At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.
Gail Carson Levine’s examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.
Neil Gaiman - Stardust
In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he'll retrieve that star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life.
Sophie Kinsella - The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
Meet Rebecca Bloomwood. She's a journalist. She spends her working life telling others how to manage their money. She spends her leisure time...shopping. Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can't. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The stories she concocts become more and more fantastic as she tries to untangle her increasingly dire financial difficulties. Her only comfort is to buy herself something - just a little something... Can Becky ever escape from this dream world, find true love, and regain the use of her Switch card?
Nicholas Sparks - The Notebook
A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn't understand. Until he begins to read to her. The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories...until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is now engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, The Notebook establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters. "I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough." And so begins one of the most poignant and compelling love stories you will ever read...The Notebook
Georgia Byng - Molly Moon stops the World
Georgia Byng's mind-bending heroine makes a California-bound comeback, this time heading to L.A. to stop a power-hungry businessman from hypnotizing his way into the presidency of the United States. When Molly learns that Lucy Logan has a dangerous job for her -- stop multibillionaire (and ultra-strong hypnotist) Primo Cell in his tracks -- the orphan thinks this task might be more than she can handle. Thankfully, she has Rocky and other characters along for the trip, and Molly soon finds herself hobnobbing with Hollywood stars. But Molly learns that Primo has the power of permanent hypnotism that can only be broken by a secret password -- how can she reverse his effects? Molly discovers a startling surprise -- she has time-stopping powers of her own -- and after Primo's son saves them from near death, she finds out that her problems have only just begun. Glittering with even more action and adventure than Byng's first book, Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism, this sequel will have readers starry-eyed for more. Plot-twisting turns of events keep coming throughout, and with all of Molly's personal revelations, fans will feel like their world has stopped, too, until the last page. Shana Taylor
Georgia Byng - Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure
Molly Moon returns . . . and bumps into earlierversions of herself -- four of them, to be exact -- all kidnaped and transported back in time to nineteenth-century India by Molly's most fearsome nemesis yet, an insane maharaja. Molly foiled his plans once already, by stopping Primo Cell from becoming president of the United States. This time around, the maharaja is determined to alter the course of history. The only thing standing in his way is Molly and her brave pug, Petula. . . .
Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Girl
Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she is a girl of just fourteen. But her joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in her family's plots. When the capricious king's interest warnes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary must resign herself to being the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away - before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls... (Harper, 2011)
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. --Dennis Lehane
Nick Hornby - About a Boy
Will is a thirty-six but acts like a teenager. He reads the right magazines, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also discovered a great way to score with women - at single parent's groups, full of available mothers, all waiting for Mr Nice. That's where he meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old in the world. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Mozart, looks after his mum and he's never even owned a pair of trainers. Perhaps if Will can teach Marcus how to be a kid, Marcus can help Will grow up...
Meg Rosoff - What I Was
In 1962, a 16-year-old boy is dropped off by his father at a boarding school on the windswept coast of East Anglia. It is a model of its kind - the rooms are freezing, the food is disgusting, the older boys are sadistic, and the masters are the ineffectual, damaged castoffs of a dying Empire. But the boy is used to the drill and well practiced at detached dreaming, imagining himself someone else, somewhere else. Until one day, falling behind one of the regular runs along the coast, he meets Finn. Finn seems like a character from a novel, or a dream. Dressed in clothes that look the way they did a century before, Finn lives alone with his cat in a tiny fisherman's hut. The two become friends, the boy risking scandalous rumour and expulsion from school. But the idyll cannot last, disaster invades from all sides, and the boy discovers that nothing has been what he believed. What I Was will cement Meg Rosoff's reputation as a writer of extraordinary skill and sensitivity, who recreates with uncanny exactness the passions of youth.
Philip Pullman - The Amber Spyglass
The third book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy Will is the bearer of the knife. Now, accompanied by angels, his task is to deliver that powerful, dangerous weapon to Lord Asriel - by the command of his dying father. But how can he go looking for Lord Asriel, when Lyra is gone? Only with her help can he fathom the myriad plots and intrigues that beset him. The two great powers of the many worlds are lining up for the war, and Will must find Lyra, for together they are on their way to battle, and inevitable journey that will even take them to the world of the dead...
Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides
First published in 1993, "The Virgin Suicides" announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters--beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys--commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, "The Virgin Suicides" is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.
Celia Rees - Witch Child
"This is a powerful, absorbing and unusual novel" - "The Bookseller". "The sort of historial novel eleven and twelve year olds will gobble up at a sitting" - Nina Bawden. When Mary sees her grandmother accused of witchcraft and hung for the crime, she is silently hurried to safety by an unknown woman. The woman gives her tools to keep the record of her days - paper and ink. Mary is taken to a boat in Plymouth and from there sails to the New World where she hopes to make a new life among the pilgrims. But old superstitions die hard and soon Mary finds that she, like her grandmother, is the victim of ignorance and stupidity and once more she finds herself having to make important choices to ensure her survival. With a vividly evoked environment and characters skilfully and patiently drawn this is a powerful literary achievement by Celia Rees, that is utterly engrossing from start to finish.
Jenny Downham - Before I Die
Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.
Christopher Paolini - Eragon (angol)
When Eragon finds a polished stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands...
Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
A seductive and evocative epic on an intimate scale, that tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. Summoning up more than twenty years of Japan's most dramatic history, it uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. From a small fishing village in 1929, the tale moves to the glamorous and decadent heart of Kyoto in the 1930s, where a young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York; it exquisitely evokes another culture, a different time and the details of an extraordinary way of life. It conjures up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha - dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the most powerful men.
Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure… One that will change both their lives forever.
George Mann - The Affinity Bridge
Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by new inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, whilst ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen and journalists. But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side. For this is also a world where lycanthropy is a rampant disease that plagues the dirty whorehouses of Whitechapel, where poltergeist infestations create havoc in old country seats, where cadavers can rise from the dead and where nobody ever goes near the Natural History Museum.
Max Brooks - World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, "World War Z" brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.
Suzanne Collins - Mockingjay
The greatly anticipated final book in the New York Times bestselling Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Format: 9 CDs, Unabridged Narrator: Carolyn McCormick The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss Everdeen. The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!!!!
Suzanne Collins - Catching Fire
This is the second book in the ground-breaking "Hunger Games" trilogy. After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to their district, hoping for a peaceful future. But their victory has caused rebellion to break out ...and the Capitol has decided that someone must pay. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless they can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. Then comes the cruelest twist: the contestants for the next Hunger Games are announced, and Katniss and Peeta are forced into the arena once more.