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Fall 2013

andom House Childrens Books is dedicated to cultivating and nurturing new talent. With proven editorial acumen, rich sales and marketing resources, publicity savvy, and production and design excellence, the Random House Childrens Books team has worked together with its authors to give readers proven first-time successes such as New York Times bestsellers Eragon by Christopher Paolini and A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, as well as The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, and Newbery Award winner Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. The future of the book industry lies with new literary voices. For that reason, we are committed to growing alongside our authors by implementing unique publishing and marketing programs that enhance our lists and deliver continued success stories to you: the bookseller, the teacher, the librarian. We know that it is the love of childrens literature we share with you that helps get these new voices into readers hands and, for this, we thank you.

New for Fall 2013!

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Its a Second! Second novels from former Its a First! novelists. See p. 27 New for Spring 2013. See p. 31

Belle Epoque
Written by Elizabeth Ross Edited by Krista Marino
ISBN: 978-0-385-74146-0 $17.99/$21.00 Can. Young Adult Fiction On Sale: 6/11/2013

from

the editor
I first met Elizabeth Ross and Maude Pichon at a writers conference. Elizabeth had written twenty pages of a manuscript that was really just a germ of a concept at the time. Elizabeths writing, however, was so compelling that when I sat down with her and discussed her idea I knew I wanted to work with her on the book.

Inspired by a short story written by Emile Zola, Belle Epoque is set at the height of bohemian Paris, when the city was at the peak of decadence, men and women were at their most beautiful, and morality was at its most depraved. Its a story that challenges the definition of beauty and the value placed on it, while at the same time challenging the expectations placed on women and how hard they had to work for simple equalities. And then its a story about friendship and the importance and strength of sisterhood. Belle Epoque is the book I was hoping forone that is rich in history, yet one that any modern girl can identify with today.

Krista Marino
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ll around this area construction for the Exposition Universelle is going on, but it is the iron structure climbing skyward, of triangular shape and lattice framework, that dominates the skyline. I catch up to Isabelle, who has now reached the bridge that leads to the site of the tower. This really is the best place to view it in its entirety, she says. But we should cross the river and get closer. I want to see right underneath it. I look up in wonder at the structure. This is the first time Ive seen it up close, I breathe. It really is becoming the colossus that everyones talking about. Isabelle continues marching toward the towerthe equipment doesnt slow her down anyand I follow her across the bridge. The tower is made of iron, she explains as she walks. Like Eiffels new bridge constructions, because iron is flexible in strong wind. Her voice is raised against the breeze. Its not rigid, like stone, she calls back. A bridge to the sky, I say, still gazing upward. What a vision, to build that high. A feat of modern engineering and mathematics, she replies. Isabelle and I pause some twenty meters from the nearest foot of the structure, and Isabelle paces back and forth, looking up at the different views. Here. She plants her feet firmly. Well take the photograph right here. How long will the tower stand before they tear it down? I say, changing the subject.

I look up in wonder at the structure. This is the first time Ive seen it up close, I breathe. It really is becoming the colossus that everyones talking about.

A few years at most. She ducks down to look through the glass window at the back of the camera. Why do Parisians hate it so much? I wonder aloud. Lots of people think it ugly and unrefined. Those words sting. The same kind of people who hire repoussoirs by the hour, I suppose. Perhaps something unrefined can still be beautiful, I say, more to myself than to Isabelle. Take a look, Maude. Tell me what you think of the framing. Im surprised to be asked. Oh, I wouldnt know. Just look, says Isabelle, pointing to the glass. I bend down to look at the upside-down image. I see the strong geometric patterns of the iron structure contrasting against the pale gray sky. It is an incredible feat to build itthe ambition, the imagination required. It looks fine, I say, straightening up. To tear it down seems such a shame; all that Herculean effort to make something stand that tall and strong against the elementsonly to raze it to the ground. Its like crushing a dream. Isabelle selects a plate. All the more reason to photograph it now.

