YA Historical, hardcover, 336 pages; Expected publication: September 1, 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers; source: publisher
Oh, yeah. This story is gritty, filled with cursing and shootouts, dirt and revenge. Seriously, you can practically smell the unmistakeable melange of dust, horse sweat, old leather and B.O. within the pages of this book (ooh, marketing opportunity! heh). After Kate’s father is murdered, she disguises herself as a boy and heads out, seeking vengeance. Along the way, she picks up two brothers (no love triangle, promise) who promise to protect her but may or may not have other goals, a quest for gold, and an Apache girl who may be more than she seems. Kate herself is a pretty cool customer, unflinching in the face of any blood that needs shedding, unafraid in the face of death. I fully appreciated her determination to get the gang who killed the only person in the world she loved and her ability to kick ass along the way. 4 1/2 stars.
YA Paranormal Romance, hardcover, 400 pages; Expected publication: August 11, 2015 by Delacorte Press; source: publisher
I read this book with my brain turned off, which is why I enjoyed it. But then I turned my brain back on and…well, it was rather like when you hang out in a dark bar, enjoying yourself, but then they turn on the lights and you see the sticky floor, the nasty stains, and the peeling paint of the place. It’s not pretty. The same goes for this story. It’s enjoyable until you start to examine it in the harsh light of reality (kind of wish I didn’t turn on the light). Pretty, relatively clueless Lily happens upon a mummy who then turns into a really hot guy who also seems to be sucking the life out of her (in order to sustain his own life, that is) who turns out to be an Egyptian god who who has to get back to Egypt but can’t leave Lily behind. And, of course, she falls for him. Hard. To be fair, Amon, despite his stereotypical YA hero dark moodiness, does try to keep Lily at a distance, knowing there’s only tragedy to be had if they get together (side note: no triangle, despite all the other typical YA romance markers). While I wasn’t the biggest fan, I have a couple readers in mind who will absolutely adore this story so it’s headed to my classroom bookshelf. *braces self for teen squees* Lights off: 3 1/2 stars. Lights on: 2 1/2 stars.
YA Fantasy, hardcover, 320 pages; Published April 28, 2015 by HarperCollins; source: publisher
This is one of the more original YA stories I’ve read in recent years. Cursed with a troubling respiratory condition that’s nearly killed her several times, Aza has never felt quite at home on the ground. Come to find out, she’s not really supposed to be on the earth — she belongs in the sky, on floating ships high up in the stratosphere. Up there, she can breathe, she belongs. And, of course, she finds a boy up there who she might love, too. The creativity throughout this story kept me moving forward, as I wanted to know more about this world and how they survived. However, the long passages of winding monologue and internal thoughts paired with the constant reminder of Aza “illness” detracted from my enjoyment of the story as a whole. 3 stars.
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