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Young Adult Fiction

  • The Cat's Maw

    by Brooke Burgess

    Rating: 8.25

    A well-written and character-filled journey of a normal young boy who begins to interact with the mystical. Reminiscent of Diana Wynne Jones and the Chrestomanci novels, this book will delight any young reader who wonders why they are so accident-prone.

  • Grog Wars, Dos

    by Anne Sweazy-Kulju

    Rating: 8.25

    Death radically alters the life of the nephew of beer magnate Burke Kaufmann in this inspired, sprawling sequel to Grog Wars set in Oregon in 1861. As a work of YA fiction, the originality of the story's Old West theme and its historical locales help elevate it above other novels in the genre, while the elegant language and smooth storytelling make it a fine stand-alone. Sweazy-Kulju's prose is uncomplicated and her story will entertain both young and older readers eager to immerse themselves in a distinctive time and place filled with royalty, mischief, a lush backdrop, and protective characters with a score to settle. 

  • Echoes

    by Laura Tisdall

    Rating: 8.25

    In Tisdall's novel, Mallory -- a 16-year-old hacker known as Echo Six -- and fellow hacker Warden must work to locate hackers who have mysteriously disappeared while looking for a computer virus. Mallory is a well drawn character who finds control in online hacking although her personal life is in chaos. The story has enough twists to maintain dramatic tension while remaining realistic and believable. The dialogue is true to life, while technical terms are integrated naturally into the story without obvious explanations.

  • Storm of Arranon

    by R E Sheahan

    Rating: 8.00

    Lieutenant Erynn Yager is a remarkably gifted young pilot-in-training, the adopted daughter of a commanding general, and the genetic offspring of two races forbidden to procreate—the result is that she possesses great powers that connect her to the world of Arranon, a connection that others require in order to take over the system. The author of this book has created an intricate world with societies, cultures, flora, and fauna that leap directly off the page. Although some of the science-fiction plot points boarder on genre cliche and there are occasional bursts of overwritten prose, the book has a strong narrative and exciting action sequences. The story jumps around between secondary characters a bit too often to fully develop them, but Erynn is a strong female character who can hold her own.

  • The Alpha Drive

    by Kristen Martin

    Rating: 8.00

    A far-reaching story set in 2055, this young adult novel follows Emery Parker and the Alpha Drive, an army of human rebels seeking to reclaim the world from the Seventh Sanctum. The writing here is solid, although the author sometimes resorts to flowery prose. Character develop is strong, and the plot moves along at a good pace, holding the reader's interest throughout.

  • THE BELIEF IN Angels - Adapted for Young Adults

    by J. Dylan Yates

    Rating: 8.00

    In Yates's YA novel, a captivating story about dealing with life's hardships and tragedies, Jules witnesses the violence between her parents, their neglect of her siblings, and the death of her younger brother. Jules is a well developed character and her attempts to appear strong to hide her vulnerability make her likeable. The story is well written with the happy ending for Jules that feels well deserved.

  • Girlfight

    by Kathleen Loughnan

    Rating: 8.00

    After a night of drinking, 18-year-old Babs and her best friend, Tammy, are on their way home when they get mugged by two teen boys. Babs and Tammy fight back—but they don't realize how devastating the outcome of their actions will be. The Texas setting is perfectly realized and Babs and Tammy both are strong yet flawed characters. The story pulls no punches while giving the characters a future. An excellent work of young adult fiction.

  • Leftover Girl

    by C.C. Bolick

    Rating: 7.75

    Tightly written and slyly effective, Bolick's hybrid of romance and science-fiction follows the story of adopted teenage outcast Jessica Delaney, who is on the run with her family yet again. This time they settle in Credence, her mother's hometown, where Jes meets local boys Chase and Pade, both of whom she is drawn to. But Chase has a big secret: he is from another planet and Jes has fading memories of running away when she was a child and being abducted. They bond over their celestial similarities, and the truth of Jes's heritage adds depth and an interesting twist to all of the high school melodrama. Themes of supernatural forces, burgeoning love, tragedy, bullying, misunderstandings, family bonds, and jealousy are interwoven nicely into this slyly romantic, lightweight drama with potential.   

