waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

51zujlmmr9l-_sx324_bo1204203200_Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A dark and gorgeously drawn standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig. birdWhy I can’t wait to read The Boneless Mercies

  • This has been described as feminist Beowulf. I love folk stories, but if there is one thing I noticed as a child it was the lack of female warriors. (Interesting fact – my name means ‘female warrior’. I figure we have always existed.) I never wanted to be the princess who was rescued from the tower. I wanted to be on horseback with a bow and arrow. 
  • I want to know about ‘the heroic sagas of her people’. I love books which examine the formative role of stories. Books which show how stories become part of a national consciousness. Current favourites include Ink by Alice Broadway and The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. 
  • I am interested to know how a group of girls ended up in ‘the death trade’. This promises to be a fantastical take on patriarchal society and I’m totally up for it. 
  • Perfect for fans of Heidi Heilig. I adored Heidi Heilig’s narrative about a time-traveling ship and a girl who wants to be a captain. It wasn’t a straight fantasy, or a straight adventure, but a happy mix of the two. I hope The Boneless Mercies has the same blend of magic and excitement. 

 

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Simon And Schuster UK (UK)

October 2018

 

 

 

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waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: The Colour Of The Sun by David Almond

wowcolourofthesunbannerSynopsis (from Hodder Children’s Books):

“The day is long, the world is wide, you’re young and free.”

51w0hs8achl-_ac_us218_One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar – the little Tyneside town that has always been his home – but as the day passes, it becomes ever more mysterious.

A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible. He turns away from the gossip and excitement and sets off roaming towards the sunlit hills above the town.

As the day goes on, the real and the imaginary start to merge, and Davie knows that neither he nor his world will ever be the same again.bird

Why I can’t wait to read The Colour Of The Sun:

– Gangs and routines and friendships. I want to know Davie’s connection to the murdered boy, and what there is to learn about this boy’s life. David Almond is brilliant at setting up convincing links between children. 

– The real and the imaginary start to merge – I have read a couple of stories where the protagonist loses their grip on reality, but I am interested to know whether this is a straight psychological thriller. Is there some commentary on the nature of reality and imagination?

-The story takes place in a single day. This reminds me of modernist works such as Mrs Dalloway. I am interested to see how the story pans out in such a short time-scale.

-Almond has written about the same region in many of his novels, but it looks slightly different each time. Real meets imaginary, always to great effect. I love books which are set in a distinct geographical region. It is great to see different places reflected in fiction. 

– A new novel from David Almond is a treat. He is one of the greatest authors working today. He shows a deep love for the craft of storytelling. 

 

The Colour Of The Sun by David Almond

Hodder Children’s Books

May 2018

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

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Synopsis (from Scholastic): 

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams. But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… and is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family? A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.birdWhy I can’t Wait to read A Sky Painted Gold:

This sounds very Daphne Du Maurier. Big house mysteries were a core part of my diet as a teenager. I loved the blend of history, romance and mystery which the big house setting lends itself to, as well as the themes of social change and prejudice. 

Lou is a writer who appears to have conflict about her ambitions. It can be difficult to tell people your life’s ambition is to write a novel. People often think arts come fully-formed. Either you have the ability to write a novel already or you never will have. I’m looking forward to seeing a book which explores the conflicts faced by aspiring writers. 

I want to know whether there is something sinister about the Cardews. I enjoyed The Wren Hunt where a similar question was posed about a magical faction and the answer was more complex than I guessed from the outset. I love novels which make us question people’s motives.

Let’s face it – we all love cocktail parties and moonlit meetings on private beaches. We never learn. We’re all dreaming of Manderley.

Laura Wood is the author of the Poppy Pym series. Poppy Pym is a middle grade mystery series about a circus girl who finds herself in a boarding school. With four books in the series so far, Laura Wood has significant experience of writing mysteries. 

 

A Sky Painted Gold

Scholastic UK

July 2018

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi

beastplayerbannerSynopsis (from Pushkin Press): 

getimage-824Elin’s family have an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or must she face the terrible battles to come?bird

Why I can’t wait to read The Beast Player:

  • The beast magic reminds me of the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb. This was a real favourite in my teens and the main reason I loved it was the bond between the protagonist and his animals.
  • ‘Can she prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war?’ Too many humans mistreat or misunderstand animal intelligence and I think this is an important theme for any book which centres around animals. Good fantasy says something about the real world.
  • Stakes. Elin’s mother is sent to die. The first thing I want to know is whether Elin can save her mother. Possibly we will find out straight away whether or not she survives, but if we don’t know the answer I will definitely turn the pages. 
  • This is a story of battles and wars. It sounds like something is majorly up if someone is in control of a serpent army. I want to know who is at the helm and what their agenda is, and I want to see Elin defeat them with her gift. 
  • Fantastic beasts! Regular readers know I am a huge fan of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. In actual fact I love all mythological animals from talking Beavers to Snow Dragons. 

