Thursday, July 8, 2010

booklist: what's HOT (or at least what I think should be)

At a recent meeting for youth services librarians I spoke for 15 minutes on the best new ya fiction. Sometimes books that get really good reviews and a lot of hype I am less than impressed with. I went to a few classes at PLA that talked about hot new young adult fiction and I'd read a good portion of them. But I wouldn't say that I would've classified them as the best out there. So I picked my own "best." And it was a lot of fun.

Split by Swati Avasthi *contemporary boy* What I liked so much about this book was the main character, Jace. One night when he fights, his physically abusive father kicks him out of the house. With nothing but an address, he travels 19 hours to his brother's small apartment where he is reluctantly allowed to stay. Jace has to try to build a new life while dealing with his own anger issues and guilt about leaving his mother behind. He is a heroic, imperfect, realist teen boy. And I loved him.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting *contemporary, sorta paranormal, super romantic* Violent can sense were murdered bodies are. Usually that applies to dead animals. But then girls start disappearing and when found, their dead. And Violet wants to help the police, led by her uncle, to stop the murders from continuing. And then at the same time there is her best friend since forever, Jay. Her once platonic feelings for him are changing and she's worried he wont feel the same way. The romantic tension is great. The mystery is intriguing, especially since the reader gets short snippets of thought from the murderer's point of view. The action never stops and you wont want to either. I didn't.

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst *awesome contemporary fairytale* Another retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." This one is by far my favorite. Cassie's lives on a research station with her scientist father studying polar bears. On her eighteenth birthday the largest polar bear Cassie has ever seen speaks to her. Apparently the mother she thought was dead is actually alive and the bear offers to go to the end of the world to get her if Cassie will marry him. So she does. But she is totally not happy about it. I love that Durst took the fairytale and created a world that explained the motivations behind the characters in a realistic way. The romance was perfect! I thought that once the bear left the story would go down hill, but it didn't! My only complaint is that it ended too soon.

Dragonfly by Julia Golding *adventurous love story through five kingdoms and many months* Princess Tashi and Prince Ramil are ordered to marry each other to unite their kingdoms against a neighboring warlord. Neither are happy about it. But then they are kidnapped and slowly they learn to trust each other and then they learn to love each other. I loved how Ramil and Tashi grew up. I loved the world that Golding created. I loved this book!

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey *FUN vampire adventure* Solange is a vampire, the first female vampire born in the past 800 years. As she approaches her sixteenth birthday when she will officially "turn," humans and vampires alike are out to get her. But she has seven over-protective (and totally awesome!) brothers to protect her, as well as her best friend, Lucy. Lucy is human and snarky and spunky and completely kick-butt brave. The book does not take itself seriously. I was laughing throughout and rooting for Solange and Lucy to get their guys. LOVED it! The second in the series, Blood Feud, comes out next month. yay!

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien *original, scientific, futuristic dystopia* 300 years after a great global disaster, Gaia lives in Warfton with her mother and father, just outside of the walled city called the Enclave. Each midwife must advance the first three babies born in a month to the Enclave, where they are told they will have a better life than what is offered in Warfton. Gaia has just performed her first solo birth and advanced the baby when she returns home to find that her mother and father have been taken prisoner of the Enclave. When weeks pass and they haven't been returned, Gaia begins to question her loyalties. She is spunky. She did a lot of things that I thought were stupid, but weren't. I want to read the second in the series. Good stuff. (The science isn't apparent to begin with, but it is integral to the plot).

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick *contemporary cancer survivor* Jeff is in eighth grade and has been in remission for five years. But after intense chemo and radiation, he's left with nerve damage and has a hard time focusing in school. His best friend Tad is also a cancer survivor, his treatment leaving him in a wheelchair. They navigate normal eight grade things: math, girls, parents, siblings; as well as other, more serious matters: surviving after happilyever after. Jeff's voice is humorous and honest. His story is wonderful. I loved this book. And the cover, too. He looks so triumphant. Only after I'd read it did I find out that Jeff's older brother's story is told in Sonnenblick's novel, Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie and tells of his struggles as his little brother develops cancer. It's now in my too read pile.

Though this isn't even half of the books on my list, I'll have to save the rest. A future post maybe?

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