G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: In a Jar by Deborah Marcero

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying

Clan Dacre has ruled over the clans of Tamarel for generations, their authority based on a simple promise: "We will keep the monsters away." In every new generation, the eldest child in Clan Dacre takes the ivory throne, and the second-born takes the "gleaming ebony-wood" sword of the royal monster hunter. Twelve-year-old Princess Rowan wants nothing more than someday to take over her aunt's role as royal monster hunter. Unfortunately, she's two minutes older than her twin brother, Rhydd, placing her in line for the throne instead. When disaster strikes, Rowan has the chance to prove herself and take her aunt's position. All too aware of the dangers of monsters, she sets off on her first quest accompanied only by a feisty baby jackalope and her aunt's fearsome warg, a giant wolf who watches her "like a nursemaid who hates children." Hunting is what Rowan knows best, but can she prove she is best suited for the sword?

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong (author of the adult thriller Wherever She Goes; the Age of Legends series) is an intrepid adventure filled with cunning pegasi, unicorns ("Jerks. All of them.") and a deadly gryphon. Rowan's scientific curiosity about the monsters is a wonderful counterbalance to her own impulsive nature, and the monsters themselves are enchanting and terrifying forces of nature. Complemented by Xavière Daumarie's illustrated field guide to monsters at the back of the book, A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying is a fresh take on familiar fantasy creatures and situations. --Kyla Paterno, freelance reviewer