Here are some new spring titles for young adults.
"The Sound of Letting Go" (Viking, $17.99), by Stasia Ward Kehoe, takes on the topic of autism in a unique novel written in verse. Daisy Meehan, 17, takes care of her autistic brother Steven. She also plays the trumpet and hopes to one day become a successful musician.
Daisy's parents decide to send Steven to Holland House, a group home for special needs children. Daisy begins skipping music lessons and failing her classes. She begins dating Dave Miller, the town bad boy. Can she understand why Steven needs to go to Holland House and why she must rebuild her own life?
"Nearly Gone" (Kathy Dawson Books, $17.99) is by Elle Cosimano, daughter of a prison warden. She learned about violent offenders and the shades of grey in human behavior by personal observation of the prisoners who came to dinner at her home. She also went to the Writers' Police Academy where she learned to fire a gun, find blood evidence, react in a hostage situation and use handcuffs. Her book has a grit to it that can only be achieved by such first-hand observations and experiences.
Nearly Boswell is obsessed with the personal ads. She is also a math and science genius struggling to get away from a bad neighborhood. She hides the fact that her mother is an exotic dancer. Then a killer starts killing her classmates, and only she understands the ads in which he offers his clues. She tells her secrets to a new classmate, only to learn he is an undercover agent doing surveillance on her. She is the suspected killer. Can she prove otherwise?
"The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing" (Kathy Dawson Books, $16.99), by Sheila Turnage, is the second in Turnage's Southern mystery series. The Desperado Detective Agency, Mo LoBeau and partner Dale, have solved a murder and now turn to investigating the spirits of Tupelo Landing.
Miss Lana accidentally bought an old inn at the Tupelo Auction. She didn't know the mansion came with a ghost. But something else is awry, and it's up to the detectives to find out what.
"Half Bad" (Viking), by Sally Green, has already topped sales in 42 countries and been optioned by Fox for a film. It is the first of a trilogy answering the age-old question of whether to choose good or evil.
Nathan, 16, is imprisoned in a cage in England and his tormenters have trained him to kill. He is the illegitimate son of Marcus, the world's most violent witch. He must escape and find Marcus in order to receive the three gifts which will grant him his own magical powers.
"Grasshopper Jungle" (Dutton, $18.99), by Andrew Smith, is a tale of the end of humanity. Austin Szerba, 16, and his best friend Robby, unleash an army of six-foot-tall praying mantises in their small Iowa factory town. Nothing can stop the insects.
Against this bizarre scenario, Smith plays out the love story of the two boys searching for their sexual identities. It's a combination unlikely to be repeated in young adult fiction.
"Summer Love" (Penguin), by Jill Santopolo, is a beach book with a twist. The reader chooses the endings of the chapters, ultimately deciding which partner to choose -- or not. This is a book which has endless scenarios and possibilities, suited to the reader's mood of the moment. A perfect exercise for the lazy days of summer.