Tag Archives: young adult

January 21 New Releases

22 Jan

13626692Title: Evertrue
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Fantastic…ish? Mythology remix?
Blurb: Inspired by the Persephone myth, this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy—whose captivating first book earned a VOYA Perfect Ten of 2011 and a Whitney Award—explores the resilience of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love. (This is totally not the real blurb, but since I haven’t read the second book yet I didn’t want to look at it too closely.)
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else to read. I enjoyed the first one but never got around to reading the second one, so if that ever happens, sure.

Advertisements

September 10 New Releases

11 Sep

17262303Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick
Genre: Science Fiction-ish?
Blurb: A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .
Excitement Factor: OMG!!!!!!! AAAAAAH!!!! AAAAAAHHHH!!!! NEW PATRICK NESS!!!!! NEW PATRICK NESS!!!!!!!

17262236Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Miramax
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?
Excitement Factor: OMG. I mean, have you READ Code Name Verity??

16068905Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Blurb: In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Excitement Factor: Yes, please! I’ve been really wanting to read Eleanor & Park, and this has been getting stellar reviews.

June 4 and 11 New Releases

14 Jun

I’m a lazy cad, so here are the new releases that interest me from the past two weeks. Note: THERE ARE ONLY TWO OF THEM.

far-far-awayTitle: Far Far Away
Author: Tom McNeal
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy/horror
Blurb: It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn’t even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he’s able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it’s been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn’t been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . .
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

14061955Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Fantasy
Blurb: Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Excitement Factor: Even though I had tons of problems with the first book, I still found it compulsively readable so sure, why not.

In Darkness by Nick Lake

9 Apr

11451112I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help.

Nick Lake‘s In Darkness is the 2013 Printz Award winning story of a nameless teen trapped in the rubble underneath a collapsed hospital after the Haiti earthquake. His only companion in the darkness is a decomposing hand, his own memories, and a psychic connection to Touissant l’Ouverture, a Haitian revolutionary who lived 200 years earlier.

So, this book is…wait for it…dark. And when I say it’s dark, I mean dark in every sense of the word. Half of the narrative’s setting is defined by absolute darkness. The sense of claustrophobia as we experience the narrator’s blindness, his thirst that drives him to drink whatever blood has collected on the floor, to reach out and touch a disembodied hand just to see if his only companion in his coffin is alive, is overwhelmingly visceral.

The subject matter is dark. It is a story of horrible lives, of murder and murderers, of watching your father get hacked apart by machete toting gangsters, of fighting for your country’s freedom only to die in a dungeon on the other side of the world. This is the kind of story that, for the bulk of its telling, makes you want to kill yourself from the overwhelming sense that there is nothing good in the world, at all.

The writing is staggering in its bleak beauty. Some of my favorite quotes include:

“I tried to call out, but bullets are faster than words, and I was just standing there in the middle of all that metal death” (263).

“We have a mouth – we can feel it in our face, an opening into us that can let the spirit out – but when we use it, when we speak, there is no one to listen. The voices that come to us, drifting through the darkness beyond our prison, they might as well be the voices of the dead. (…) We are a slave to this space, to the inevitable decay of trapped things. We can feed ourselves, but there is no food; we can work with our hands and with our minds, but there is nothing on which to work; we have eyes, but there is nothing to see. There is no future and no past. We are in the darkness. We are one” (326-7).

One of my favorite things about this book was the spirit of Om that came through more and more strongly as the narrative progressed; the sense of emptiness and unity, while horribly depressing in context, was also one of the only reoccurring moments in which I, as a reader, felt liberated from the oppressing sense of insurmountable awfulness.

At times I struggled to get through Touissant’s half of the narrative; it just didn’t have the pop that our nameless narrator’s story had. However, I appreciated the parallels of experience that spanned the hundreds of years between their physical lives, and so I was able to deal.

All in all, this is a pretty amazing book that still continues to haunt me even though I finished it about two weeks ago. However, there are parts that can be difficult to get through without wanting to say “fuck this world, I want to die,” so just be forewarned if you do decide to pick it up.

And, just because Biggie Smalls is mentioned every other page, it’s only fitting that he gets the spotlight for this edition’s music match.

February 19 New Releases

21 Feb

15721642Title: The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand
Author: Gregory Galloway
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Speculative sci-fi-ish?
Blurb: Adam Strand isn’t depressed. He’s just bored. Disaffected. So he kills himself—39 times. No matter the method, Adam can’t seem to stay dead; he awakes after each suicide alive and physically unharmed, more determined to succeed and undeterred by others’ concerns. But when his self-contained, self-absorbed path is diverted, Adam is struck by the reality that life is an ever-expanding web of impact and forged connections, and that nothing—not even death—can sever those bonds.
Excitement factor: Yes, please!

