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Going Bovine

Libba Bray (Delacorte)

An angel, a dwarf, cults, wormholes and mad cow disease all factor into the surreal cross-country road trip that teenage Cameron takes, in a satirical story that's as memorable as it is funny.

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Fire

Kristin Cashore (Dial)

Introducing Fire, a human “monster” with psychic abilities, this companion novel to Graceling expands the scope of Cashore's fantasy world and offers twists, intrigue and romance aplenty.

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Catching Fire

Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)

This much-awaited sequel to Collins's dystopian bestseller, The Hunger Games, doesn't disappoint; it's immersive, voracious reading as the ramifications of Katniss's actions in that book spread.

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Jacqueline Kelly (Holt)

With a detailed, evocative setting and an authentic, relatable protagonist, this turn of the century coming-of-age novel teems with humor, spirit, and energy.

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Purple Heart

Patricia McCormick (HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray)

This timely and provocative thriller, with a teenage American soldier at its center, is a nuanced exploration of war, heroism, and morality.

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The Ask and the Answer

Patrick Ness (Candlewick)

Set on a planet colonized by men and now wracked with strife, Ness's sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go entwines themes of sexism, terrorism, genocide and human nature, while bringing the action to a fever pitch.

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A Season of Gifts

Richard Peck (Dial)

The singular Mrs. Dowdel from A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicagobrings humor and heart to this holiday story; as ever, Peck's writing has a comforting, evergreen quality.

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When You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead (Random/Lamb)

Every syllable feels rich with meaning in this atmospheric mystery involving a girl, her former best friend, and her mother, set in 1970s New York City.

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Shiver

Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Press)

Lyrical and thoughtful, this paranormal romance between a girl and a werewolf offers wit, an intriguing mythology, and dual (but equally honest and compelling) narratives.

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Marcelo in the Real World

Francisco X. Stork (Scholastic/Levine)

Artfully crafted characters form the heart of this riveting novel about a 17-year-old with Asperger's syndrome, who grapples with issues of ethics, love, and other real-life conflicts.

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Tales from Outer Suburbia

Shaun Tan (Scholastic/Levine)

Tan proves that his prose is every bit as hypnotic as his artwork in this wondrous collection that reveals the banality and strangeness of the suburbs.

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Lips Touch: Three Times

Laini Taylor, illus. by Jim Di Bartolo (Scholastic/Levine)

In lush prose, Taylor offers three utterly captivating stories, each centered on a kiss; comic book--style prequels from Di Bartolo, her husband, add to the enchantment.

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The Uninvited

Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick)

In this thriller about a college student uncovering twisted family secrets, Wynne-Jones expertly draws his characters and setting while ramping up the tension and the creepiness.

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