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New Fiction - Term 3, 2004

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The Amazing Maurice
Terry Pratchett

Maurice, a streetwise tomcat, has the perfect money making scam. Everyone knows the stories about rats and pipers, and Maurice has a stupid looking kid with a pipe, and his very own plague of rats - strangely educated rats..

But in Bad Blintz, the liitle con suddenly goes down the drain. For someone there is playing a different tune and now the rats must learn a new word.

EVIL.

It's not a game any more. It's a rat-eat-rat world. And that might only be the start...

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Angels and Demons
Dan Brown

In this prequel to "The Da Vinci Code", Mr. Langdon attempts to discover the killer of a prominent physicist who was looking to prove that science and religion are intermingled. He crosses paths with the Vatican, along with the Swiss Guard, but the most surprising and unexpected twist occurs at the end, when the real murderer is discovered.

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Bare Bones
Kathy Reichs

It's one of the hottest summers on record and Dr Temperance Brennan is looking forward to a long overdue vacation. But it's not to be. First, the bones of a newborn baby are found in a wood stove. The young mother, hardly more than a child herself, has disappeared.

Next, a Cessna flies into a rock face. The pilot and passengers are burned beyond recognition, their bodies covered in a strange black substance. What could it be? It seems they may have had criminal purposes for the flight.

And then a cache of bones, some animals, some human, is found in a remote corner of the country. All evidence points to an isolated farm. But what happened there and who will be the next victim? The answers lie hidden deep within the bones - if only Tempe can decipher them in time.

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Being Bindy
Alyssa Brugman

What happens when your worst friend who used to be your best friend, threatens to become your sister?

I'd never sat on my own in the schoolyard before. Everywhere I looked I saw smirking faces, people whispering to each other, or whistling. Janey wouldn't even look at me. I overheard one of the others say, "I don't know why you were ever friends with her," to which she replied, "I know. She's just so bleagh"

That was the moment. It was officially TWDOML - The worst day of my life.

Bindy faces some tough decisions, finding her own way among schoolmates, friends, ex-friends, boys and parents in this funny, searching novel.

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The Bonesetter's Daughter
Amy Tan

The story is based around Ruth, LuLing's daughter, who one day finds a book (that her mother wrote) in a secret compartment in the floor that reveals her mother's past.

LuLing knew that she was loosing her memory, thus she feverishly tried to write down the history of her family so that she would not forget it. The book interchanges between the past and the present, Ruth's life in San Francisco and LuLing's life in China; it is set in modern-day San Francisco and in nineteenth century and twentieth century China.

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Born Confused
Tanuja Desai Hidier

Dimple Lala doesn't know what to think. She's spent her whole life resisting her parent' traditions. But now she's turning seventeen and everything is more complicated than it's ever been.

Her best friend isn't around the way she used to be (blame the boyfriend), and Dimple's still recovering from a year-old break up. Then, to make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a "suitable boy".

Of course it doesn't go well... until a few weeks later, when Dimple goes to New York and sees him as he really is - someone who can move a club full of people with his amazing mix of music, and someone who might just understand her confusion. Suddenly the suitable boy no longer seems unsuitable...Complications ensue.

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Sly
Rick Feneley

Sly Fox lives with his one-legged alcoholic father, incontinent Communist grandfather and his dog, Comrade, in a run-down beach shack filled with history you can touch. Intrigued by Sly and his fascinating family history, new-boy-in-town Brett "Harry" Harrison strikes up an unlikely and forbidden friendship with him.

Growing up together in the small coastal town of Little Bulli in the early 1970s, the boys discover the delights of sex, drugs and Brandivino. But their great passion is the compelling story of Sly's pioneering ancestors, as revealed by the Fox family chronicles. Their friendship is inviolable, or so they think, until a shocking act of betrayal alters the course of their lives...

A sensational debut novel by an exciting new author, 'Sly' looks for the answers to adulthood in the innocence of youth.

