Monday's Muse, 4th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Living On A Prayer by Bon Jovi.

This was originally an idea from Au Courant started in March, an idea she has graciously let me run with.

The idea is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

Hit and Run by Lurlene McDaniel

Up one night, too many drinks and a tragic car accident in Ashville, NC, forever change the lives of four people. Quinn is BMOC, a promising athlete with a driven father pushing him to succeed at all costs. On this particular evening, he hits a bicyclist on the side of the road and covers up the crime. Laurie is on the fringe of the A-list crowd, and considers using her knowledge of what Quinn did to blackmail him into dating her to boost her popularity. However, compromising her morals could be an even bigger atrocity. Analise is the innocent victim, trapped in her own mind. She doesn't know whether to hang on or let go. And Jeremy is the boy who loves her and hopes she can find her way back, because he can't imagine life without her. Hit and Run demonstrates the power of love and making choices.

Elephant Run by Roland Smith

In 1941, bombs drop from the night skies of London, demolishing the apartment Nick Freestone lives in with his mother. Deciding the situation in England is too unstable, Nick's mother sends him to live with his father in Burma, hoping he will be safer living on the family's teak plantation.

But as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in the remote Burmese elephant village. Japanese soldiers invade, and Nick's father is taken prisoner. Nick is left stranded on the plantation, forced to work as a servant to the new rulers. As life in the village grows more dangerous for Nick and his young friend, Mya, they plan their daring escape. Setting off on elephant back, they will risk their lives to save Nick's father and Mya's brother from a Japanese POW camp.

In this thrilling journey through the jungles of Burma, Roland Smith explores the far-reaching effects of World War II, while introducing readers to the fascinating world of wild timber elephants and their mahouts.

On the Run by Michael Coleman

Luke is a petty thief with a talent for picking locks. While breaking into a car, the 15-year-old is shoved aside by two schoolmates who steal it. In the melee, the owner's family returns and the daughter is nearly run down by the vehicle but Luke has the presence of mind to push her to safety. The thieves drive away, but Luke is chased and then tackled by the girl's father. The ensuing arrest lands him back in the juvenile justice system, which is more familiar to him than his own family, particularly his father, who is in prison for fraud and burglary. Honor among thieves prevents Luke from ratting on his schoolmates, but a sympathetic parole officer arranges an unusual community service project involving the girl he rescued. Luke learns that Jodi is blind and wants help training to run a mini-marathon. The unlikely partnership is awkward as Luke guides her along the track using voice commands, but her confidence and determination transform him, and give him a purpose that is no longer self-serving. Fans of British fiction will enjoy the urban dialect, and Jodi's triumph over her disability is inspirational, adding depth to the story. In a page-turning climax, Luke is blackmailed by the car thieves to help break into a garage on the day of the marathon and predictably outruns his demons for a somewhat sentimental but satisfying ending.

Grab Hands and Run
by Frances Temple

Twelve-year-old Felipe and his sister Romy, eight, have never grown accustomed to the intricacies of their life in El Salvador. Children must not play in certain areas or ever go out alone, as their city is in the grip of a civil war that is to blame for murders, disappearances and the drafting of boys into the army. They live with constant worry, compounded by their father Jacinto's secretive involvement in a resistance movement. When Jacinto turns up missing, Felipe, Romy and their mother, Paloma, follow the patriarch's oft-spoke instructions to "grab hands and run" all the way to freedom in Canada. The arduous and uncertain journey that follows forms the bulk of the novel. Temple's characters are wholly credible, expressing common human emotions while retaining a specific cultural identity. Details of the brutal realities in El Salvador are dexterously woven into the story of one family's struggle to beat the odds.

Run Far, Run Fast by Timothy Decker

The Pestilence has arrived. With it come death and fear, hiding and desperation. A young girl is hastened out of her dying town and told by her mother, "Run far, Run Fast." The child obeys and travels from village to castle, castle to countryside, in search of shelter. Wherever she turns, the Pestilence has already appeared. Scared and tired, she finally meets a stranger who knows something of this plague. He is kind and learned, but the girl cannot know whether his knowledge will be enough to save her family.Timothy Decker explores the bleak yet breathtaking world of fourteenth-century Europe in this quiet story of hope during desolation. Stark pen-and-ink drawings emphasize the realism of this romanticised period, and straightforward prose creates a truly haunting tale.


Shannon Messenger said...

Awesome suggestions--as per usual. If I EVER have time to read again I will have to check these out. Oh and how do you come up with these random words?

Kirthi said...

All of these books sound "juicy" and great reviews :)

beth said...

*sigh* Lurlene McDaniels. Ah. That brings me back to sixth grade...

Shannon Messenger said...

Also, I'm giving you another blog award (because your blog is one of my all time favorites. If you want to accept it you can find it here:

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I have an award for you too!!! Hehehehe!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

And as much as I love Lisa and Laura your award's not there...woops. It's here!!!

Heather Zundel said...

Shannon - really it literally a random word that pops in my head. I think of something that might produce some interesting results and viola! This was actually the second word I thought of. The first was "cruel" - which I thought would have some great stuff, but alas. And then I thought "Run. Hmmm..." So there you go. :)

Kirthi - why thank you. I may have to check a few of these out myself.

Beth - Why? Do tell me the story. *nestles in*

Shannon - Ah! thank you!

Frankie - You too? Wow, this is too much. Thank you!!! (P.S You totally made me laugh with your double comments). :)