Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Books!

I envy the public libraries yellow "new" tape-- I just tell new books by whether or not they have the structural integrity left to stand up by themselves.

Joanne Dahme's The Plague left me wondering about the historical accuracy of the characters-- it involves Joan, the daughter of King Edward the Third, and a commoner, Nell, who is under the care of the royal household because of her resemblance to the princess. When Joan dies of the plague, her brother, the Black Prince, tries to pass Nell off as the princess so a royal marriage can still be carried out. Nell and her younger brother have a lot of adventures eluding the prince. Plague books are very popular, and this one was engaging even if it was more fiction than fact. Notes at the end would have helped.

Gloria Whelan's The Locked Garden was a nice read, rather like curling up with Alcott or Wilder. In the early 1900's, Verna's mother has died, and her father has moved the family, including her aunt Maude, to the grounds of an insane asylum where he works. One of the recovering patients, Eleanor, works for the family and takes wonderful care of Verna and her sister, much to the displeasure of the aunt. While I loved this, I don't know that I will buy it, since historical fiction can be a tough, tough sell.

The sixth (and penultimate? Seven books would make sense, and one comes out in June 2010, at least in the UK) book in the Last Apprentice series was every bit as fabulous as the previous ones, especially since Tom, the Spook, Alice and a whole contingent of Pendle witches travel to Meteora in Greece to help Tom's mother defeat the Ordeen. The Spook is leery of siding with evil, but recognizes that it must be done. He is right to be concerned-- Tom uses a dark wish given to him by Grimalkin to save Alice from being taken by a lamia, and makes a very big sacrifice at the end, which makes him reliant on even more of Alice's black magic.  Alice's struggles to stay on the side of the light are fascinating, and Tom's struggles against the Fiend are also multifaceted. If you don't have this series, buy it immediately.

Sharon Draper's third book after The Battle of Jericho and November Blues has some nice twists in it that I should have seen coming but won't give away. While the cover leads one to believe the book is primarily about an attack on a school, this is a small part of the larger story-- Arielle, who has material advantages that her classmates don't, struggles with a difficult homelife; Jericho, whose parents are no accounts, struggles still with the death of his cousin and also an Oxycontin addiction; November returns to school after having her baby and struggles with balancing her work with motherhood. The theme of never giving up on academics is a strong one, and makes this book particularly sucessful for me. The school shooting, while interesting and timely, was not as interesting to me as the struggles of the students.


  1. When I first started at my current library, new books just sneaked onto the shelves and hid there. Now, I post pictures of books on order on the bulletin board under "coming soon." I post pictures of the new books on the blog. I put new stickers on them. I put them on a display shelf. And I post pictures of them on the display shelf so people can still see them even when they're checked out. Yeah, I use a lot of color printing, but it's worth it. Maybe one of those options would work for you?

  2. Historical fiction is tricky with kids, but I love Gloria Whelan. I started reading her books in 6th grade and I was hooked--and that's coming from someone who's not even a big fan of historical fiction!

  3. I put a round sticker on the top of the spine of each book with the year we got it. I've used a different color each year. Then the books purchased that year go on the New Books shelf all year. I'm hoping this system will help me with my weeding as time goes by, too.