Photo Jennifer Ct

Elizabeth Ross studied French at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and between semesters she worked in Paris and Brittany. She lives in Los Angeles. When she isnt writing, she edits feature films.

Every Day After


Written byLaura Golden Editedby Michelle Poploff
ISBN:978-0-385-74326-6 $15.99/$17.99 Can. Middle-Grade Fiction On Sale:6/11/2013

from

the editor

I was deeply moved by this story set in the South during the Great Depression. It was inspired by family stories told to Laura Golden and the writing is such that it makes you feel that you are right there in that time and place. Lizzie Hawkins voice rings out clear and true in this story that forces her to make many decisions when her beloved daddy deserts the family and her dear mama has gone silent with sadness. Its up to the resilient and resourceful Lizzie to go up against the powers that be who want to take her house and separate her from her mama. Bestselling author Ruta Sepetys calls this A beautiful story of acceptance and determination. Lizzie Hawkins reminds us that in the midst of losing something precious we may find something equally important: ourselves. Times may be tough in Bittersweet, Alabama, but if theres one girl who can turn those tough times around, its Lizzie Hawkins.

Michelle Poploff

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The Days Are Prolonged and Every Vision Faileth

ay 30. My birthday. My twelfth birthday. I tried forcing myself into feeling as sunny on the inside as the day was outside. I never wouldve imagined Id be spending it without Daddy. My sixtieth maybe, but not my twelfth. Still, its an unwritten rule that birthdays are special days when nothing goes wrong or brings you down. Its the one day of the year when God grants you a wish. And today He was gonna grant one of mine. I felt it in my bones. And if God didnt, surely Daddy wouldnt let me down. I spent the better part of the morning with Mama. About every two minutes Id pray, Please, God, please. Make her well. It is my birthday, you know.

Its an unwritten rule that birthdays are special days when nothing goes wrong or brings you down. Its the one day of the year when God grants you a wish. And today He was gonna grant one of mine.

I read two sections of her book aloud, sitting cross-legged next to her rocker on the back porch. The breeze lapped at the pages of Mamas book as if it were too impatient to wait on me to turn the page. About halfway through my reading, Mama stopped staring, leaned her head back against the rocker, and closed her eyes. She was listening to me. I could tell. When I nished, I gured Id carry on with the tradition of shing on my birthday.
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Though Daddy wasnt with me, it was perfect weather for it, and I couldnt help but think about the possibility of landing One-Eye again. I told Mama to watch me from the porch and Id be sure to land her a big one. She didnt open her eyes. A warm breeze drifted through the eld, sending the grass into gentle swirls and waves. Ripples danced across the water, creating millions of shimmers on its surface. Id never been one for fairy tales, but that was how I thought it should look in a fairyland. And if there was ever a time for impossible things to happen, it was in a fairyland on your birthday. I found the fattest cricket I could, clutched my locket, then cast out my line. I stood in silence for a while. It was quieter than I was used to. Too quiet. Most times before, either Daddy or Ben had shed with me. Silence was possible with Daddy, depending on his mood, but Ben didnt understand the meaning of the word. If he wasnt talking, he was destroying the peace by popping his slingshot. The sick feeling I had when I thought about Daddy worsened when I thought about Ben. I didnt want our friendship to end the way Mamas and Mrs. Butlers had, but I didnt know how to stop it.

Photo Michael Golden

Laura Golden loved to listen to older generations spin tales about the good ol days and still does. She lives with her family in the Alabama countryside just east of Birmingham.

Gated
Written byAmy Christine Parker Editedby Chelsea Eberly
ISBN:978-0-449-81597-7 $17.99/$19.99 Can. Young Adult Fiction On Sale:8/27/2013

from

the editor
From the outside looking in, its hard to understand who in their right mind would join a cult. But Gated tells the story from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Lyla Hamilton believes she is one of the chosen people, selected to survive the coming apocalypse. Pioneer, the Communitys charismatic leader, has foreseen them waiting out the end of days in an underground compound. Everything is going according to plan until Lyla starts questioning Pioneers motives.

