Books to Watch For in 2014: A Guest Post From Jenny!

Throughout December, I will be highlighting 2014 releases that I’m incredibly excited for.  I got the idea for this from my friend Kathy, who is doing something similar.  Make sure to check out her blog to see what books she’s excited for next year!

Today, my awesome friend Jenny is going to share what she’s looking forward to in 2014.

When it comes to books, I seem to live in a perpetual state of withdrawal. It doesn’t matter how many I already have on my shelves. It doesn’t matter how many review copies I’ve received from publishers—many of which, by the way, I haven’t even touched. My hands are always shaky. My breath comes too fast. That’s because there are always more, MORE books to acquire and more books to read. Getting publishers’ catalogs—and dogearing the pages trumpeting soon-to-be published titles—only makes the symptoms worse.

That’s why I’m looking forward to 2014 with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I can’t wait for these books! How can I possibly wait for them? But wait I must. Soon enough, they’ll appear on my doorstep, then make their way onto, where I have the weekly pleasure of featuring the best contemporary books for tweens and teens. But the relief and elation at having read these titles will surely be short-lived. After all, following the books of 2014 come the books of 2015. And my hands tremble as I think of the marvelous stories I have yet to read.

Jenny’s Picks for (Spring) 2014

1. Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. This title is being billed as From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Chasing Vermeer. And now I can’t hear anything because my head is screaming FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER, which just happens to be one of the most delightful reading experiences of my childhood (and probably everyone else’s childhood, too). Like Claudia Kincaid, Theodora, the main character in Under the Egg, sounds spunky and smart. And she’ll need to be, in order to solve an art mystery that will take her on a search through Manhattan, and perhaps through her family history.

2. Noggin by John Corey Whaley. Marketing copy for books often oscillates between overwrought (“spellbinding,” “mindblowing”) and cutesy (“like you’ll never forget”), so props to whoever coined the phrase for Noggin that immediately put it on my must-read list: “Oh well, you only live twice.” Living twice is Travis Coates’s story: Travis being the main character of Noggin, who finds himself—or rather, his severed head—attached to a new body five years after he…died. Now he and his new body—i.e. the new Travis—will have to learn to coexist in this “mindblowing” story about identity.

3. High and Dry by Sarah Skilton. An early review reads: “If you like Veronica Mars and noir…” OK, I just stopped reading and frantically emailed my publicity contact at Amulet/Abrams. Um, yes and yes! (And no, I don’t want to wait until April.) This sounds like the perfect mix of romance, dark comedy, and a ticking clock. Can high school soccer player Charlie Dixon clean up his mess of a life and still win back the girl of his dreams? Whatever the answer, I can’t wait to find out.

4. The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer. Call this my wild card pick. It sounds vaguely dystopian, which fatigues me to even think about. But I did feel myself start to salivate when I read that The Inventor’s Secret is an alternate history set in a 19th-century North America controlled by a bloated, hyper-imperial British Empire. Toss in a little steampunk for good measure, and this could be a fun, guilty pleasure read for one of those rainy April weekends.


5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. When it comes to E. Lockhart, I’m a serious fangirl. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks has a permanent spot on my list of top ten favorite YA books of all time, so when I heard she had something new and explosive and heartbreaking coming out in May 2014 I was all over Twitter begging her for a copy. (Yes, I’m shameless.) No spoilers here, but I will say that this is the one book on this list that I’ve actually read already. And it’s every bit as good as I’d hoped or dreamed—in fact, more so. But I’m still looking forward to May 2014, because the best thing ever is a really great book, but the second best thing is getting to share it with everyone else.

Jenny Sawyer is a writer, reviewer, and the host of

Thanks, Jenny! I’ve preordered all of those already. :)

If you had to pick, which of those would you get?


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