Fall 2008 Children's Indie Next List

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1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illus.)
(HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780060530921 / 0060530928)
"A delightfully layered story of Nobody Owens, who is raised by the semi-living and the dead in a graveyard. Gaiman uses wit and his depth of knowledge of the arcane to create a safe and nurturing world for the young orphan to grow and thrive in. This will be a joy for all ages!" --Jane Jacobs, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

2. Masterpiece by Elise Broach
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, $16.95, 9780805082708 / 0805082700)
"A marvelous story about a boy who doesn't fit in, a beetle who longs for adventure, and how they find each other. The interaction between the two rings true even as they become involved in an art heist at the Museum of Modern Art." --Trish Brown, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

3. Hate That Cat: A Novel, by Sharon Creech
(Joanna Cotler, $15.99, 9780061430923 / 0061430927)
"Jack is back in this long-awaited follow-up to Love That Dog, and he doesn't disappoint. This time, Jack's poetry to his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, compares creepy cats to delightful dogs. The perfect book to get kids (and adults) excited about poetry." --Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, NY

4. Impossible by Nancy Werlin
(Dial, $17.99, 9780803730021 / 0803730020)
"This lyrical novel, inspired by the ballad 'Scarborough Fair,' tells of an unbreakable curse passed from mother to daughter over generations. A story of family and hope, it conjures indelible images as it spins a tale of love conquering all else, and the impossible made possible." --Beth Simpson, Cornerstone Books, Salem, MA

5. Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) by Kimberly Pauley
(Mirrorstone, $14.95, 9780786950287 / 0786950285)
"A lighter, more sarcastic take on teen vampires. Mina knew her parents and weird uncle were vampires, but not that they were hiding her from the Vampire Council. Now, she's been given a deadline to choose between becoming a vampire or losing her family. And you thought driver's ed was tough!" --Lauretta Nagel, Constellation Books, Reisterstown, MD

6. Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
(Houghton, $16, 9780618999231 / 061899923X)
"Book-loving bats swoop through an open library window and spend a magical evening reading bat favorites such as Good Night Sun. Readers will recognize childhood classics, and I found myself grinning at every page. The illustrations are breathtaking, and the story is wonderful. Like Lies' Bats at the Beach, this book will delight all ages." --Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

7. Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery, Jean Cassels (illus.)
(Walker Books for Young Readers, $16, 9780802797544 / 0802797547)
"The touching true story of Bob and Bobbi, a cat and dog who join forces to survive Hurricane Katrina. How wonderful to find an age-appropriate, moving, beautifully drawn story that brings this national tragedy back into our consciousness." --Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

8. Madam President by Lane Smith
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423108467 / 1423108469)
"Introduce children to the importance of voting! A little girl dreams of becoming the President of the United States. There would be executive orders, babies to kiss, and tuna casseroles to veto! Wonderful fun during the election season!" --Lori Peters, Wild About Books, Clearlake, CA

9. The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
(Scholastic Press, $12.99, 9780545060394 / 0545060397)
"Would you choose $1 million in cash or a clue that leads to the source of an incredible power? That's the choice given to young Amy and Dan -- and readers can look for clues and prizes, too, online and via game cards. An innovative, interactive series that's sure to be a hit, especially with reluctant readers!" --Kathy Carrigan, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Brookfield, WI

10. My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
(Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780375845826 / 0375845828)
"Lovely and warm as a summer breeze, this novel about growing up has a timeless, dreamlike quality and is full of quirky characters and misunderstandings. Twelve-year-old Jane's adventures are hilarious and sad, and, at tale's end, they are only just beginning." --Joanne R. Fritz, Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, PA

For Ages 4 to 8

Baby Dragon by Amy Ehrlich, Will Hillenbrand (illus.)
(Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763628406 / 0763628409)
"A charming story of love and trust between a baby dragon and his mother. Left on his own overnight, Baby Dragon has adventures as he waits for his mother's return. The illustrations let readers see dangers before Baby Dragon does as he interacts with the creatures around him." --Betsy Groen, The Blue Marble Bookstore, Fort Thomas, KY

