Posts Tagged ‘Young adult fiction’

Allegedly

By Tiffany D. Jackson

ISBN 9780062668653

Katherine Tegen Books

An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

 

I have just ordered this book and can’t wait. The blurb for this new YA novel is intriguing. A psychological thriller, a gritty read and somewhere in the middle is the truth. As soon as it arrives I will be reading and reviewing this debut novel from Tiffany D Jackson. 

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

Doesn’t this sound so cool?

 

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Saving Red

By Sonya Sones

ISBN 9780062370280

Epic Reads

 

bk_savingred

 

I love how verse novels have the ability to pack a punch using few words. Saving Red, Sonya Sones latest verse novel packs many punches. The old saying that less is more is never more true than in Sone’s novels.

Molly is almost 15 years old and filled with guilt as she begins suffocating in a family on a down-hill slide to nowhere. Molly’s guilt eats away at her and it is this guilt that compels her to help Red, a teenage runaway with problems of her own. The unlikely pair form a strong friendship.

Red is quirky yet delightful, brave yet fearful, alone, yet not alone, as she has the Duke and Lana for company. Molly soon realises the truth about Duke and Lana and so begins a gutsy, determined effort to help Red and return her home to her family for Christmas. And of course there is a boy in there too, for good measure. I must confess, if I was quite a bit younger, I too would be very keen on the cute Cristo.

The characters are real, their dilemmas are real, creating an honest and thought-provoking novel which I couldn’t put down. So caught up in their world, I just wanted to hug them both and make sure they were okay. 

 

Carve the mark 

By Veronica Roth

ISBN: 9780008157821

HarperCollins 

This is one I am looking forward to when it is published next month. A well-produced and atmospheric book trailer has me already intrigued.

Surely just reading the publisher’s blurb below and knowing how successful the author’s Divergent, Insurgent and Allegent books have been, then it is safe to bet this will be fantastic too.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favoured by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not – their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power – something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive – no matter what the cost.When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive – or to destroy one another.

Lies I live by

By Lauren Sabel

Lauren Sabel’s latest book is out now. It offers a little of everything, spies, danger, romance of the complicated kind and secrecy at all costs.

As the government’s youngest psychic spy, Callie finds valuable information for top-secret missions without ever leaving the office. Her work is fascinating and keeps her headaches at bay, but it means she must lie to everyone she loves. She can’t move to New York with her boyfriend Charlie no matter how much he begs; he’ll never know the real Callie and that wouldn’t be fair to him. Besides, she has a job to do…

…and a new partner to do it with. Jasper’s psychic abilities are impressive, as is the way he keeps up with her witty remarks. Callie can’t help but flirt; Jasper knows her in a way Charlie never will.

But as her love life gets more complicated, so do her visions. People halfway around the world seem to be in danger…and people in her own backyard, too. When an oddball billionaire takes interest in Callie’s talents, it’s clear that if she can’t find a way to alter future events, she could lose the people she loves—and her mind. Literally.

 

The dark crowns

By Kendare Blake

ISBN 9781509804559

 

 

I absolutley loved Anna dressed in blood so I am certainly looking forward to this new book by Kendare Blake. Her writing grips you and drags you in to her worlds. Take a look at her website too with a very cool front page illustration. Suitably creepy and intriguing.

“Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends

Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.”

Spark Trilogy

By Rachael Craw

Published by Walker Books Australia

Rachael Craw

I was thrilled to meet author Rachael Craw today who was in Christchurch particpating in the Word Festival.

Rachael popped in to The Original Children’s Bookshop and happily signed books and chatted. Rachael also kindly gave some bookmarks and posters for both the shop and the high school I work in at nights. I love the wee story samples of  Shield (book 3) which Rachael also gave us. Shield will be out on September First.

Stray (book 2) was the winner in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults  Children’s Choice category for YA this year. This is fantastic! If you want more information about Rachael or her books then do then check out her website by clicking on her name above.

Thank you so much Rachael for stopping by. I will treasure my own signed copy of Spark.

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Rachael holding her book Spark.

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Spark

Death by design.

Evie doesn’t have a choice. One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death. And then there’s Jamie. Irresistible. Off-limits.

