Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Alex Award Watch: Fall-ing for Adult Titles

Once again, we call on our former grown-up turned youth services librarian, Rachel, for some recommendations on the best adult fiction for older teens.

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
These angels are not chubby little toddlers blowing Venus out of the sea, but rather human hybrids who have spent millennia plotting their return to heaven through a cataclysmic battle with mankind. When 23 year old Sister Evangeline discovers a letter revealing secrets of the angels, she is plunged into a dangerous world that forces her to question her own family’s ties to these hellish creatures. If you like this, you’re in luck: the sequel Angelopolis is set to come out next year and Columbia Pictures has reportedly won the movie rights.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Achilles is the demi-god hero of the Trojan War who has become synonymous with terrific strength humanized by one fatal flaw. What isn’t often mentioned is Achilles’ friendship with Patroclus, whose death drove Achilles to re-enter the war, despite a boycott against it, and defeat Hector, the Trojans’ greatest warrior and favored son. Miller casts the two as lovers rather than friends, weaving a beautiful and tragic story around the classic tale.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker
Julia is an ambitious lawyer enjoying a privileged life in New York when her father disappears. Her mother reveals a love letter written to her husband by a Burmese woman decades before. Julia, determined to find out what happened to him, travels to her father’s native country and discovers a secret history, a love, and a family that she never knew he had.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
A woman wakes up in a field surrounded by dead bodies, each wearing latex gloves. The woman has no memory of who she is, how she got there, and why she has two black eyes. Fortunately, her former self worked for a secret government agency staffed with people with supernatural powers, giving her convenient access to psychics who predicted her current condition. And she was a very good planner, so she left her future self a series of letters explaining many things, including her name, Myfanwy Thomas (like Tiffany, but with an M). Armed with these letters, a high security clearance, and an incredibly wry sense of humor, Myfanwy must uncover who erased her memory (without giving away her lack of said memory), figure out how to use her own powers, and, while she’s at it, perhaps save the fate of the world. This book is ridiculous and hilarious and gory in a very campy way (think: pulsing, purple, flesh-eating fungus). It’s filled to the ol’ brim with dry British funnies, and though it’s a tad long, you’ll find yourself biting your nails and rooting for Myfanwy as she fumbles her way toward the truth.

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
Seventeen years ago, teenager Rex Shellenberger found the frozen body of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The next day, his friend Mitch Newquist left town suddenly, abandoning his love, Abby Reynolds, and all of their friends. Fast forward to the present, and Mitch has returned, determined to set things right with Abby and to uncover the mystery of the beautiful dead girl, a forbidden topic that involves their small Kansas town’s three most prominent men: Mitch, Abby, and Rex’s own fathers.

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