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What Are We Looking For in a Manuscript?

Okay, with reservations, we’re going to delve into the mystery surrounding what we’re actually looking for in a manuscript. We say “with reservations” because this is the most nebulous area of book publishing. We can tell you all these rules that we would usually swear by, but if That Book comes in – the one that you just HAVE to publish – a lot of the rules will go out of the window!

If you just bear in mind that you should take heed of these rules, except on a Wednesday when Venus is in the ascendancy i.e. these are the best we can give you and other publishers will have different ideas, then you’ll be doing okay.

*sighs* It’s already not going too well, is it?

Right, the basics first (and always bearing in mind that we want agented manuscripts, right up until that Open Door period in April!):

1. Do NOT send us a first draft, or even a second draft, of your novel. Send us the polished version. The version that you wrote, then edited, then re-edited, then sent out to beta readers for them to help edit. Although an editor will likely want to change parts of a manuscript that come into them, they are not there to do ALL the work. The quickest thing to turn us off of a book is to see flagrant spelling mistakes, sentences that don’t quite make sense and a novel that isn’t even close to being ready for publication.

2. Do NOT send us a novel that is an “homage” to another book, as in, you have pretty much used Find and Replace on character names. We have seen this sort of thing! We want to hear YOUR voice, YOUR story. Apart from being a very nasty habit and borderline illegal, plagiarism is not going to get you published.

3. Do pay attention to what we are looking for, as in, age range. At Strange Chemistry we do not publish adult novels. We do not publish middle grade or children’s books. We can’t do anything with picture books. We are exclusively publishing Young Adult novels. If you need a definition of such, then, believe me, you haven’t written a YA novel!

Now to the subjectivities…As in, the rules that can be broken on occasion, the rules that might not be rules for other publishers, the rules that are really more like suggestions!

4. We are principally looking for Voice. We don’t just mean the way you write your dialogue! Voice, for us, is where you become fully immersed in the prose of the novel and it feels completely fresh and unique – even if the subject matter is something that has been done before. Some of the recent YA novels we have read that had this Voice are Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and Hollow Pike by James Dawson. In both cases, the books were so utterly readable.

5. We want journeys! Not travelogues, we don’t mean that… Rather, we mean character journeys or transformations. We want to meet a character in chapter one and see them change and develop as a response to what is happening in the story. For us, Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard (coming from us in November of this year) achieved this in spades – when we first meet Katya, she is a rather shy and unassuming girl. By the end of the novel, she is completely changed and has attitude in spades! This organic development is crucial to the telling of a story. If your characters remain flat and unchanged by events, then you haven’t achieved what you could have.

6. Protagonists need to be worth reading about. The most memorable protagonists (and antagonists!) are those that leap off the page; those you identify with; those you want to spend time with. Katniss from The Hunger Games is this sort of protagonist, as is Todd from the Chaos Walking trilogy. Make sure your characters are fully fleshed and not two-dimensional. On a personal front, at Strange Chemistry we prefer our female characters to have backbone, if you please. We’re looking for Tamora Pierce-esque heroines, rather than the Bella variety.

7. Concentrate on your setting – and the whys of it. World building can add so much depth to a story. We don’t want expositional info dumps about the social and economic climate in your world, but we do want details that help us to understand why there is a story. For us, a great example is Bumped by Megan McCafferty. It received very mixed reviews, but the added slang, the advertising slogans about becoming fertile, the way in which their society dealt with teenage mothers – this all helped to bring out more of a story.

8. Never, ever, ever write what is popular now (see point 9 for where this rule can bend a little)! You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating. Publishing moves slowly. The books purchased today are most likely going to be published in eighteen months or so. Who knows whether a dystopian setting is still going to be the Big Thing at that point? We might all be reading about motorcycle gangs on Mars by then! (or, y’know, something less constrictive…) What is a phenomenon right now is going to fade away, we promise. Right now we’re seeing ghost stories and horror novels starting to creep into publishing. We’re seeing people starting to play around with other elements of SF than just dystopian. What this means is that you have to write the story that YOU are passionate about, and not worry *too* much about what the market is doing. Be aware of what is popular. More crucially, be aware of what everyone is getting tired of. But, essentially, if you’re passionate about your story and its setting, then that will shine through over someone who writes more to cash in on a current trend.

9. Perhaps try an entertaining twist on something that has been done before? Yes, we might be a little tired of vampires, or the fae, or mermaids, or dystopian settings – but if you can achieve something different with your story that gets us excited about it, then you are going to shine from the rest. If we describe a twist to booksellers, bookbuyers, bloggers etc that makes their eyes pop at the thought of the novel, we’re onto a winner.

