My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier; SohoTeen, 320 pages, $18.99. Ages 12 and up.
A 17-year-old boy makes it his mission in life to curb the murderous impulses of his psychopathic 10-year-old sister, Rosa, as their oblivious parents seem to notice nothing amiss, in this thrilling, terrifying new novel from the author of “Liar” and “Razorhurst.” Che Taylor misses his old life and friends in Sydney, Australia, as his parental units – or Sally and David as their children call them – relocate for business reasons to New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand.
Extremely wealthy longtime friends pay for the family’s move to New York City, and Che is instantly wary of his sister’s friendship with their daughter, Seimone, and also of the city’s potential for Rosa to wreak havoc.
Then Che falls in love with a girl he meets while doing boxing training at a local gym, but he can’t bring himself to confide in Sojourner his concerns about his sister’s antisocial personality disorder, even when Rosa starts insinuating herself into Sojourner’s life. Larbalestier is a master craftsman, and the suspense builds as Che tries to build a new life and new friendships in a new city while serving as the only adult in the family who seems to comprehend what his sister is capable of. The author includes a plot twist you won’t see coming.
Manipulative, murderous Rosa is one of the most terrifying villains to come along in fiction in quite awhile.
– Jean Westmoore
Hand in Hand by Rosemary Wells; Henry Holt, $17.99.
“Be my teacher from day one. Be my sky, my moon, my sun.” The incomparable and versatile Rosemary Wells offers a heartfelt picture book on the bond of love between parent and child, with her trademark adorable, often exquisite illustrations. This would be a perfect gift for new parents.
– Jean Westmoore