By Moira Young
Publication date: Oct. 30, 2012
Margaret K. McElderry, 432 pages
Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy.
It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.
What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.
— Goodreads.com description
I really wish I were a stronger person. A better reader. Less shallow. If I were, I have a feeling I just would have just adored Rebel Heart by Moira Young.
But I’m not — I’m weak. And this book made me feel craaaaazy! I’m not going to tell you what happened — just that it wasn’t what I wanted to happen and Saba is on my shit list. And that I don’t deal with that well as a reader.
All of you good, strong readers are probably going to read this and be like: “Wow, this book really challenged me,” and “I didn’t agree with the main character, but she made her own choices.” You like it when books make you feel like you’ve lost your shiz.
Not me. That being said: Moira Young totally wins for making me feel that invested. Her books make me feel things. I don’t like feeling those things, but I think she knew what she was doing when she wrote this.
And kudos to her for bringing back many of the things I loved about book one in this series, Blood Red Road: the writing, the voice, the action and the characters. Just, you know, not their choices. Sigh. I’ll grow stronger with time, I swear.
Don’t Turn Around
By Michelle Gagnon
Publication date: Aug. 28, 2012
HarperCollins, 310 pages
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.
Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.
Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.
— Goodreads.com description
Ooh, a YA thriller. Hi, publishers…more, please!
This is one of my favorite movie genres, and I just loved seeing that frantic, mystery, run-for-your-life vibe translated into a YA novel.
Michelle Gagnon clearly knows what she’s doing in Don’t Turn Around – she’s already published several successful adult thrillers. And the move to YA was a good one for her. The novel’s focus on Internet culture and hacking made it seem a bit more realistic that teens would be caught up in the drama. Nice pacing and constant threats of danger kept me engaged and turning the page.
So I loved the concept and the execution, but despite all that I’ve said, my overall feelings aren’t a complete “wow.” Why? The ending was a bit of a problem, and for spoiler reasons I won’t get into why. But just know that I finished with a slightly bad taste in my mouth, but Gagnon definitely set this up to be a trilogy, so I’m staying hopeful that all will be explained in time.
We shall see!
By Jus Accardo
Publication date: Nov. 1, 2011
Entangled Teen, 251 pages
Source: Purchased on my Kindle
When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.
Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.
Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect.
— Goodreads.com description
Paranormal is by no means my favorite type of book…but…I get so sucked into it! I can’t stay away for long! And, oh my goodness, the book crack continues with Touch by Jus Accardo.
Touch is a little bit X-Men, a little bit Heroes and a little bit Shatter Me.
The main character, Deznee (whom I love, by the way, because she’s totally Team Dauntless, jumping from roofs on skateboards), finds out that her dad is like a EVIL SUPER VILLAIN. And Evil Dad is collecting all these people with special X-Men talents and imprisoning them.
One such talented person is Kale, who cannot touch people without killing them. He and Deznee meet and…oh, hello, built-in sexual tension.
There’s cool superhero talents, there’s fighting, there’s a love story. Was it my favorite ever? No. But Touch by Jus Accardo is a totally fun read that I read over the course of a plane ride. It’s a fun story to get lost in!
By Karsten Knight
July 26, 2011
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 400 pages
Source: Simon & Schuster’s GalleyGrab
Every flame begins with a spark.
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
— Amazon.com description
Three cheers for a lead character who isn’t white! Plus, throw in an extra three cheers because Karsten Knight is a male writing a female lead. These things don’t happen too often in YA lit, so we should celebrate them when they do.
I’m not quite sure this book was my cup of tea. It started out with a shocking, violent, confusing scene that really turned me off from the get-go. It’s just not my thing. For a second opinion, though, check out this review from my friend Jen, who thought the opening sequence was totally kick butt. To each her own!
The premise here was intriguing, without a doubt, and would appeal to most fans of mythology-based paranormal stories. And the ending left me gasping. A cliffhanger like that will probably guarantee I give the sequel a try.
But a word of warning to all those who have finished: If you don’t want to be spoiled, do NOT look up the word that was revealed on the final page. The first paragraph on Wikipedia alone will spoil the second book for you. Certainly Karsten knew we’d all run to Google, though, so perhaps he wanted us to have this information? Only time will tell!
But, no. Seriously. It’s good like that.
First, you’ll have to get over the author’s writing style. It’s all told in Saba’s country-esque twang. “And” becomes “an” and things are misspelled and there’s not quotation marks and pretty every single gerund lost the “g” at the end.
Good lord, I feel for the copy editors on this book.
But after stumbling through a few chapters, I was hearing Saba’s voice in my head (think Holly Hunter) and it became easy to translate. Soon, I was swept away in the story.
And oh what a story! This is the classic quest story, epic in every sense. And the main character is full of grit, willing to spit in the face of anyone trying to get in her way. Another book I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for an adventure story (plus, romance, friendship and some classic good vs. evil). Please check it out!
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab for my review copy of this book.