 

 

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: Sal by Mick Kitson

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Synopsis (from GoodReads): 

34215676Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using credit cards she’d robbed. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.

And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.birdWhy I can’t wait to read Sal:

I’ve featured a lot of books in Waiting on Wednesday which fit right inside my comfort zone. In some ways this book isn’t exactly what I would chose. It is about a pair of sisters escaping abusive family. I’m not mad-keen on gritty urban reality. But that is where Sal looks special. It tackles a difficult topic side-on. It begins after the sisters run away. The rural setting and survival narrative look perfect for me, and I will hear about these different life experiences without feeling like a fly-on-the-wall to horrible scenes.

 

The agent website gives me the impression this is about girls who need to stop surviving and start living. I want to know how long they will stay in their tent in the wilderness, and what will draw them back into everyday life. 

 

I love castaway stories, and this doesn’t sound too dissimilar. It is about survival skills and isolation and learning to fight for oneself. This sounds metaphorical of the girls’ situation, and that intrigues me. 

 

It sounds as if Sal will do anything for Peppa. The result is I want things to turn out well for Sal. Whatever Sal gets wrong, her heart is in the right place and I am ready to follow her and rooting for things to turn out right. 

 

Sal by Mick Kitson

Canongate Books Ltd

March 2018

 

NB. I received a copy of Sal from the publisher. The same thing happened last week, and I think it may happen occasionally as I now receive some ARCs. Waiting on Wednesday is always written prior to reading or perusing the books, and the thoughts are entirely my own.

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw

36697848Synopsis (from Simon and Schuster)

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.bird

Why I can’t wait to read The Wicked Deep:

  • This has everything I am interested in – fantasy, feminsim, folklore and the relationship between place and story. This sounds a little like some of Penelope Lively’s work, where outsiders try to establish the truth in old traditions and end the damage they cause. 

 

  • Sirens. *Whispers* – I have sirens in my recent writing. There is so much in siren stories which lends itself to feminist narratives, and there are fewer sirens already in YA fiction than merpeople. The idea of the annual curse blew my mind away. What a fantastic way to make sirens believable in a modern-day setting. 

 

  • ‘Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town’ … this sounds like a narrative challenge, and I am interested to know how Penny’s relationship with Bo changes her feelings about the town. Sometimes it takes a new person or experience to open our eyes.

 

  • ‘Mistrust and lies’ – the nature of truth is an important theme in the current climate, where nobody is certain to whether they are reading truth or misinformation. A small town with its own traditions is a brilliant setting to explore this theme. I can imagine lots of characters unwilling to give up beliefs they have learned from a young age. 

 

The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw

Simon and Schuster Children’s UK

March 2018

 

Note – I am lucky enough to have an advanced copy of The Wicked Deep, so I won’t be waiting long! I wrote this prior to reading my copy.

 

 

 

 

 

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – Nobody Real by Steven Camden

51lzr5slielSynopsis (from HarperCollins):

Marcie is at a crossroads.

Finished with school, but unsure what she wants to do next. Abandoned by her mother when she was tiny – but drifting further and further from her dad.

Marcie is real. With real problems.

Thor is at a crossroads too.

Soon, if he doesn’t make a decision, he’s gong to face the fade. Years ago, he was Marcie’s imaginary friend – then she cast him out, back to his own world.

Thor is not real. And that’s a real problem…

But Marcie and Thor need each other. And to fix their lives, they’re going to have to destroy everything… and then build a new world.birdWhy I can’t wait to read Nobody Real:

  • Imaginary Friends are so interesting – from Imaginaries by AF Harold, and The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson, imaginary friends have appeared in some fantastic scenarios in Middle Grade fiction. They rarely appear in YA, and I am pleased to see this challenged. Teens might have outgrown their imaginary friends, but that doesn’t make their reappearance dull. If anything, it makes me wonder why the character needs their old friend. It grabs my interest. 

 

  • The agent website references ‘the imaginary word’. I love stories where a fictional or imaginary world turns out to be real. They are often about the role of imagination within our lives, or the relationship between stories and life. 

 

  • Contemporary YA is not my comfort-zone, but add a hint of fantasy and it becomes intriguing. I love worlds which are almost ordinary, but have a hint of magic around the edges. David Almond and Amy Wilson do this well, and Out Of The Blue by Sophie Cameron is another great example. 

 

  • Why did Marcie ‘cast Thor Out’? It doesn’t sound like she outgrew him, it sounds like there is some interesting backstory. I want to know the relationship between what happened at that moment and the pair’s present situation. 

Nobody Real by Steven Camden

HarperCollins

May 2018