Posts Tagged ‘YA’


Book Review: ‘Hush Hush’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

Hush Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick (YA)

Becca Fitzpatrick has done an excellent job of cornering the teen market in her novel, ‘Hush Hush’. It provides the romance of Twilight, the urban edge of City of Bones, and a unique kind of characterization that we don’t often see these days: an independent female protagonist who questions herself, and doesn’t simply give into her emotions. She’s stubborn, determined, and cautious — and our male MC, Patch, is mysterious enough to keep you turning the pages long after everyone else in the house has gone to bed.

I was fortunate enough to be able to read this as an ARC through the First Look program at B&N, and I hear there’s an alternate ending which we didn’t get in our version. And you know what? I enjoyed the book enough to go out and buy a copy, to support this new author’s work. I can’t wait to read more from her… if you have someone in your life who enjoys YA — or if you do, yourself — do yourself a favor and pick this one up!

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (Children’s Fiction/YA)

I read this based on the recommendation of a friend (and because I found it for $0.25 at the book sale), and am very glad I listened to her. In fact, she’s the same one who told me to read Catherine, Called Birdy at the beginning of the year. If I track down I Capture the Castle and get that one out of the way, I’ll have completed the circuit of her “highest YA recommendations”. Huzzah!

But anyway, back to the book. Despite not being too sure about it when I picked it up, it turned out to be an enjoyable read with a strong female lead who I really liked. Her transformation from a timid, well-bred society girl to a courageous young woman was very well done, and I liked how things turned out at the end – not quite the way I expected, and yet it was just right. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 4 coffees out of 5

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Jumping on the Bandwagon

   Posted by: Faith    in Everything Else

Have you heard? Been reading your copy of ‘Shelf Awareness’ e-newsletter every morning, if you’re a librarian or bookseller? Done a Google search for YA publishers lately?

If you haven’t kept up with what’s going on, it’s pretty big news: Harlequin is jumping on the YA bandwagon with a new imprint, called Harlequin Teen. The website isn’t complete yet, and there are only 3 titles officially announced so far, but this is big stuff. With the popularity of teen/young adult fiction, I suppose it was only a matter of time before everyone jumped on the bandwagon… and for ‘unagented’ authors like myself, a new imprint such as this is a hynotizing, flashing neon sign.

Before you jump out of your seat in outrage, thinking of all the horrible possibilities for teen-directed Harlequin romances, I’ll remind you that in the past decade, Harlequin has branched out create a new image. Yes, they still sell smut, but they also have imprints for Christian romance, fantasy/paranormal fiction, chick lit, historical romance, and now… teen fiction.

For this imprint, they’re looking for:

“Fresh, authentic teen fiction featuring extraordinary characters and extraordinary stories set in contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, science-fiction and historical worlds.”

Hmm. Interesting. The first book in the imprint comes out July 29th, called My Soul to Take, about a teenage bean sidhe (ie. banshee). Now that sounds like an interesting concept! (I wish I’d thought of it… hrrmph.) To help promote this first novel, the author is offering an 80-page e-book prequel for free on the book’s website – which I plan to read. If it’s not half bad, I plan to pick up the book when it’s released, and see how that is. If it’s not half bad as well, I plan to wait for the August & September releases, read those, and see what they’re like.

The good thing about Harlequin imprints is that they take unsolicited manuscripts, and many a writer has begun their career with Harlequin. In the past, that’s meant writing smut and moving upward, but thanks to their new imprints, that isn’t always the case…

Then again, it’s still a publisher known for the “romances” it publishes. Would I be comfortable, morally speaking, being published by a place like this? That’s a question only I can answer for myself (and you for yourself), but it’s something worth considering in the process.

At the very least, it’s a new opportunity to think about, pray about, and examine carefully. Many changes in the publishing industry have recently been viewed as negative – small presses closing, imprints shutting down – and it’s easy to forget all the new and exciting things that are happening. This could be one of them! And I, for one, will be watching closely.

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Book Review: ‘Sabriel’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

Sabriel – Garth Nix (YA/Fantasy)

I’m so glad I took the recommendation to read this… and I’m also very glad I pushed through the first 50 pages! I’ll be honest, I was around page 45 and thinking “I really hope this picks up soon… why don’t I like it yet?!?!”, but just a few more pages in and I was hooked. It was entertaining, unique, and for the most part, well crafted. For the most part.

Nix obviously did his world building first, then placed his characters and story inside… because he neglects to explain how things work, and acts like the reader already knows the rules. Well, we don’t, and it would have been nice to have a little rundown. Even a cliche monologue to tell us the rules. Anything. Really!

Fortunately, after page 50 or so, you get used to it and just figure it’ll all work out in the end. It kinda does, and kinda doesn’t, but the story is still very good and leaves you wanting more. I’ll be searching out the next two books in the series, and hope that Nix takes the time to explain more (any?) world rules as the books progress.

With that warning in place: I definitely recommend this book. Let’s face it, with a female necromancer as the lead character, how can you possibly pass it up?

Rating: 3.5 coffees out of 5

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Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot – Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer (YA)

I always enjoy Wrede’s writing, and this book was no exception. It was one of those books that I’d been eyeing for years, but for some reason never had a chance to purchase… so when it was sitting blatantly on the shelf at the library, I figured it was time to give it a go. It’s actually a slower read than it looks – or at least it was for me – and I think that may be because it’s written in Victorian-style language. But that just means it’s a good book to savor, not blast through!

It’s written in letter-style, between two young ladies, and apparently (as stated by the authors in the back of the book) the book came about after Wrede and Stevermer actually just decided to play “The Letter Game” and write letters in character to each other for awhile. Then, when they later sat back and talked about things, they realized they had a book… and so they polished the letters up and the rest is history! I thought that was very interesting: a book that wasn’t intended as a book… I’ll be honest, I think it shows in just a few spots where the story dragged a little, but I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from picking this up. There are two more books after this one, and I’ve got them on the list to find the next time I’m at the library (or, let’s be honest, a bookstore). A worthwhile read!

Rating: 3.5 coffees out of 5

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