First, I'm borrowing from the lovely Sarah Miller, and keeping track of my handselling victories. Unlike her, I'm in the store one day every other week, so my list is a lot less impressive. But I had two yesterday:
Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Vegan Virgin Valentine, by Carolyn Mackler (there's a semi-sequel coming out soon!)
I also managed to get through two new books this weekend - and even more impressive, I read the ARCs before the release date. I'm not usually that on top of things.
The Monsters of Templeton is a debut novel by Lauren Groff, coming out in early 2008. It's a good book. It's not something I would have picked up without prompting, but I love how she converted Cooperstown, NY, into Templeton. (According to the author's note, she began research for a history of Cooperstown, but Templeton emerged, and she went with it.) This is the story of Willie Upton, trying to figure out the complicated genealogy of Templeton - complicated because many of them are her ancestors, on both sides - and in the process figure out who her father is, because her mother decided not to tell her. And she gets occasional help from the house ghost. Yeah, not my usual fare, but I stayed up much later than I should have to finish it. And I sent Rick off to Akron with a copy, so we'll see what he thinks.
Slam is Nick Hornby's first YA novel, about a teenage skater who also becomes a teenage father. The story didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but that's because it's not fantasy. Sixteen-year-olds don't often make good choices about who they date, particularly because you're not supposed to be looking for your long-term partner at that age. And the ending is still happy, if not quite as romantic as I was looking for. (Yeah, along with stars and unicorns and all that. I'm not usually a romantic, but sometimes I surprise myself.)
This should be an interesting one to sell - the main character is a boy, and I'm always looking for more of those, but I can just picture myself recommending this to the mother of a reluctant reader in the right age group: "It's about a teen father. But it's funny, and it has a happy ending. Yeah, it's got sex in it. Not much, since the narrator swears off sex after he finds out his ex-girlfriend is pregnant. But how do you think she got that way? Yes, it's a good book. Yes, I'm recommending it for your son. Somehow I don't think I'm going to win him over with Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, as much as I like that one."