A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas was everything I hoped it would be. Coming from the author of the Throne of Glass series, my expectations were very high and I was not disappointed. Anyone who is a fan of Maas, which really should be everyone, or is looking for a love story in a magical setting, should pick-up A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Hunger by Michael Grant picks up where Gone leaves off. The problem of disappearing at 15 is solved but the logistics of surviving in a world of only children, cut off from the rest of civilization, is dawning on the residence of the FAYZ. It took much to long for the kids to realize that something needed to be done about food and they are starting to run out.
Hunger by Michael Grant is the perfect mix of science fiction and a semi-post apocalyptic world. It deals with the everyday realities of what running and rebuilding a society is like, such as developing an economic system and dealing with conflict. There is also the story of the the powers that some of the kids develop and a monster that is lurking in the shadows. What happens when there is such an obvious divide in society, when it becomes and us versus them. The balance between all of these elements makes for an exciting book that is impossible to put down.
Getting into the the Gone series after it has concluded is the perfect time because I cannot imagine waiting for the books to be published. I am on the edge of my seat, needing to read book three (Lies). I highly recommend Hunger for those looking for an action packed, realistic story of what could happen if children were in charge and monsters lurked among us.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.
All the books I want to add to my stacks that are released in July, 2013.
The Longings Of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown
It’s an idyllic New England summer, and Sadie is a precocious only child on the edge of adolescence. It seems like July and August will pass lazily by, just as they have every year before. But one day, Sadie and her best friend play a seemingly harmless prank on a neighborhood girl. Soon after, that same little girl disappears from a backyard barbecue—and she is never seen again. Twenty years pass, and Sadie is still living in the same quiet suburb. She’s married to a good man, has two beautiful children, and seems to have put her past behind her. But when a boy from her old neighborhood returns to town, the nightmares of that summer will begin to resurface, and its unsolved mysteries will finally become clear.
The Arrivals by Melissa Marr
Chloe walks into a bar and blows five years of sobriety. When she wakes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world, The Wasteland. She discovers people from all times and places have also arrived there: Kitty and Jack, a brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a prohibition bootlegger; Francis, a one-time hippie; Melody, a mentally unbalanced 1950s housewife; and Hector, a former carnival artist.
None know why they arrived there–or if there is way out of a world populated by monsters and filled with corruption.
Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes
After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.
Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.
When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
Tampa by Alissa Nutting
In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.
Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.
Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall
The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.
When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.
As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.
Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
When Leila discovers the Web site Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the Web site’s founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, flattered when he invites her to be part of “Project Tess.” Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they e-mail, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman—because soon, Leila will have to become her. An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell—to ourselves, to others, for good, and for ill.
45 Pounds (More Or Less) by K.A. Barson
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!
After Iris by Natasha Farrant
Blue Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago and her family has never been the same. Her histrionic older sister, Flora, changes her hair color daily; her younger siblings, Jasmine and Twig, are completely obsessed with their pet rats; and both of her parents spend weeks away from home–and each other. Enter Zoran the Bosnian male au pair and Joss the troublemaking boy next door, and life for the Gadsby family takes a turn for the even more chaotic. Blue poignantly captures her family’s trials and tribulations from fragmented to fully dysfunctional to ultimately reunited, in a sequence of film transcripts and diary entries that will make you cry, laugh, and give thanks for the gift of families.
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.
What books are you looking forward to in July?
All covers and summaries are from goodreads.
Author: Megg Jensen
Publication Date: April 14, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Suburgatory meets Indiana Jones…on a farm
Fifteen-year-old Tabitha has had the kind of life that would impress even the greatest adventurers. She’s escaped a croc attack in the Amazon, walked the length of the Great Wall of China, and earned a black belt in taekwondo in Korea. She owes her worldly experience to her mother’s career in archaeology, but when her mother takes on a dangerous new assignment, Tabitha is devastated to learn she can’t tag along.
Instead, she’s forced to live on a midwestern farm with her grandparents where she’ll have to attend a full year of public school. It’s Tabitha’s greatest nightmare, because despite all her adventures, she has no practical experience with the one thing that frightens her the most – other teenagers.
Her math teacher is her mom’s old high school boyfriend, she can’t tell the friendly girls from the mean ones, and she develops a major crush on a boy she knows she can’t trust. And just when she thinks she’ll never get the hang of this normal teenager thing, an attack brings the danger of her previous life right up to her midwestern porch. Who could have ever guessed getting totally shucked would bring her face-to-face with her most exciting adventure yet?
I’ve been a freelance parenting journalist since 2003 and began writing YA novels in 2009. I co-run DarkSide Publishing, am a member of SCBWI, and I blog about writing while juggling freelancing, volunteering, and family life. I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, two kids, and our miniature schnauzer, Ace.
I peered through the overgrown bushes, observing the beasts in their native habitat. My heart pounded, tapping an unfamiliar beat. I’d subdued a croc after an attack in the Amazon, looked a lion in the eye in the African bush, and swam with sharks in the Great Barrier Reef, but nothing compared to the fear ripping through my chest, infecting every bit of my essence with panic.
“Tabitha,” my grandmother, Mimi, bellowed, “get over here right now!”