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Heavenly Date
Alexander McCall Smith

This volume of short stories is like a glimpse into the various worlds of each character. From a husband with intimacy problems to a botched date that ends in death, this book promises to entertain.
Skillfully written, the reader is pulled into each story. In a few sentences, the characters are given life. In a few pages, the story becomes real, with the characters moving throughout.
Much as real life does, these stories alternately take happy or sad turns. Also like life, they don't seem to end at the last page. As a reader, I was left wanting to know more.
For a short story collection, the characters are surprisingly life-like, complete with faults. Heavenly Date showcases stories about the nature of humans and their interaction with each other.
Although the book has a slow start, stay with it. Heavenly Date is a great way to spend an autumn afternoon or to just to pass a few minutes reading. If you like short stories collections or are a fan of Smith's previous bestsellers, this book is a must read.

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Beauty
Robin McKinley

Beauty is a very delicate and delightful retelling of the classic fairytale 'Beauty and the Beast'. The story itself is well-known enough to require no plot synopsis, but McKinley manages to imbue what can often be a silly Gothic novel with charm and magic.

When Beauty's father picks a rose at the castle of the Beast, little does he realise that he has entered into an irrevocable contract with the master of the magical castle. Beauty, far from being a lovely, fragile heroine is a down to earth woman with a love of books and animals. The Beast is a tragic figure with the form of a wild animal and the eyes of a trapped human and the story which unfolds is as compelling as it is novel.

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Lily B on the brink of cool
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Do your parents embarrass you publicly at least once a week?

Have you ever felt like you were born into the wrong family?

Do you yearn for drama, glamour and excitment?

Have you ever had to wear a green dress that looks like a lacy lampshade?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES!!!!!! then
you will LOVE!!!!!! my book.

These are my very own true experiences of DRAMA!!!!GLAMOUR!!!! And how I didn't let my terrifyingly normal parents ruin my life.

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Clair de Lune
Cassandra Golds

Clair-de-Lune has lived all her life with her grandmother at the top of a very tall, very narrow, very old building. Her mother, a great ballerina died on stage when Clair-de-Lune was a baby. Ever since that day, Clair-de-Lune has not uttered a word.

Then she meets tiny, brave Bonaventure (a talking dancer-mouse) who takes her to the mysterious monastery hidden in a secret fold of Clair-de-Lune's apartment building.

But this is only the beginning of the journey for Clair-de-Lune, and she could never have dreamed what adventures were still to come...

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Deep End
Sam Hutton

She and her parents were gunned down in the street by an unknown assailant. Maddie's mother was killed and her Scotland Yard Inspector father left in a wheelchair.

Maddie signs up as a trainee in her father's notorious flying squad. Police Investigation Command. She teams up with Alex Cox, ace, undercover man, and Danny Bell, an electronics whizz-kid with a razor sharp mind.

Alex, Danny and Maddie - three teenagers fighting crime on the streets of London.

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Time Out
Dorothy Simmons

For Jess, scar-faced, painfully self-conscious, country-girl Jess, city living is totally intimidating, an endurance test until she can go back to the isolation and safety of the family property.

But then she sees this artist drawing houses, and this girl she knew at school... and Stuart, who is something else again...

Almost before she knows it, she is handing out leaflets, going to meetings, sitting at a DJ's table.

The time comes though, when it's not enough just to listen any more.

Jess Halloran has something to say ...

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Baby Blue
Julia Green

A mother. At sixteen.

It's tough looking after a baby when you're never even held one before. Particularly when all your friends are moving off. And you're stuck.

There are times when it's a nightmare, times when it's a miracle. Bit by bit, Mia is piecing her life back together again, one step at a time.

She's stubborn. And spiky.

She'll make it - her and Baby Blue.

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Teen Idol
Meg Cabot

Sticking with her slam-dunk formula of normal girls who get caught up in not-so-normal circumstances, Cabot spins another yarn worthy of red-carpet treatment, this time featuring junior Jenny Greenley, an Indiana native who writes for the school newspaper's anonymous advice column and has a knack for smoothing over bad situations.

