The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.
But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.
It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.
Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Sounds like an intriguing new premise similar to David Levithan’s Every Day (although doubtfully as good) but with main character Alex being able to experience different lives throughout different time periods.
The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell
With the literary muscle of Victor LaValle’s Big Machine and the outlandish humor of Kevin Smith’s Dogma, this debut reveals the dark underbelly of the NY literary scene.
At thirty, Billy Ridgeway still hasn’t gotten around to becoming a writer; he thinks too much to get anything done, really, except making sandwiches at a Greek deli with his buddy Anil. But the Devil shows up with fancy coffee one morning, promising to make Billy’s dream of being published come true: as long as Billy steals The Neko of Infinite Equilibrium, a cat-shaped statue with magical powers, from the most powerful warlock in the Eastern United States.
The Devil’s bidding sends Billy on a wild chase through New York City, through which Billy discovers his own strength, harnessing his powers as a hell-wolf and finally fighting the warlock face-to-face. God even makes a guest appearance, and He’s not who you thought He was.
Bushnell’s stunningly imaginative debut is about finding meaning in life, confronting your biggest critics, and discovering that a boring life might be the best life of all.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED: The plot was just weird enough to have caught our eye and the comparison to Dogma and mentions of protagonist Billy’s literary dreams kept it there.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume—same as I would wear that evening…
Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, seventeen-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match. But when Scott finally sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Zelda defies her parents to board a train to New York and marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Life is a sudden whirl of glamour and excitement: Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his beautiful, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, trades in her provincial finery for daring dresses, and plunges into the endless party that welcomes the darlings of the literary world to New York, then Paris and the French Riviera.
It is the Jazz Age, when everything seems new and possible—except that dazzling success does not always last. Surrounded by a thrilling array of magnificent hosts and mercurial geniuses—including Sara and Gerald Murphy, Gertrude Stein, and the great and terrible Ernest Hemingway—Zelda and Scott find the future both grander and stranger than they could have ever imagined.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Who doesn’t want to read a story set during the Roaring Twenties about the crazed and tragic Zelda Fitzgerald? Bonus: that cover.
Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone
When the Internet suddenly stops working, society reels from the loss of flowing data, instant messages, and streaming entertainment. Addicts wander the streets, talking to themselves in 140 characters or forcing cats to perform tricks for their amusement, while the truly desperate pin their requests for casual encounters on public bulletin boards. The economy tumbles further and the government passes the draconian NET Recovery Act.
For Gladstone, the Net’s disappearance comes particularly hard following the loss of his wife, leaving his flask of Jamesons and grandfather’s fedora as the only comforts in his Brooklyn apartment. But there are rumors that someone in New York is still online. Someone set apart from this new world where Facebook flirters “poke” each other in real life and members of Anonymous trade memes at secret parties. Where a former librarian can sell information as a human search engine, and the perverted fulfill their secret fetishes at the blossoming Rule 34 club. With the help of his friends, a blogger and a webcam girl both now out of work, Gladstone sets off to find the Internet. But is he the right man to save humanity from this Apocalypse?
For fans of David Wong, Chad Kultgen, and Chuck Palahniuk, Wayne Gladstone’s Notes from the Internet Apocalypse examines the question “What is life without the Web?”
WHY WE’RE EXCITED: An apocalyptic event that actually sounds frightening (the loss of the internet) with some satire thrown in that’s compared to the likes of David Wong and Chuck Palahniuk? Hells yes!
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Not only do we want to know what this haunting sounding game involves, but as big fans of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Delirium (not to mention Pandemonium) we cannot wait to see what she’s written now.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.
A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.
Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.
WHY WE’RE EXCITED: We’re suckers for fractured fairy tales (this one being about Snow White), especially ones referred to as “dazzling inventive,” “enchanting” and “powerfully moving.”