Indies Introduce: Half Bad and Death-Struck Year

[Note: I was honored to be invited to the Indies Introduce Children’s panel last summer. A group of ten booksellers from all over the country read through middle grade and young adult novels by first-time novelists. We had regular conference calls discussing each book and eventually selected what we considered to be the ten best books by debut authors. Those books are now (woot!) being published and I’m excited to introduce them to the Eight Cousins community. Over the next few days, I’ll discuss each of the books.]

Today’s featured Indies Introduce titles are Half Bad by Sally Green and Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier.

FC9780670016785Half Bad

Sally Green

Viking

$18.99

Ages 12 +

In Nathan’s world, things are simple. White witches are good. Black witches are evil. But Nathan is different. Nathan is half-white. Half-black. Half-good. Half-bad. Nathan, then, is a threat to the Council of White Witches. They must contain the threat. They must keep control. They must, by any means necessary, stay in power. Because, after all, it is the ones in power who get to define what is good and what is evil. A fantasy book that explores social justice and explodes the binary tradition of white and black in the discourse of magic, Half Bad introduces a phenomenal new character, develops an innovated narrative, and demonstrates that black and white aren’t always black and white and things are never simple.

FC9780544164505Death-Struck Year

Makiia Lucier

HMH Books for Young Readers

$17.99

Ages 12+

Although the Great War is still raging in Europe, for Cleo and her classmates, the real fear is the Spanish Influenza. When the epidemic reaches Portland, OR, through a series of random events, Cleo finds herself home alone. Noticing a plea for nurses at a local make-shift hospital for Influenza patients, she decides to volunteer. Some volunteers last a day, others only a few hours – being surrounded by suffering and death is too much for most adults. But Cleo’s own history compels her to return each day, to offer comfort and assistance to the patients who need it – patients who have been abandoned by others. Challenging readers to think critically about what each of us would be willing to endure when the people around us are dying, A Death-Struck Year is an incredibly well-researched and amazingly written account of an event in American History that is often marginalized. It offers a compelling story of a young girl who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, but is willing to step up during a desperate hour.

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