# of Pages: 323
First in a trilogy
Charlaina of “Charlie” lives in a society where every caste has its own language. Englaise is the universal language everyone speaks, but her family belongs to the serving class and they have a language. The elites has a language as well. If anyone is in the presence of someone speaking a language they do not know they are required by law to drop their eyes out of respect. Charlie has been able to read, write, and understand all languages since she can remember and her parents are very fearful due to this ability. If it were ever discovered she could understand all of these languages it could be considered treason and their queen has publicly hanged people for much less. She has kept her secret hidden from even her best friends until one day she accidentally looks at someone in a dance club speaking a language she has never heard before. He begins to suspect she is “the one” the queen is looking for and starts tracking her movements. Can Charlie trust him? Can she trust anyone? Why is the queen looking desperately looking for the next female relative in her otherwise male dominated bloodline?
Fans of futuristic series such as Divergent, Cinder, and Red Queen will enjoy this trilogy. The use of languages to represent status is a new detail in this story and makes it an unusual but interesting talent for Charlie to have. The queen is every bit as evil as many of the villains of other futuristic stories, but her purpose for seeking Charlie out is very different than readers will have seen before. Her friends, family, and allies make for interesting and well developed characters to help Charlie navigate her role in her country’s future.
# of Pages: 360
When Lily Bennett moves with her mother to a new town before her junior year of high school she tries to remain optimistic, but in reality her mother is fleeing her cheating husband and his pregnant girlfriend and Lily is fleeing her cheating father and the boyfriend who cheated on her with her best friend. They are both looking for fresh starts and unfortunately, that involves living on her wealthy grandmother’s property. Ever since she was a child Lily has had a bizarre recurring dream where she’s running on a big field that has caught fire and she approaches a teenage boy’s body in the middle of it. It has scared her since she was little, but normally she only has this dream a few times a year. Since she moved she has had this dream every single night and it’s beginning to take a toll.
Amber was a teen living in the same town Lily just moved to in the 1980s. Her boyfriend, Spence, was murdered on the football field of their school and the police investigator believed that Amber committed the murder. Four days later Amber was stabbed to death and it was ruled a suicide. Could Amber be trying to send Lily a message all of these years later about what really happened to her and Spence? What is Lily’s connection to Amber’s death?
Fans of Victoria Laurie’s mystery When will enjoy this title as well. It has many great plot twists, sinister characters, and red herrings. The idea that Lily could be the reincarnation of Amber is a unique twist you do not often see in YA mystery novels. The book itself moves quickly and will keep even reluctant readers engaged.
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.
Published February 3, 2016
Award Winners , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: accident, dating, family, football, friendship, tragedy, trust
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 327
Iowa Teen Award Winner 2016-17
Lauren has recently moved in with her aunt and uncle for reasons she would rather not discuss. Being the new girl in the small football-obsessed town for her senior year can be difficult, however, because everyone automatically speculates about her background. Meanwhile, Colby is also beginning his senior year as the star football player of their team who hopes to make it all the way to state this year. The problem is that Colby would rather not play football in college, despite his father’s fervent hope that he will accept one of the scholarships he’s been offered. Lauren and Colby meet unexpectedly one day and find they really like each other, but after a tragedy shakes Colby to the core he wonders if dating is such a good idea at this time in his life. Lauren definitely wants to see more of Colby, but she’s also dealing with the demons of her past. Will their timing ever be right? Will they ever find the chance to get to know each other better or is it not meant to be?
This story is told in alternating chapters with Lauren’s being written in poetry format making her thoughts mirror her mixed emotions at living with her aunt and uncle instead of with her mom. Colby’s story is told in prose which also reflects his thoughts and feelings as he walks the line between what he wants in life and what everyone else wants for him. Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
# of pages: 322
Cassandra is living in a beach house for the summer that her mom and stepdad rented and is finding a hard time filling her time. One day she wanders down to the private beach and meets a young man there who is very polite and friendly. They get to know each other and eventually discover that they both believe they are residing in the same house, but Lawrence is in 1925 and Cass is in 2015. Cass decides to do some research and discovers Lawrence was murdered on that very beach in two weeks from the time they are at now and she believes they can see each other so that she can help save him. Can they save Lawrence from his early demise? Who is the person trying to kill him? How will Cass explain her strange behavior to her family?
This is a very sweet romance story that successfully places characters in two different time periods. The supporting characters are well established to help readers visualize these characters in their own times as well as together. The ending is very satisfying and believable, which is an incredible feat for a story based on people meeting across 100 years. Fans of romance novels or the Ruby Red series will enjoy this title.
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
# of Pages: 400
Darrow is a “red” in a caste society where reds work below the surface of Mars trying to terraform the planet for other life forms to eventually come live on the surface. The work is hard and thankless and they are compensated with hardly any food and poor living conditions. Darrow’s wife, Eo, believes there is more than the “golds” are telling them and thinks they should revolt in order to get to the truth. Darrow lost his father when he peacefully protested their work conditions and does not want to lose anyone else. When Eo defies the golds anyway, she is publicly hanged and Darrow refuses to let this go. He eventually gets a makeover to make him look like a gold so that he can infiltrate the golds to take them down from the inside. He learns that the golds have been hiding a lot about the actual development of the planet Mars in order to keep them in a lowly position. He vows revenge for his entire family who are starving and slaving so that others can grow fat and rich. Will they discover he is not truly a gold? Will he find any compassion for the golds he has come to despise?
Fans of futuristic fiction will enjoy this title because there is a lot of violence and colorful characters. The story eventually evolves into a competition similar to the Hunger Games that will keep even reluctant readers’ attention. Many questions are left unanswered and there is currently one sequel already. While it is similar to other titles out there it is unique enough that it is finding an audience of supporters who desperately want to know what will happen to Darrow.