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel
(Roaring Brook Press, $12.95, 9781596433410 / 1596433418)
"As every cat owner knows, giving kitty a bath generally isn't a problem, right? This wildly funny illustrated chapter book will have readers of all ages rolling with laughter! Bruel details his steps for giving his beloved Kitty a proper bath -- if only Kitty can be found! Includes cat-sound interpretations and a glossary every cat-lover will appreciate." --Tish Gayle, The Blue Marble Bookstore, Fort Thomas, KY

Bad Rats by Eric Drachman
(Kidwick Books, $18.95, 9780970380944 / 0970380941)
"Young rats meet with a teacher-rat who will teach them to be good, not bad. Why are they bad? Because they're artists, and have been told anything that distracts from survival is dangerous, and therefore bad. The youngsters help their teacher relearn how to appreciate life's beauty. A lovely book with an inspiring message." --Ann Burlingham, Burlingham Books, Perry, NY

Beware of the Frog by William Bee
(Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763639204 / 0763639206)
"Mrs. Collywobbles lives on the edge of a big, dark, scary forest. In said forest, terrible creatures live, many of whom wish for nothing more than to dine on elderly women. But they never seem to pay attention to the sign that reads, 'Beware of the Frog.' And so goes this boldly illustrated, playfully narrated tale; dear reader, please beware of the twist ending." --Grant Outerbridge, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, Rosana Faria (illus.)
(Groundwood Books, $17.95, 9780888998736 / 0888998732)
"How do you describe colors to someone who can't see them? Maybe 'green tastes like lemon ice cream and smells like grass that's just been cut.' This dual volume is written in English and Braille, with embossed pictures. An innovative book with a well-presented premise." --Dorothy Dickerson, Books & More, Albion, MI

The Doghouse by Jan Thomas
(Harcourt, $12.95, 9780152065331 / 0152065334)
"What will Cow, Pig, Duck, and Mouse do when their kickball goes into the dreaded doghouse? They nominate each other to go in and get it! The expressions on the animals' faces alone are well worth the price of the book. " --Teresa Huggins, Blue Elephant Book Shop Inc., Decatur, GA

Gully's Travels by Tor Seidler
(Michael Di Capua Books/Scholastic, $16.95, 9780545025065 / 0545025060)
"Gulliver the Lhasa Apso's lap-of-luxury life in Manhattan comes to an end when his master falls in love with someone who is allergic to long-haired dogs. Gully plots to escape from his new home (with the doorman's family in Queens), but, several adventures later, he finally realizes the true meaning of home. This read-aloud chapter book will be a favorite of the season." --Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Hansel and Gretel by Cynthia Rylant, Jen Corace (illlus.)
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423111863 / 1423111869)
"The story of Hansel and Gretel needed a good dusting-off, and Rylant does so in fine style while keeping the story's comfortable fairy-tale character. Without changing the story, she explains the stepmother's motivation and offers gentle life lessons. Corace's illustrations perfectly match Rylant's tone, somewhere north of Rackham and south of Sendak." --Eric Robbins, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, ME

The Hinky-Pink: An Old Tale by Megan McDonald, Brian Floca (illus.)
(Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, $16.99, 9780689875885 / 0689875886)
"Alas, Anabel is a wonderful seamstress relegated to socks and mending. Opportunity knocks when Princess Isabella Caramella Gorgonzola needs a new ball gown in a week. Anabel gets the job, but the hinky-pink won't let Anabel get any sleep at night! Silly, charming, and wonderfully illustrated." --Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Hit The Road, Manny: A Manny Files Novel by Christian Burch
(Atheneum, $16.99, 9781416928126 / 141692812X)
"Hilarious! Kids will love this road-trip story's jokes and goofy situations. Parents will appreciate its portrait of a busy modern clan that showcases two very important truths: no one bugs you like family, but no one else makes you laugh as hard. A great book for a family read-aloud on or off the road." --Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