Photo Ross Margelefsky

Amy Christine Parker kept me on the edge of my seat and broke my heart with her beautiful writing. Finally a story with the best elements of dystopian YA and the best elements of contemporary fiction combined! Prepare for your skin to crawl as Pioneer deftly manipulates his flock toward disaster, but even more chilling is how easy it is to relate to the characters following him over the edge.

Chelsea Eberly
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ioneer presses his forehead to the bars and peers in at me. The sheriff wont retreat, Lyla. Sealing ourselves in the Silo wont keep them away. Theyll find the entrance eventually, and when we refuse to let them in, they will blow, blow, blow our house down. I lean back against the wall and try not to cry. What do we do? I will do whatever it takes to keep those wolves from coming in here and separating us, from brainwashing all of you until you dont know whats true anymore. I will not let all of the good in my Community become tainted. Pioneer looks up at the ceiling. Tears course down his cheeks. All I have ever done is to teach you whats right. The Brethren gave us this one chance . . . why did you help those wolves take it away? I slump down onto the cot. How did everything get so messed up? I didnt mean for things to happen this way. My throat gets thick. I stare at the floor and try to swallow, try to breathe, try to think. I dont know . . . I wasnt trying to hurt anyone. Please, I . . . I cant finish. Theres nothing I can say thatll make any of this better. Pioneers face is still wet with tears, but his eyes are darting around the room, focused on nothing and everything at the same time. I will do whatever it takes to keep them from taking whats ours. Even if that means that our plan has to be . . . adapted.

I stare at the floor and try to swallow, try to breathe, try to think. I dont know . . . I wasnt trying to hurt anyone. Please, I . . . I cant finish. Theres nothing I can say thatll make any of this better.
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Im not sure what he means by this, but I know I dont like it. The Brethren are speaking to me, Lyla. Right here. They mean for us to return to the earth from which we have sprung. He barks out a laugh. It sounds shrill, empty. The new beginning we seek wont happen on this earth. No . . . it is being prepared for us beyond this place. He nods to himself. Its like hes forgotten for the moment that Im in the room with him. Building the Silo was a test of our obedience. We have done what they asked and now they mean to reward us, but we have to be ready to come to them first. Its the ultimate test. Hes up and pacing. The room feels electrified. Dangerous. What are you saying? I ask. I stay away from the cells bars. I dont want to get too close to him. Were supposed to survive. Not anymore, he says simply. Not anymore. Pioneer turns out the lights and steps into the dimly lit hall. The door swings shut behind him with a soft thud. The room is pitch-black. Im trapped and alone. Buried. The Silo was never meant to be a shelter. I understand that now. It was always meant to be a tomb.
Photo Kymberly Boswell Photography

Amy Christine Parker writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at AmyChristineParker.blogspot.com.

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Laras Gift
Written byAnnemarie OBrien Editedby Erin Clarke
ISBN:978-0-307-93174-0 $16.99/$18.99 Can. Middle-Grade Fiction On Sale:8/6/2013

from

the editor

There is so much to love about Annemarie OBriens gorgeous debut novel, Laras Gift. In one of the opening scenes, we see Lara, an irrepressible young girl living in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, running through Count Vorontsovs dog kennels, affectionately greeting each dog by name. Lara is devoted to the noble borzoi dogs that her family raises for the count and the dogs are equally devoted to her. But when her baby brother is born, Laras dreams of becoming the next kennel steward after her father are shattered. Over the course of the book, we see Lara come into her own, embracing her gift for raising dogs and daring to challenge tradition. Laras Gift is beautifully written historical fiction with a stunning cast of charactersboth humans and dogs. Annemarie OBrien seamlessly transports readers to Imperial Russia and takes us on a heart-stopping wolf hunt on the Counts grand estate, a hunt that will change Laras life, and the lives of her beloved borzoi, forever.

