New Titles from Darby Creek

by Lara Neel, Trade Marketing Manager

Lerner’s Fall 2019 season brings two new four-book series from Darby Creek, our hi-lo imprint. These books are full of action and suspense, with dashes of humor and emotional depth to further engage reluctant readers.

These fun, high-interest books are the latest in an imprint that includes series about teens being transported into their favorite video games (Level Up), competing on reality TV shows (Reality Show), solving spooky mysteries (Mason Falls Mysteries), and more. Check out the new Fall 2019 titles below!

Everyone loves a good ghost story. The League of the Paranormal series adds an athletic twist on tales of ghosts, curses, and haunted places. Each of these books follows ambitious teen athletes as they try to solve paranormal mysteries and hauntings in order to save their teams and ultimately win the big game.

In The Ghost Runner by Norwyn MacTíre, cross country runner Ollie must outrace a ghost or risk losing his soul. Despite this dire situation, MacTíre’s characters are funny and emotionally dynamic, adding a realistic dimension to the story. MacTíre is a master of suspense who slowly reveals the details of the ghost and the conditions Ollie must satisfy to save himself from a terrible fate. Full of creepy twists and turns, this book will have readers looking over their shoulder next time they go for a run in the woods.

The titular haunted playbook in Vanessa Lanang’s The Paranormal Playbook nearly drives the South Hill Spirits basketball team apart. Whenever the team follows the plays in the playbook, they win the game, but one of the players suffers a terrible injury. Every basketball player’s worst nightmare has come to haunt the Spirits team: do they go on to win the championship, no matter the cost? This choice drives a wedge between co-captains MJ and Laila. Their struggles with the book are also a struggle to save their friendship, a challenge that will have readers hanging on the edges of their seats.

For soccer fans and baseball enthusiasts, check out The Rookie Trap and The Team Curse (respectively), which feature haunted teams who must break their curses if they want to be on top of their game.

Next up is AI High. This series offers an approachable allegory for discrimination that some readers might find easier to digest (and less upsetting) than the nuances of real prejudices. In the world of AI High, it is androids who face inequality and marginalization at the hands of flesh-and-blood humans. These books serve best as conversation starters for reluctant readers about the issues of discrimination, racism, segregation, and prejudice.

Loren Bailey’s Star-Crossed is the story of what happens when an android and a human fall for each other: they break serious social norms when everyone else wants them to break up. All teenagers have faced pressures from their friends and families about dating and love—it’s been an issue since the time of Shakespeare! Star-Crossed provides a relatable, sci-fi spin on the classic tale of lovers from two very different families.

When an android joins the football team and suddenly becomes the star of the show, quarterback Danny has to learn how to accept her as part of the team. Team Player shows how even if a situation seems unfair, it’s always better to put aside one’s differences and support your teammates. Who knows—you may even foster come incredible, unexpected friendships, as Danny does.

Family Ties and Detained are the other two books in this series, each featuring protagonists who learn to overcome their own prejudices and fight for what’s right.

More posts by Lara.

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