Horse by Malachy Doyle, Angelo Rinaldi (illus.)
(Margaret K. McElderry, $16.99, 9781416924678 / 1416924671)
"I'm not interested in horses, but I love this book. The story is simple, following one little foal as he grows into a horse as the seasons pass. The spare, eloquent language is perfect, and Rinaldi's double-page oil paintings are amazing. I've been handing this book to anyone who tells me they're having a bad day. A few minutes later, they thank me and say they're feeling better." --Heather Lyon, Lyon Books and Learning Center, Chico, CA

Jake Starts School by Michael Wright
(Feiwel & Friends, $16.95, 9780312367985 / 0312367988)
"The first day of school finds Jake a nervous wreck. As they were in the prequel, Jake Stays Awake, his parents are the picture of sainthood as they work through his 'problem' with him. Wright captures the most common of scenes from such inspired angles, with amusing details to spare." --Suzanne Perry, The Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

M Is for Mischief: An A to Z of Naughty Children by Linda Ashman, Nancy Carpenter (illus.)
(Dutton Juvenile, $16.99, 9780525475644 / 0525475648)
"This is a very funny book, more poetry and humor than an alphabet book. Ashman writes about 26 delightfully naughty children, from Angry Abby to Zany Zelda, with perfectly paired illustrations by Carpenter. Young readers are sure to laugh as each character gets a well-chosen comeuppance." --Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

Monkey World: An A to Z of Occupations by Matthew Porter
(Simply Read Books, $16.95, 9781894965958 / 1894965957)
"With the same simple-yet-lovely art that made Count the Birdies and ABC such winning board books, Monkey World adds fantastic rhyming words to the merriment. Parents will not get bored by this one, even after hundreds of readings!" --Suzanne Perry, The Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by Ursula Vernon
(Harcourt, $15, 9780152063757 / 0152063757)
"Nurk has mixed feelings about adventure, but he's the grandson of the swashbuckling long-lost Surka, whose diary entries fill him with pride and give him a drop of courage. Off he goes in a converted snail shell, and the quest is on. Vernon's writing is a charming balance of probable emotions in improbable circumstances, twinkling alliteration, and 100 other flashes of fun." --Carol B. Chittenden, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
(Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780061552052 / 0061552054)
"Old Bear falls asleep and dreams of the seasons. The changing color palette of the delightful illustrations mimic the seasons, making this a visual treat for young eyes." --Lisa Fabiano, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA

The Rabbit and the Turtle by Eric Carle
(Orchard Books, $16.99, 9780545005418 / 0545005418)
"If you have never read an Eric Carle book, be prepared for a real treat. If you are already a fan, this book will take you to new levels of appreciation. This is a wonderful collection of classic Aesop's fables, complemented by Carle's world-renowned art. It will be a treasured addition to any child's library." --Isabel Berg, Book Ends, Winchester, MA

The Retired Kid by Jon Agee
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423103141 / 1423103149)
"It's hard work, being a kid, so Brian decides to retire: no more school, violin lessons, soccer practice, or babysitting his little sister. He moves to the Happy Sunset Retirement Community in Florida and, at first, things are pretty cool. But after awhile he decides maybe his 'job' wasn't so bad after all. A seriously funny look at the challenges (and rewards) of being a kid." --Marilyn Racette, Book Ends, Winchester, MA

Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus
(Harcourt, $16.99, 9780152059903 / 0152059903)
"Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to write very well in rhyme. Here, now, is a triumph, a joy. Just try to keep from reading Tadpole Rex aloud -- it's impossible. The language is creative and expressive, the rhymes unexpected, the illustrations exceptional. And best of all, it's just a silly story about a frog who thinks he's a T. rex." --Anna Minard, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Titanicat by Marty Crisp, Robert Papp (illus.)
(Sleeping Bear Press, $17.95, 9781585363551 / 1585363553)
"Every ship has a cat for good luck, and the Titanic was no exception. This is a true story about Titanicat and how she saved a young lad's life. The soft, gorgeous illustrations and gentle history lesson combine to educate and entertain readers of all ages." --Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

