Monday's Muse, 43rd edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Outside the City by Young Galaxy.

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.

Today's random word:

When Courage Came To Call by L. M. Fuge.

Everything changed when the first bomb fell. Now there is the Resistance. Now there are the rules. RULE ONE. We do our work under the cover of darkness. RULE TWO. If you trust me, I will trust you. RULE THREE. We work for the good and safety of Zamascus. This will include killing. Imm is about to find out if he has what it takes to survive - and what it will cost him.

Peeled by Joan Bauer.

As a high school journalist living in upstate New York apple country, Hildy Biddle finds herself needing to get to the core of a problem plaguing her town. The town newspaper has been revived by Pen Piedmont, whose stories spread apprehension centered around the local "haunted" house. Ominous notes are posted on the house, and a psychic moves into town to further stir anxieties. Hildy and her staff find support from a washed up newsman, Baker Polton, but a dead body, a frightened child, and worried orchard owners edge the town toward unhealthy panic. Summoning courage from the memories of her journalist father; a new student, Zach, who is determined to see things scientifically; and restaurant owner Minska who grew up during the solidarity movement in Poland, Hildy determinedly digs for the truth to save her town from being swallowed by greedy developers. Bauer again presents readers with a strong protagonist who wrestles hope from a situation fraught with tribulations. Hildy is surrounded by a finely drawn cast of major and minor characters, from the feisty Elders Against Evil squad to the wise Minska and cynical wordsmith Polton. Bauer uses apple farming as an apt metaphor for the world, where one must deal with what cannot be changed but work tirelessly to make the best of it. In a time when journalism too often flaunts sensationalism, Hildy and crew demonstrate ethics and determination in a story that is wonderfully teachable, highly readable, and ready to delight Bauer fans, old and new. ---Mary Ann Darby, VOYA.

By These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle.

A bone-chilling tale of werewolves and love, set in medieval Scotland

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins the admiration of the weaver's daughter, Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.

There is an evil presence in the carver's life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her-and what price she is willing to pay to keep it.

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli.

When Palmer LaRue turns nine, he becomes one of the guys. Now a member of a popular gang, with the cool nickname of Snots, life is looking very good, except for one thing. He is now only a year away from becoming a wringer, one of the 10-year-old boys who break the necks of wounded birds in the town's annual pigeon shoot. Unlike his pals who can't wait for that privilege, Palmer dreads it. To make matters worse, a stray pigeon shows up at his window, and soon he is feeding and sheltering it in his room. His life becomes a balancing act of hanging out with the guys, who hate pigeons, and attending to his new pet, Nipper, and Palmer is required to go to great lengths to keep the two worlds apart. When he turns 10, and the pigeon shoot rolls around, the boy is forced to take a stand, and eventually has to rescue Nipper from being killed. Spinelli's characters are memorable, convincing, and both endearing and villainous; and they are involved in a plot that, from the first page, is riveting. The story is told in language simple enough for young readers, yet elegant enough for adults. There is humor, suspense, a bird with personality, and a moral dilemma familiar to everyone: how does one stand up for one's beliefs when they will be very unpopular? A wide audience will enjoy this thought-provoking book.---Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT, School Library Journal.

The Voices of Silence by Bel Mooney.

Life is hard for Flora Popescu and her parents, living in Bucharest during Nicholas Ceauescu's cruel regime. Food is scarce, water and electricity are erratic, and the family's one-room apartment is cramped and cheerless. A new student, Daniel, well-dressed and shod, appears at school and has lunches of which Flora can only dream: meat, cake, soft bread, and chocolate. From the first, Daniel befriends Flora and shares his food, but her best friend, Alys, doesn't trust Daniel, and she and Flora become estranged. Tensions mount in the Popescu household, and in the city; Flora's father decides to flee the country and return later for his family. After he departs, the people begin to rise against Ceauescu, and fighting breaks out in the city. Many are killed, but Flora, with the help of Alys and other rebels, escapes, without knowing the fate of her father, or what role Daniel may have played in the uprising. Mooney paints a chilling picture of life under the repressive Eastern European governments of the late 1980s. Her sensitive and empathetic tale will keep readers in suspense until the final page. --Kirkus.

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater Rhodes.

Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk’s form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long, no one can remember how the fighting began. As heir to the avian throne, she’ll do anything in her power to stop this war—even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind’s greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.

Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica—and all they ask of their people—but it may be more than she can give.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins.

Well-educated American boys from privileged families have abundant options for college and career. For Chiko, their Burmese counterpart, there are no good choices. There is never enough to eat, and his family lives in constant fear of the military regime that has imprisoned Chiko s physician father. Soon Chiko is commandeered by the army, trained to hunt down members of the Karenni ethnic minority. Tai, another "recruit," uses his streetwise survival skills to help them both survive. Meanwhile, Tu Reh, a Karenni youth whose village was torched by the Burmese Army, has been chosen for his first military mission in his people s resistance movement. How the boys meet and what comes of it is the crux of this multi-voiced novel. While Perkins doesn t sugarcoat her subject coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, "What is it like to be a child soldier?" clearly, but with hope. --Kirkus.