# of Pages: 310
The author of this book, Denis Lipman, is a former magician and therefore has the tools to create a unique and exciting story for young adults. It’s about a young magician named Micah who is sent to live in Israel and ends up unknowingly befriending a terrorist, Shireen. When Shireen begins to rethink her plans both she and Micah are forced to go on the run and use Micah’s techniques of illusion to escape capture. All of this action builds to a very exciting and satisfying ending.
This story describes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that no other young adult book does, which makes it interesting to young readers who do not know much about this event. At the same time, the use of magic and illusion is fun and fresh and engages reluctant readers right away. The inclusion of magic in the plot is done so in a completely believable and understandable way, which goes toward Lipman’s experience with magic and illusion. Highly recommended for students who enjoy a lot of action and plot development.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 423
Abby Barnes wakes up one day to find that everything she thought was true about the last year of her life had been changed dramatically. Instead of taking a drama class and eventually earning a role in a movie, she ended up taking an astronomy class and ended up attending Yale. Her relationships with her best friend and two possible boyfriends were also affected with this switch. Her best friend, who’s also a science genius, traces the change to the day that a major worldwide earthquake occurred and believes her life has been blurred with that of a parallel life. Abby struggles to learn what that in fact means and if this disturbance can keep affecting her life. Every morning she wakes up to assess if her parallel has done anything to change her current present. Meanwhile, she tries to keep her “double life” a secret so that no one knows just how crazy she believes she is. Will this ever get fixed or will she be doomed to live this challenging life forever?
The idea of parallel lives is complicated and challenging, but Lauren Miller writes the story in a way that is absolutely understandable and even intriguing without being confusing. There are many characters and while some feature more heavily than others they all impact Abby’s overall story. The story gains momentum near the end and readers will want to see what ultimately happens to Abby and if she ever gains control of her life back.
# of Pages: 274
The second in the Montlake Romance series, Lemon is unexpectedly placed on a reality dating show similar to the bachelor after two other contestants are forced to resign and filming is about to start. The “bachelor” is her PR client and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the show successful, even if it means pretending to be a contestant despite being recently engaged herself. Throughout the filming of the series, Dante tries his hardest to woo Lemon into giving them a chance. While Lemon is not entirely sure about her fiancee, Sterling, she also believes Dante is a womanizer who only wants her because he can’t have her. As the competition goes on, however, things begin to intensify and Lemon isn’t sure what to do. Does she give true love a chance with Dante even if he could break her heart? Or, does she play it safe and return home to her fiancee who doesn’t seem to care very much that she’s been gone for weeks filming?
This is a fun romance series that romance readers will enjoy. In particular, fans of The Selection would like it although there is not any rebellion action. The stories feel modern and fresh while also incorporating all the romantic qualities that readers enjoy. It would be best to read this in order, but each one is enjoyable on its own.
# of Pages: 546
A group of teens who all have unexplained talents have found each other one by one and formed a group they call the Zeroes. They all have different ideas for how to handle their bizarre powers, however. Bellweather can take the energy of a group and focus it on one goal and he believes they should stick together and try to do important things with their powers. Flicker is blind, but can see using other people’s eyes. Scam has a mysterious voice that will say whatever it takes to get him what he wants and often has disastrous results. Crash has the ability to crash electrical devices and because of that has struggled to find a place where her powers are anything but destructive. Anonymous can disappear and be forgotten in any situation, which has led to a lonely life. Finally, Mob can change the energy of a crowd to feel whatever she wants it to. Scam had previously distanced himself from the rest of the zeroes when they had a disagreement, but it forced to call on them for help when a video of him using his voice goes viral and he is hauled in by cops for answers about a local bank robbery. Can the zeroes come together to help one of their own or will the situation just get worse as they try to con their way out of it? Will the situation bring them together or drive them further apart?
