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: “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 “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 “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 “Review: “Walk on Earth a Stranger” by Rae Carson”
Why I Checked It Out: I’d never heard of this book before, and honestly, the cover isn’t overly compelling. It’s just black and red text that says “The Walled City.” But, then I opened the front cover and read, “730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped. 18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out,” and I was invested. Done. I had to read it.
What It’s About: The premise for this story is based upon a real place: Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. It is considered the densest human settlement on earth with 33,000 people living within the space of one city block. It was rife with prostitution, gambling and drug trafficking, and was eventually demolished in 1994. Obviously, the author has taken a few liberties, but her story isn’t too far from the truth. Continue reading “Review: “The Walled City” by Ryan Graudin”
Why I Checked It Out: I give the marketing team of HarperTeen mad props. They did a fantastic job of designing the cover of “The Vanishing Season” by Jodi Lynn Anderson to ensnare readers like me. Desolate winter tree reflected in a lake? Creepy etchings of moths, snowflakes, and the silhouettes of two girls facing each other (or facing off?)? Tagline about being haunted? I’m in!
What It’s About: Her senior year of high school, Maggie moves from Chicago to a tiny town on Lake Michigan. Though she finds friends in her neighbors, Pauline and Liam, will their bond to each other always leave Maggie on the outside? Along with the drama in Maggie’s life, there just happens to be an epidemic of teenage girls disappearing on this isolated peninsula. Continue reading “Review: “The Vanishing Season” by Jodi Lynn Anderson”
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 “Review: “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir”
Why I Checked It Out: “The 5th Wave” has been constantly flying off the shelves here at the library. I’ve picked it up a few times, but not checked it out, mainly due to my fear of alien invasion stories (I think they are scary, yes, and tend to avoid things that scare me). But when I heard that “The 5th Wave” was a Gateway nominee, I decided it was time I read it.
ALSO, IT’S GOING TO BE A MOVIE! WOOOO! Continue reading “Review: “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey”
Why I Checked It Out: This book is an anthology–it’s a bunch of short stories by a variety of different authors published in one book. I checked it out because I am always looking for new authors, and this specific anthology was geared toward fantasy and speculative fiction, which is what I love to read.
What It’s About: Well, that really depends. Which story are you talking about? One story is about a group of girls who call forth a demonic mom ghost. Another is about a demon whose friend is going insane. There’s even a story about a girl who falls in love with a robotic boyfriend. I loved most of the stories, a few weren’t for me, but either way, I checked out books by some the contributing authors that had stories I loved. Continue reading “Staff Review: Monstrous Affections”