I backed away from the evergreens, swinging my backpack over one shoulder. “Coming.” My whole life I’d been surrounded by adults or kids from cultures so far removed from civilization that American teenagers became the epitome of uncivilized behavior. I’d seen their TV shows on the Internet. All I could hope was that reality TV wasn’t real.
The double doors of the school loomed in front of me. The embedded crosshatching in the windows skewed my vision of the masses of kids opening lockers and chatting in groups. A select few were already swapping spit. I rolled my eyes. Suspicions confirmed.
“Do I have to go in there?” I turned around, arms folded across my chest. Mimi stood her ground, towering over me at nearly six feet tall, a giant to my mere five foot one inch. I wasn’t afraid. Intimidated yes, afraid no. I’d spent years cuddled on her lap reading stories but as I grew up, I realized that she was the powerhouse in her marriage and nearly everywhere else. No one crossed her except for my mom. I think that’s why Mom hadn’t come back to her hometown in the last sixteen years.
“Of course you have to go in. It wouldn’t do for you to be late on your first day of school.” She had that same look on her face as when I’d first met her. Exasperated, annoyed, and definitely not in the mood to be defied.
“But Mimi,” I started.
“No buts,” she barked. Her bear-like hand grabbed the door handle, opened it and she pushed me in with the other paw. “Have fun, Tabitha.”
I stumbled in as the heavy door thudded behind me. How could she leave me here alone? Among some of the most frightening creatures on earth – teenagers. I felt the bile rise in my throat but I swallowed it. Just what I needed, to be the girl who barfed on everyone the first day of school.
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I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control.
If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
Author: Amanda Sun
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Expected Date Of Publication: June 25, 2013
Why I Picked It
I am pretty much obsessed with the cover. Beautiful watercolor with a floral motif is so different. It is refreshing to see a YA book that takes place in a non-Western country.
Summary and cover image taken from goodreads.
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales.
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Expected Publishing Date: September 17, 2013
So many things about This Song Will Save Your Life stands out to me. I love books that talk about music (I love High Fidelity book and movie so, so much.) The main character is a an outcast, who has trouble making friends. Plus, the cover is just so pretty I love the picture and the pink font.
Title: Requiem (Delirium #3)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.
Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing.
Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.
As is often the case, starting the last book in a trilogy can be difficult. There are all kinds of expectations and desires for the story to end on the right note. For the storylines to be wrapped-up in a way that makes sense but maybe isn’t perfectly neat. Of course any story where you have a love triangle, our main character has to pick the right partner. All of these things and more were circling around my head when I start reading Requiem by Lauren Oliver.
Requiem does alternate the voices of Hana and Lena. I love that we are able to learn about Hana’s life because it rounds out the story. It fills in the gaps of what might have happened to Lena if she had chosen to stay. Hana being paired with the newly elected major gives us a great insight to the have’s of society. Those whose lives are filled with all of the worldly comforts and those who are in places of great power. With this insiders view, Requiem becomes more of a political and philosophical commentary than the other books in the series. It opens up the story to the greater questions of how our choices define us and what makes us actually free.
I love that Requiem did not spend all of its time on the love triangle. Yes, I was eagerly anticipating Lena choosing between Alex and Julian, but Lena is not Bella Swan. Instead, she is a complete individual who is strong and capable, not a girl who is defined by a man or her relationship to one. I do like how Lauren Oliver does not use the love triangle as the sole way to make the reader feel. There are other relationships that are even more important, those of friendship and family.
I have tried to avoid reading any reviews of Requiem because I needed to read this book without any other thoughts in my head. I can guess that some reviewers may find the ending frustrating but I thought it was beautiful. With her way with words, Lauren Oliver writes a beautiful ending that leaves the reader with lots to think about. Overall, I think that Requiem is a wonderful end to a superb trilogy. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first two books.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities or your one-bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling your stomach. And pull, pull, and pull.
Or maybe I will keep walking until I reach the end of the world.
Maybe. But for now there is only the high white sun, and the sky, and tendrils of gray smoke, and voices that sound like ocean waves in the distance.
What You Will Find
- Strong female characters
- Message of hope
- Lots of action
- Connecticut (I am biased being from the Hartford area)
Cover image and summary from goodreads.
The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: The Darkest Minds
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
I loved everything about The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and found the book impossible to put down. It starts off on Ruby’s tenth birthday. Her parents decide a party would be in poor taste because of the few children who remain. A terrible accident occurs and Ruby finds herself being taken away from the life she knew and placed in a rehabilitation camp with other children like her.
At sixteen, Ruby is able to escape and learns about the outside world. A world where adults are frightened of children and the US society is on the brink. Ruby eventually finds a group of kids who also escaped and joins in their search for a safe place.
So many amazing things about The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. The world building is very strong, it is easy to imagine this version of the US where poverty is rampant and the government is lying to the people. The group that Ruby travels with for most of the book is full of fully fleshed out characters who are all damaged in some way but learning to function in this insane world. The love story is quite swoon-worthy. I do not want to give anything away, but the ending will make you want to read book two right now.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a standout dystopian in a sea of mediocre books. Her take is unique and it is a strong start to what I can only hope will be an excellent series (trilogy?). I highly recommend The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and think you should move it to the very top of your to-be-read pile.
What You Will Find Here
- Swoon worthy love story
- Kick ass female lead
- Lots of heart
- Action and violence
Summary and cover image from goodreads.