24 April 2009

Coming books

There are four books I'm really looking forward to reading this year.

Any Which Wall, by Laurel Snyder, is about four children (Susan, Henry, Roy and Emma) who find a mysterious wall in the middle of a cornfield.
To their delight, it turns out to be wishing wall, complete with a key, capable of whisking them away to fascinating times and places. It’s not all fun and games, though, at least not at first. The kids have to puzzle out how the magic works and then contend with some mysterious visions granted to them by none other than the famous Merlin. The visions, along with the particular wishes each child makes, unfold into a unique life lesson for each of the children. (Kirkus)

(Other reviews can be found here and here.)

Snyder describes the book as a tribute to Edward Eager, one of my favourite authors; she also, as I recall, cites E Nesbit (another favourite) as an influence. I've read one other book by her, Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, and enjoyed it very much. According to Amazon Any Which Wall is coming out on 26 May.

Operation YES, by Sara Lewis Holmes, is about a sixth-grade class (at an Air Force school) who band together when their teacher receives bad news. I can't find any on-line reviews by any of the usual suspects; the closest I came was this piece in which Holmes's editor explains how she wrote the flap copy for the book - but don't read that if you don't want to see a big spoiler. Amazon lists the book as due out on 1 September.

Alexandria, by Lindsey Davis, is the 19th book in the Marcus Didius Falco series, which began in 1989 with The Silver Pigs. Falco, last seen in Saturnalia (2007), is a private informer (ie, private investigator) in first-century Rome, who in addition to his normal, run-of-the-mill cases also receives frequent top-secret assignments from the Emperor Vespasian or his son Titus. Davis's sense of humour is marvellous, making these books more than just mysteries. (They're also well-researched, and therefore vaguely educational as well.) The book is actually already available (from Amazon, amongst others), but I'm still waiting for our public library to get its copy.

Fat Cat, by Robin Brande, is about "[a]n overweight high school science genius decides to improve her life, defeat the guy who broke her heart, and win the science fair at the same time by undergoing a radical experiment."* Brande's first book, Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, was the best book I read in 2007, so I have high hopes for this book as well. Amazon says to expect it on 13 October.

IndieBound also lists Any Which Wall, Operation YES and Fat Cat.

Update 1123 28 Apr: Make that five books.

Over the weekend I read Blackbringer, an incredible YA fantasy novel by Laini Taylor (reviews here and here). The sequel, Silksinger, is coming out this fall. Taylor has a description, with advance comments, on her site. Amazon says 17 September.

* Description shamelessly lifted from Brande's own site.

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