1. For Keeps by Natasha Friend- Book description: “For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it. Until one day, they find out that Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend-the father Josie has never met-is back in town. Josie’s mom suddenly turns back into the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend. And when Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci and the past, she begins questioning what she thought she knew, and finds out what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.”
This is a great contemporary YA novel. I especially loved how it dealt with dark issues without being depressing. It can be really hard to find a contemporary YA novel that’s not depressing in the middle.
2. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson- Book description: “The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
Soon Rippermania” takes hold of modern-dayLondon, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.”
I LOVE LOVED this book. I can’t wait to read the next one. Creepy, intriguing, and SO unique! I highly recommend it.
3. Going Bovine by Libba Bray- Book description: “Can Cameron find what he’s looking for?
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.”
I cried over this book and I’ve never cried at a book or movie in my life. It’s haunting and beautiful and disturbing. I’m still thinking about it three weeks later. How often can you say that about a book? Please, please read this one.
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor- Book description: “Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal other wordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?”
Another GREAT book. This was one that renewed my desire to be a writer. I can only hope to write a book ¼ as great as this one someday.
5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver- Book description: “Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.
I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.
I want to get it over with.
It’s hard to be patient.
It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet.
Still, I worry.
They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.
The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.”
The best dystopian novel I’ve read, and even though I hear there is going to be a sequel, I will say the ending didn’t have enough of a resolution. Still extremely good. Read it!
6. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer-Book description: “Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event–an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.
With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.”
LOVED LOVED this. Haunting and scary. It really made me think. Again, the ending was not resolved to my satisfaction. In fact, I felt like someone ripped a couple of pages out of my library copy. I hear there are a couple companion novels, one that came before this one and one after, and that the one after does have some resolution. I still felt like it left the reader hanging in an unacceptable way. Still, it was great, and very different from other books out there. Would highly recommend it.