Erin Clarke
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Chapter One The Hunting Horn Russia, 1914

ike the moon, far from my reach, Papas hunting horn hung high up on the tack wall in the stable, just above the birch-bark scroll inscribed with the Eight Golden Rules for breeding borzoi. Still, I could imagine holding the horn in my hands with its decorative gold pieces along the side. My favorite image was one of a borzoi running. It reminded me of Zar.

I could also imagine putting the horn to my lips, taking a deep breath, and blowing through it to signal the start of a hunt. Just as Papa always did, right before the hunters set off into the woods and open fields, led by Kyrgyz stallions dragging long, open sledges filled with dogs and hunters. More than anything, Papa cherished his hunting horn and forbade anyone to touch itincluding me, for it wasnt just any horn. It had been in our family for generationspassed down from one kennel steward to the next. One day that horn will be mine, I said to Zar, patting him on the head. Not if our prayers are answered. Papa stepped into the tack room with the Counts Gold Medal team of borzoiBorei, Bistri, and Silaprancing at his heels. The Woronzova trio were the strongest and swiftest hunting dogs on the estate. But youve been grooming me to take over. Papa twisted the long, dark hairs of his beard. Its clear you love the dogs. And its true Ive been grooming you to become the next kennel steward. All of that will have to change, if your mama gives birth to a boy. Trust me, Lara, Im thinking of your future.
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Up until now, I had never thought Papa would really take away my dream.

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Up until now, I had never thought Papa would really take away my dream. He turned away from me to dote on his favorite dog. While he checked Boreis paws for cracks, I tried to muster up my most respectful voice. Instead, frustration poured out. Everything Ive learned will be wasted. Papa gave me a lookthe one that said Id better watch myself. Nothing is ever wasted. Your training will come to good useas nursemaidwhen your mama gives birth. I glanced down at Zar in horror and mouthed, Nursemaid! Zar nudged my hand and leaned his long, thin body against me. His touch usually brought me comfort, but my rattled nerves spread, like weeds in an untended garden. I know more about raising borzoi than I do about being a nursemaid. My voice quavered, but I wouldnt let myself quit. Ive cared for the dogs through distemper, tended to their wounds, administered their worming treatments, fed them proper diets, exercised them, whelped litters, and managed their mating, as well as anyone, even Alexander. I paused and caught my breath. Like me, Alexander adored the dogs. So much so, he deemed no kennel chorenot even shoveling dog dungbeneath his noble title. And most of all, I added. The dogs listen to me.

Photo Turner Photography

Annemarie OBrien spent many years living and working in Russia, where the inspiration for Laras Gift developed. She now lives in California with her family, two borzoi dogs, and one silken windhound.

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My Chemical Mountain
Written byCorina Vacco Editedby Rebecca Short
ISBN:978-0-385-74242-9 $16.99/$19.99 Can. Young Adult Fiction On Sale:6/11/2013

from

the editor

My Chemical Mountain is shocking, thrilling, and awe-inspiring. Fourteen-year-old Jason lives in a town in which the chemical company that employs hundreds of its citizens is using the local landfill and creek as dumping grounds for toxic chemicals. Jason and his friend Charlie live for the rush of racing their dirt bikes on Chemical Mountain and swimming in orange and chunky Two Mile Creek. But Cornpup, whose back is covered in painful cysts, fears their way of life. All three boys want Mareno Chem gone. Charlie hates seeing his territory invaded. Cornpup wants to be healthy. And Jason seeks revenge for the death of his father, for which he believes the company is responsible. But revenge has a price, and more than one person will pay. This story is tough. You might want to look away, but you wont. And youll be glad you didnt. Because Corina Vaccos writing is strong and fierce and full of love. Her characters are loyal, true, brave and brilliant. And they have something to say.

