Have you noticed that a lot of the YA novels being published these days are retellings of well-known classic fairy tales? Books like “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas and “The Shadow Queen” by C. J. Redwine are great examples of books that have made it big because of our fondness for fairy tales.
An interesting new subgenre that has recently emerged from this fairy tale trend is Arabian folktale retellings. These stories are set in scorching deserts and are full of brilliant, ancient magic. They’re a breath of fresh air, providing us with a nice reprieve from all of the dystopian fiction that still saturates teen literature.
Intrigued by this small but mighty subgenre? Then check out the books below. Continue reading “YA Book Trends: Sandy Stories”
What It’s About: “If I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo is about a transgender teen named Amanda who has just moved from Atlanta to Tennessee to live with her Dad after being brutally beaten for entering a female dressing room at the mall. As Amanda acclimates to her new life, she starts making friends while capturing the romantic attention of her classmate, Grant. It isn’t long before the two become inseparable. But, how does Amanda tell Grant about her past? Her struggle escalates when a would-be friend outs Amanda in front of the entire school.
What I Liked About It: I was interested in understanding the perspective of a transgender teen. The main character in this story is so honest with the reader, though she keeps secrets from everyone else.
Similar Titles: “If I Was Your Girl” is currently the only book by Meredith Russo, but you might check out “Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit,” “Almost Perfect,” “The Art of Being Normal” and “Rethinking Normal.”
What It’s About: “Endangered” by Eliot Schrafer is about a 14-year-old girl who was born and raised for part of her life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Several years before the story begins, she moves to Florida with her father, but her mother remains in the Congo in order to run a sanctuary for bonobos (bonobos are like chimpanzees, but nicer). Sophie returns to the Congo for the summer to visit her mother. On her first day back she comes across a peddler trying to sell an infant bonobo who has obviously been abused. Sophie immediately knows she has to help the poor creature and she buys him from the peddler. Her mother is angry and forces Sophie to care for the small creature until she goes back to Florida. She names him Otto for his eight fingers. Continue reading “Staff Review: “Endangered” by Eliot Schrefer”
Why I Checked It Out: Leigh Bardugo is known for her popular Grisha series: “Shadow and Bone,” “Siege and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising.” “Six of Crows” is the start of her latest series.
What It’s About: “Six of Crows” is an intense narrative following a group of teen criminals. Kaz, the master mind. Inej, the stealthy Wraith. Jasper, the sharpshooter. Nina, the Heartrender. Wylan, the runaway. And Matthias, the Druskelle ex-prisoner. Continue reading “Staff Review: “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo”
Why I Checked It Out: “Walk on Earth a Stranger” is by Rae Carson! That’s why! I mean, I loved her “Fire and Thorn” series, so that was really the only reason I needed to put this on hold and excitedly wait for its release.
What It’s About: I didn’t know the book was a historical fantasy until I got it in my hands and started reading. It’s set during the great California gold rush, and follows Lee Westfall, a young girl with the ability to magically sense gold. Can you already see the complications that might cause? A gold rush and a girl who can sense gold? The book focuses on her struggle to cross the country and keep her secret safe.
What I liked About It: It’s a very unique idea. It’s not a knock-off, or a combination of two different stories already published. It is fresh and different. It also covers a historical time period that YA books have yet to really focus on. Continue reading “Staff Review: “Walk on Earth a Stranger” by Rae Carson”
Why I Checked It Out: “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir showed up as a highly suggested upcoming YA fantasy release on a variety of different blogs I visit. A lot of authors I respect also tweeted about it, and that was enough for me. If an author I loved said it was good, I had to have it. I put a copy on reserve before it even came out.
What It’s About: “An Ember in the Ashes” is told in alternating points of view between Laia, a Scholar, and Elias, a Mask. They live a city that once belonged to the Scholars, but was taken over by the Empire–a force that respects loyalty and brutality above all else. Laia wants to avenge her family and free her brother from the Empire. Elias wants to escape the horrors of being a Mask, an assassin-like fighter that is created to follow the Empire’s orders. As the two attempt to solve their problems, their worlds start to intertwine. Continue reading “Staff Review: “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir”