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Princess Dennaleia of Havemont has always known three things:
her marriage to the prince of Mynaria will bind their kingdoms;
she possesses the ability to manipulate fire; and
this gift puts her in serious danger in her future home, where magic is
100-percent, nope, sorry, leave-our-kingdom-or-go-to-prison forbidden.
When an assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Denna joins forces with Mare, the prince’s stubborn sister, to search for the culprit. In their search, they discover something neither expected within the other—friendship, with potential for more.
Coulthurst’s writing has personality & humor. Between the horse puns and banter, it’s hard not to fall in love with the book itself. The characters are strong, and the story is deceptively easy to slip into for hours.
A great LGBT fantasy romance for anyone!
Jacob’s grandfather tells him tales of an island where children with strange abilities lived, safe from harm, forever. Though Jacob questions the odd photographs and strange tales, when his grandfather is killed, Jacob goes searching for the scary and magical truth. By the end of book 1, Jacob must make a life-changing decision: does he belong in the world of the children, forever? -Broche
One of the things I love most about Holly Black as a writer is the way she can take a tired genre and explode it. Think you know everything there is to know about teen vampire novels? Think again.
What's most impressive about this novel is the characterization of 17-year-old Tana Bach, and the realistic and relatable responses she has to a series of almost unimaginable situations. Finally a character that DOES something instead of just getting wrapped up in love triangle. Instead she saves the day and multiple lives, including her own.
It has been 733 days since Jessie's mom died, but this book is not sad. It's been 45 days since Jessie's dad secretly eloped with a woman he met online, but this book is not really about that either. It's about how life moves on regardless with all its good, bad, and ugly surprises, and the strength one teenage girl has to create a new version of life, complete with new friends, a new job, and a new love. - Broche
This compelling fantasy novel is the first in a trilogy, reminiscent of JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis's books. A sweeping world of different lands, races, legends, mysteries, magic, and generations of intrigue all center around a lost prince, his childhood friends, and a young woman who has visions when she bleeds.
The threads of the story are explored across the trilogy, brilliantly woven together in an ending that captures the heartbreak and hope a story like this would really entail. Age: 14+. - Broche
Potential subtitles for this novel include: How to Make the Best of Bad Situations, or Movie Glam Girl Meets Sweet Surfer Boy. If that second title sounds like an internet dating ad, it's not far off. “Mink” (East Coast) meets “Alex” (West Coast) in an online movie forum. Is it a crush? Is it simply classic film chit-chat? Bailey Rydell meets Porter Roth when she moves from DC to CA. Is their frenemy status a way to pass the time at work or something more? Vintage clothes and a sweet Vespa, surfing legends and beach parties make this a delightful summer read. - Broche
The opening lines of this book hooked me immediately:
"My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted.”
That raw honesty is carried through the rest of the book. Betrayed numerous times, hurt by family and friends, afraid to hope for love, and reluctant leader of the boarding school gang, 17-year-old Taylor can’t keep it together. She falls apart. The surprise is who is there to help put her back together when she does.
Read it. With a box of tissues. Age: 14+. - Broche
In Sangui City, Kenya, Tiny Girl lives alone in an abandoned building and steals to survive, part of a gang of thieves led by the ruthless Mr. Omoko and his minions, Bug Eye and Ketchup. After months of planning, Tiny is about to pull off the most important theft of her life--a daring burglary and computer hack that will prove her mother was murdered five years ago by her wealthy, powerful boss, Mr. Greyhill. But the break-in is interrupted by Greyhill's son, Michael, Tiny's former best friend, and soon she is drawn back into her mother's dangerous and painful past in Congo, the country they fled when Tiny was a child.I loved both the characters and the plot of this novel. It's a sobering look at a country torn apart by violence, a story of a teenager learning who she truly is, and most of all, a fast-paced, entertaining thriller that kept me guessing till the very end. I can't wait to see what this new author comes up with next. Ages 12+. - Ashley
A World Without You by Beth Revis introduces us to Bo, a teenage boy at Berkshire Academy for Children with Exceptional Needs, struggling to cope with powers (in his case, time travel) beyond his control. This YA novel begins, making us believe we have just fallen into a sci-fi story. But, we slowly realize that Bo's reality is skewed... or is it? Beth Revis paints a world that leaves even the reader wondering what's real and what isn't. Her unique perspective on mental illness blends the genres of sci-fi and realism, leaving the reader wanting to constantly learn more about the characters and their perspectives on life. - Chelsea
Completely original, heartwrenching, heartwarming, and thought-provoking. Thirteen-year-old Todd, and his dog, Manchee, leave their hometown to travel across the new planet settled by humans only one generation ago. Along the way, their interactions with others lead to questions of morality, humanity, compassion, hope, and love, causing Todd to make some goosegump-producing decisions about life and death throughout the trilogy. Ages 13+. - Broche
After Rebel of the Sands, I eagerly awaited the sequel. Traitor to the Throne exceeded expectations. The imaginative melding of Old West and Middle East still provides a fascinating backdrop for more danger, political factions, and shocking surprises. The not-entirely-human Amani is a blast (literally) as her sharp-shooter skills are called on as much as her wits. Nothing is as you think, except you can always count on Amani. Ages 12+. - Rosemary