Rebecca Short
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he wind carries sulfur and hard rain. Power lines are down in the streets. I trace the outline of a petroleum serpent on my foggy window and wipe it away with my fist. I think about the seventeen tons of Phenzorbiflux that went missing the night Dad died. Green, steamy chemical sludge. Coveralls in a puddle of liquefied human skin. The horrible phone call that woke us in the night. I am hungry for revenge. Last time there was a storm like this, me and Charlie hot-wired a dump truck and crashed it into the field of barrels. The time before that we started a small chemical fire in the creek, watched the water burn in the rain. Storms make us wild sometimes, like animals. There is an explosion of thunder, the kind that sounds like its right on top of you, or maybe even inside you, and then my room goes dark. The ceiling fan stops spinning. The television blinks off. My stomach is pulsing like a machine, painful pistons and gears. There is a siren in the distance. I grab an old sweatshirt and climb out my window. Slowly, silently. Charlie is standing next to his dads new four-wheeler. It is blue and black with a wolf custom-painted on the front. It smells like gasoline and vinyl. We arent supposed to go near it.

His muscles are like steel coils under his skin. Id eat anything to be like that, but I tried it once, and all I got was a rash of hot blisters on my tongue.

Charlies scars look blue in the lightning. I sit on the back of the four-wheeler as he steers us away from our neighborhood. We take the old steel bridge across Two Mile Creek. We jump flooded ditches and skid onto empty highways. I lift my face to the sky and drink the rain. I taste motor oil on my lips.

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The Poxton landfill looms up ahead, black and eerie on the horizon. Charlie calls it Chemical Mountain. To him it is one of the wonders of the world. If we could spend every moment there, jumping barrels on our dirt bikes or racing snowmobiles, hed be happy. When we pull up to Chemical Mountain, lightning strikes a nearby tree. My skin is buzzing. Charlie kills the engine. When I come here, I feel real strong, he says. Like I could pull down a bunch of electric wires and not get shocked. Like I could pick up a cement truck and throw it across a field. I still think we should bottle the dirt, sell it, I say. Then I feel stupid, because Charlie would never give away his secret. He eats handfuls of mud from Chemical Mountain. He swallows orange and green water from Two Mile Creek. Hes the only fourteen-year-old in Poxton who can catch a thirty-yard pass in triple coverage. His muscles are like steel coils under his skin. Id eat anything to be like that, but I tried it once, and all I got was a rash of hot blisters on my tongue. Thunder rips through the sky. There is a chain-link fence at the base of Chemical Mountain. Charlie pitches rocks at the NO TRESPASSING signs while I pry open the gate with his crowbar. We ride to the top of our landfill, lightning all around us, the air so electric I feel dizzy. I squint because the rain is falling sideways, straight at our faces. From the summit we look down on a large rectangle of darknessour street and the neighboring streets, still without powerand we feel like war gods, like weve conquered something for real.

Photo Shelley Coon

Corina Vacco felt compelled to write about toxic towns after reading an article alleging that hundreds of thousands of children and teens throughout the United States attend schools built on or near dangerously polluted sites.

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Sky Jumpers
Written byPeggy Eddleman Editedby Shana Corey
ISBN:978-0-307-98127-1 $16.99/$19.99 Can. Middle-Grade Fiction On Sale:9/24/2013

from

the editor
As soon as I read the opening paragraphs to Sky Jumpers, I was hooked! What would it be like to jump into the sky . . . and not fall? I couldnt get the image out of my head. Sky Jumpers is the story of twelve-year-old Hope. Hope lives in a town of inventors struggling to recover from World War III. But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to dive into the Bombs Breaththe deadly band of compressed air left by the bombsthan fail at another invention. When bandits invade, the only way to get help is to go through the Bombs Breath, and Hope and her friends may be the only

ones who can do it.

