Children’s and Young Adult Newsletter 7: October 2013


Eighteen-year-old Carr “the Raptor” Luka is an athletic phenom, a rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing. Training and competing aboard the lunar orbiting city-station of Valtego (where It’s More Fun on the Dark Side TM), all he’s ever wanted is to win the championship title. His talent and marketability don’t go unnoticed by the top brass of the Zero Gravity Fighting Association. The assign him a brandhelm; after all, anyone who wants to be anyone needs a dedicated personal marketing strategist. Beautiful and ambitious, Risha is one of the genetically engineered Martian colonists that Earth dwellers view with resentment and suspicion. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity, and stolen his heart along the way. But success could be the worst thing that happens to them. As his fame grows, Carr must come to terms with the fact that he’s become an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet now angry at falling into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. When Carr learns of a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating personal secret. Not only will his choices place into jeopardy everything he holds dear, they may spill the violence from the sports arena out into the solar system. Fonda Lee‘sZEROBOXER is an upper YA sci-fi novel-Rocky meetsGattaca-and a completely involving thrill-ride about celebrity, competition, and personal responsibility. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

With just six weeks left before high school graduation, Jake Nelson accidentally blows his drunken ass up on his grandfather’s tractor. When his best friend Noah goes to help Jake’s dad clean out his bedroom, they make a startling discovery-not a pot stash or porn collection, but a beautiful half-carat diamond ring. Jake’s mother, reeling from the death of her son, asks Noah to please help her find out what girl meant so much that Jake was going to ask her to settle down. Of course, Jake was a notorious player with a legendary collection of trophy panties, so Noah finds himself in over his head. There are the usual suspects like Avery, the Ice Princess Jake dated for appearances, or Presley, the school mattress Jake dated for convenience. But the trail begins to point to the most unlikely of suspects: Maddie, the Valedictorian and choir girl who was trying to help the unmotivated jock graduate–the girl who also has surprisingly caught Noah’s eye and messed with his heart. Hanging out with Maddie shows Noah a different side of Jake–one that was deeply human and surprisingly douche-free. And the more he tries to solve the mystery of the ring and of Jake, the more Noah starts to discover about himself and of love.Krista Ashe‘s DON’T HATE THE PLAYER…HATE THE GAMEwas self-published to much success earlier this year. Already a USA Today bestseller, it is the hugely entertaining first novel in a series that promises surprises, sex, love, and a healthy dose of humor. Future books include the sequel,Playing for Keeps and a prequel, The Games We Play. Please note, Jane Dystel is the agent on this project.

Nikki Black at seventeen is a self-imposed lone wolf since her mother died, and she fled suburban Chicago to escape her painful past. But when her so-called boyfriend reveals why he really lured her to Southern California – to star in child porn flicks – she ends up on the streets of L.A. with only the clothes on her back and a twelve-year-old addict named Rain trailing in her shadows. On the run from the men intent on making them “stars,” the girls seek refuge at a residential hotel above a punk rock bar in downtown L.A. a few months before the city erupts into chaos during the 1992 riots. Nikki lands a job at a nearby Mexican cantina that caters to off-duty L.A.P.D. officers and East L.A. gangbangers. She helps Rain kick the drugs. Soon, the two become friends with others on the American Hotel’s fourth floor – a gumbo mix of misfits that includes a sweetly nurturing black girl; a haughty, has-been supermodel; a gay Latino poet; and a pair of wholesome Midwestern farm boys trying to make it in the big city. For the first time in years, Nikki feels as if she has a real family again. But all that changes when Rain disappears. Everyone except Nikki, including the police, thinks Rain succumbed to the seductive allure of addiction and life on the streets. Nikki knows that Rain didn’t leave on her own. Her quest to find the girl before it’s too late becomes increasingly dangerous and Nikki finds herself fighting for her own life the closer she gets to unveiling a sinister cover-up by a powerful group that secretly controls the city of angels. CITY OF ANGELS is the debut YA from former crime reporter Kristi Belcamino. It’s an edgy, gritty and incredibly compelling story about a teenager’s struggle to not only belong – but survive. Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

Kyle Evans lives in a small, comfortable house in the town of Blendsfield. He lives with his mom and pet cat, Bootles, and nothing exciting ever happened to him. This is exactly how he likes it, because Kyle does not like surprises. But when a floating hole appears in Kyle’s bedroom and swallows him and Bootles, Kyle suddenly finds himself in a world of surprises. First, Kyle lands on the other side of the universe in the cargo hold of an alien space ship. Then, he discovers that Bootles can talk! And finally, he learns that his mom has been kidnapped and is a prisoner on the ship. As Kyle and Bootles desperately try to evade the ship’s killer robots and rescue Mom, Kyle learns that Battle Droids are scarier than Search Droids, that Protocol Zero is something to be avoided and, most importantly of all, that sometimes a cat is not a cat. With a break-neck pace and a knowing sense of humor,Rob Hunt‘s KYLE EVANS AND THE GREAT SPACE RESCUEmarks the beginning of an exciting new early chapter book series, perfect for introducing young readers to interstellar adventure. Please note, this project is represented by John Rudolph.