10. However crass it sounds, we are looking for novels that are going to sell. We want marketability. We want books that we know other people will be interested in reading. If your novel is too off-the-wall or strange, it doesn’t matter how good the writing is, we are unlikely to be able to do much with it. The marketability extends to the author of the manuscript. When we find a book we’re thinking of taking to acquisitions and possibly buying, we will inevitably have a look at the author’s online presence – do they have a website? Do they talk on Twitter? Do they seem as though they’ll be decent at self promotion? Do they stand out in any way? So, alongside your novel, you’ll be selling us…well…you!

We hope that helps, and that you’re not all weeping into your cornflakes right now! Publishing is a tough industry to crack and you need to ensure that the novel you submit is the BEST it can possibly be when it hits an editor’s desk.

Over to you: Anything specific you would like to ask?

The Reading of Manuscripts

We asked on Twitter whether you wanted to hear about how we go about reading manuscripts and what we’re looking for, and heard a hearty yay from at least five people, so we’re going to go ahead and write a few posts about it.

So, the manuscripts that come into Strange Chemistry for reading are of the agented variety (although do remember our Open Door period in April when unagented authors can submit their novels!) Our preferred method is that an agent will approach us and introduce the novel before sending it through. This way we gain an idea about what the novel is about and who the author is. Some editors like to see a full synopsis of the novel – we actually don’t like this much. We prefer a teaser blurb, and then to go into the novel fresh. The reason for this is that we then experience exactly what the future reader of this novel will when they pick the book off the shelf in a bookstore. That reader won’t be given a handy dandy two page synopsis of all major events in the book – they will have to rely on the blurb and possibly the first few pages.

We do turn down some novels sent through by agents. They might not fit the remit of the imprint; they might be a middle grade tale rather than YA; they might be too similar to something we’ve already taken on or are considering. We will probably be much more discerning once the Strange Chemistry list is fuller, but at the moment we take a look at a variety of genres, styles and titles.

When we ask to see something, we are never concerned about the current title of the novel. When something comes in called POLTERGEEKS we are obviously going to be massively intrigued, so a good title will help! However, we have changed titles already. Blackwood came to us as Strange Alchemy and Katya’s World was Blood and Water – these were both decent titles, but the former was too similar to the imprint name (unfortunately!) and the latter didn’t convey as much about the SF element as we would have liked. We suggest that an author thinks hard about the best title that suits their book, but also be prepared to accept ideas for changes if need be.

Now…timings. We know that, as the author of a novel that has been accepted by a publisher for reading, you will be actively waiting for a reply. We know that it can be a desperate time waiting for the decision to come through. However… to the publisher your manuscript will inevitably join a list of novels to be considered. At the moment Strange Chemistry has over fifty manuscripts in the inbox – these are manuscripts that have been submitted through agents and accepted for reading. We try so very hard to make a quick turnaround with these submissions, but our work also encompasses editing the novels that we’ve signed, preparing those same novels for publication (copy editing, proof reading, art briefs, typesetting and other funky things), marketing our authors and novels… And we haven’t even mentioned the hours per day spent looking round the Internet and talking on Twitter (which is actually a valid part of our jobs here!) So perhaps it becomes a little easier to understand that, while you as the author are having sleepless nights through the excitement of being read by a publisher, we’re getting stressed at the fact that we haven’t read the manuscript and it’s been sat there for over two months…

Now and then we will set aside a day for some reading. We’ll pick two or three manuscripts (and this is done on a date stamp basis) and settle down to make a decision one way or the other.

When you read a manuscript sometimes you know straight away that you want the book and will read on purely through interest to see what the author has done and how they have taken the rest of the story. This happened to us with SHIFT – the prologue and the first page was enough to make that decision. It’s hard to describe exactly how this feels – a sense of excitement, perhaps, or slight goosebumps; definitely a sense that you want to show this novel to other people. The principle part of picking a novel is knowing that you absolutely have to share a book.

Sometimes it will take a couple of pages, and then you find that you are gripped and cannot put the novel down – we had this with BLACKWOOD. We were intrigued by the premise and felt an immediate empathy with Miranda, the female protagonist, and couldn’t resist turning the pages to find out what would happen.

POLTERGEEKS was all about the voice. Julie, the sassy apprentice witch, was a person we absolutely had to spend more time with, while KATYA’S WORLD left us curious about the setting, so much so that we found ourselves swept into this tale about underwater danger and unseen evils.

In all four cases we knew that they were novels that had to be read by a wider audience. We loved them and we know that others will love them.

