Dan Kois of Slate reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in NY1's newest living segment, "The Book Reader".
Two brand new young-adult novels feature boys whose differences make them outcasts, but who learn that those very differences might also be their salvation.
Standish Treadwell, the hero of Sally Gardner's scary alternate-history novel "Maggot Moon", has one blue eye and one brown one. That single impurity would be enough to raise suspicion where he lives: England, in the middle of a 20th century in which Germany won World War II.
Add to it the fact that he's dyslexic, that his grandfather is part of the resistance, and that the Motherland's greatest secret is hiding in Standish's basement, and you've got the makings of a gripping, thought-provoking story for kids 14 and older, just published by Candlewick Press.
Meanwhile, Nate Foster, the star of "Better Nate Than Ever", may live in America - Western Pennsylvania, specifically - but he feels like an outcast too. He's tiny, he's effeminate, and he and his best friend love musicals so much that they shout the names of legendary Broadway flops in place of swears. Well, Moose Murders! Nate's gonna get out of that town if it kills him.
When he learns about an open casting call for "E.T.: The Musical", he borrows his mom's credit card and catches a bus to New York City, the one place where, finally, he doesn't stick out.
This first novel by veteran Broadway actor Tim Federle, published by Simon and Schuster, is a wonderful story of a 13-year-old getting lost in the Big Apple, just like he always wanted to.
Look for reviews of many other great books, for adults and kids, on the Slate Book Review, slate.com/books.