With my book greed on a tight leash and one eye focused on my luggage weight (50 pound limit at the airport before extra baggage costs), I walked through the ALA conference exhibit area perusing freely available ARC's in children's literature, young adult literature, and books just for fun. I managed an eclectic mix of titles this year, three of which I read before leaving D.C. yesterday and a fourth I started on the plane during the storm cell delay. Here's the list with accompanying book description information from Amazon and/or the book jacket. I will be posting reviews and comments on the books as I finish.
"Chicago private investigator Michael Kelly is hired by his former partner, John Gibbons, to help solve an eight-year-old rape and battery case, a case it turns out his old friend was once ordered to forget. When Gibbons turns up dead on Navy Pier, Kelly enlists a team of his savviest colleagues to connect the dots between the recent murder and the cold case it revived: Diane Lindsay, a television reporter whose relationship with Kelly is not strictly professional; his best friend from childhood, Nicole Andrews, a forensic DNA expert; Nicole’s boyfriend, Vince Rodriguez, a detective with a special interest in rape cases; and Bennett Davis from the DA’s office, a friend since Kelly’s days on the force. To close the case, Kelly will have to face the mob, a serial killer, his own double-crossing friends, and the mean streets of the city he loves." (Book cover and Amazon)
"Travis Shelton is seventeen the summer he wanders into the woods near his home, discovers a grove of marijuana large enough to make him some serious money, and steps into the jaws of a bear trap. After hours on the forest floor, he's released from the trap by the shrewd, vicious farmer who set it - but his confrontation with the subtle evils that underlie the life of his small Appalachian community has begun." (Book Jacket)
"Written in witty, accessible verse, Wendy Mass's novel tells the story of sixteen-year-old Tessa and what happens in the moments after a shocking gym class accident. Tessa finds herself in heaven, which bears a striking resemblence to her hometown mall, and in the tradation of It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, she starts reliving her life up until that moment. Tessa sees some things she'd rather forget, learns some things about herself she'd rather not know, and ultimately she must find the answer to one burning question - if she only knew what the question was." (Book jacket)
"A swashbuckling adventure full of sword fights, sea shanties, and persistent pirate!Jack Jones is a very ordinary boy until the day his great uncle passes away and he inherits a terrible, horrible pirate curse from, the famed pirate Blackstrap Morgan, his great-great-many-times-great grandfather. Chased by a merciless band of pirates who can temporarily take over the bodies of anyone close to Jack—his teacher, his friends, and even his parents—he must find the courage to confront the curse and outsmart the pirates or spend the rest of his life running. An edge-of-your-seat thriller, this book is full of adventuresome pirates and hilarious escapades!" (Amazon and Book Jacket)
"Just when Joey Pigza’s wired world finally seems to be under control, his good-for-nothing dad pops back into his life. This time, though, Carter Pigza is a new man – literally. After a lucky lotto win, Carter Pigza has a crazy new outlook on life, and he’s even changed his name to Charles Heinz. He thinks Joey and his mom should become new people, too. Soon Joey finds himself bombarded with changes: a new name, a new home, and a new family business – running the beat-up Beehive Diner. He knows he should forgive his dad as his mom wants him to, and get with the new family program. But Joey is afraid that in changing names and going with the flow he will lose sight of who he really is. In this rocket-paced new chapter in Joey Pigza’s life, a favorite hero discovers what identity and forgiveness really mean, and how to cook a delicious turkey burger." (Amazon book description)
"High atop Hathorne Hill, just outside of Boston, sits Danvers State Hospital. Built in 1878 and closed in 1992, this abandoned mental institution is rumored to be the birthplace of the lobotomy. Locals have long believed the place to be haunted. They tell stories about the unmarked graves in the back, and of cold winds felt throughout its underground tunnels. And then there are the treasures found inside, eerie remnants of its former tenants: journals, hair combs, bars of soap, even old medical records, all left behind for trespassers to view.”“On the eve of the hospital’s demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their adventures. For Derik, it’s an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and save himself from a future of flipping burgers at his parents’ diner. For the others, it’s a chance to be on TV, or for a night with no parents. But what starts as a playful dare quickly escalates into a frenzy of nightmarish action. Behind the crumbling walls and down every dark passageway, these high schoolers will unravel the mysteries of those who once lived there and of the spirits who still might.” (Book Jacket)
"Ten thousand years ago, humans and fairies fought a great battle for the magical island of Ireland. When it became clear to the fairy families that they could never win, they decided to move their civilization underground and keep themselves hidden from the humans. All the fairy families agreed on this, except the eighth family, the demons. The demons planned to lift their small island out of time until they had regrouped and were ready to wage war on the humans once more. However, the time spell went wrong, and the island of Hybras was catapulted into Limbo, where it has remained for ten thousand years. Now the tainted time spell is deteriorating and demons are being sucked back into the present space and time. The fairy council is concerned about this and is monitoring any materializations. But when the spells deterioration accelerates, the materializations become unpredictable. Even the fairy scientists cannot figure out where the next demon will pop up. But someone can. Artemis Fowl, teenage criminal mastermind, has solved temporal equations that no normal human should be intelligent enough to understand. So when a confused and frightened demon pops up in a Sicilian theater, Artemis Fowl is there to meet him. Unfortunately, he is not the only one. A second, mysterious party has also solved the temporal equations, and has managed to abduct the demon before Artemis can secure him. Once again, Artemis will have to pair up with his old comrade, Captain Holly Short, to track down the missing demon and rescue him, before the time spell dissolves completely and the lost demon colony returns violently to Earth." (Book Description, Amazon)
I have a few other titles to add here, but Blogger is giving me publishing fits and I have lost patience with the continuous "could not contact Blogger.com" message I am receiving when attempting to save and publish this post.