Now, when I say these are new fiction books, I'm not saying that the books are new. They're just books that I haven't read before. One of these books is forty years old, in fact.
- Love's Escapade by Rachel Cosgrove Payes is the final volume of the Seven Sisters series of romances, which means the final Lassiter sister is about to find her True Love and get married off. Of course, it's not that easy, particularly since May is the biggest tomboy of the lot. Nevertheless, she jumps at the chance to tour the Continent with her friend Lady Isolde, thinking that she may meet That Special Someone. But things get off to a rocky start as the girls end up flying over the Channel to France in a balloon! (Shades of O. Z. Diggs!) Nefarious characters, servants in love, and various other complications eventually lead to a chase down the Grand Canal in Venice, where May finally figures out just who it is she loves, and it surprises them both! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this series, and how well Payes varied things in what could have been a very repetitious series, but I'm also glad to set aside her romances for a while. The next book of hers in the pile is one of her science fiction novels!
- Drama! The Four Dorothys by Paul Ruditis sees an unusual high school putting on an unusual production of The Wizard of Oz. Due to all kinds of weird circumstances and overprivileged brats, there's only one performance, but four leads! So who is trying to prevent the Dorothys from appearing, finding unpleasant ways to stop them one by one? Bryan Stork, our narrator (and one of the Scarecrows) tries to solve the mystery before someone can stop his friend Sam from also having to drop out. But things don't look good when Sam is the only Dorothy left! This book definitely falls square into the YA category, with enough maturity and depth of thought to really flesh the characters out. I liked these characters and the stuff they had to go through. The setting of a small private school for rich southern Californians, many of the students being the offspring of the Rich and Famous, is fantastic enough to make Oz seem ordinary. Definitely a fun little romp.
- Silver Shoes by Paul Mles Schneider. Yes, this has been one of the most talked about Oz pastiches of the past few years, and I can see why! Although not set in Oz, it has very strong ties to the events of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and is a lot of fun as well. Donald Gardner's mother finds a single silver shoe while antiquing in Kansas, and one day he tries it on. That opens the floodgates to all kinds of shenanigans involving a secret society, a decades-long government investigation, kidnappings, and a man on the run. And of course there's a portal to Oz as well. Lots of fun! Now I need to see if I can track down the sequel.