  • Pick Your Planet

    by Dorothy Piper

    Rating: 7.75

    Piper offers up a fast-paced story about a young half-Martian who faces a difficult decision after working to save his people. The story moves quickly and nimbly through detailed set pieces and gives an interesting glimpse into life on Earth from an outsider's perspective. The characters are engaging and well developed, and they remind the reader that aliens have all the same interpersonal problems as humans!

  • World War A

    by Clarence Xon

    Rating: 7.75

    In 2030, the US economy is about to collapse and China is ready to step in and take over. When college sophomore Kaden Sun returns a lost wallet to Li Lei, chief of the China Foreign and Economic Development Board, Kaden is unknowingly pulled into a Chinese plot to bring down the US. The story is fast paced with lots of tension and twists that keeps the reader engaged. Kaden, a likable hero, has just enough bad luck to keep readers rooting for him. Characters using military jargon, college slang, and Chinese phrases throughout the story make the dialogue feel realistic.

     

  • The Age of Amy: Mad Dogs and Makeovers

    by Bruce Edwards

    Rating: 7.75

    Fantasy and imagination collide in this fifth installment of Edwards's Age of Amy series. This time, spunky, plucky teenager Amy Dawson becomes embroiled in an FBI terrorist investigation after policemen appear at her parents' door after tracing a mysterious call to her cell phone. Creative, amusing, and written with harmless fun in mind, Edwards's whodunit makes an entertaining, uncomplicated distraction for teens seeking a determined, outspoken, and greatly relatable heroine with moxie to spare.    

  • The Clay Lion (The Clay Lion Series Book 1)

    by Amalie Jahn

    Rating: 7.75

    Unable to cope with the sudden loss of her younger brother, Brooke breaks society’s most important taboo and travels back in time to try to prevent his death. Jahn adeptly blends science fiction elements with strong character development and elements of faith. Brooke’s journey ends satisfyingly with a gentle moral lesson learned through realistically difficult emotional revelations that nonetheless leave readers with a hopeful possible future.

  • The Warlock and the Wolf

    by Marianne Fox

    Rating: 7.75

    Hall's exciting work forces young Wilhelmina Walraven of 17th century Holland to pit science against witchcraft as warlock Gregor, who murdered her parents, seeks power. The restrained prose adds conviction to the historical setting, and Mina's acquired ability to communicate with animals adds genuinely creepy atmosphere. Independent-minded Mina's determination to challenge orthodox beliefs, and her bewilderment as supernatural incidents challenge her scientific background, will resonate with the intended young-adult audience.  This strong blend of history and fantasy gets this series off to a strong start.

  • Joachim's Magic

    by M. L. Stainer

    Rating: 7.75

    This smart historical YA novel from Stainer follows the journey of young Reis, an apprentice to a Jewish metallurgist named Dougham. Reis follows Dougham to the New World and learns many lessons about life, survival, and prejudice. The novel is well plotted with strong prose and accurate historical detail, while the fleshed out characters learn lessons that are universal even today.

     

  • World Saver

    by Neal Goldstein

    Rating: 7.50

    This young adult novel centers on Cypris Orbick, a teenager obsessed with the video game World Saver. Because of his skill, he has unlocked special bonus videos that provide clues to the whereabouts of World Saver globes. Users who find one are offered a chance at a dream job at World Saver Studios. These videos also feature a mysterious gray man whom Cypris is convinced is key to finding a globe. What follows is a dangerous journey where Cypris must think fast to keep himself out of danger and hopefully reach his goal. Well-written and fast-paced, Cypris’s story is a video game come to life, full of intrigue and adventure. The plot is fanciful but solid, but character development, with the exception of Cypris, is a little thin and could use some enhancement -- particularly for his mother and stepfather. Overall, however, this is a well-rounded and engaging work.

  • Fourteen-year-old Andi Gazek has a mind like MacGyver, a penchant for cars, a knack for getting in trouble, and a loosey-goosey regard for telling the truth. In this unique and fast-paced novel, she takes an impromptu trip her home in Laurel, Mont., to Mexico to find her estranged father and race in La Carrera Panamericana. Andi is a fully realized character with quirks and flaws aplenty. Unfortunately, the secondary characters need a bit more work—the use of dialect for one character’s speech distracts from any would-be character development and the relational conflicts throughout the book are too easily resolved. The prose sometimes reads as overly clever and forced and there are a few convenient plot points—but, on the whole, this delightful novel will charm its readers into rooting for Andi as they learn more about the fascinating world of long-distance vintage car racing.

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