The goal of writing an amazing story which deftly combines adventure, political intrigue, family tensions, multi-faceted characters, and a fantasy-based mystery is a daunting task, but one to which A.J. Hartley has risen to the challenge with Steeplejack. I was particularly drawn to the main character, 17 year old Anglet Sutonga. She is a young woman with both the physical prowess and mental acuity to survive in a stark land of competing tribes and cultures and a heart and conscience that drive her to do what is right, no matter the consequences. This book, a multi-cultural gem of fantasy and adventure, is perfect for fans of Marie Lu's Legend trilogy and Paola Bacigalupi's Shipbreaker. Ages 12+. - Cindy
Through the stories of four very different lost young souls, Ruta Sepetys amazingly brings the forgotten saga of the Wilhelm Gustloff to light. How could a disaster of such magnitude be so unknown? Ruta cannot write a wrong word. Salt to the Sea will stay with you for a long time. She's crafted a worthy memorial to the multitude lost at sea. Ages 12+. - Rosemary
In an honest look at teen twin Giselle's recovery from a car accident that takes the life of her twin sister Isabelle, this story explores the close bonds of twins and the desire of each to be unique as well. Danticat has managed to expose the emotions of this injured teen and her family without pulling the reader through paragraphs of sappy sorrow. A great choice for tween and young teen readers. - Cindy
This impactful book is a must read for teens and young adults. Believarexic is the simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming tale of a young girl's struggle with 'bulimarexia,' but more than that, it offers a new, enlightening perspective on all forms of mental illness. Author JJ Johnson offers poignant and honest narration from her extremely vulnerable and equally relatable fifteen-year-old self and, despite her age, she doesn't over-simplify complex emotional and mental health issues. Throughout her story, she examines the impact of family ecosystems on mental heath and beautifully illustrates the amount of self-discipline and support that it takes to heal inside and out. - Nancy
I love books that have characters that feel real in their emotions and actions, and Dumplin’ delivers in this aspect for sure. Willowdean confronts societal expectations, as well as her own self-image, when she throws her plus-size hat in the ring for a local beauty pageant.
Throw in drag queens, Dolly Parton songs, and an adorable love interest, and you’ve got one excellent, hilarious, and important YA novel. - Amber
Is it jumping the gun to call a debut novel 'brilliant'? In Gavriel Savit's Anna and the Swallow Man, we see the horrors of WWII Poland as experienced by a young, precocious girl. As darkness descends, she must depend on the enigmatic, mysterious Swallow Man. He is in some ways a giver of life (or at least survival), but death is not a stranger to him. It is so very different from the sublime The Book Thief. But if you love that WWII novel, you will want to discover Anna. Ages 12+. - Rosemary
Being a teen is not easy and neither is being the parent of one. As 14 year-old Wren Clemmens discovers when her parents abruptly send her off for eight weeks of wilderness living therapy in an attempt to get her life back on track, turning your life around is often harder than anyone imagines. I was caught up in the brutal honesty of Wren's struggles and the strength of her determination to reject her parents' solutions. The raw emotion revealed in her thoughts, words and actions will resonate with anyone who has been overwhelmed with life and just hoped to see light at the end of the tunnel. An insightful testimony to the famous words "Never give up. Never ever give up." Readers 12+. - Cindy
Severely disfigured by lightning, Harry suffers daily humiliation, even from his father. He survives by hiding his face as much as possible, but his only friend decides to form a rock band and Harry is to be the guitarist. With trepidation, Harry joins in and soon experiences the power of music. Beautifully written, this is an extraordinary coming of age novel that explores friendship, family, and loyalty. You won't be able to put it down. I couldn't. Ages 14 and up. - Carol
Travis has lost his girlfriend, his best friend, and five years of his life. That's what returning from the dead can do to you. Thanks to science, the decapitated head of a teen near death has been attached to a 'healthy' cadaver. Travis is back, determined to restore his life as it was, to the beyond-belief joy of his parents, the horror of many, and... the same miserable high school teacher? A heads up: Travis tackles weighty issues with a lot more humor than you might expect. Ages 14+. - Rosemary
Donna Gephart has written a story that deals with issues that are very much on the front burner in 2016 but is timeless in its exploration of the essential human need to be accepted for who we are. While the public struggles of two 8th graders, transgender Lily and bi-polar Dunkin, are very visible, each tries valiantly to keep his or her struggles and fears under control and hidden from others. The contrast between the almost constant loneliness and isolation of each and the brief moments of connection and acceptance is deftly revealed through Gephart's painfully honest dialogue and the roller coaster sequence of events and emotions. A book that speaks for youth who are dealing with issues of gender identity and/or mental illness and more importantly, for those who love these kids, Lily and Dunkin is a must-read. I will never forget it and neither will you. Ages 12+ - Cindy
A favorite! Emotional honesty in the midst of drama, level-headed teens with artistic temperments, art and those who create it, subversive and illegal acts, and some serious heat between Bex and Jack.
Two teenagers who are willing to do almost anything to express their artwork are bound to make a few bad decisions in the pursuit of love and craft. But that doesn’t mean the story can’t be a lovely, well-written, contemporary, quirky, young adult novel full of hope, and mistakes, and forgiveness all with a promising ending. Age: 14+. - Broche