Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Reading Guides 2014: YOUNG ADULT EDITION

Young adult fiction is where I feel comfortable as a reader.  My recent Facebook quiz score guessing my age had me at 18 (almost half my life ago), so it's no wonder this is my sweet spot.  I find the authors more engaging and less snobbish, the plot faster and more engaging, and the characters strangely identifiable.  I don't feel like I need to apologize for loving YA, but sometimes, I feel like I need to explain it.  But, that's a whole other issue, right?

So, as with the Middle Reader Edition of our Summer Reading Guides, this list is heavily influenced by our Phoenix Comicon attendance and the authors we met there.  Two authors on this list are local: Erin Jade Lange and Shonna Slayton.  And the rest just have me intrigued by very fun concepts that stand out in a crowd.

In The Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim DiBartolo

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch. 
Thomas and Charles are brothers who've been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can't. 
Arthur is also new to the boarding house. His fate is tied to that of Cora, Minnie, Thomas, and Charles. He knows what darkness circles them, but can't say why, and doesn't even know if they can be saved. 
Sinister forces are working in the shadows, manipulating fates and crafting conspiracies. The closer Cora, Minnie, Arthur, Thomas, and Charles get to the truth, the closer they get to harm. But the threat is much bigger than they can see. It is strangling the world.
Until one of the boys decides he wants to save it.

What I'm excited about in this book is the art.  I recommended the hardcover version to everyone on Instagram because the pictures and the text just aren't the same in the e-version.  I am so excited to jump into this literary/art mashup because it's unusual and intriguing.

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

A riddle rarely makes sense the first time you hear it. The connection between Dane, a bully, and Billy D, a guy with Down Syndrome, doesn't even make sense the second time you hear it. But it's a collection of riddles that solidify their unlikely friendship. 
Dane doesn't know who his dad is. Billy doesn't know where his dad is. So when Billy asks for Dane's help solving the riddles his dad left in an atlas, Dane can't help but agree. The unmarked towns lead them closer to secrets of the past. But there's one secret Billy isn't sharing. It's a secret Dane might have liked to know before he stole his mom's car and her lottery winnings and set off on a road trip that will put him face to face with Billy's dad.

This is also on the list of books you might like if you liked Butter, but Erin personally assured us that this book is better than Butter, and if that's the case, I'm totally game.

Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton

Being a teen-ager during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher. 
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated. 
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late. 
After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.
I'm a good ways through this one, and I'm really enjoying the innocence of the time period, along with the novelty of Cinderella's dress being a historical force.  Plus, meeting Shonna at Phoenix Comicon was great, she's super down-to-earth and she's super cute.

The Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. 
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity. 
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader. 
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
Danielle had a quote on our Ten Lively Phoenix Comicon Author Quotes post, and I really loved that she just daydreams thinking about random things.  So, I've added her book here, sharing it with you guys and hoping you like.

Captives by Jill Williamson

In a dystopian future, eighteen-year-old Levi returns from Denver City with his latest scavenged treasures and finds his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many--including his fiancée, Jem--taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe. 
Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Lands has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago ... and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar's dreams. 
Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only the people of his village, but also possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands' walls. Will Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Lands' façade before it's too late?

Also met Jill this year at a fun lunch with Book Sparks PR in Tempe.   After I was done with my fangirl for Lisa T. Bergren, I actually paid attention to Miss Jill Williamson and was very impressed.  I'm very excited to add this sci-fi title to the list!  The second in the Safe Lands series, Outcasts is already on sale at an indie bookstore near you.

All links are affiliate Amazon links and they give me a little money if you buy something after clicking.

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