WE HEAR THE DEAD by Dianne Salerni
From School Library Journal:
Maggie and Kate Fox were real celebrities in the mid-1800s, sisters said to have an ability to communicate with the dead. Salerni brings the séance culture vividly to life without ever pretending that the mediums believed in their own "ghost rapping."
Maggie, the older sister, reveals in the opening pages that her spiritualism is deception and humbug and prank. An occasional chapter is written by Kate, who believes that she can truly communicate with the dead, even if the actual rapping comes from trickery. Egged on by an older sister, the girls find they enjoy the perks of their fame, and Maggie in particular is pleased to reassure grieving patrons that their loved ones are at peace.
Despite the seeming focus on the supernatural, the novel offers much historical context and several richly developed subplots, most notably the romance between Maggie Fox and Elisha Kane. Kane was a renowned explorer, and his funeral was second in size only to that of Abraham Lincoln's.
FIRST LINE: "I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong."
REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly
From Publisher's Weekly:
Donnelly melds contemporary teen drama with well-researched historical fiction and a dollop of time travel for a hefty read. Andi Alpers is popping antidepressants and flunking out of her Brooklyn prep school, grieving over her younger brother's death. She finds solace only when playing guitar.
When the school notifies her mostly absent scientist father that she's flirting with expulsion, he takes Andi to Paris for Christmas break, where he's testing DNA to see if a preserved heart really belonged to the doomed son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi is ordered to work on her senior thesis about a (fictional) French composer.
Bunking at the home of a renowned historian, Andi finds a diary that relates the last days of Alexandrine, companion to (you guessed it) the doomed prince. The story then alternates between Andi's suicidal urges and Alexandrine's efforts to save the prince.
FIRST LINES: Those who can, do. Those who can't, deejay.
ANGELFIRE by Courtney Moulton
Side note: Courtney is my agent-sister and she let me read the first book in the (3 book) series. LOVE! It's debuts in February.
First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.
Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.
Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.
FIRST LINE: I stared out the classroom window and longed for freedom, wanting to be anywhere in the world other than gaping up at my economics teacher like the rest of my classmates.
Next YA's on my list:
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
What are you reading?