Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book club.

I don't often post about teen or children's books on my blog, despite--or perhaps because of--as many of you know, the fact that I work in teen and children's publishing. Still, this time I couldn't resist. These are not books I worked on, so I'm (mostly) unbiased. But if you need a summer read, I have to recommend Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy.

The first book, THE SUMMONING, pubbed two years ago and spent some time on the NYT list. The second book, THE AWAKENING, published this summer and rocketed all the way up to #1. Along with THE SUMMONING in paperback, they've been on the bestseller list pretty steadily all summer. However, people aren't talking about these books the way they're talking about TWILIGHT...yet.

If you are a TWILIGHT fan, you'll like these books. Like TWILIGHT, they've got paranormal elements in every direction, a love triangle, frantic page-turning compulsion, and more.

If you aren't a TWILIGHT fan...which, full disclosure, I'm not...you'll REALLY like these books! The heroine, Chloe, is flawed, smart, brave, and complicated. Ahem, Bella. The hero (but who is the hero, Simon or Derek? You'll just have to read on to Book 3 to find out!) is similarly messy. The action is nonstop. The conspiracy is frightening. The atmosphere is Gothic. Shiver me timbers!

Plot in a nutshell: Chloe hits puberty late, around age 15, and right away things start happening to her. She's diagnosed as crazy and shunted off to a home for troubled teens, Lyle House. But the "trouble" that these teens are experiencing is decidedly supernatural. Chloe, she learns, is a necromancer: she can raise people from the dead. All the other kids have different "problems"--that is, abilities. And what happens to Chloe, Liz, Tori, Simon, and Derek as the books progress is a fast-paced and well-written thrill ride.

I just finished sneakily reading the unpublished manuscript for THE RECKONING, which will come out next spring, and it's the best one yet. So, if you've had your fill of sparkling vampires--or if you crave more paranormal intrigue--check 'em out.

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