The warm days of summer are now upon us. Hard to believe, but it’s been exactly a year since we began our monthly New Releases posts here at The Mixed-Up Files. Kind of makes me teary-eyed <sniff sniff>. But don’t worry – in a good way.
Book descriptions and covers taken from Indiebound.
OUR OWN MIXED-UP FILE MEMBERS
♦ BEYOND LUCKY (Dial) – Sarah Aronson. Ari Fish believes in two things: his hero-Wayne Timcoe, the greatest soccer goalie to ever come out of Somerset Valley-and luck. So when Ari finds a rare and valuable Wayne Timcoe trading card, he’s sure his luck has changed for the better. Especially when he’s picked to be the starting goalie on his team. But when the card is stolen-and his best friend and the new girl on the team accuse each other of taking it-suddenly Ari can’t save a goal, everyone is fighting, and he doesn’t know who, or what, to believe in. Before the team falls apart, Ari must learn how to make his own luck, and figure out what it truly means to be a hero. Congratulations to Sarah Aronson!
♦ Dork Diaries 3: Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star (Aladdin) – Rachel Renee Russell. Since we first met Nikki Maxwell, she’s been doing everything she can to keep everyone at school from learning the truth–that she’s there on scholarship in exchange for her Dad working as the school’s exterminator. The last thing Nikki needs is having her friends and–worst case scenario–her crush, Brandon, associating her with the humongous roach on top of her Dad’s van! Now it looks like her secret could be about to come out, and Nikki’s willing to go to any zany and wacky length to prevent that from happening. The timing seems perfect when a major talent competition is announced with a school scholarship offered as the top prize. Nikki loves to sing and dance and now she gets to have tons of fun with her friends while competing for a chance to free her Dad from his obligation! (And free herself from all that potential damage to her reputation . . .) Once again, hijinks and misunderstandings aplenty ensue, as well as more hilarious and heartwarming moments with all our favorite characters.
♦ Septimus Heap, Book Six: Darke (Katherine Tegen) – Angie Sage. In the sixth book of the Magykal series, Alther Mella has been Banished, a Darke Domaine engulfs the Castle, and a Darke dragon is on the loose. Septimus Heap must use all of his skills to save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from destruction: He must enter the Darke. But he cannot do this alone. With the help of Jenna, Alther Mella, Marcellus Pye, and Septimus’s estranged brother, Simon Heap, Septimus and Marcia Overstrand battle the spreading Darkenesse. Will Septimus succeed in protecting his Magykal world?
♦ Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life (Little, Brown) – James Patterson. Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he’s got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school’s oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe’s game starts to catch up with him, he’ll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he’s finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he’s been avoiding.
♦ Gilda Joyce: The Bones of the Holy (Dutton) – Jennifer Allison. When Gilda Joyce’s mother announces her engagement to a man from St. Augustine, Florida, Gilda is appalled. She hasn’t even given him the “Joyce Family Application” yet! But as the wedding preparations get under way, Gilda realizes she has much bigger concerns. Why does her soon-to-be stepdad keep calling Mrs. Joyce by his ex-wife’s name? And why is Mrs. Joyce acting like she’s possessed? With only a few short days before her mother says “I do,” Gilda knows this much for sure: it’s going to take every ounce of her sleuthing skill and psychic savvy to solve this one!
♦ The Red Blazer Girls: The Mistaken Masterpiece [Knopf] – Michael D. Beil. Sophie, Margaret, Becca, and Leigh Ann are back in an all-new Red Blazer Girls caper. In the third installment, Sophie is nose to fist with her arch-rival, Livvy, all while taking care of movie-star Nate Etan’s dog, when Father Julian hires the Blazers to help him authenticate a painting. Mayhem and mystery follows as the girls attempt to uncover the truth. Oh, and, uh, Sophie’s friend-who-is-not-a-boyfriend, Raf, is back. . . . Here’s another charming and engaging adventure starring these four every-girl sleuths that’s perfect for readers 10-up.
♦ The Absolute Value of Mike (Philomel) – Kathryn Erskine. Mike tries so hard to please his father, but the only language his dad seems to speak is calculus. And for a boy with a math learning disability, nothing could be more difficult. When his dad sends him to live with distant relatives in rural Pennsylvania for the summer to work on an engineering project, Mike figures this is his big chance to buckle down and prove himself. But when he gets there, nothing is what he thought it would be. The project has nothing at all to do with engineering, and he finds himself working alongside his wacky eighty-something- year-old aunt, a homeless man, and a punk rock girl as part of a town-wide project to adopt a boy from Romania. Mike may not learn anything about engineering, but what he does learn is far more valuable.
