Sunday, June 26, 2016

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Jersey Cameron, 17, lives with her mom, stepdad Ronnie, and 5-year old sister Marin in Elizabeth, Missouri. She has always loved a good storm and after years of practicing tornado drills, it has become difficult to take tornado warnings seriously. But as the weather grows increasingly dangerous and warnings become more frequent, Jersey finally retreats to the basement hoping that her mom and little sister are also finding shelter in a safe place.

Everyone knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound, but few are prepared for the aftermath of a violent and destructive storm. And Jersey could never have been prepared for what she sees when she emerges from the basement. Her town has been devastated by a tornado. Her house is gone. Her family is gone, She is alone in a town where few buildings are left standing. The destruction is unimaginable as are the dark days to follow.

Torn Away is a story about love, loss, hope, and survival. Jersey learns as she struggles to overcome her grief that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy. Readers who love realistic fiction will find this book to be both tragic and heartwarming. Author Jennifer Brown pulls no punches as she describes the spectrum of the human experience - from selfish and ugly family members on one side of Jersey's family to loving and caring grandparents on the other side of her family, whose unconditional love teaches Jersey about the most important things in life. Torn Away has been nominated for the 2016-2017 Young Adult Golden Sower Award.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Jackaby by William Ritter

Jackaby is a fantasy detective story told through the voice of Abigail Rook. Abigail has just arrived in the United States from Europe in 1892. Like her anthropologist father she is well-educated, but is bored with her private boarding school life and is in search of adventure. Upon arriving in New England, Abigail has very little money with which to find a job or lodging. Finally, she happens upon an advertisement from R.F. Jackaby, resident PI of the small town of Fiddleham. But Jackaby isn't your normal private investigator. Abigail soon discovers that he has a keen eye for the extraordinary - including the ability to see supernatural beings. When Abigail accepts a job as the detective's assistant, she also inherits a ghostly neighbor, a man who has been turned into a mallard, and a third floor attic that looks and acts suspiciously like a woodland glade.

Her first day on the job, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it is an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it's a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police deny. If you enjoy both mystery and fantasy, Jackaby may be a great next read. It has been nominated for the 2016-2017 Young Adult Golden Sower Award. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Kestrel is the daughter of a powerful general in the Valorian empire, an empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. She leads a fairly sheltered life in the recently conquered lands of Herrani. Though not much of a fighter, Kestrel has two choices upon turning 18 - she can join the military or get married. She has stubbornly resisted both of these choices.

At the marketplace, on a whim, she purchases Arin, a slave that she is strangely drawn to.  What Kestrel doesn't know is that Arin isn't just anyone - he's a fierce Herrani loyalist and has a plan of his own to free his people. Arin is also drawn to Kestrel and it's not long before their growing love must be hidden. Both must now weigh the responsibilities they have for their people against the connection they share with each other. The fate of the Empire rests on Kestrel's shoulders, while the fate of the revolution and freedom of his people rests on Arin's. And...both are beginning to realize that winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

The Winners Curse is the first in a (currently) 4-book series and has been nominated for the 2016-2017 Young Adult Golden Sower Award.

Click here to view the book trailer.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Dash by Kirby Larson

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mitsi finds her life changing dramatically. The country begins to mistrust all Japanese Americans and classmates who had been friends suddenly turn against her. She and her family are forced to leave their home and move into an internment camp where living is dirty and crowded and the camp is surrounded by barbed wire fences. Mitsi is devastated to learn that her one steadfast ally, her dog Dash, cannot accompany them.

Through a kind neighbor, Mitsi remains connected to Dash in spite of the hard times, holding onto hope that she and her family will be able to return to their home some day. Despite the hurdles Mitsi faces, resourcefulness, a new friend, and letters from home help her triumph over the anti-Japanese semitism and difficult living conditions.

Dash has been nominated for the 2016-2017 Intermediate Golden Sower Award. This will be a quick read for lovers of historical fiction.

Click here to view a book trailer

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen takes place in a setting where people are divided into different groups, depending on the color of their blood. The silver blooded are blessed with extraordinary powers and live lives of luxury and privilege. Red blooded people are seen as inferior and are forced to live lives of extreme poverty. Mare Barrow is a 17 year-old Red girl, who discovers that  she possesses an ability no one, not even a Silver, has ever seen before.
While working in the Silver's palace, Mare's powers are accidentally revealed and a scheme is devised to explain why a Red would have such fearful powers. In attempt to hide her in plain sight, the king and queen declare her to be a long-lost Silver princess and announce her engagement to a Silver prince. Because of her hate for the Silvers, Mare joins the Red Guard and vows to do whatever she can to bring down the Silver regime, even if the cost is her own life. In this world of  betrayal and lies, Mare struggles to understand her feelings about two different princes, and begins to question who she can really trust in a place where nothing is as it seems.
Red Queen has been nominated for the 2016-2017 Young Adult Golden Sower Award. Don't miss this one! Expect Red Queen to be in high demand, as well as its sequel The Glass Sword.