When Jenny is asked to be "student guide" to Hollywood teen celeb Luke Striker -- who's in town, undercover, to research his next film role -- she only wonders how they'll ever keep his identity secret. Sure enough, the cat's soon out of the bag, and Jenny shakes her world when Luke convinces her to use her influence at school for positive change.

With all the makings of another winner, this stand-alone novel should satiate your appetite for lighthearted fare. The book delivers tantalizing events, realistic characters, and a good message to chew on, making for a solid read that will keep you snickering the whole time. By the end, you'll feel happier than a Best Actress winner on Oscar night.

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Carrie's Song
Bronwyn Blake

Anna a sea child from Flinders Island, meets Carrie, a desert child, born and raised in the heart of the continent.

A tumultuous friendship follows, echoed in the lives of their two mothers and the secrets of their past...secrets and shocking events which will both separate and bind Carrie and Anna.

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Stealing Stacey
Lynne Reid Banks

All my helpless, angry thoughts suddenly came together to form one word. One answer, Australia. On the other side of the world. An escape from everything...

Stacy's life in London really sucks. Then out of the blue, a glamorous gran she's never met comes to visit - all the way from Australia.

When Stacey gets the worst news yet, Grandma Glendine offers her the perfect solution. Suddenly, Stacey's life in grey old London is swapped for the heat, dust, flies and even scorpions and snakes, of the outback.

Will all this prove too much for Stacey the city-girl? And is her flashy, rich gran quite who she seems?

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Scorpia
Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider is in Venice looking for secrets long buries in the past. Was his father really a ruthless assassin - and if so, what does that make Alex?

The truth lies with a shadowy organization called Scorpia. But, as Alex draws near, Scorpia is planning a huge operation which will destroy the British and American alliance and destabilize the world.

Alex's fifth adventure is his most personal yet. Soon he will have to make a choice. Will he continue to work for M16, who have manipulated and betrayed him? Or will Alex join Scorpia - and get his revenge.

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Freewill
Chris Lynch

Coming to terms with a brutal an dtragic loss, Will develops a skill which helps him to deal with the loneliness and unanswered questions with which he has been left.

But it is this extraordinary gift which will soon lead to his public scrutiny by the press and the cruel re-emergence of his past, and all this because a young girl is found washed up on a beach, drowned.

So what at first seemed to be Will's gift is now his curse. Is this how things are destined to be?

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Right where it hurts
David Hill

When Slade comes to Green Harbour College, with its rich kids and richer parents, the first person he meets is Mallory Garner.

How does Slade feel about Mallory? He wants to kick her. Slowly he changes his mind, especially when he discovers the terrible secret that haunts Mallory's life.

But can Slade - or anyone - save Mallory?

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Miss Smithers
Susan Juby

Sixteen year old Alice suspects that this is the year she's going to bloom. She has two friends that she can add to her previous friendless repertoire, and an ALMOST thriving career as a zine writer. To top it off - lured by the $400 clothing allowance - she becomes the official Rod & Gun Club candidate in the town's Miss Smithers, BC pageant.

Just when Alice thought she'd graduated from the ranks of the marginal into the realm of the practically normal, her journal goes missing. And now everyone in Smithers knows exactly what Alice is thinking - about them - and they're not impressed.

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The Fur
Nathan Hobby

Michael Sullivan comes of age on the eve of the new millennium in a small country town in the fur ravaged western third of Australia. "Furred world, third of Australia" he muses - it is the only life he knows. The fur infestation began before he was born : it was always there.

Like jungle reclaiming an abandoned city, black plumes of fur burst open cracks in the concrete and soar menacingly over derelict buildings. The state is strickly quarantined from the rest of the country and Michael's burning desire to escape is matched only by his zeal and play his part in making a better world.

Which is it to be - escape or revolution?