There are other types of submissions, though. The one that you read twice over because you’re just not sure how to take it – it will be a complete Marmite read, in most cases, that you know will be loved and hated in equal measure, and you just can’t gauge how much love there will be. The one that you read fifty pages of because you love the prose but don’t know where the plot is. The submission that has a premise to die for, but the writing doesn’t back it up. These have all been ultimately rejected by Strange Chemistry – but we are pretty sure another publisher will have enough faith in them to do them justice.

Because here’s the thing: we have to pick the novels that we are prepared to champion to the hilt. We can’t waver in our belief of them. These are novels that we will be closely working with for the foreseeable future – we will have to read them a number of times, to a great depth of detail, and we will have to shout about them to the whole world. We can’t take on a novel that we have any uncertainty about, because we can’t then do the best job for the author and their book. But another publisher might – what you’re uncertain about, another editor will have read and gone into raptures over. It’s all subjective.

What isn’t subjective is the fact that an editor will often know within the first few pages whether a novel is for them – so, above everything else, make those first pages sing. I mean, sure, the rest of the novel needs to be pretty damn special, but those first pages are going to be what grabs people into your story.

From the picking of the manuscript we then have to take the novel into acquisitions – which we will cover in our next article, since we’ve rambled on quite enough!

So, over to you – ask us your questions about the reading process; this is your chance to quiz us!

Strongest Female Protagonist in YA?

One of the complaints made about Twilight is that Bella, the central female protagonist, is not the strongest person. She is clumsy and gawky; she needs to be rescued – a lot; and she stands in the shadow of both Edward and Jacob. We at Strange Chemistry are frustrated that this is one of the few examples of a YA female protagonist that people know, because there are some *fantastic* examples of truly great and strong female characters.

We asked our trusty bloggers to tell us who they deemed to be the strongest female protagonists in YA and they came through for us again!

Deeba from Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

In my opinion, the strongest YA heroine I’ve read so far is Deeba from China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun. No, she doesn’t have awesome kickass fighting skills or supernatural talents, but she’s got spunk and a sense of duty and a sensible streak a mile wide. And most of what she accomplishes is done by being smart and deciding to step up and do the right thing. When told she needs to retrieve a magical object to to beat the Smog and that this is a quest which will lead her on various expeditions via clues to get the next piece in the puzzle, she just decides ‘Sod that!’ and skips right to the end and still manages to get what she needs anyway. She’s feisty, funny and smart and, at the end of the day, manages to save her friends and herself. In my book that makes for a very strong heroine!

Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian

Riley from The Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver

There are a lot of strange females in YA but one of my favourites of recent years has been Riley from The Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver. She kicks butt and has to deal with being a girl in a job that is mainly done by men who aren’t all very accepting of her and she has to deal with being alone and regular stuff like money and school. An all action female that is just plain cool.

Laura from Sister Spooky: Book Fangirl

Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth

The strongest female protaganist in YA fiction is Tris from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. To me, strong doesn’t automatically mean angry and acting without thinking. Tris has a lot to overcome, and a whole lot to prove- to Dauntless and to herself. Tris has proven time and time again that she is courageous, caring, dependable, and won’t give up- not matter what the odds are. She gains strength- not by some super human power, but by hard work (and some blood and tears too). She makes choices that are difficult and works hard to protect the ones that she loves. Tris goes through a major change in the pages of Divergent- from meek and quiet to bold and strong. Tris is a heroine that I want to believe in.

Coranne from Short & Sweet Reviews

Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling

While I might have been tempted to say Kat from HUNGER GAMES or Kate from the GIDEON TRILOGY, I feel I mist give credit where credit is due. Hermione Granger from the HARRY POTTER books. She’s just so strongly written from the get-go. Here is a girl who came from the lower end of the wizard totem pole, but applied herself and used her smarts to get ahead. More gifted than even full-blooded wizards, she cruises through classes with ease by the simple act of concentration and application. She can be both utterly loveable and cantankerously snarky in equal measure, showing me a balance of the opposite ends of the teen spectrum of angst. What really begins to show about her is that when life around her gets her down, when life’s tables turn on her (whether because of boys, school, or even bullies) she stands in front of the onslaught and simply takes it. Not only that, she even finds the courage to rise above it. She uses it to fuel her skills, becoming more and more accomplished. As the series goes on she shows us time and again that she can face adversity and triumph over it. She actually makes her parents forget her existence to keep them safe from Voldemort. To me that is selfless. She joins in the leadership role to help her friends, no better yet her entire society, to face an unimaginable and powerful evil. She does this not because she has to, or because she wants to, or even because it is asked of her. She does this because she is aware that she is strong enough to do so. Probably one of the most self-aware female protagonists in fiction, not just YA fiction, Hermione Granger get’s my vote for being unequivocally brave and astonishingly strong.

