Children’s and Young Adult Newsletter 4: February 2012

Upcoming for Submission
 

Abigail was ready for the end of the world. She didn’t complain when her parents packed up her and her brother and left to follow a doomsday preacher across the country to California. When it didn’t happen-when the trumpets didn’t sound and none of them were pulled into the sky by some invisible hand–she figured everything would get back to normal. They wouldn’t have to sleep in their van or hop from church to church looking for food. Her twin brother, Aaron, would stop sneaking out every night. And her family could begin to heal. She assumes they’re finally headed home. Instead, her parents go back to church. They lift their hands into the sky and ask God to take them home–pushing Aaron further away from them and closer to the potentially dangerous friends he’s made. When Abigail learns that Aaron is planning on running away with a homeless girl he just met, and that her parents are once again planning for The End, she must decide between the love of her brother and her faith in her parents. I Am Bound by Bryan Bliss is a compelling debut novel about what it takes to believe when everything around you is falling apart. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

The first day of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away inside the glove compartment of her beat-up, old Toyota. It isn’t just any old list; it’s a dead girl’s bucket list. Sophie’s beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly-cautious family, a couple of fading photographs and the bucket of bolts that barely passes as a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. The dares aren’t crazy. In fact, many of the things on Suzy’s list are exactly the types of things Sophie has always wanted to do–things it seems everyone else at their high school has already done-but that she hasn’t had the motivation or the guts to actually do. Sophie can’t help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero? Sophie hopes that maybe a few dares can change her life. As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy’s list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that she’s getting better…even though everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself. Erin Downing‘s None of the Regular Rules is a smart, funny, romantic, contemporary young adult novel whose pages turn themselves, and is sure to please fans of Carolyn Mackler and Stephanie Perkins. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project

With her platinum hair and silver eyes, ten-year-old Alethea has never been normal. Add to her strange looks the fact that she has spent her whole life in an orphanage where she has no friends, and Alethea is living life confused and alone, afraid of how people react to her and unwilling to risk getting hurt by exposing too much of herself. At the suggestion of the kind orphanage director who wants to see Alethea succeed, she is given a mission outside the orphanage to help a young boy whose mother is ill, and it is during this time when faced with a threatening situation involving the boy’s father that they flee into the ocean and discover a dark and beautiful Hidden World beyond the sea. Upon their arrival, they are greeted with great enthusiasm as they are introduced to the strange and magical creatures who live there. You see, they know that Alethea has come to help them. It appears that this Hidden World has literally been shrouded in darkness, and the secrets of Alethea’s past, including a twin sister she never knew she had, will place her in the very dangerous but important position of returning the light to The Hidden World. While it can be a frightening place, and Alethea is uncertain about her role in its future, the Hidden World is also full of exquisite beauty and love that has until now eluded her. As it turns out, Alethea’s purpose is much greater than she could have ever imagined, and she must learn to finally stop hiding in the shadows and step into the light. Alethea and the Hidden World is the first book in a planned middle grade trilogy and is author Deborah Lytton‘s second novel. Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.

Cassidy Haines is dead. So it’s pretty confusing when she comes to in the river the morning after her seventeenth birthday party staring at her body-her other lifeless body-bloody and mangled on the snow covered riverbank. She can’t remember anything from her birthday week and it seems now that no one can see or hear her, so she figures she must be a ghost. Until she discovers her boyfriend, Ethan Keys, can actually see and touch her-she painfully dissolves into glittery dust when she touches anyone else-and she begins to question exactly why she ghosted back to life, and what led to her untimely death. A series of out-of-body flashbacks that she literally melts into and can’t control reveal rumors of a breakup with Ethan and that she drank schnapps on the covered bridge with a different guy that night. His face was shadowed in the memory, but she has a sense that she knew him, which leads her to suspect her fall off the bridge wasn’t a drunken accident like everyone assumes. On top of her suspicions, a preternatural force pulses inside her, guiding her to people and locations that trigger more memories. The truth reveals multiple betrayals by and between her closest friends, the biggest of which she committed. Torn between wanting to stay with Ethan and the undeniable compulsion to clear her name by exposing the truth about her death, Cassidy must delve into her past and face all the decisions she made, good and bad, that led to her last kiss. Like Jay Asher did so powerfully in Thirteen Reasons Why, debut author Bethany Neal‘s My Last Kiss explores the mystery surrounding a young person’s death, the consequences of our actions, and the fatal power a lie can hold when you believe it to be true. Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.

Thirteen-year-old Willow McLain thinks dragons exist only in fairy tales…until she accidentally wakes one from a thousand-year hibernation. Who knew sneaking away from summer camp with her cousin Ben to explore an old abandoned hotel could land them, and their entire town, in danger of becoming dragon flambé? Who could have guessed that the slender whistle carved from bone that Willow found in the hotel attic would turn out to be magic? Seriously, was she supposed to know that the tiny thing was stolen from a secret order of Dragon Guardians who’d spent the last thousand years watching over seven hibernating dragons? Now, as one of the dragon’s “Whistlers,” Willow is the only one who can play the magical tunes that control her. Too bad things don’t return to normal once Willow lures the dragon back into her den. Willow still feels a bond with the beast, and she can’t shake the suspicion that her elderly aunt knows more about all this dragon business than her Alzheimer’s allows her to divulge. Could she have had something to do with the whistle’s disappearance all those years ago? And when one of the Guardians turns evil, planning to use all seven dragons to control the legendary Dragon Treasure, Willow must wake her dragon again to help protect mankind’s only source of hope. The Dragon Whistler by debut author Kim Smith is the first of a multi-book middle grade adventure that will explore the fantastical secrets behind what lights the human soul. Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.

A lonely teenager. An inexplicable mansion. An unseen motley of semi-dead orphans. Such is the backdrop for the first installment of Lara M. Anderson‘s gripping series, The Displaced. After surviving a terrifyingly close brush with death, the following day Eleanor Erdman notices an oddly-dressed, peculiar sounding group of students new to JFK High. Even stranger than the kids themselves – Ellie is the only person who can see them. Despite a tense introduction with Henry, the group’s enigmatic leader, Ellie discovers that the new kids are actually the Displaced. More than mere ghosts, their human bodies are gone either from illness, accident or events far more sinister. The Displaced are convinced that they’re being punished for some horrific crime committed during their lives, leaving them indefinitely trapped between the world they once knew and the hereafter. But while Ellie’s bond with the Displaced grows, so does her unwavering faith in their innocence. As the sole link between the living and the undead, it’s up to Ellie to figure out what unfinished business is tethering her friends to Earth and find a way to set things right. However, not everyone welcomes her interference and Ellie finds herself dangerously balanced between two worlds. With Henry’s help she must find a way to set the Displaced free or risk condemning their souls to infinite purgatory. A blend of the supernatural, mystery and romance, The Displaced is a spellbinding tale of friendship and hope. Please note, Rachel Stout is the agent on this project.