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Salt Rain
Sarah Armstrong

Allie's free spirited mother, Mae mysteriously disappears on Sydney Harbour on night, her dinghy found drifting in the darkness. Fourteen year old Allie is whisked away to the north, to a rainforested valley, by Julia, an aunt she barely knows. On the dilapidated dairy farm where Mae and Julia grew up, Allie waits for her mother to call.

As these anxious days pass, Allie learns about Mae's childhood and about Mae herself through the eyes of others. Allie watches her aunt, who is determined to return the valley to its natural order, replanting the trees of the forest that her grandfather cleared for grazing. And she watches her mother's first love, who she discovers still lives in the valley. As the heat of the wet season builds, Allie tries to decipher the truth and lies that her mother has told her, and must come to grips with the many secrets held close in the valley.

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Border Crossing
Pat Barker

 

At the start of this unsettling novel, Tom, a child psychiatrist, is walking on a riverside with his wife in England when a young man hurls himself into the water right in front of them.

Tom leaps into the river and hauls the young man out. Only later in the hospital does he discover that this young man is Danny Miller, a former patient who murdered a woman when he was ten years old.

Now released from prison and living under an assumed name, Danny asks Tom to help him sort out his life - starting with his past.

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Carthage
Ross Leckie

After three hundred years of acrimony and two bitter wars, the great Mediterranean powers of Rome and Carthage clash for the final, fateful time...

Carthage concludes Ross Leckie's internationally acclaimed trilogy that began with Hannibal, and continued with Scipio. It charts the demise and destruction of this great city - in a tragic tale of politics and power, love and hope, pain and loss.

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The Circle and the Cross
Caiseal Mor

Imagine that you sit warming yourself by a fire in a tiny settlement lying deep in snow. Sweet peat smoke scents the chill breeze and an old song-maker raises a keening cry for summer's long absence.

Here amongst folk who call themselves the Feni was a young lad born and there passed his first years on Earth.

Raised as the son of a blacksmith, Mawn, this very lad knows little of the world outside his sleepy village.

But Eirinn, his island home, is in turmoil. Black robed monks have made their way across the tempestuous sea from Rome and have set the people at war with one another.

The High King and his Druid Council know they cannot survive the furious might of the Roman Empire so they must find other ways to save their ancient magical traditions from the evils that threaten to engulf them.

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Deception Point
Dan Brown

It is an election year in United States and President's opponent is Senator Sedgewick Sexton. Sen. Sexton has focussed his campaign on attacking NASA and has made a promise that if elected, he would open Space exploration to private corporations. Senator Sexton has a daughter, Rachel, who does not have a good relation with her father and also works as a gister for National Reconnaissance Office.

A NASA Satellite finds a meteor burried deep in the Arctic ice. The meteor contains fossilized samples of some bugs which are the first samples of extra-terrestrial life forms discovered on earth. This discovery has deep implications for NASA as well as the President, who has always backed NASA even though they were wasting taxpayers money in many unsuccessful missions.

To verify the authenticity of this discovery, the President sends a team of civilians to the Arctic. One of them in Rachel Sexton, the daughter of the President's opponent. Soon the civilian teams finds that the meteorite is one giant hoax. They also find that they are being targeted by Special Ops forces who want to just kill them.

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Dracula
Bram Stoker

The Dracula mythology has inspired a vast subculture, but the story has never been better told than by Stoker.

His myth is powerful because it allows evil to remain mysterious. The high virtue of Lucy can simply be drained away, as her blood is drained away, until she too joins the vampire brood.

Van Helsing's high thinking and scientific skill cannot resist the dreadful potency of the undead. Only the old magic - a crucifix, garlic, a wooden stake - can provide effective weapons against the Count's appalling power.

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Eleven Hours
Paullina Simons

Didi Wood is nine months pregnant, doing some last minute shopping before the baby is born. Stepping out of the air-conditioned Dallas shopping mall into the cruel heat of the parking lot, she hears a voice behind her... and the nightmare has begun.

Abducted by an increasingly unstable young man, Didi must endure an epic drive across the Texas plains, heading through the relentless heat towards a destination that only he knows.