Jewel Ramuri of the Romanzi hopes to become the next Magi of her clan like her father, Sly Fox Ramuri. But when she secretly follows him into the forbidden city, she is lucky to escape with his spellbook and her life. Fleeing streets full of wizards and werewolves, Jewel manages to hide the book before being unexpectedly rescued by a giant, walking house: Professor Thaddeus P. Graham’s Astonishing Watchwork Transportium. Together with the Professor, his automaton, Winch, and array of interesting friends, Jewel embarks on a journey to discover the truth about her father’s spellbook, retracing a thirty-year-old path through Romanzi history,. While learning to read and repair machines and never touch chess pieces in play, Jewel uncovers a battle between secret societies for the power of innovation and freedom of thought. In a world of Science versus Magic, Jewel Ramuri must choose where her loyalties lie-a decision that will change her life, and the lives of all the Empire, forever. Dawn Metcalf‘s debut middle grade THE WATCHWINDER’S SPELLBOOK is the first in a series of adventures for Jewel and the Professor, as they traverse the globe in their magnificent machine. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent for this project.

Petra Armstrong’s superpower is not giving a damn. She may not be popular, but who cares if you’re extra-quick with a comeback? She hates gym class, but she’s got a good thing going with a guidance counselor who’s pretty forthcoming with passes to skip. And while she doesn’t have a ton of friends, she’s got a slacker boyfriend with a heart of gold. She’s one of those teenagers you know is going to be just fine. Except Petra Armstrong has just found a copy of her birth certificate on which she is listed as Unnamed Rhodes. Even the most confident of people might be shaken to learn that they don’t actually have any real understanding of who they are or where they come from. Happily, there’s a long weekend coming up, and Petra is able to convince (by which I mean pay) a classmate to drive her to Omaha to speak to her birth mother and get to the bottom of who she really is. Unfortunately, her Grandma Honey isn’t about to let Petra drive for days with a teenage boy neither of them know. And that’s how a sweepstakes-obsessed grandmother, a complete wiseass, and a sweetly naïve stranger end up hitting the road together in Alissa Grosso‘s deliciously funny, charming, and deeply felt new novel UNNAMED ROADS. Blending slapstick, snark, and a great deal of heart, this is a road trip with some incredibly winning characters, young and old, who will make you wish you were along for the ride. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

In A.J. Hartley‘s first YA novel, sixteen-year-old Sola and nine other teenage delinquents from planet Home are on a transport ship bound for a re-education facility on a neighboring moon, when they wake from stasis to find they are millions of miles off course and crash landing on the hostile ice-planet, Valkrys. Though they survive their harrowing ordeal, they are cut off from the world and the technology on which they have always depended, and have to quickly learn how to stay alive on a world of ice and snow. But internal dissent is soon fuelled by what Sola thinks is an alien presence, an intelligence which takes the form of a girl trying to get into the ravaged remains of their ship. The longer they stay on the ice planet, the more they develop a curious sensitivity to each other’s feelings and thoughts, so that privacy is almost impossible to sustain. As they wrestle with their feelings for each other they also have to deal with the very real perils of the planet: giant sabre-toothed cats and large formations of rock whose glass-like edges cut to the bone. Worse, the alien presence seems to be infecting the survivors, co-opting them and turning them murderous. Most unsettlingly, when Sola discovers another, older ship from their home planet, she has to deal with the possibility that their coming to Valkrys was actually no accident at all, and that not all aboard were ever who they seemed to be. She will not be able to keep the group together, and soon it is clear that her very survival may hinge on unearthing the truth of their predicament, as well as standing against the forces seeking to destroy her. EYES IN THE DARK is a high concept YA science fiction novel blending the menace of Alien with the psychological realism of The Lord of the Flies. Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