Scott from Iceberg Ink

Lyra from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

As far as firecrackers go, I am an enormous fan of Pullman’s Lyra and any character ever found in a Robin McKinley novel, but most especially Rae from “Sunshine” and Harry from “The Blue Sword”. I’d have to argue that the strongest, at least in emotional terms, would have to be Lyra as she understands what she has to give up to save her world (and Will’s) and does so, with the depth of sadness and strength of character that make her so remarkable. Of course, Rae can kill vampires with her bare hands (and, occasionally, a penknife) so there is certainly some competition!

Jennie from Book Geeks

Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The strongest female protagonist that I’ve encountered in some time is Katsa from GRACELING. I know that many of you find her extremely hard to relate to, but that’s not the case for me. I love that she can never put her intense emotions aside. I love that she’s not poised or proper. I even love that she punches people in the face without thinking of the consequences. Basically, I love Katsa because she never censors herself. She never pretends to be someone she’s not, she never filters what’s on her mind before speaking, she never goes along with an idea if she disagrees with it. Katsa is just this really passionate person who never, ever holds back– and that’s what makes her so strong.

Ana from What YA Reading?

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

It took me a while to come up with this answer, because the strongest female YA protagonists are not necessarily my favorite female protagonists. So while Calla from Nightshade and Grace from Shiver immediately came to mind, pressing for attention, it was impossible to ignore their many slip ups (especially in the name of love). So the search continued until I came up with one name: Karou from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She is edgy; unfazed by the looks she gets for her crazy blue hair and not paying attention to what others think of her. She even lives with creatures (not spoiling) and isn’t weirded out by it! The fact that she is unwavering in her own self-image and self-importance makes her strong. She is just really lively. But what is even more impressive is her ability to put her life into danger to find answers, to push on for those answers even after a boy becomes involved (since so many protagonists seem to loose focus at that point). Plus, if you read and find a little more about her, she can kick some ass. I mean that in the most literal sense possible.

Britta from I Like These Books

Rose from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Rose is a seventeen year old dhampir (half-human, half-moroi). She ran away from St. Vladimir Academy with her vampire Princess/Best Friend Lissa, only to find herself dragged back by a Guardian who would one day end up being her forbidden lover (*cough* Dimitri *cough*). But that is hardly the reason why Rose Hathaway is so frightening and maybe it’s because she died in a car accident with the rest of Princess/ Best Friend Lissa’s family and was then brought back to life by Lissa using the extremely rare element of spirit creating a bond between the two girls. Maybe that’s the reason why…because she has been trained all her life to be able to hunt and kill the Strigoi aka. bad vampires. Plus attacking things is basically second nature for Rose.

Maryann from Chapter by Chapter

Unsurprisingly, however, there was but one winner. Many, many people came back with this name:

Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I have to say the strongest female protagonist in YA fiction has to be Katniss from The Hunger Games (I’m sure many will agree with me). After reading the books, what stuck with me is Katniss’ love and determination to protect her younger sister, Prim. Regardless of the cost. She was willing to sacrifice herself to keep Prim safe, and to me, that is truly heroic behavior. Katniss knows that she is walking into a nightmare when she volunteers to take Prim’ place in the Games, but she doesn’t hesitate to do it. Once she made her choice, she tapped into the strength of character and bravery that she didn’t know she possessed. I wanted her to succeed so badly, because she was doing everything for all of the right reasons. She loved Prim, and she would do anything for her. That’s what being a hero is all about – putting yourself in harm’s way to protect what you love.

Julie from Manga Maniac Cafe

The way she stood in place for her sister showed courage and how much she adored and wanted to protect her family and the fact that though she came from the poorest District in The Hunger Games Trilogy , she did not care and she fought her way to the top and to come out the winner. She held her head high and did not let herself become caught up in the war and brutal side of the Hunger Games. The fact that she won also showed that she is one kick-ass heroine :)

Paula from The Phantom Paragrapher

Katniss of The Hunger Games has to be the strongest. She goes through being separated from her family and the only life she’s known and has to play a game she wants to part of. She does this to immediately save her sister, but in the long run it’s to save much more than even she realizes. She is smart and strong and doesn’t back down from anyone.

Jessica from Book Sake

Well? What do you think? Do you agree that Katniss is the strongest female protagonist in YA literature? Who is a glaring omission from the above list?

Give a Warm Welcome to Jonathan L Howard!

We are delighted to announce the signing of another wonderfully exciting author!

