Here is what came into my house last week.
The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau, from Delacorte Press
Zeeta's life with her free-spirited mother, Layla, is anything but normal. Every year Layla picks another country she wants to live in. This summer they’re in Ecuador, and Zeeta is determined to convince her mother to settle down. Zeeta makes friends with vendors at the town market and begs them to think of upstanding, “normal” men to set up with Layla. There, Zeeta meets Wendell. She learns that he was born nearby, but adopted by an American family. His one wish is to find his birth parents, and Zeeta agrees to help him. But when Wendell’s biological father turns out to be involved in something very dangerous, Zeeta wonders whether she’ll ever get the chance to tell her mom how she really feels—or to enjoy her deepening feelings for Wendell.
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher, from Delacorte Press
Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.
Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes and Promises to Myself by Eileen & Jerry Spinelli, from Knopf
Reassuring advice for every day of the year
From an esteemed husband-and-wife team comes a book of daily advice and insight. In dated entries meant to be read one per day, the Spinellis open with a brief quote from children’s literature, write a paragraph of lively advice inspired by that quote, and end with a “Today I will . . .” promise. The entries range from the broad (self-esteem, the environment, gratitude, and openmindedness) to the simple and specific (Today I will call a grandparent . . . smile at a new kid . . . take a walk . . . and send a snail-mail letter.).
With wide appeal to fans of both children’s literature and advice books, this cozy page-a-day volume (with black-and-white spot art) offers inspiring quotes, gentle guidance, and 366 “Today I will . . .” promises to thoughtful readers everywhere.
The Secret Plan by Julia Sarcone-Roach, from Knopf
You know how bedtime always gets in the way of fun? Not this time!
Milo and his kittycat neighbors have noticed that bedtime always seems to come just when they are having the most fun. So they hatch a secret let’s fool Mommy-and-Daddy plan and find the “most perfect no bedtime ever place” to have just a little more fun before sleep. Then, a let’s-all-pile-in-together slumber party proves to be the perfect nightcap. Kids will enjoy all the charm of this lovely let’s-not-go-to-bed-yet book—which does end with everyone fast asleep!
The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis, from Random House
Do you believe in Bog Babies?
If you don’t, you will!
When two small sisters go fishing in a magic pond, they find something much better than a frog or a newt. They find a Bog Baby. Small and blue, with wings like a dragon, the girls decide to take him home with them and keep him a secret.
But the Bog Baby is a wild thing, and when he gets sick, the girls turn to their mother for help. She teaches them the greatest lesson of all: sometimes if you really love something, you have to let it go.
This magical book about the wonder children feel for the wild creatures around them will appeal to every child’s imagination and love of the outdoors.
Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming, from Random House
Meet Imogene, a plucky heroine with a passion for history.
As a baby, Imogene's first words were “Four score and seven years ago.” In preschool, she fingerpainted a map of
Filled with quotes from history’s biggest players—not to mention mini-bios on the endpapers—and lots of humor, here’s the perfect book for budding historians.
The Busiest Street in Town by Mara Rockliff, from Random House
Agatha Walker does not want to live on the busiest street in town!
Rushmore Boulevard is the busiest street in town—until Agatha May Walker decides to do something about it. Armed with a batch of Sweet and Spicy ginger snaps, a wingback chair, a card table, and a Parcheesi set, Agatha and her best friend, Eulalie Scruggs, take to the street to reclaim it from the noisy cars, motorcycles, and giant trucks that rumble by all day long.
Can these lifelong friends convince their neighbors to stop and smell the honeysuckle, listen to the mariachi band, and best of all, sample the Sweet and Spicy ginger snaps?
In this charming picture book about slowing down, a laid-back attitude is the best kind. So sit for a spell and give it a whirl!
Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot, from Harper Collins
Paris, the storybook capital of romance—of strolls down cobblestone streets and kisses by the Seine—may not be the ideal location to mend a wounded heart. But pragmatic professional writer Anna, who has been unlucky in love in L.A., has come here with keys to her aunt's empty apartment. Bilingual and blessed with dual citizenship, she seeks solace in the delectable pastries, in the company of old friends, and in her exciting new job: translating a mysterious, erotic French novel by an anonymous author.Intrigued by the story, and drawn in by the mystery behind the book, Anna soon finds herself among the city's literati—and in the arms of an alluring Parisian—as she resolves to explore who she is . . . in both cultures.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, from Crystal for 1 ARC tour
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Kit Feeny: On the Move by Michael Townsend, from Knopf
Comic book geek, deviser of crazy schemes, genius (according to him)—Kit Feeny is here!
Kit Feeny is moving and losing his best friend! Who will help Kit make things out of cheeseballs? Who will he go ninja fishing with? Will Kit end up all by himself, a lonesome hobo eating cold beans for dinner? Join Kit as he mostly figures this all out in his very first totally stupid and completely awesome adventure!
Kit Feeny: The Ugly Necklace by Michael Townsend, from Knopf
Kit’s mother’s birthday looms and Kit is determined to get her something way, way better than his sisters, something completely “stupid awesome!” Would she like a cool metal detector? Where might Kit buy a baby dragon? Or maybe a spiffy pair of hip hi-tops? Shovels, dirt, Elvis, and the words “pip-pip!” all lead to the best, ugliest present ever!
Dweeb: Burgers, Beasts, and Brainwashed Bullies by Aaron Starmer, from Knopf
A smart and funny tale of perseverance, teamwork, and the true meaning of success.
Strange things are happening at Ho-Ho-Kus Junior High. The cafeteria is covered in a sea of burger wrappers. Bullies aren’t bullying anymore. And there’s an eerie growling coming from the walls.
If anyone can get to the bottom of these mysteries, it’s Denton, Wendell, Eddie, Elijah, and Bijay. They may be misfits, but they’re also the smartest kids in the eighth grade. There’s just one problem. Vice Principal Snodgrass has framed them for a crime they didn’t commit and imprisoned them in a secret room in the bowels of the school. His terms: Ace the dreaded Idaho Tests and all will be forgiven. Their plan: figure out who—or what—is to blame for the changes at school. It will take the nerdiest of skills. It will be scarier than talking to girls. It will be a true test, one that can be passed only by a select few. And those five boys are known as DWEEB.
Fat Cat by Robin Brande, from Knopf
You are what you eat. . . .
Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.
As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .
This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney, from Chronicle Books
Doomed loves, failed families, nixed dreams—someone else's leftovers are heaped on our plates the day we come into this world.
Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date, and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life that's anything but, how long can normal really last?
Hanging with Jeremy, avoiding Mam, sticking Do Not Disturb Post-its on her heart, Desiree's mission is simple: party hard, graduate (well, maybe), get out of town. But after Desiree accepts half a meatball grinder, a cold drink, and a ride from her mother's boyfriend one rainy afternoon, nothing is ever simple again.
Too many AP classes. Workaholic mom. Dad in prison. Still, Ariel's sultry new boyfriend, Shane, manages to make even the worst days delicious. But when an unexpected phone call forces a trip to visit a sick grandmother she's never met, revealing her family's dark past, Ariel struggles to find the courage to make the right choice for her own future.
Three girls from three different decades find out it's what they do with their leftovers that matters—because, after all, life is your own blue plate special.