Toy Dance Party by Emily Jenkins
(Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780375839351 / 0375839356)
"This has all the charm and delight of a really good picture book, with many more pages to love. Jenkins' characters are endearing, their voices distinct and sincere. Everything about this book is accessible, from the art, to the design, to the characters, to the writing." --Sarah Todd, Children's Book World, Haverford, PA

For Ages 9 to 12

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: The New Girl by Meg Cabot
(Scholastic Press, $15.99, 9780545040495 / 0545040493)
"Allie's back, with her wisdom-filled list of rules. This time, she uses her rules to navigate being the new kid at school. Will they give her the guidance she needs to outsmart the classroom bully? Or will she be saved by advice from an unlikely source? Readers will enjoy finding out." --Lisa Fabiano, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA

The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins
(Feiwel & Friends, $14.95, 9780312368456 / 0312368453)
"Keen characters and insightful writing kept me reading late into the night. Benedict Patagus, master of the art of corpse-raising; Beag Hickory, poet, scholar, and professional potato-thrower; and our hero, Pin Carpue, are alone in the Dark City. Pin seeks his destiny and befriends the apprentice Bone Magician. I loved this cast of misfits and their adventures. " --Scott Fultz, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Mequon, WI

The Cabinet of Wonders: The Kronos Chronicles: Book I by Marie Rutkoski
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $16.95, 9780374310264 / 0374310262)
"This is a book to get lost in, to explore with curiosity and delight. Upon completion of the world's finest astronomical clock, Peter Kronos, is betrayed by the prince who commissioned it, blinded, and sent home. His daughter, Petra, sets out to retrace her father's journey and reclaim his eyes. An examination of the true meaning of blindness -- and an exciting start to a promising new series featuring a heroine with magic and spunk." --Emily D. Pardo, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes (illus.)
(Dutton Juvenile, $17.99, 9780525420644 / 0525420649)
"From the acclaimed author of gems such as The Star of Kazan and Which Witch? comes a lovely story of friendship and adventure. Combining elements of historical fiction, fantasy, and adventure, Ibbotson weaves a wonderful tale of individualism, loyalty, and imagination. Sure to engage readers of all ages and leave them with the delectable feeling of satisfaction that comes with reading a classic." --Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

The Dragon's Lair: The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme: Volume 3 by Elizabeth Haydon
(Tor/Forge, $17.95, 9780765308696 / 076530869X)
"A continuation of Ven's adventures as a shipwrecked traveler in a strange, magical land. Ven and his friends get caught in a war between two ancient races, and encounter a dragon nursing a hatred of Ven's kind. Along the way, they learn about the trust required of true friends. An elaborate and beautiful reinvention of classic fantasy characters." --Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore/Caf, Asheville, NC

Great Ancient China Projects: You Can Build Yourself by Lance Kramer, Steven Weinberg (illus.)
(Nomad Press, $14.95, 9781934670026 / 1934670022)
"Vocabulary, timelines, and sidebars are included in a fun, hands-on approach to educating young readers about ancient China. Cook egg noodles, make an instrument, create a kite, learn feng shui ...what a fun book! Use it on weekends, holidays, and vacation to keep kids busy and having fun." --Lori Peters, Wild About Books, Clearlake, CA

Highway Cats by Janet Taylor Lisle
(Philomel, $14.99, 9780399250705 / 0399250700)
"Strange things start to happen after three kittens are found by the road. How did they make it safely across the highway? The kittens themselves do not seem special in any way...except, of course, that they glow. What is the mystery of these kittens?" --Diane Betz, Butterfly Books, De Pere, WI