Jonathan L. Howard has been signed for two books – the first of which is titled Katya’s World and will be published in

November 2012 – in a deal for World English rights, concluded between Strange Chemistry’s Amanda Rutter and Sam Copeland, of Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd.

ABOUT KATYA’S WORLD (PART 1 OF THE RUSSALKA CHRONICLES): The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.

Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history. She is making her first submarine voyage as an apprentice navigator; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career. But there is nothing nice and simple about the deep, black waters of Russalka and soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges.

For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin. And when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet…

ABOUT JONATHAN L HOWARD: Jonathan L. Howard has been a game designer for the last twenty years, and a full-time author for the past three. He is the author of the Johannes Cabal series of novels. He lives near Bristol.

Visit Jonathan online at and follow him on Twitter.

Jonathan L. Howard says: “I grew up on a diet of science fiction that would now be called YA, with novels by the likes of John Christopher, Lester del Rey, Hugh Walters, and Robert Heinlein. Hard-ish SF isn’t quite as common as it used to be, and – while it’s cool to see fantasy doing so well – I did wonder what was available for readers who like a few nuts and bolts mixed in with their reading material. This novel is the result of that thought, and is perhaps something of a love letter to the authors who sparked my imagination with their stories back in the seventies.

“When I saw that Strange Chemistry was specifically looking for that sort of SF, it just seemed like kismet. Angry Robot has earned itself an impressive reputation, and I am very happy indeed to be aboard and working with their new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry.”

Amanda Rutter says: “I am a massive fan of Jonathan L Howard’s, having read and loved the three Johannes Cabal novels, and so it is a dream come true to welcome him to the Strange Chemistry family.

“Katya’s War is a brilliant story about growing up and what it means to survive in the harshest of environments, and I love the fact that it harkens back to traditional SF. Roll on November!”

Please give some love to Jonathan L Howard in the comments – are you looking forward to KATYA’S WORLD?

New YA Releases for February 2012

Okay, so we were informed that our last New Releases post prompted confusion in some quarters – people thought that *WE* had released those 50-odd novels in January! Well, we should be so lucky – to (a) have the resources and time to release that many in a single month and (b) to simultaneously release some of the biggest selling YA novels of January!

Nope, the Strange Chemistry novels are not being released until September – we have SHIFT and BLACKWOOD coming your way in September 2012, then POLTERGEEKS and THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE in October (more information to follow about the latter very soon). Finally, we round off our first year in November with a just-signed novel that we’re very excited to tell you about.

With all that said, here comes the YA Releases for February (as usual, the disclaimer that release dates are never final – y’know, until the book is actually released, we haven’t listed all of them, and some of these are being released for the first time in the UK or the US after already being released in the other!)

1) Street Fighter by Simon Scarrow

‘It is settled. The boy is in your charge. You will train him to fight.

He must be able to use the dagger, throwing-knife, staves and his bare hands.

One day young Marcus may well become a gladiator in the arena.

But you must also teach him the ways of the street.’

Now a member of Julius Caesar’s palace, Marcus’s training continues in the city of Rome. The streets are plagued by vicious gang war attacks, and Caesar must employ his own gang leader, who learns of a plot to murder him.

Only Marcus can go in undercover. But he’s in terrible danger. If the rival gang discover him the price will be fatal. Julius Caesar’s isn’t the only life at risk . . .

2) Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

3) Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld…this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen. As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…

4) Charmfall by Chloe Neill

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you’re a sophomore. So when the girls of St. Sophia’s start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep – even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention. But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn’t forget what she’s sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic – and finds that it’s gone. And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what – or who – caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines …

5) The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska.

Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start for themselves in a homestead ‘at the world’s edge’ in the raw Alaskan wilderness. But as the days grow shorter, Jack is losing his battle to clear the land, and Mabel can no longer contain her grief for the baby she lost many years before.

The evening the first snow falls, their mood unaccountably changes. In a moment of tenderness, the pair are surprised to find themselves building a snowman – or rather a snow girl – together. The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared, and Jack can’t quite shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure – a child? – running through the spruce trees in the dawn light. And how to explain the little but very human tracks Mabel finds at the edge of their property?

6) Advent by James Treadwell

For centuries it has been locked away
Lost beneath the sea
Warded from earth, air, water, fire, spirits, thought and sight.

But now magic is rising to the world once more.

And a boy called Gavin, who thinks only that he is a city kid with parents who hate him, and knows only that he sees things no one else will believe, is boarding a train, alone, to Cornwall.

No one will be there to meet him.