Sky Jumpers has everythingaction, adventure, bad guys, really cool inventions, family and friendships worth risking everything for, death-defying cliff dives, relatable characters, and an unlikely hero named Hope. It also has great themes for discussionworking with our strengths, the difference individuals can make, whether our history determines our future or if we can change it. And it asks the question, what happens when you cant do (or feel like you cant do) the one thing that matters most?

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Shana Corey

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ou would think Id never jumped off a cliff before, based on how long I stood there. Not jumping. Of course, Id never made this jump before. I stood at the edge of the cliff looking across the area where I knew the invisible Bombs Breath spread across our valley. Aaren and his five-year-old sister, Brenna, looked up at me with encouraging faces from the rock ledge I planned to land on thirty-five feet below. I made note of the wiry bush that grew out of a crack in the cliff face and told me where the Bombs Breath began. The fact that the Bombs Breath was invisible was one of the most dangerThe fact that the ous things about it. The fact that it would kill you if you took even one breath in it was the other dangerous part. But the Bombs Breath was still my favorite side effect left behind by the green bombs of World War III. Mr. Hudson, our inventions teacher in Tens & Elevens, said that the way the oxygen molecules got cross-linked and bonded together made the air much denser than the regular air above and below the fifteen-foot-thick band. You couldnt breathe in the oxygen molecules separately and your body couldnt absorb them together, so youd suffocate instantly if you inhaled while in the midst of the Bombs Breath. It was Aaren who came up with the theory that we could hold our breath and walk into it. Based

Bombs Breath was invisible was one of the most dangerous things about it. The fact that it would kill you if you took even one breath in it was the other dangerous part.
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on the horrified look on his face when I first tested his theory, hed have never told me if hed known Id try it. But I had trusted Aarens theories ever since we were five, so of course Id try out his Bombs Breath theory. It took my walking into it twice, before he and his scientific brain had to test it, too. It was me, though, who figured out we could cliff dive into the Bombs Breath and it would slow our fall. Like we had wings. I pulled my necklace from behind my shirt and rubbed my thumb over the rough stone. Not for luck, and definitely not because I was scared. I rubbed it because it was the only object in existence left by my birth mom before I was adopted. I didnt know her before she died, but I knew she was brave. Whenever I touched the coarse, uneven surface, I was reminded that she did impossible things, and so could I. Hope! Aaren yelled up to me. If you cant make it, you can come down. I laughed, because egging someone on was something I did, not him. Aaren and I had been friends for twelve yearssince our moms put us in the same crib for napsso he knew if someone told me I couldnt do something, Id do it just to prove them wrong. This was Aarens way of saying he knew I could do it and to hurry up about it. I agreed. I pushed the necklace inside my shirt, then jumped into the sky.
Photo Erinn Summerill Photography

Peggy Eddleman lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Utah with her husband and their three kids. She enjoys painting, playing games with her family (especially laser tag), and of course, reading. You can visit Peggy online at PeggyEddleman.blogspot.com.

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Still Star-Crossed
Written byMelinda Taub Editedby Michelle Poploff
ISBN:978-0-385-74350-1 $16.99/$18.99 Can. Young Adult Fiction On Sale:7/9/2013

from

the editor

I loved this clever concept from the get go. Its about what happened after the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Mysterious figures in Verona are determined to reignite the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. For the sake of peace, Prince Escalus orders Romeos best friend Benvolio to marry Juliets cousin Rosaline. Whether youre a fan of Romeo and Juliet or not, this Shakespearean homage filled with witty barbs, bawdy bantering, stolen kisses, and slicing and dicing duels over family honor will win you over. Melinda Taub has created two engaging star-crossed lovers in the brooding Benvolio and the spirited Rosaline, the girl Romeo wooed before Juliet. The clever casting includes characters borrowed from other Shakespearean plays. This story may just give Shakespeares Verona its first ever happy ending.

