Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Blue Rose by Lizz Wright.
The idea of Monday's Muse 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.
Summer Storm by Kristina Dunker (Author), Margot Bettauer Dembo (Translator).
A sunny summer's day at the lake turns awry when Annie's cousin Gina disappears. Just a short while ago, the two of them had been sunbathing by the water's edge with Annie's friends Steffi, Roger, and Jonas, but now Annie and the others are scurrying about in the pouring rain looking for Gina.
Finally, the police are alerted and the nervous tension mounts. Although they have been close friends for many years, rather than being supportive they start blaming and accusing each other. Gradually, disturbing stories begin to surface, things Annie had no idea about, and finally Steffi says out loud what everyone has been thinking all along: is it possible that Roger, who seems so reserved, has done something to Gina? At first Annie refuses to believe it, but all the evidence points to him as the culprit. And although Roger is shocked that of all people his closest friends should suspect him of such an awful thing, he does nothing to clarify the situation.
Meanwhile, as Annie has discovered that there are a few skeletons in the closet of her supposedly happy family, she feels that she must speak to Roger on his own...
Black Storm Comin' by Diane Lee Wilson.
On a wagon train headed to California, Colton is left to care for his family after his father accidentally shoots him and then runs off in horror. His mixed race family (Pa was white; Ma is black) is harassed, ignored, and finally abandoned by their fellow travelers, but Colton still manages to lead his mother and siblings to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas before Ma's illness stops them. Ma entrusts Colton with her sister's freedom papers and begs him to deliver them to Sacramento, their ultimate destination. To meet her request, Colton joins the Pony Express--a job that brings further hardship and danger as Colton braves the coming winter to carry the mail on its final leg into California. Set in 1860, with the pending Civil War as its backdrop, Wilson's novelsubtly exposes the dangers of being mixed race in a volatile society. Wilson masterfully creates a multidimensional character in Colton, who possesses both youthful impetuousness and the wisdom of a man who has seen too much sadness for his young years. Societal barriers, played out larger than life in Colton's heart and mind, are the ultimate strength of this story. Readers will absorb greater lessons as they become engrossed in the excitement, beauty, and terror of Colton's journey to California and manhood. Frances Bradburn, Booklist.
Storm Boy by Owen Paul Lewis.
An adaptation from traditional oral sources of the Haida and Tlingit peoples of the northwest coast of North America, this adventure story concerns a chief's young son who is thrown from a canoe and finds himself on the shore of a strange village. Welcomed as a "son of a chief from above," the boy joins the welcome celebration, learns the dances of his hosts, and teaches his rescuers the dances of his own people. When he returns to his native village, he is greeted with joy because he was believed drowned. Because the narrative style is direct and concrete and the book design is so effective (the type is large and readable; the paintings fill double-page spreads), the tale is worth reading aloud. The artwork is powerful and arresting: large geometric shapes and strong details in red, white, and black reflect the ceremonial art of the Haida and Tlingit. Extensive notes are provided. Janice Del Negro, Booklist.
Mistress of the Storm by M. Welsh.
Verity Gallant is a lonely little girl who doesn't quite fit in. But when a mysterious stranger hands her an ancient book, everything changes. Suddenly it's up to her to solve the riddle of an ancient pledge and protect her family from the evil Mistress of the Storm. What hope does she have against a witch so powerful she can control the wind and create storms at will? Luckily, Verity does not have to face her enemy alone. As events begin to spiral out of control, she finds two loyal and steadfast friends to stand by her side.
The Storm is coming. And it will change Verity's life forever.
Against the Storm by Gaye Hicyilmaz.
Hicyilmaz paints a vivid and disturbing picture of poverty in this insightful novel set in Turkey. From the very beginning, young Mehmet regrets his parents' decision to leave their drought-plagued village in search of a better life. As he feared, his family fares worse in the capital city of Ankara, where jobs are scarce and the streets are filled with beggars and swindlers. Soon the family finds itself in debt to a rich, scheming uncle and everyone, including Mehmet, must take whatever jobs they can in order to survive. With the help of a homeless runaway, Mehmet learns some tricks of survival; a friendship with a woman named Zekiye Hanim also proves beneficial. While the spirits of people around him are broken by hardship and tragedy, Mehmet ultimately escapes the crippling effects of despair. Like Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Arnow's The Dollmaker , this novel explores feelings of uprootedness while tracing the experiences of a migrant family. If readers become downcast by the author's bleak rendering of social corruption, disease and injustice, most will find relief in the protagonist's ability to discover salvation for himself as well as for a needy friend. Publisher's Weekly.