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
(Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780061477959 / 0061477958)
"Can a teenage girl who does nothing much besides read books survive in a wizard's house, surrounded by strange and fearsome happenings? Yes, with a little help from a dog, a boy, a fire-demon, and a wizard disguised as a small boy! Whether or not you read Howl's Moving Castle, you are sure to be delighted by its sequel!" --Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee, Drazen Kozjan (illus.)
(Scholastic Press, $15.99, 9780545033480 / 0545033489)
"Julia is plagued by fear, thanks to the bad-news articles her parents are always reading and the book she just can't finish because she's afraid it will have an unhappy ending. With the help of her babysitter, a boy named Zap, and Bigfoot the dog, Julia realizes that sometimes you have to keep on going, even if you are afraid." --Judy Hanley, Book Ends, Winchester, MA

Kenny & The Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi
(Simon & Schuster, $15, 9781416939771 / 1416939776)
"A fabulous fantasy/morality tale for all ages that covers friends, rumors, and intolerance -- and the good guys win in the end. It will become a classic." --Liz Murphy, Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson, OH

The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780385733588 / 0385733585)
"The continuing story of Sophie and Josh, who are now in Paris (Flamel's home) trying to outrun Dr. John Dee and the Dark Elders. I couldn't put this book down -- it's an exciting page-turner. I can't wait for the story to continue." --Suzanne Droppert, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes by Peggy Gifford, Valorie Fisher (illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, $12.99, 9780375842702 / 0375842705)
"Moxy is thrilled that she gets to go to Hollywood to see her dad. But there's a catch: Before she leaves, she must write all her thank- you notes for her Christmas presents. Moxy's hilarious schemes and her brother Mark's photos make this a quick, fun read." --Jenny Cohen, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR

Nightmare at the Book Fair by Dan Gutman
(Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 9781416924388 / 1416924388)
"Fifth-grader Trip Dinkleman hates to read. He's on his way to lacrosse tryouts when he's asked to help set up the school book fair in the library. A few precariously stacked boxes fall on his head...and the adventure begins. While unconscious, Trip becomes a character in various kinds of books, from science fiction, to mystery, to a narrative poem, and more! Does Trip learn that, maybe, books aren't so bad?" --Judy Hanley, Book Ends, Winchester, MA

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale (illus.)
(Bloomsbury, $18.99, 9781599900704 / 159990070X)
"At last, the real tale of Rapunzel and her braids (used less to escape from towers and more to lasso villains). The illustrations help illuminate the adventures of a sassy maiden who's out to help the downtrodden and punish the powerful." --Katie Capaldi, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French
(Candlewick, $14.99, 9780763635312 / 0763635316)
"A highly entertaining cast of fairy-tale-ish characters. In the end, everyone -- good and bad -- gets exactly what they deserve." --Cinda Meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

The Vanities by Terence Lawlor
(Prydwen Press, $24.95, 9780977997107 / 0977997103)
"The story, about three women who keep an orphan girl around to do their hair in the most outrageous styles imaginable, is written in the rhyming poetry form children love, and the advanced vocabulary will provide wonderful teaching moments. A visual and lyrical joy, and a treat for young and old alike." --Mary McHale, Fox Tale Books, New Durham, NH

Waggit's Tale by Peter Howe, Omar Rayyan (illus.)
(HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780061242618 / 0061242616)
"Waggit the puppy is afraid because his owner abandoned him in a big, scary park where there are bigger, scarier dogs and nothing to eat. Waggit ultimately finds a real home, but the joy is in the journey he takes before finding a human friend." --Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

Teen Readers

Chalice by Robin McKinley
(Putnam Juvenile, $18.99, 9780399246760 / 0399246762)
"Exquisitely written in the manner of the most powerful and romantic of all fairy tales, yet wholly original. The chalice binds the land with magic, words, and honey, and McKinley binds her words with insight, whimsy, and beauty. This is my favorite novel of the year, from one of our finest storytellers." --Melissa Posten, Children's Book World, Haverford, PA