7) Bzrk by Michael Grant

These are no ordinary soldiers. This is no ordinary war. Welcome to the nano, where the only battle is for sanity. Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake. Time is running out for the good guys. But what happens when you don’t know who the good guys really are? Noah and Sadie: newly initiated to an underground cell so covert that they don’t even know each other’s names. Here they will learn what it means to fight on a nano level. Soon they will become the deadliest warriors the world has ever seen. Vincent: feels nothing, cares for no one; fighting his own personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive. The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, and fanatical. Are they the saviours of mankind or authors of the darkest conspiracy the world has ever seen? The nano is uncharted territory. A terrifying world of discovery. And everything is to play for…

8) A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison

Yaroooo! Tallulah’s triumphant Heathcliff in ‘Wuthering Heights’ the comedy musical was enough to secure her place at Dother Hall performing arts college for another term. She can’t wait to see her pals again, Charlie and the boys from Woolfe Academy and maybe even bad boy Cain…

Could the bright lights of Broadway be calling? And for who? Find out in the next Misadventures of Tallulah Casey.

9) The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

10) Fever by Lauren DeStefano

For 17-year-old Rhine Ellery, a daring escape from a suffocating polygamous marriage is only the beginning…

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

11) The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney

Born into the mysterious world of an ancient alchemical order, Donna has always been aware of the dark feud that exists between the alchemists and the fey. Her own mother – bound by a dark Faerie curse – has been confined to a hospital bed for as long as she can remember . . . But now there is a chance to release her, and Donna will stop at nothing until she is free.

Armed with her own brand of powerful magic, Donna must face the fearsome Wood Queen in order to save her mother. But in the Ironwood – a place that haunts Donna’s dreams – there is far greater and more dangerous magic already at work . . .

12) Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard

My killer is out there. And my sister might be next to die.

Two months before I died, my best friend’s brother disappeared. I have no idea where Thayer went or why he left, but I know it is my fault. I did a lot of horrible things while I was alive, things that made people hate me, maybe even enough to kill me.

Desperate to solve my murder, my long-lost twin, Emma, is pretending to be me and unravelling the many mysteries I left behind – my cryptic journal, my tangled love life, the dangerous Lying Game pranks I played. She’s uncovered my friend’s darkest secrets, but she’s never had the chance to dig into Thayer’s past – until now.

Thayer’s back and Emma has to move fast to figure out if he’s after revenge … or if he’s already got it.

13) Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Something wicked this way comes… She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she’s being paranoid – after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark – and a twig snaps… Hollow Pike – where witchcraft never sleeps.

14) Pure by Julianna Baggott

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar.

Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the ‘Pure’.

Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders’ regime, isn’t as perfect as others think.

Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.

15) The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge

Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn’t going to succomb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn’t human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.

When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she’s ravaged on the world that’s about to poison her.

16) Wyrmeweald: Bloodhoney by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

Fullwinter in the weald – a season of almost unsurvivable cold for anyone foolish enough to venture outside. Even wyrmes die, frozen in the icy wasteland, or falling lifeless from the skies as the host heads west to escape the advance of the two-hides: man… Huddled in a winter den, Micah is thankful to cragclimber Eli Halfwinter for providing him and kingirl Thrace with shelter, while Thrace aches to leave and fly through the skies on her whitewyrme once more. But sniffing out their whereabouts, fuelled by the invigorating liquor known as bloodhoney, is a brutal assassin, seeking vengeance. And worse is to come when they stumble upon a bizarre community headed by a charismatic stone prophet – Deephome…

17) Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle… at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable…

18) Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

“Blessed with a gift…”cursed” with a secret.”

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship – or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood – not even from each other.

19) Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn’t expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she’s going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she’s come home. She’s even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she’s the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can’t trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her – and the rest of the world too.

20) A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

Ari has finally learned the terrifying truth. She is a descendant of Medusa, cursed to become a monster designed to kill with a single touch. Haunted by the image of what she will become, Ari, with the help of the gorgeous Sebastian, is doing everything she can to learn more about Athena, the goddess who cursed her family and kidnapped young Violet. But the battle between good and evil is much bigger than she realises, and Ari is about to be pulled into a world more horrific than she could ever imagine. And now, as she prepares to face Athena, Ari must unleash the very thing she’s most afraid of…herself.

21) The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Brie’s life ends at sixteen: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart – “literally.” But now that she’s in heaven, Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend knows a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost – and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul who’s been D&G (dead and gone) much longer than she? and who just might hold the key to her forever after. With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on? but how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

22) The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Rollrock is a lonely island of cliffs and storms, blunt fishermen and their fierce wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas. But Rollrock is also a place of magic – the scary, salty-real sort of magic that changes lives forever. Down on the windswept beach, where the seals lie in their herd, the outcast sea witch Misskaella casts her spells, and brings forth girls from the sea – girls with long, pale limbs and faces of haunting loveliness.

