Archive for the ‘Young Adult fiction’ Category

Children of Blood and Bone / Tomi Adeyemi

April 24, 2019


This book is the first in a YA (young adult) fantasy trilogy (I seem to be really into fantasy trilogies recently). It is the first novel by this Nigerian-American author, and she has done some fantastic world-building in this book. Adeyemi weaves in aspects of West African mythology to create the world of Orisha, where there is rising tension between the oppressed maji, and the Kingdom that has outlawed magic and nearly destroyed the maji population. The book deals with issues of oppression and prejudice, as well as teenage struggles of identity and young love. I particularly liked the friendship between the two main characters -Zelie and Amari – a maji and a royal respectively – young women from very different backgrounds who are each interesting and strong in their own ways.

The book is violent at times, and occasionally a little predictable, but it is really engrossing, and the audiobook is excellent. The book ends on a pretty major cliff hanger, but the second one is due out late 2019 so there won’t be too long to wait.


Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

August 2, 2018


I have thoroughly enjoyed several Alice Hoffman books for adults so I figured I’d give this one a try. I liked it a lot! Even though it is not as complex a story as her longer, more epic works, it is a beautiful story of family, understanding, and belonging. It contains just a hint of magic, enough to please those fans of her more witchy books, but leans more on the realistic elements. This makes it not only accessible to readers of different ages, but those of us who are not usually inclined to read fantasy or magical realism. Don’t judge this book by its cover 😉

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

January 8, 2018


I actually picked up this book after reading Dark Tower #6 because of the title phrase “Turtles All the Way Down.” This bit of philosophical thought plays heavily into both these stories despite their vastly different content.

John Green does a good job delving into the main character’s psyche, making her relatable despite her severe anxiety and nauseating compulsions. This YA novel is great for an adult to pick up too despite featuring teenage characters– Green’s excellent writing brings you right into this girl’s life from her perspective. He presented her world in a way that was reminiscent of high school for me despite taking place (presumably) in 2017. (Age Disclaimer: I was not in high school during this millennium)

A page-turner, interesting.

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Regan Barnhill

December 14, 2017


I loved so much about this book. It’s a fairy tale with twists: the witch isn’t a witch, the villagers aren’t as innocent as they seem, the elders aren’t wise so much as conniving, and the spiritual “center” is not at all what you would expect. At the center of it all though, is just what all fairy tales need – a fabulously strong, curious, and magical girl who can change the world. This is a kids book that is not just for kids.

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Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

April 6, 2017

[Sam] Peppi Torres’ plan to survive her first day of middle school is to be boring and invisible. But that plan shatters when she trips over Jaime Thompson in the hallway and everyone starts calling her his “nerder girlfriend”. And how does Peppi react? She pushes Jamie and runs away. What a nightmare! So of course Peppi’s after-school art club finds itself at war with Jaime’s science club. Will Peppi ever overcome her embarrassment and apologize to Jamie? Will the feud between Art club and Science club destroy the school? Find it Here

This awesome graphic novel creates a vivid picture of the ups and downs of life in middle school. It’s funny and relatable. I’d recommend this book to readers who enjoy Raina Telgemeier‘s graphic novels. And if you enjoy this book checkout Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson


The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks

March 25, 2017

[Lesley] Awesome take on the superhero genre from the perspective of an ordinary person who just happens to have superpowers and who wants to fight crime. Loved the sense of humor and the sense of sincerity in this and definitely want to read more by Faith Erin Hicks! Passed it on to my husband and he loved it too. Thanks for the recommendation Lucia!

Scar Island, by Dan Gemeinhart

March 23, 2017

[Lucia] Dan Gemeinhart’s third novel continues his streak of gripping middle-grade adventures.

Jonathan Grisby is the newest “student” at Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys. The crumbling fortress is located on a remote island, pounded by surf and weather, and cut off from every comfort. The boys spend nights locked in dark cells exposed to the icy wind, and survive on mere scraps of food. The staff is cruel and abusive, and it’s exactly what Jonathan deserves. You see, Jonathan is not innocent. He has a terrible secret, a past that earned him his spot at Slabhenge, and he’s ready to take whatever punishment comes his way to try and atone. But, just as Jonathan is learning the ways of his new life, a disaster leaves the boys alone on the island without any adults. When their newfound freedom turns to anarchy and a new wave of cruelty, Jonathan must come to terms with his past, or leave every boy on the island to a watery doom.

Gemeinhart’s first two books, “The Honest Truth,” and “Some Kind of Courage,” were both on the Great Stone Face Award list, and I expect “Scar Island” to make it a hat trick. This book is recommended for anyone who enjoys adventure, disasters, self-discovery, and solid, fast-paced writing.



Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz

May 5, 2015

[Lesley] From the beginning, I loved the voice of Aristotle Mendez. Much of this book is the interior landscape and monologue of this young Mexican American boy who is coming-of-age. His life is complicated in the usual and unusual ways: his parents drive him crazy (his dad is a Vietnam War veteran who doesn’t talk much and not at all about the war), he doesn’t have a lot of friends (but he is also a bit of a loner who doesn’t wish for lots of friends), he isn’t close to his siblings (twin sisters who are much older and a brother who is in jail and whom no one talks about). Ari meets Dante and through their friendship all the characters seem to come of age – including the adults. At one point, I wondered who the audience for this book was… would many teenage boys see themselves in thoughtful, inquisitive Ari? But, I decided that it didn’t really matter. I have known kids who would have loved this book and even if they are the minority, they are the kids I’ll never forget. I loved this book, loved the characters, and learned things about myself through reading it. I listened to it on audio and the reader added a lot to the authenticity and charm of the voice.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

January 16, 2012

[Lesley]  More please!  This was a great story – I love it when the fantastical elements (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, the sleer) are treated in a completely matter-of-fact manner.  I would have thought that I would have been satisfied with the book ending when Bod must leave the cemetery (it is the “graveyard” book after all) but I would happily follow these characters through more adventures.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

May 18, 2010


This is a riveting, suspenseful, really good young adult novel. The main character, 16 year old  Katniss, is powerful and smart and sympathetic.  It’s a futuristic, dark premise, but there are some really lovely moments in it, and the story is just really well told.