Courtesy of my publisher, Strange Chemistry Books, here’s the first four chapters of my forthcoming POLTERGEEKS. Enjoy!!
Okay, first off – I’m Canadian. I know precisely zilch about Roanoke Island or the Lost Colony. I did read a WikiPedia entry, though, and it got me thinking – a disappearance of more than a hundred people is a helluva thing back in the 1500’s, but it was a plausible thing. Anything could have “disappeared” the colonists, right? (Like maybe another Imperial power at the time … just sayin’) The only time I’d ever heard of the word “Croatoan” was when I played the online RPG City of Heroes.
Buuuuuut … the overnight disappearance of the same number in modern America? Well, that’s just something I HAVE to read. (Also see a movie. Dear movie producers – work a deal for the film rights to BLACKWOOD by Gwenda Bond. Trust me. Also, don’t hire Kristen Stewart to be Miranda because of what she did to Rob Pattinson.)
Truth be told, I didn’t carry any previous knowledge of the mystery as I started reading. This is a good thing because I didn’t want anything to cloud my take on how the author could make such a massive disappearance plausible in in the here and now.
BLACKWOOD by Gwenda Bond is a creepy little tale that starts off with a possible hallucination and introduces the reader to Miranda Blackwood – a teen who is basically a pariah in the community due to the superstitious nature of the residents. She’s the curse-bearer. Roanoke Island is cursed, you see. Because more than a hundred people just went missing in the 1500’s and more than a hundred just went missing last night.
Miranda’s drunken father included.
So Miranda can see things. It makes sense, therefore, to introduce a love interest who can hear things. Enter Phillips Rawlings – he’s the son of the Chief of Police and he’s been shipped off the island to reform school because of the voices in his head. He’d been mean to Miranda once upon a time. Naturally the two just have to fall for each other – such is teen romance. Gwenda Bond makes it work, though. Both characters are interesting and entirely believable. The plot carries the reader along at a fairly decent pace and what I really enjoyed about the book was how Gwenda painted a rich picture of Roanoke Island and it’s residents. There are colorful characters in this book. There’s surprises aplenty and at the heart of things is Miranda – a likeable protagonist from the wrong side of town. A girl who at the start of the book is more mother than daughter to her drunken dad. Yet she possesses a quiet dignity that she wears throughout the story and you can’t help but cheer her on as she and Phillips unravel the mystery.
Plot twists. Folklore. A hundreds year-old mystery with a modern twist. Blackwood is a solid read and a breath of fresh air for those of us who are dead dog tired of brooding vampire boyfriends and shape-shifting were-things.
BLACKWOOD is published by Strange Chemistry Books and will be in bookstores all over the place on September 6, 2012.
I told my editor Amanda Rutter at Strange Chemistry Books about a month ago that I’d do video reviews of my awesome publisher’s new titles. So here’s me reviewing SHIFT by Kim Curran. (Won’t Kim be surprised when she crawls out of bed in the morning. 🙂 (There’s a seven hour time “shift” between Saskatoon and the UK. Good morning, Kim!!)
I’m polling to see what people want to read and what they think might be the next big thing. So .. click away. Also, feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments section.
I’m going to be on a few panels during next month’s WHEN WORDS COLLIDE in Calgary. The panel I’m looking forward to the most is “WHAT’S NEW & HOT IN MIDDLE GRADE & YA FICTION?” There’s a boatload of fantastic books out there and I’m privileged to be writing for Angry Robot’s new imprint STRANGE CHEMISTRY BOOKS which has some of the newest and truly hottest YA fiction going. No, I’m serious. Kim Curran’s SHIFT is brilliant and reads like a movie. Gwenda Bond’s BLACKWOOD is a new take on an old bit of folklore. My good friend A.E. Rought’s BROKEN is going to freaking BLOW YOUR MIND, it’s just that good. (I read it two months ago. It’s awesome and she’s having her cover reveal today. I’ve seen the cover. It too is awesome.)
Rather than comprise my own list, I’d love to hear from you! What have you read that’s new, mind bending and just plain freaking awesome in the way of middle grade and young adult? I’ll be using your recommendations to make a nice little list I’ll be using on the panel. I’ll even mention your name and why you say the book/s your are recommending rock!
So …. what’s new & hot in your books? Feel free to name your choices is the comments section below!