Meanwhile her anguished husband Rich is on the trail with an FBI agent who may or may not be as good as he says he is at rescuing hostages.

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The Face
Dean Koontz

Like most Hollywood superstars, Channing The Face Manheim finds celebrity a duel sword. Inside his Bel Air fortress, Channing receives plenty of gifts from his adoring fans. However, lately one particular idolater has begun sending macabre gifts like an apple cut in half but sutured back into one piece. Channing's chief of security, former LAPD cop Ethan Thomas, is concerned as the presents from this bizarre fan turn eerier, nastier and more threatening with each arrival.

Ethan is on full alert since the arrivals of the venomous bounty and protecting his employer's preadolescent son since his arrival. Following a clue, Ethan confronts a suspect, Rolf Reynard who shoots and kills him. The next thing Ethan knows is that he is alive inside his car with no wounds, but blood under his nails. Spooked, Truman knows something outside his acceptable range of perceptions is stalking the Manheim duo, but he willingly will risk his life in an attempt to stop this malevolence regardless of its origin and powers.

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Hannibal
Ross Leckie

In a narrative of breathtaking range and power, Ross Leckie presents not only a vivid re-creation of the great struggle of the Punic wars, but succeeds in bringing the almost mythical figure of Hannibal to life.

A tragic chronicle of love and hate, heroism and cruelty, Hannibal is an epic recasting of the life of one of humanity's greatest adventurers, who learns through suffering than man is but a shadow of a dream.

Hannibal is the first book in an acclaimed trilogy.

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The Impressionist
Hari Kunzru

Fathered, through circuitous circumstances, by an Englishman, Pran Nath Razdan, the boy who will become the Impressionist, was passed off by his Indian mother as the child of her husband, a wealthy man of high caste.

Growing up spoiled in a life of luxury just down river from the Taj Mahal, at fifteen the news of Pran's true parentage is revealed to his father and he is tossed out into the street--a pariah and an outcast.

Thus begins an extraordinary, near-mythical journey of a young man who must reinvent himself to survive--not once, but many times.

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No Second Chance
Harlan Coben

No Second Chance is the warning on the ransom note Dr Marc Seidman was left following the shooting at his home, that left him injured, his wife dead and his daughter kidnapped. So after the ransom 'exchange' is messed up, and the killer/kidnapper gets away, these words echo in Dr Seidmans mind. However his whole life now revolves around finding his baby daughter.

No second chance is a real edge of your seat thriller, with twists & turns. The characters are brilliant, you can almost feel their distinct, vulnerable and dangerous personalities fill the room you are reading in.

Coben has a gift of making his writing 'visual' you really can see events unfold around you. He makes the people and situations very real. No Second Chance benefits from that gift.

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Paula
Isabel Allende

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Author Isabel Allende writes: "For nearly fifty years I have been a toreador taunting violence and pain with a red cape, secure in the protection of the good luck birthmark on my back even though in my heart I suspected that one day I would feel the claw of misfortune racking my shoulder.

" The blow falls on her daughter Paula who at age 28 lapsed into an irreversible coma following the onset of a rare blood disease. Allende tries to cope with her grief by telling the story of her tumultuous life in Chile and in different countries all over the world.

In the process of retracing the past a childhood ringed with fear, the colorful grandparents who influenced her, work as a journalist, travels abroad, the violent demise of her politician uncle, divorce and re-marriage, a long-lasting relationship with her mother the author realizes that Paula's last gift to her was "the silence in which to examine my path through the world." This mesmerizing memoir is filled with startling and satisfying insights into family, grief, the search for identity, and the spiritual dimensions of stocktaking at midlife.

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Oryx and Crake
Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake begins with a man, who calls himself Snowman, sleeping in a tree, apparently the only human survivor of some worldwide cataclysm.

Nearby is a village of humanoid creatures who look to Snowman for guidance and answers. Snowman refers to these beings as children of Crake or Crakers. He tells them that Crake created them, and Oryx created the rest of the plants and animals. The Crakers are different colors, their thick skin is impervious to the damaging sunlight, they are polite, gentle, naive, and unable to be violent or jealous.