Stray

It’s hard to remember hating anything as much as I hate Affinity; a bone-deep loathing for the faceless unknown and the concrete walls of my own DNA. Evie is a Shield: designed to kill in order to protect, and the Affinity Project have finally come for her. But Evie isn’t ready for the sinister organisation to take control of her life, her body, her mind. She isn’t ready to follow their rules about who may live and who must die – not when it condemns the innocent. She has one option: risk losing everything and everyone – including Jamie – and run.

Shield

Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project – obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing. When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her.

How to hang a witch

By Adriana Mather

ISBN 9780553539479

 

It has been sometime since I posted a YA trailer. Not sure if they are not being made as often but seeing this one, I am glad there are some people out there who still believe in the power of a good trailer. After watching this one I am very keen to get hold of a copy of the book when it comes out next month. Will be down to the bookshops for sure.

Sam  Mather is a descendent of Cotton Mather who was one of the men responsible for the famous witch trials of Salem. When Sam ends up moving to Salem and attending the high school, she is confronted by descendents on the other side who see her as trouble. Being an outsider is never easy and the folks here are not keen to help her. There is also a ghost and a centuries old curse to deal with. Sounds intriguing and one to look out for. Ghosts, witches and curses is striaght up my alley!

 

 

 

One

By Sarah Crossan

ISBN 9781408872345

Bloomsbury Children’s

 

One

 

“Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change. 

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…”

I have always been a fan of verse novels. The power of a novel written in verse is magical. Words are sparse and carefully thought out and hit the reader with impact. This is no exception. One by Sarah Crossan creates a realism around Grace and Pippi. I was intrigued with the girl’s ability to deal with the issues of living everyday as conjoined twins.

“It really isn’t so bad.

It’s how it’s always been.

It’s all we know.

And actually,

     we’re usually

     quite happy

     together.”  (pg 12- 13)

 

Never having the ability to do things without each other must be the toughest things to deal with – or so I thought.

Having always had the protection of being home-schooled the girls have been sheltered but now with things changing they have to face the public eye, attend public school and learn to deal with what people think of them and their situation. Their transition to public life is unique but well written. We are given enough information to understand the girls plight but not enough to be intrusive or insensitive. The girl’s mother is trying to hold it all together while the father struggles with drink.  Part of their world is crumbling but the other part is beginning to taste the joys and trappings of teenage life. Younger sister Dragon has her own issues to deal with as well. Don’t let the fact that it is a verse novel put you off. It is a smooth, easy read with a powerful impact that will want you looking out for other verse novels and just as importantly, looking for other works by Sarah Crossan.

This book hits home with a punch. A good one for teens to sink their teeth into.

Compulsion

By Martina Boone

(Heirs of Watson Island Book 1)

ISBN 9781481411226)

“Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.”
Book two is coming out soon!

 

Benjamin McTish and door through the Grandfather Tree

Book 1 in the  Benjamin McTish series

By June M Pace

ISBN 9780989646406

This series has been out for a while but worth a share.

“When Benjamin finds a peculiar relic of a key in his grandmother’s garden shed, he could never know his world was about to change forever.”

He and his new-found friends, Annabel and Mathilda, two sisters who have come from America,  become an unlikely threesome ready to solve mysteries in a fantasy world where the Path of Prophecy leads them to many adventures and dangers. Benjamin has a sixth sense but will it be enough to protect the threesome from dark sorcery? Sit back and enjoy the trailer.

 

An ember in the ashes

by Sabaa Tahir

ISBN 978-1595148032

                                                            20560137

Laia is a slave fighting for her family and all she holds dear set in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Rome. Living with her grandparents and older brother, they are poor. They do what is expected of them by the Empire. To challenge the Empire means death. Elias is a soldier who desperately wants his freedom.

“But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”

Do check out the book’s website where there is maps of the Laia’s world, character info and heaps more.

I love the cover of this YA book and the trailers too are very tempting. This is definitely one I will be looking out for.

Mosquitoland

By David Arnold

ISBN 9780451470775

mos

“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.”

This debut novel is having rave reviews, such as  heartfelt and hilarious, and sharp, sad, and surreal.

 

Blood of my blood
By Barry Lyga
Book three in the Jasper Dent trilogy
ISBN 9780316198707

Wow – Just wow. What a trilogy and what a ride. Having loved the series there was no way I was not going to read the final book. I sat glued to the pages and the lives of Jazz, his girlfriend Connie and best friend Howie. I needed to make sure they were safe and out of Billy Dent’s way. If you have read the first two books then this is a must read. Everything comes out in the end but what a body count to get there. The creeping sensation that Jazz may end up like his father, a serial killer like no other – well I can’t tell you what happens. It really is up there in terms of quality writing and intense suspense. Blood and guts aside, the what-if’s, and who did-it’s is tops.

