Romance and Mayhem: SLJ celebrates upcoming YA novels

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School Library Journal Teen’s Dodie Owens moderated a webcast of upcoming teen titles on October 1st. Despite a faltering start due to technology issues, librarians and other book lovers were able to get a glimpse of new debuts and installments with a splash of romance from Harlequin Teen, Soho Teen, and Tor Books.

T.S. Ferguson, associate editor for Harlequin Teen, gushed over The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa. Referring to Kagawa as a “personal favorite,” he can’t wait to share the sequel in the spin-off saga from The Iron Fey series, featuring Meghan Chase’s younger stepbrother Ethan. There was a lot of excitement on Harlequin Teen’s part for Kagawa’s anticipated new series, which was unveiled this past week.

Another forthcoming and highly-anticipated sequel was Gena Showalter’s Through the Zombie Glass, following Alice Bell’s adventures since readers left her at the end of Alice in Zombieland. Unlike the traditional Lewis Carroll tale, Alice faces soul-eating zombies, and – at the beginning of this new adventure – has suffered a bite that, according to Ferguson, “awakes a darkness inside of her”.

Aimee Carter will be releasing Pawn in November, the first book in a dystopian where status is determined by aptitude tests – and the dyslexic heroine is offered a chance to raise her status by taking on the face and life of the Prime Minister’s dead niece.

Katie McGarry, a writer of “emotionally powering romance,” is back with Crash Into You. It features fan favorite Isaiah as he gets tangled up in the world of street racing and falls for a straight A student with some issues of her own. Fans will remember McGarry for her popular Pushing the Limits.

antigoddess kendare blakeSusan Chang and Alison Fisher of Tor Teen also have an action-studded line-up. Antigoddess, the latest from acclaimed author Kendare Blake, had a lot of buzz around it. Chang described it as a “YA horror/fantasy from an author who is the real deal and exciting to watch.” Antigoddess features Greek gods who have managed to survive to the modern era, and as they are killed off in “horrific but appropriate ways,” must team up with teen prophetess Cassandra to figure out why the murders are happening.

In an exclusive preview of the Winter 2014 line-up, Fisher also introduced the conclusion to Kristin Simmons’ dystopian Article 5 trilogy, Three, in which Amber and Chase search for their only lead to a safe house and a person bearing the eponymous, and mysterious, name of Three.

Jenna Black will be releasing a sequel to her sci-fi Replica, Resistance. Resistance follows Nadia as her playboy fiancé Nathan is murdered and replicated by modern science as a clone.  Nathan’s clone and Nadia must follow the trail of the killer to solve the mystery of his first death. Chang described this title as Orwellian science-fiction and announced the final book in the trilogy will be released in November 2014.

An exciting debut from Tor is Newcomer by William Campbell Powell, which Chang admits is her first title plucked from the slush pile in twenty years. Based on the theory that mankind will become under populated in the future, the story features androids that are adopted by human families, but will be returned to the factory and never seen again on their eighteenth birthday. Heroine Tanya finds out the truth from her parents shortly before her eighteenth birthday, but she is determined to live life as a teenage girl to the fullest – and when she is returned to the factory, she is given a choice that will change the rest of her life, and which Chang promises will “surprise and thrill readers.”

Meredith Barnes, senior publicity manager for Soho Teen, had the hardest presentation of the event – mainly because due to an office outage, she had to attend using a cell phone. However, she was still able to present the upcoming YA line-up, starting with the highly anticipated Relic by Heather Terrell, the first in the Books of Eva.

This new series is centered in a futuristic medieval society, formed in a post-apocalyptic world after a catastrophic flood. Protagonist Eva happens to find a relic from the distant past that undermines everything she’s taught to believe in. Barnes recommends it for readers who enjoyed her personal favorite dystopian YA: Veronica Roth’s Divergent. The book releases at the end of October, and Terrell will be touring to promote Relic the following month. Soho Teen is also hosting a Relic Revealed sweepstakes on the book’s site, which gives readers a peek inside Relic, as well as a chance to download the free prequel Chronicle.

Another title earning a lot of buzz is Save the Enemy by Arin Greenwood. Zoey is a relatively normal teenage girl with an autistic younger brother – and then her mother is murdered, and her father disappears. Using her limited survival training, Zoey must rescue her father before time runs out. The book has already earned positive blurbs, including one from author Jodi Lynn Anderson, and will release in November.

Author Jacquelyn Mitchard is a Soho Teen legend – not just because her first book, What We Saw in the Dark, was Oprah’s inaugural book club pick. Mitchard returns to the world of What We Saw In The Dark for the final book in the duology, where the sunlight-allergic, night-parkour addicted teens pursue the killer behind their best friend’s supposed suicide.

The final preview from Soho Teen was into the future – Spring 2014 title Liv, Forever by acclaimed screenwriter Amy Talkington. Liv, Forever features a ghost protagonist and a star-crossed romance, which Barnes described as “American Horror Story with the heart of The Lovely Bones.”

All of the titles were met with enthusiasm by both participants and moderators, and the presenters encouraged questions, tour stops and review copies for anyone who thinks their area might be interested. To watch the full archived webcast, which includes other backlist titles and middle-grade series, please check the SLJ website. For more information on the featured titles, please refer to the publishers’ websites and online catalogs.

Interested in Julie Kagawa’s new series? Read our interview with her here: Kagawa joins ranks of dragon writers with TALON.

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About Author

Hebah Uddin

Hebah is a 21-year-old Muslim girl who reads a lot of books, writes a lot more, and wears a lot of (figurative) hats. As a result of being raised on a steady diet of foreign films and BBC period dramas, she now likes to think of herself as Charlotte Bronte + one of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai women. She’ll rap your fingers with her katana if you don’t mind your manners - or your grammar.

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