One of the greatest perks of working at Lemuria is that we not only get to plunge ourselves daily into books that have been written, but we also get to peek into books that haven’t even made it to the shelves yet. This year, I am so excited about several books that will be released in the next few months.
The Orenda, Joseph Boyden (novel, Knopf, May 13th)
To say that this book might already be my favorite for 2014 might sound a bit like I’m jumping the gun, but I cannot sing its praises enough. Joseph Boyden — an author who I recently learned was a Lemuria First Editions Club pick back in 2005 for his book Three Day Road -- has created a narrative in The Orenda that is both moving and exhilarating.
Alternating between the perspective of three different characters, Boyden ushers us into the tumultuous world of early America, when the relationships between the French, Huron and Iroquois were fragile at best, and quickly fraying around the edges. The story follows Bird, a revered Huron warrior still reeling from the loss of his family in an Iroquois attack, Snow Falls, a frightened Iroquois girl who has been taken captive by Bird’s tribe, and the Crow, a French missionary bent on delivering the gospel to the savages who have taken him in.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been so invested in three such seemingly opposite characters, nor do I believe I have ever read a historical novel where the author’s extensive research actually lent itself to the plot, rather than bulking the story up and getting in the way. Boyden’s mastery of character development and pacing make for a novel you won’t soon forget.
We Were Liars, E. Lockhart (young adult, Delacorte Press, May 13th)
When it comes to young adult literature, I am the greatest of the naysayers. I will say nay to almost every dystopian, leader of the rebellion, one-in-a-million teenage girl with a fighter’s will to survive and a heart that almost doesn’t have room for true love — but only almost.
However, in E. Lockhart’s new book We Were Liars, it is vulnerability, not a hardened will to live that makes our protagonist stand out. Surrounded by her wealthy family on their summer island, Cadence is advised never to be vulnerable, always to seem normal, and to look impenetrable to anyone on the outside, including the rest of her family. But a mysterious accident, an outsider, and the voracious desire to love and be loved will change not only Cadence, but everyone else in her family. After finishing this book, I was left reeling, and I would recommend it not only to young adult readers, but full-fledged grownups as well.
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, Shelia Turnage (middle grade, Kathy Dawson Books, February 4th)
Mo LeBeau is back, and I’ve never been happier to see her. In this new adventure, Sheila Turnage brings back to life all of the characters that we grew to love in Three Times Lucky, and introduces us to some thrilling new faces.
The news is all over Tupelo Landing: Miss Lana has accidentally purchased an old inn, and discovered that a real live (or not so alive) ghost comes with it! Mo and Dale are determined to get to the bottom of this whole ghost business, and along the way they make several alarming discoveries about Tupelo Landing and its inhabitants. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing is just as good — if not better — than Turnage’s last Mo LeBeau adventure, and I’m so glad that we have it to look forward to next month! (And signed copies to boot!)
Written by Hannah