But magic always has its price. A fisherman may have and hold a sea bride, and tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into her lovely eyes, he will be just as transformed as she is. He will be equally ensnared.

And in the end the witch will always have her payment.

23) Freax and Rejex by Robin Jarvis

Five months have passed since the publication of the devilish book discovered in Dancing Jax. It is on its ninth reprint and tens of millions of copies have been sold in the UK. The entire country is now under its evil spell.

Yet a tiny percentage of the population have proven to be immune to the words of Austerly Fellows. The number of unaffected children between the ages of 7 and 15 is only 49. With the critical eyes of the rest of the world turned towards Britain, the Ismus decides to send the children for an intensive holiday camp, where they will study the sacred text and learn to embrace it.

But after the holiday is over, the children are told their stay has been extended. A barbed wire fence is put up around the site. And it soon becomes apparent that the place is not a camp and the children are not guests. They are prisoners of war…

24) Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she’s going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He’s out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy’s stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she’s managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they’re suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

25) Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she will be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15 per cent? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s colouring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just may be one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.

26) Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

27) When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven’s death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg’s caste system, and the whole city along with it.

28) A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

29) The Secret Book of Sacred Things by Torsten Krol

The coming of the Great Stone to Earth has erased almost everything that used to be. But in one isolated valley, the Church of Selene has found its way back from destruction. Sister Luka and her female converts offer sacrifices to the scarred (and very close) moon that hangs over their convent. It has been this way since the meteor hit. Among the Little Sisters of Selene is twelve year-old Aurora, respected Scribe of the church. She endlessly writes down the name of the moon to keep her in the sky where she belongs. But Rory has a secret book she keeps hidden in her Scribe’s chamber and into this diary she pours out her hopes and desires. Upsetting this fragile equilibrium is Willa, a young tomboy whose flamboyant arrival threatens the hard-won status quo of the sisters’ community. As Rory and Willa inch toward friendship, insurrection grows. But when an unexpected marvel occurs in the sky, it is clear that Rory’s work as the Scribe has failed. The moon is threatening to remake the world all over again…

30) Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She argues with her father. She’s human. And then every day in between…she’s something else entirely. Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism. When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her, and unfortunately she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive…and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

31) Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale

How can you face your future when your past it a lie? When Rosie Kenning’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntingdon’s disease, her whole world falls apart. Not only does Rosie desperately miss her mum, but now she has to face the fact that she could have inherited the fatal illness herself. Until she discovers that Trudie wasn’t her biological mother at all …Rosie is stunned. Can this be true? Is she grieving for a mother who wasn’t even hers to lose? And if Trudie wasn’t her mother, who is? But as Rosie delves into her past to discover who she really is, she is faced with a heart-breaking dilemma – to continue living a lie, or to reveal a truth that will shatter the lives of everyone around her…

32) Bagheads by Karen Woods

Shaun was always a child who demanded more than life could give. His mother’s struggle began when she became a single parent, leaving her abusive husband behind. Unable to cope without the family unit, Shaun turns to a life of crime and drugs and eventually ends up in the care system.

33) This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees

Everyone says that Caro is bad …but Jamie can’t help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can’t believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn’t know why, but there’s no way he’s going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro. But as Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is more to Caro – much more. There are the times when she disappears and doesn’t get in touch, the small scars on her wrists, her talk about revolutions and taking action, not to mention the rumours he hears about the other men in her life. And then always in the background there is Rob, Jamie’s older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach. With Caro, the summer should have been perfect …but that isn’t how things work out in real life, and Jamie is going to find out the hard way.

34) Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan M James

Desperate to stay put in L.A. long enough to finish high school at the elite Emerson Academy, Claire Brennan hides the psychic visions she s been having from her paranoid, overprotective mother, even the ones warning her she s in danger. Fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the superhuman descendants of his angelic forefathers, Alec MacKenzie abandons his post in the hopes of experiencing a normal life at Emerson. But he didn t count on falling in love with Claire, a half angel, whose very existence is forbidden.

35) Mortal Chaos by Matt Dickinson

‘The Butterfly Effect ‘: the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people’s lives . . . and end people’s lives. From a climber on Everest to a boy in Malawi . . . from a commercial pilot to an American psycho . . . the chaos knows no bounds.

36) Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of Davillon’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one night a conspiracy of forces – human and other – stole it all away in a mist of blood and murder. Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had…but it’s hers. But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of forces is rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something dark and ancient is reaching out for her. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her – but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.