They also have a strange mating ritual. Snowman functions like a messenger to their God and creates myths for them to explain where they came from and what happened to their creator.

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Red Leaves
Paullina Simons

This is the story of a group of four friends at Dartmouth College who are the elite students: attractive, smart, and ambitious.

They are a society amongst themselves and are envied by everyone else on campus.

When Kristina, the 'leader' of the group is found murdered, secrets are layed open that no one could have ever guessed about them.

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Scipio
Ross Leckie

In a sequel to Hannibal, Ross Leckie tells the epic story of Scipio Africanus, aristocrat, general, politican and aesthete.

With a succession of remarkable military victories - including his defeat of Hannibal at Zama and inspired, if occassionally flawed, political leadership, Scipio helped lay the foundations of the Roman Empire; only to be brought down at the height of his power by the jealousies and intrigues of his rivals.

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The Stories of Tobias Wolff
Tobias Wolff

This is the only series to provide in-depth critical introductions to major modern and contemporary short story writers worldwide.

Each volume offers: --A comprehensive overview of the artist's short fiction -- including detailed analyses of every significant story -- Interviews, essays, memoirs and other biographical materials.

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Tiff and the Trout
David Metzenthen

In front of me is the shining river, the gum trees the mountains, and the high blue sky. I love this place, even if it is really quiet.

And I love Cass, too, because she can always make me laugh...

Tiff Porter lives in the tiny mountain town of Tilgong. She loves trout fishing, her best, Cass, and their two-room school. But as winter approaches and the seasons change, so life will change for Tiff... .

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Two-waycut
Garry Fisher

Leah Flood is on the run. The cops are after her and she has to keep one step ahead. The irony is that Leah is a cop too. But she's a cop who made a mistake. Leah knows she's in the right, but that doesn't seem to matter to the guys who are chasing her.

Then somewhere along a lonely road in the middle of nowhere, Leah meets Tess, who is also on the run. Soon the two young women are being tracked by a ruthless killer.

But who is the intended target?

And Why?

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While I Live
John Marsden

We were halfway up the spur when we heard it. Homer and Gavin and I, just the three of us... I'd say there were fifteen shots in the first volley, evenly spaced, lasting about twenty-five seconds..

All the way down the spur I'd heard the scattered shots, getting closer as I got closer, and all the way down I tried to think of reasonable explanations for them, and I couldn't think of a single thing that made sense.

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Dancing on Knives
Jenny Pausacker

After her father fell for the slut, her mother whisked Rochelle off to another city, where neither of them knew anyone.

Isolated and miserable, Rochelle finds her way to a faiytale bookshop and, for a while, she's convinced that the old stories and some new friends can help her make sense of all the changes.

But then her new life starts to fall apart as well...

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Small Avalanches
Joyce Carol Oates

When the sky blue ball comes soaring over the fence, a high-school girl is confronted with the haunting memory of her childhood.

A jealous teen lets her cousin go off alone with a dangerous Capricorn, aware of the terrifying possibilites.

A vulnerable young girl cunningly outwits a menacing stranger and exults in her newfound power, surviving the first of many small avalanches.

Intense and unnerving, uplifting and triumphant, the twelve stories in this riveting collection explore the fateful consequences of the choices we make in our everyday lives.

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Lifeboat
Brian Ridden

What does happen costs lives, and wracks Seaman Will Drake with guilt. This is a story of survival and courage. Unable to put the shipping disaster behind him while he's near the sea, Will sets off on an epic inland journey on foot to a pioneering sheep station and the goldfields. He works hard, forms a bond with a lonely Chinaman seeking gold and falls in love with a servant girl. But he is breaking social rules and must pay the cost.

Will succeeds in getting personal vengeance for the shipping tragedy, but justice does not bring happiness. He returns to the sea, and there, serving others, his courage is tested to the limit. He finds satisfaction and surprises himself by becoming a hero.