This has been on my reading list for awhile and it took a little bit to get into the characters, but eventually the story really takes off and readers enjoy a lot of adventure and action. The talents of the characters take a lot of explaining as some are more complicated and require examples to fully understand. All in all, fans of fantasy adventures such as the Michael Vey series or Blackout will enjoy the first in this series.
Genre: Realistic fiction/mystery
# of Pages: 372 p.
Tess has lived with her grandfather ever since her parents died in a car accident when she was small. Her older sister, Ivy, went away to college and never really came back so Tess knew things were about to unravel when Ivy showed up at her grandfather’s ranch. Despite her best efforts, Tess could no longer hide her grandfather’s dementia from the world and Ivy had come to put him in a treatment center while Tess was forced to pack her bags and come to D.C. to live with the sister she hardly knew. Only after she gets to D.C. does she realize what her sister actually does for a living: she’s a fixer for wealthy and powerful people who have serious problems. Tess is expected to be a fixer like her sister when she starts her new school by the children of wealthy and powerful people who attend, but Tess is not interested in following after her sister’s example. Then, a supreme court justice suddenly dies and a girl at her school confides to Tess that she does not think it was an accident. Can Tess find out what’s really going on in D.C. without alerting her sister or anyone involved? Will Tell and Ivy ever mend their relationship?
This is a fun novel for mystery or spy fans (fans of Ally Carter will enjoy this title). The characters are fun and getting more developed all the time and no doubt will continue to do so as the series continues. The mystery was exciting and provided a satisfying ending. The idea of “fixers” has only started getting discussed in the last five years or so and it’s fun to see a young adult series focused around such an interesting career.
Genre: Futuristic Fiction
# of Pages: 432
Jess lives with her military father, pregnant mother, and three sisters. Due to the fact their mother is a commoner, her father was never allowed to legally marry her, but he has always taken care of them like they were legally his family. Secretly, Jess likes to run the court of fives, which is an intricate and physically grueling competition that involves different challenges in a variety of patterns to figure out. Jess knows that if her dad ever found out she was doing this he would be furious, which is why she’s kept it a secret. The day before Jess is scheduled to compete in her first match, her father unexpectedly returns from war and insists on taking them to the competition. She is forced to sneak out and compete or else she’ll lose her entrance fee that took her a year to save. She is forced to throw the match at the end because winners must take off their masks and she cannot risk her father learning her secret. However, she does not realize the attention her actions will bring to her family and the ferocity in which someone with power will work to destroy everything she holds dear. Ultimately, it is the court of fives she must do in order to bring respect to herself and her family, but will it be enough?
Fans of futuristic novels like The Testing will love this book. It is full of plot twists, excitement, and adventure. A main part of the story even features an Indiana Jones’ type adventure that is hard to put down. Jess loves training for the court of fives partly because it encourages her to think strategically, but in the end she is forced to use that kind of thinking in order to protect her family from a vicious adversary. It is a fast paced, exciting story.
Genre: Futuristic Fiction
# of Pages: 358
Violet was pulled away from her family three years prior to the beginning of the story because she tested positive for a specific gene that made her desirable in their community. After completing three years of training she is to be sent to auction to be sold to a rich and powerful royal family to be a surrogate for a royal child. Violet would rather return home to her family, who resides in the marsh, in order to live in poverty than to be a plaything for the royals whilst living in true luxury. Once Violet is purchased she does not know what to make of her new owner, her owner’s ungrateful son, or her owner’s absent husband. Plus, she begins to discover there are lots of secrets in the Jewel, where the royal live. She finds herself struggling not to rebel against those around her, but they really do have all the power over her. Can she keep her beliefs intact while everyone around her views her as an object to be owned and manipulated?
Fans of The Selection and Divergent will enjoy the first in this series. Violet is tough and smart, but there is so much she does not know that the reader gets to find out the true nature of her situation along with her. There are some very intriguing supporting characters including the man who helped her prepare for her auction, her best friend who went to auction at the same time as her, and the royal women who scheme and gossip behind each other’s backs. All in all, an intriguing premise that will hold your interest until the surprising last page.