Michelle Poploff

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envolio! she hissed. Why art thou here, Montague? If they find thee here, theyll kill thee! Im here for thee, Rosaline. Rosaline swallowed and took a step back. What mean you, sir? I need thy help. I know not where to turn. House Montagues barricaded, our young men arming themselves, the princes men seeking me in the streets. He hoisted himself over the railing, dropping onto the balcony. Rosaline flinched, drawing away.

Why draw you back, lady? He stepped closer, trying to meet her eyes, but Rosaline dropped her gaze, her heart pounding so that she thought it might burst through her chest.

Why draw you back, lady? He stepped closer, trying to meet her eyes, but Rosaline dropped her gaze, her heart pounding so that she thought it might burst through her chest. They say you murdered Gramio, she whispered. That the Montagues will make war on our house. Benvolio looked grim. Im afraid tis true that the Montague men make ready to

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avenge the deaths of Orlino and Truchio, for the which they lay the blame at Capulets door. I know not whether my kin believe I killed Gramio, but if so, many of them likely celebrate me for it. Id hide me within their walls, but I will not give the Capulets any more excuse to blame my family for my supposed crimes. But, Rosaline, I am innocent of your cousins blood, by my life I am. But your swordyour sash The sash. Suddenly she realized what had been bothering her all day about the sash found on Gramios body. Wait there.

Photo Amanda Taub

Melinda Taub teaches writing and writes comedy for the Upright Citizens Brigade stage and website and other outlets, including The Onion and FUSE TV. She lives in New York City.

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Red
Written byAlison Cherry Editedby Wendy Loggia
ISBN:978-0-385-74293-1 $17.99/$19.99 Can. Young Adult Fiction On Sale: 10/8/2013

from

the editor
It takes a red-headed woman to get a dirty job done . . . at least thats what the Boss says. But no matter what your hair color is, I hope youll enjoy Alison Cherrys Red.

Red introduces us to Scarlettville, Iowa, Americas Redhead Sanctuary, where redheadedness is the towns claim to fame, primary export, and social stratifier. Felicity St. John is the reddest redhead of them allqueen bee of Scarlettville High, finalist for the Miss Scarlett pageant crown . . . and keeper of one very big secret. The bright, coppery red that makes her so special is completely artificial. And when someone finds out her secret, Felicity will discover just how far shes willing to go to protect her red cred. Keeping a secret is hard to dobut if youre in high school? And the secret youre keeping threatens to not only knock you off the popular pedestal but to make you a mockery in front of your friends? Its enough to make your hair curl. . . .

Wendy Loggia
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elicity followed her friends, but she wasnt paying attention to the crowd around her anymore. A pit had opened deep in her stomach, and all her relief about making it into the pageant was spiraling into it like bath water down a drain. As she made her way to the grandstand, she could feel the uncomfortable sensation of a dozen brown eyes on her back. She was the last one to reach the stage, and Ginger waited until she had mounted the grandstand steps to shout, Lets hear it for all our Miss Scarlet contestants! The crowd cheered and whistled and catcalled, and the wave of sound washed over Felicity. Despite feeling completely overwhelmed, she tried to keep a smile plastered on her face. Pageants were all about smiling through your feelings. She might as well start now. Parents began pushing through the crowd to hug their daughters, and Ginger St. John was no exception. The moment she was done announcing the whens and wheres of the pageant, she fled the podium and pulled Felicity into a bone-crushing embrace. Baby, Im so proud of you! she gushed. Thanks, Mom. As uncomfortable as she felt, it was a relief to see her mom so pleased with her. I could barely keep from jumping up and down when I saw your name on that list, but I think my poker face was pretty good, wasnt it?