The Debs by Susan McBride
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $8.99, 9780385735193 / 0385735197)
"Gossip Girl moves to Houston! In this debut series, McBride brings to the young-adult set the humor she has injected in her adult mysteries. She follows a group of four girls as they prepare for debut season, dropping in lots of fashion and romance, too. Young adult readers will love it." --Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Elf Realm: The Low Road by Daniel Kirk
(Amulet Books, $18.95, 9780810970694 / 0810970694)
"A tale of politics, environmental concerns, culture, class, and danger in many forms. Oh, and fairies! This debut novel combines many typical fantasy elements with a more human view of the fairy realm. But not to worry, there's still enough magic to keep the fantasy element alive and well! " --Jen Colson, From My Shelf Books, Wellsboro, PA

Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $16.95, 9780374324360 / 0374324360)
"Brianna goes through her senior year of high school struggling to keep her equilibrium as her friends prepare for unlimited futures while, because of her cystic fibrosis, she wonders if she'll be able to breathe tomorrow. By turns a celebration of Brianna's life and a meditation on the beauty of math, this novel has a unique, true voice and a compelling story." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
(Little, Brown Young Readers, $17.99, 9780316113571 / 0316113573)
"Charlotte Usher has a problem: she's invisible. She's also dead -- but she was invisible long before she was dead. In fact, she died at the very moment her dream date was about to notice her. How unfair is that? Now, she's a ghost, apparently with unfinished business with someone at Hawthorne High. Hurley has written an insightful novel about giving everything you've got to get noticed." --Keri Holmes, The Kaleidoscope: Our Focus Is You, Hampton, IA

Looks by Madeleine George
(Viking Juvenile, $16.99, 9780670061679 / 0670061670)
"Looks ostensibly is about two high school girls, each with an eating disorder, one with near-morbid obesity and one tending toward anorexia. Their slowly converging lives allow George to explore the concept of vision and visibility in an incisive and original manner. In the end, the book suggests the only way to become invisible to the unwanted tyranny of hostile looks is to be truly seen. A challenging and beautiful book." --Kenny Brechner, Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Inc., Farmington, ME

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano (translator)
(Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $17.99, 9780545005425 / 0545005426)
"Fans of Japanese folktales and Japanese movies will like this combo fantasy/Japanese fairy tale. Moribito is a warrior for hire. She saves Prince Chagum's life, but his father, the emperor, wants him dead. Chagum must flee the comfort of the palace, and Moribito must discover the meaning of the spirit that has taken over his body to save the prince's life -- and save the empire." --Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg
(Dutton Juvenile, $16.99, 9780525479963 / 0525479961)
"Bobby Framingham is a high school football star. Bobby also is gay. When he's outed by a newspaper reporter, he thinks his life is ending -- but it's just beginning!" --Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $16.95, 9780374360870 / 0374360871)
"Antonia Lucia Labella, who lives with her family over their deli in Providence, Rhode Island, regularly writes to the Pope with petitions for new saints: the Patron Saint of the Kiss, the Patron Saint of Figs, and more. In each letter, she volunteers herself to become the first living saint in Catholic history. Clever and highly entertaining." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Sovay by Celia Rees
(Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781599902036 / 1599902036)
"A wonderful story about a beautiful girl who dresses as a highwayman for the adventure of it, and opines about politics during a time when the definition of freedom is tested and the power of the government is questioned. Sovay must learn to deal with unexpected betrayal and political distrust between England and France." --Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 9780385735070 / 0385735073)
"A stunningly tender first novel that explores friendship, family, and first love. Two brothers discover that, even through puzzling and difficult times, their bond is much stronger than they imagined." --Jean Ernst, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, MN

The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby, John Busby, John Ross
(Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781599901411 / 1599901412)
"This is truly a page-turner, and that it's a true story adds another dimension. This family memoir deals with a real crime, but it reads like a terrific mystery/thriller novel. An absolutely riveting read." --Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville, NC