first-place finish. In the end, SUPER CART roars past his competitors and crosses the finish line just in the nick of time. The checkered flag waves and the young driver basks in the glow of victory circle and the ultimate racecar driver’s prize: a glass of cold milk. Dowling Mortensen was inspired by her many years’ of harrowing experiences grocery shopping with her five children, three of whom were vehicle-crazed boys. She is convinced that some people are born with a transportation gene. SUPER CARTwill appeal to a world-wide audience of NASCAR, Indycar, and Formula 1 racing fans, both young and old. Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

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