Despite feeling completely overwhelmed, she tried to keep a smile plastered on her face. Pageants were all about smiling through your feelings. She might as well start now.
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A little too good, actually. You totally freaked me out. I thought for sure I wasnt in. Oh, Im so sorry, baby, I didnt mean to scare you. But this is so exciting! Were finally on our way to becoming the very first mother-daughter pair of Miss Scarlets! Ginger held her at arms length and beamed at her, then pulled her close again and did a little happy dance, jiggling Felicity awkwardly up and down. Everything is going exactly like we always dreamed it would. This win is right there for the taking, baby. All you have to do now is reach out and grab it. Over her moms shoulder, Felicity spotted the little brunette island in the sea of red and saw that her disgruntled classmates still hadnt stopped glaring at her. She quickly looked away. Though everything did seem to be going according to plan, all of those cold, dark eyes reminded Felicity that she didnt deserve any of the praise she was getting. She didnt deserve to be competing in the pageant at all. Because unbeknownst to the adoring crowd, Felicitys hair colorthat bright, coppery red that made her so enviable in Scarletvillewas completely artificial. There were only two other people in the entire world who knew her secret. One was her mom. The other was her stylist, Rose Vaughn. Gabbys mother.

Unlike Felicity, Alison Cherry is a natural redhead. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Find out what former Its a First! novelists have been up to.
Karen Foxlee

ITS A SECOND!

Quiet misfit Rose didnt expect to like the sleepy town of Leonora. Or to become friends with the most popular girl in school. Or to stitch a dress with a witch. When this dress seals the fate Roses friend, Leonora will be haunted forever.

Its a First!

NEW!

Swati Avasthi
When a gunman kills Hollys friend, he shatters her world. As Holly slips into madness on her quest for revenge, her story is told in comic-book panels that show the world as she now sees it after this heartbreaking tragedy.

Its a First!

NEW!
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Find out what former Its a First! novelists have been up to.
Sandra Neil Wallace

ITS A SECOND!

The only way for the downtrodden Muckers football team to win State is to go undefeated, and to therefore overthrow their biggest rival, Phoenix United. Luckily, anything is possible on the field.

Its a First!

NEW!

Maurissa Guibord

Trespass Island is shrouded in mist and protected by a deadly reef. And as Delia is about to find out, no one who finds Trespass Island will leave there alive.

Its a First!
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NEW!

Sonia Gensler
In this chilling Victorian thriller, Kate finds herself in the care of the Thompsons, members of the Metaphysical Research Societya society involved in dark and deadly mysteries. Can Kate unravel them before she becomes a victim?

Its a First

NEW!

Kathy McCullough

Delaneys fairy godmother status isnt as cool as it sounds. What good is being a fairy godmother if you cant make the boy of your dreams like you as much as you like him?

Its a First

NEW!

Emily Winfield Martin


Emily Martin takes children on an imaginary journey by asking just what their dream animal might beand what dream it might lead them to. With perfect nighttime rhyme and gorgeous illustrations, this book is irresistible!

Its a First

NEW!
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Find out what former Its a First! novelists have been up to.
Lee Bacon

ITS A SECOND!

Joshua Dread is back in this hilarious sequel about surviving middle school when your parents are the most feared supervillains in town.

Its a First!

NEW! Elana K. Arnold

Two teenagers will challenge everything they know in this sizzling love story between a small-town boy, a Gypsy girl, and the summer that changes them forever.

Its a First!
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NEW!

Visit ItsAFirst.net to catch up with other Random House Childrens Book debut authors and find out what theyve been up to!

Its a FirstSpring 2013!

Cover, first row, from left to right: Illustration from Sky Jumpers 2013 by Owen Richardson; photograph from Still Star-Crossed 2013 by Holly Broomhall. Second row, clockwise from top left: Illustration from Laras Gift 2013 by Tim Jessell; photograph from Gated 2013 by Mohamad Itani/Trevillion Images; illustration from Every Day After 2013 by Masterfile; photograph from Red 2013 by Shutterstock Images LLC, manipulation by Brian Sheridan. Third row, from left to right: Photograph from Belle Epoque 2013 by Kelly Miller; illustration from My Chemical Mountain 2013 by Shane Rebenschied.

RandomHouseKids.com

RandomHouse.com/teens
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