12578294Title: Mind Games
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.
Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.
Excitement factor: Sure, why not.

February 12 New Releases

13 Feb

11178225Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel
Genre: Mystery
Blurb:  It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
Excitement factor: OMG (I have an ARC and holy hell I am excited to read this).

15798757Title: Maggot Moon
Author: Sally Gardner
Publisher: Candlewick
Genre: Science fiction (I think?)
Blurb: What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big…One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.
Excitement factor: Yes, please!

A bunch of other stuff came out today, too, but I don’t really care about it. SO THERE.

February 5 New Releases

6 Feb

10874177Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Genre: Steampunk
Blurb: Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
Excitement factor: Yes, please!

13206760Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: science fiction/fairy tale
Blurb: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Excitement factor: Sure. I’ve been meaning to read Cinder for ages but let’s be real, I probably won’t.

 

January 29 New Releases

30 Jan

12291438Title: The Madman’s Daughter
Author: Megan Sheperd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: gothic/science fiction
Page Count: 432 pages
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true. Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood. Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.
Excitement factor: Yes, please!

13414446Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 384 pages
Blurb: June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector. It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong? In this highly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Legend, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.
Excitement Factor: I don’t actually give a shit about this one (the audiobook for Legend was so terrible I had to abandon ship and can’t even think about it without cringing), but a lot of other people do so there you have it.

So, that’s that. I know I haven’t done a review in ages and I promise it isn’t because I haven’t been reading. I was doing some re-reading over the holidays and am currently reading Days of Blood and Starlight so hold on to your butts! There will be a review of that juicy bit of fantasy violence shortly.

New this week! And some other thoughts on life.

16 Sep

So, it’s come to my attention that I don’t post enough. When I first started this blog, I thought I would just post a review whenever I happened to read a YA book, which ends up being roughly every month or so, which just isn’t enough. How to remedy this? I probably won’t read more than one YA book a month since I am an adult and do like to occasionally read books meant for grown-ups; for example, right now I am ALMOST DONE with Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and holy cow it’s amazing but it’s taken me a couple weeks to plow through 540 pages of tiny typeset for adults. I also decided that, while I’m sure EVERYONE is DYING to hear my long-winded, snotty ex-English major reviews, people might want a little more. Some spice, some fluff, some little slurps of juice to hold you over until I wax snarky on whatever teen book is just waiting for me to devour it.

My point being, I decided I’m going to start doing a weekly post on new books for the coming week and, because I am a librarian, readers advisory booklists. So, if there are any themes or read alikes you want to know about, send me an email (contact info in my “about” section) or post a comment, I’d love to hear from my readers!

NEW FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 18

Title: Because it is My Blood
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: crime drama, dystopia, romance
Blurb: Since her release from Liberty Children’s Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve–and her heart–will be tested as never before.
Excitement Factor: Perhaps, if I ever get around to reading the first book, All These Things I’ve Done.

Title: Burn for Burn
Author: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: contemporary, chick lit, drama
Blurb: Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge. None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible. With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.
Excitement Factor: Nope.

Title: Glass Heart
Author: Amy Garvey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Blurb:  Wren can do things that other people can only dream of. Make it snow on a clear, crisp day. Fly through an abandoned tunnel. Bring a paper bird to life. Wren knows her abilities are tinged with danger—knows how easy it is to lose control—but she can’t resist the intoxicating rush. And now that she has Gabriel by her side, someone who knows what she can do—what she has done—she finally feels free to be herself. But as Wren explores the possibilities of her simmering powers, Gabriel starts pushing her away. Telling her to be careful. Telling her to stop. The more he cautions her, the more determined Wren becomes to prove that she can handle things on her own. And by the time she realizes that Gabriel may be right, it could be too late to bring him back to her side
Excitement Factor: Perhaps, if I ever get around to reading the first book, Cold Kiss.

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Horror, Suspense, Mystery
Blurb:  It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school’s most eligible bachelor, T. J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury. But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for three days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Excitement Factor: Maybe.

Title: The Crown of Embers
AuthorRae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Fantasy
Blurb: Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled. To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten–and forbidden–clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who–despite everything–she is falling in love with. If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.
Excitement Factor: Perhaps, if I ever get around to reading the first book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Blurb: Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Excitement factor: OMG.

Title: What’s Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Blurb: Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else–two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t… For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
Excitement Factor: Buzz buzz buzz! This freshman offering has been generating some talk. And, psst, I’m reading my very own ARC right now!