Sixteen-year-old Daisy Fuller has learned not to expect much from her life. The day she ran away from the orphanage was the day she gave up on ever being adopted, much less finding her real parents. Now, living in the streets of 1860s London, the most she can hope for is a few coins from a passing stranger. But when the man she begs from turns out to be Charles Becket, London’s most brilliant private detective, Daisy gets a lot more than spare change. Recruited to become Becket’s apprentice in a dastardly murder case, Daisy must use all her street smarts to figure out who’s been killing her old friends from the orphanage-and to unlock the mystery of her own secret past. A fast-paced mystery that brilliantly captures Victorian London for today’s YA readers, THE DETECTIVE’S APPRENTICE makes a stunning debut for Andrew DeYoung, full of twists and turns that will keep readers guessing to the very last page. Please note: this project is represented by John Rudolph.

On Andra Rane’s sixteenth birthday, she is infected with the Gray. The world’s most notorious virus doesn’t outright kill its victims; instead, it lingers in their bodies and forces them to live out their days with a debilitative chronic illness. Andra is shipped to the Sunder, a massive quarantine compound inhabited exclusively by the infected. She expects to find a wasteland of the dying, but instead finds a community of tough, remarkable survivors. The Gray’s most unusual attribute is how it affects its victims: Pluses develop super-speed and strength but lose self-control while Minuses gain intelligence and lengthened lives but suffer from chronic pain. All of the infected survive because of their daily blood treatment, known as the Bleeding Hour. When Andra first meets her treatment partner Joss, a young man who was born and raised in the Sunder, she finds him melancholy and aloof. As the two grow closer, she begins to understand what Joss already knows-in a land of the sick, nothing lasts for long. Though Andra is infected, her health is not deteriorating as is expected. It makes her the target of those in the Section who have their own ominous agenda. Andra doesn’t know what they want with her or who she can trust. The Sunder was supposed to be a safe place, but Andra soon realizes she’s never been in more danger. THE BLEEDING HOUR is Nicki Sliko‘s debut, a daring sci-fi novel about segregation, marginalization, illness, and most important of all-resilience. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

Welcome to Northwich High, where popularity is a curse. A witch’s curse. Newcomer Becca Taylor just wants to defy her overbearing mom and quit pageants forever. Make a few friends, and maybe even get a boyfriend. But her odd classmates have problems of their own – every year, the school’s prettiest girl turns up dead. The bizarre and gruesome deaths are always ruled accidental, but Northwich locals know better. When they’re not mourning, they’re wildly speculating on who will be the witch’s next target. Girls who show fear are instantly branded “conceited,” and guys brag about who dated the most victims. To Becca, the legend of Black Malice Rose seems like nothing more than folksy superstition. But when she starts having terrifying dreams about the black witch, she starts to fear for her own life. After delving into the town’s checkered past, she discovers a horrifying trail of colonial-era torture and merciless executions. It’s no surprise that a condemned woman wanted revenge on puritanical Northwich. But even so, Becca’s not ready to die for the three-hundred year old sins of a town she just moved to. The secret to breaking the curse may lie in the one and only girl who survived – poor, mad Katie who now wanders the halls, muttering incoherently. To end the killings, Becca must follow Katie to the very edge of madness. But will they have to defeat a witch, a cult, or the Devil himself? BLACK MALICE ROSE is a haunting, entertaining debut by Sheila Cole that will leave you gasping for breath. Please note, the agent for this project is Stacey Glick.

Dylan Stefanski doesn’t believe in bucket lists. You can’t experience a whole life in fast forward. If somebody told you to eat the best chocolate cake ever in twelve seconds, you wouldn’t even taste it. So she never bothered to apply to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For a little kid, a trip to Disneyland is as big as it gets. They don’t know what they’re going to miss. They have no idea how big the world is. Dylan does. So knowing that’s she near the end of her life, she’s not going to go hot-air ballooning or see Niagara Falls, but she’s also not going to suffer through another clinical drug trial that fails to defeat the sickness eating away at her. So Dylan does the only thing she can think of: she walks out the hospital doors, gets in her mother’s car, and drives. Away. Anywhere but here. Before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tracked down Arden, a friend she made on World of Warcraft-it’s easier to have virtual friends when you spend most of your time in a hospital. Once together, they keep driving. As they head across the country on back roads and forgotten highways, they encounter strange landmarks and stranger people; places of serenity and unexpected storms. Staying lost, Arden and Dylan take a single path on two very different journeys. Joann Kellerman‘s MOURNING WORK is a contemporary YA novel in the vein of The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay. Captured in moments like little lyrical snapshots, it is a breathtaking novel of letting go. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

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