“Jazz has been shot and left to die in New York. His girlfriend, Connie, is in the clutches of Jazz’s monstrous father, Billy–the world’s most notorious serial killer. And his best friend, Howie, is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz’s new home.

Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy.

But then Jazz crosses a line he’s never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: “Like father, like son? Who is the true monster?”

From New York City to the small town of Lobo’s Nod, the chase is on, and this time, Jazz is the hunted, not the hunter–while Billy Dent lurks in the shadows.

And beyond Billy? Something much, much worse. Prepare to meet…the Crow King.”
I have to wonder about how an author can come up with such a gripping story and be so realistic – brilliant series!

Here is a reminder of the first two books.
Book 2
The Game

Book 1
I hunt killers

All the bright places
By Jennifer Niven
ISBN 9780141357034

6

I stick by my predictions that this was going to be brave and honest. And it was!
I sat on my back porch, sun streaming down on a glorious afternoon reading All the bright places.
Finch and Violet meet at the top of the school tower, both of them overwhelmed by a sense of deep, dark despair. From that meeting, while it takes a bit of time and negotiating, their relationship grows and I felt myself smiling as I was watching a young couple fall in love. Both have things they need to deal with and bit by bit things begin to change. Finch forces the situation and they are teamed together to work on a school project. He manages to encourage Violet to step well out of her comfort zone as they travel outside of the safety of their small town as part of the project’s requirements to find the natural wonders of their state. But as Violet’s world opens up, his world becomes more and more difficult to cope with. By the end of the book, I was still sitting on my porch in the sunshine, but tears falling (hoping the neighbours didn’t hear) feeling I just wanted to reach out and hug them both.

Mental health issues, especially for teenagers is often a taboo subject but it shouldn’t be. We need open discussions and we need to not be afraid to talk. Finch and Violet are both broken people, both needing help but not knowing where to turn. There is hope, always hope but sometimes, like Violet, you need to be shown where hope hides and find all the bright places. Very moving, thought provoking YA novel.
Check out the great trailer for this book posted earlier right here.
Much like Mandy Hager’s Dear Vincent in an earlier post I applaud authors of YA fiction for bringing us such poignant novels.

Again, if you need help or know someone who does, please don’t hesitate to ask someone. There are agencies to call, and teachers at school who will listen. Reach out!

The walled city
By Ryan Graugin
ISBN 9780316405058

The trailer for this new YA thriller may be short but I love it. I love the dark shadowy alleyways and the soundtrack is just perfect. It is a pacey and tense trailer worth watching over and over. I have added the book to my “must read” list as the trailer is so enticing I just have to read the book.

“There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.”
“Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.”

If you want to hear the author talking about the inspiration for her book just watch the clip below.

As a reviewer I tend to review books which will be available on the New Zealand market from well-known publishers, or if not, at least books which are available through our public libraries. While ordering online from overseas is always an option, I do try to support our local bookshops. Sadly with bookshops and even libraries closing worldwide, I must encourage readers to think locally first.
So as part of my policies around reviews I tend to avoid self-published books. I do so for a number of reasons as do most reviewers. Children’s and YA publishers worldwide provide the market with some fantastic books which I am always keen to read (and have bought to add to my TBR in the hope that I will one day find time to read them all) but for this post I will highlight some well-produced trailers to whet your appetite from some self-published authors.

Arden
By Grace Prince

Young adult romance story found here
“In the face of death Arden enters into a world of knowing’ where sixth sense are honed and hidden. Check out the trailer.

Cry of the sea
By D. G. Driver

Cry of the Sea is a Young Adult contemporary fantasy novel about a girl who discovers mermaids washed ashore during an oil spill. Can she save them from being exploited or killed?
More can be found here.

The lost remnant
By J. N. Race

YA fantasy
For Azsha Daggerwall the outside world has always been shrouded in secrecy. Confined to the space of a gypsy show-wagon since infancy, she has long rebelled against the wishes of an overbearing stage mother bent on her grand ascent. Little does she know, the lady harbors a dark and powerful secret that, once exposed, will have a devastating impact, not only on Azsha’s life but on the whole of existence.