37) The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker

Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer’s daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, buys new “sophisticated” clothes and somehow manages to secure a tenuous spot at the cool kids table. She’s on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door Luke says he misses “plain old Ricki Jo.”

Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn’t care what people think and who wouldn’t let a good-looking guy walk all over her. It takes a serious incident out on Luke’s farm for Ricki Jo to realize that being a true friend is more important than being popular.

38) Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J Bick

Jenna Lord’s first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain…magnetism.

And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

39) The Secret Journeys of Jack London: The Sea Wolves by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon

Jack is making his way back to civilization after barely surviving his adventure in the Yukon. That episode tested his body, his mind, and even his grip on his humanity–but it was nothing compared to what he is about to face.

40) The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?

41) The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place–possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire”–a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can’t get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues,” with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined–a world, she’ll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death.

42) Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she’s still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel’s new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past.

When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she immediately falls under its spell, loving the way it erases, even if only briefly, her past. But as she becomes alienated from her friends and family, she becomes a shell of her former self, and longs to be whole again. With help from an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee, she’s able to begin to rewrite her story and start to move on from her addiction.

43) Catch and Release by Blythe Woolston

I should have died quick. But I didn’t. I’m a miracle of modern medicine, only the medicine doesn’t get much credit, I notice. People say I’m lucky, or I’m blessed, and then they turn away.

I’m not the only miracle. There’s Odd too.

Polly Furnas had The Plan for the future. Get married to Bridger Morgan, for one. College, career, babies. Etc. All the important choices were made.

It was all happily-ever-after as a diamond-ring commercial.

But The Plan did not include a lethal drug-resistant infection. It did not include “some more reconstruction and scar revision in the future.” And it certainly did not include Odd Estes, a trip to Portland in an ancient Cadillac to “tear Bridger a new one,” fly fishing, marshmallows, Crisco, or a loaded gun.

But plans change. Stories get revised and new choices must be made.

Polly and Odd have choices: Survival or not. Catch or release.

44) The Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin

The Alice Marshall School, set within a glorious 2-million acre wilderness area, is a place where teenage girls are sent to escape their histories and themselves. Lida Wallace has tried to negate herself in every way possible. At Alice Marshall, she meets Elsa Boone, Jules, and Gia Longchamps, whose glamour entrances the entire camp. As the girls prepare for a wilderness trek, Lida is both thrilled and terrified to be chosen as Gia’s friend. Everyone has their secrets – the “Things” they try to protect; and when those come out, the knives do as well.

45) Racing California by Janet Nichols Lynch

There is plently of sports action in this YA novel about a gifted athlete who surprises everyone, especially himself, in his first pro race when as the youngest rider at age eighteen, he becomes a sensation with his astounding climbing skills and all-around stunning performance.

46) Riding out the Storm by Sis Deans

Zach is riding the Greyhound bus through a snowstorm to visit his older brother Derek, whom he hasn’t seen in seven months. That’s when their parents finally went broke paying Derek’s doctor’s bills and had to give him up as a ward of the state. Nothing—not drawing in his sketchbook, not basketball—lets Zach forget that his brother is living in a mental institution five states away. But surprisingly, sitting next to a talkative teenage girl he nicknames Purplehead starts to take the edge off Zach’s pain.

47) Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer

Ben has always had it pretty easy–with no acting experience, he landed the lead in his high school musical, and he’s dating the prettiest girl in school. Haunted by memories of 9/11, he makes the decision to enlist in the army–with devastating consequences. Somehow nobody ever thought Ben would be one of the soldiers affected, but after his convoy gets caught in an explosion, Ben is in a coma for two months. When he wakes up, he doesn’t know where he is, and he doesn’t remember anything about his old life. His family and friends mourn what they see as a loss, but Ben perseveres. Although he will never be the person he once was, this is the story of his struggle and transformation.

48) Trafficked by Kim Purcell

Hannah believes she’s being brought from Moldova to Los Angeles to become a nanny for a Russian family. But her American dream quickly spirals into a nightmare. The Platonovs force Hannah to work sixteen-hour days, won’t let her leave the house, and seem to have a lot of secrets – from Hannah and from each other. Stranded in a foreign land with false documents, no money, and nobody who can help her, Hannah must find a way to save herself from her new status as a modern-day slave or risk losing the one thing she has left: her life.

49) The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

Jocelyn’s twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he’s dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from “Jason December”-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn’s childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house’s powers weren’t just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in?

50) Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Okay, so there are fifty releases – and we didn’t include books such as Choker by Elizabeth Woods or Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan!

Which of the above novels are you most looking forward to? How about linking us to your reviews, to let us know which of these we should be reading immediately?