♦ The Black Stallion and the Lost City (Random House) – Steve Farley. When Alec and the Black are hired to work as stunt doubles in a film about Alexander and his horse, Bucephalus, they find themselves on set in the remote mountains of the Greek/Bulgarian border. Movie making involves a lot of waiting, so they set out for a morning of exploring. Chasing an elusive albino mare, the two find themselves caught in an underground river which drops them, half-drowned, beside a city lost in time. Revered at first, they soon discover that they are intended as the entertainment at a horrific ritual . . . sacrifices to the legendary flesh-eating mares in the coloseum of King Diomedes. Steve Farley is the son of Walter Farley, the man who created the Black Stallion.
♦ Killer Pizza: The Slice (Feiwel & Friends) – Greg Taylor. Four months after they discover that their new place of employment, Killer Pizza, was a front for an underground Monster Hunting Organization, Toby and his fellow rookie Monster Combat Officers, Annabel and Strobe, have been invited to New York City to tour KP Headquarters. But the exclusive tour is cut short when a monster emergency sends the trio off on a secret mission delivering Calanthe, a beautiful 14-year-old, defecting monster with serpent-like abilities, into the Monster Protection Program. It seems like an easy assignment until the teens realize Calanthe is the sacrificial offering in a ceremony set to happen in a few days and her people will stop at nothing to get her back!
♦ You’ll Like It Here (Everybody Does) (Delacorte) – Ruth White. While Meggie and David Blue are from another planet, they’re a lot like Earth kids, with similar hopes and dreams, and can’t wait to grow up. BUT they also have GROSSLY UNIQUE qualities, such as blue streaks in their hair that pop up randomly and language skills that sound like nothing on this planet. The story takes these alien kids, along with their mother and grandfather, by accident, to a far planet in which the society is not only oppressive but hostile to individual freedom. People are kept submissive through drugs and brainwashing. The Blues, who have spent time in free societies recognize the upside-down-ness of this world. They’re almost helpless to do anything, but do what they can, plan their escape, and vow to help others. Newbery Honor Award winner RUTH WHITE.
♦ Shark Wars (Razorbill) – Ernie Altbacker. Since the dawn of time, prehistoric shark clans called Shivers have ruled over the earth’s oceans, fierce protectors of all who swim. For eons, the Big Blue has prospered under Shiver Law, and the delicate balance of sea life kept sacred. Until now. Rising sea temperatures and overfishing have caused food to become scarce, and the battle for new hunting grounds has brought with it corruption and warfare. Now, with the ocean on the brink of chaos, a young reef shark named Gray – exiled from the safety of his peaceful reef home – must venture deep into Open Water to unlock the secrets of his destiny and bring peace back to the ocean. But first, he’ll have to discover the truth about who – and what – he really is.
♦ Me & Jack (Walker) – Danette Haworth. Joshua Reed is used to moving around since his dad became an Army recruiter and the Vietnam War broke out. But their newest home, in the mountains of Pennsylvania, feels special somehow. Josh has started to make a new friend, his dad has finally allowed him to get a dog, and Jack-with his strange glowing ears and the way he seems to understand Josh’s feelings-is like no other dog Josh has ever seen. But in Vietnam-era America, conflict is never far away-even on the homefront. When a local boy is killed overseas, the town turns on the new army recruiter. And when a few late-night disturbances all point to Jack, it will be up to Josh to fight for his dog, his family, and his new home.
♦ War and Watermelon (Viking) – Rich Wallace. It’s the summer of 1969. We’ve just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he’ll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves.
♦ The Detention Club (Balzer + Bray) – David Yoo. Detention. The best worst thing to happen to Peter Lee? Peter and his best friend, Drew, used to be so cool (or, at least, not total outcasts) in elementary school. But now they’re in middle school, where their extensive mica collection and prowess at kickball have earned them a new label: losers. Then Peter attracts the unwanted attention of the school bullies, and his plan to become popular through his older sister, the practically perfect Sunny, backfires. Things go from bad to worse when Peter gets detention. But what at first seems to spell his utter doom turns into an unlikely opportunity for making friends and influencing people.