Explode Your Holds With More New YA!

Continued Series Fiction:

Ones and Zeroes by Dan Wells (A Mirador Novel)

Searching for a mysterious hacker when her Overworld team is invited to compete in an exclusive tournament, Marisa discovers that the event is rife with corruption, infighting, and dangers that render winning the only way to survive.

The Last of August by Britanny Cavallaro (Sequel to A Study in Charlotte)

While on winter break, Charlotte and Jamie find themselves caught up in another mystery when Charlotte's uncle goes missing and they begin an investigation into a German art forgery ring.

The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine (A Ravenspire Novel)

In this retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, follows the adventures of Ari, an illegitimate princess who in an effort to escape her twin brother's fate, trains to be a fighter so that she can defeat an evil wish granter.

Dare You by Jennifer Brown (A Shade Me Novel)

When her investigation into the murder of Peyton Hollis entangles her in a web of dangerous family secrets, Nikki finds herself framed for the crime and is forced to team up with the enigmatic Detective Martinez to escape imprisonment and worse.

Denton Little’s Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin (Sequel to Denton Little’s Deathdate)

Living in an alternate world where everyone knows the day they will die, Denton Little survives his death date and finds himself separated from his family and chased by a ruthless Death Investigation Agency.

Realistic Fiction:

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

After leaving her life behind to go to college in New York, Marin must face the truth about the tragedy that happened in the final weeks of summer when her friend Mabel comes to visit.

Mystery & Thrillers:

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Ben learns why the love of his life Mira and her sister drowned themselves when he receives a post-mortem letter from Mira challenging him to find and decode notes hidden in the seven places where they secretly touched.

Nonfiction:

Girl Rising by Tanya Lee Stone

Worldwide, over 62 million girls are not in school. But one girl with courage is a revolution. Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls' education, created a film that chronicled the stories of nine girls in the developing world, allowing viewers the opportunity to witness how education can break the cycle of poverty. With full-color photos from the film, infographics, and a compelling narrative, Girl Rising will inspire readers of all ages to join together in a growing movement to help change the world.

Audiobooks:

Disruptor by Arwen Elys Dayton (Final Book in the Seeker Series)

Quin has spent her life as her father pawn. She was trained to kill and manipulated to guarantee her family power. And now that she broken free of that life, she found herself trapped again, hostage to a plot that has been centuries in the making. It taken generations for the pieces to come together, and finally all is in place. Her best friend Shinobu mind has been corrupted, the Young Dread has aligned with her enemy John, and the bloodthirsty Watchers are being awakened and gathered. Now there is nothing that can stop the force of time. But Quin will no longer be a pawn. Quin is a Seeker. She stands for light in a shadowy world. She will face the vengeance of the past and its enemies and save herself and the ones she loves, or she will die trying.

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a dark, thrilling read, packed with period detail and plenty of gruesome gore. This fast-moving, gothic murder mystery is set in gritty Victorian-era London, where an intrepid society girl finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns are augmented with real, sinister period photos, which adds an eerie feel and depth to the story. The author clearly did a lot of research on the real Jack the Ripper, and used these historical details to create a thrilling murder mystery which is even more chilling because the Ripper was a real historical person. Maniscalco really inhabits this era well, and her main character, Audrey Rose, is believable and relateable. This was one book I couldn’t put down! Highly recommended if you like historical fiction, or murder mysteries, or if you like your main characters dark.

Explode Your Holds: New YA!

Continuing Series:

Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes (A Queen of Hearts Novel)

Exiled from Wonderland, Dinah hides in the Twisted Wood, but a chance encounter with one of her father's enemies drives her to confront her dark destiny.

Silver Stars by Michael Grant (A Front Lines Novel)

During the summer of 1943, women soldiers Frangie, Rainy, and Rio accompany the American Army to Sicily to fight on the front lines.

Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan (Sequel to Reign of Shadows)

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven't escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry (A Thunder Road Novel)

Chevy whispered, 'Do you trust me?' Of course I did. Trused him to be the first boy to hold my hand. Trusted him to be the first boy I kissed. Did I trust him with my life? Chevy sits with me in the backseat. Our legs are pressed tight together and he hooks one of his fingers with mine. He slides his finger up and down in a reassuring caress. Not too fast, not too slow. It's like a heartbeat. A promise. We're going home. He's here with me. It's going to be okay. I want to believe him, but I'm not sure if I can…

Starfall by Melissa Landers (Sequel to Starflight)

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

Speculative Fiction:

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

In 1812, Lady Helen, taking refuge for the summer in Brighton, learns the Dark Days Club has a secret mission for her.

Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods--no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity--and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone. Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible.

Exo by Fonda Lee

For a century now, Earth has been a peaceful colony of an alien race, and Donovan Reyes is a loyal member of the security forces, while his father is the Prime Liaison--but when a routine search and seizure goes bad Donovan finds himself a captive of the human revolutionary group, Sapience, terrorists who seem to prefer war to alien rule, and killing Donovan just might be the incident they are looking for.

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

Jonah, who suffers from scoliosis and epileptic seizures, worries that he will lose his best friend when she has a premonition warning her to leave town.

Mystery & Thrillers:

Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine

Following her fortune-hunting mother's plan, a teenaged arsonist meets her wealthy, dying father, the owner of a priceless art collection, only to discover that the stories she has been told about him all her life might not have been true.

Bone Jack by Sara Crowe

Ash Tyler hopes to make his psychologically scarred father proud by training for his town's Stag Chase, but when he meets the mysterious Bone Jack, dark energies take root and the world as he knows it is upended.

When by Victoria Laurie

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Flynn cannot help but see the death date of everyone she meets or sees in a photograph or on-screen, and her alcoholic mother exploits this by having her do readings for money, but when Maddie predicts the death of a young boy, she becomes the center of an FBI investigation.

Nonfiction:

Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell

Written in blank verse, the story of Mildred Loving, an African American girl, and Richard Loving, a Caucasian boy, who challenge the Viriginia law forbidding interracial marriages in the 1950s.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelley Jensen

A scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist packed with contributions from a diverse range of voices, including celebrities and public figures, and featuring more than forty-four pieces, including an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.

Romance:

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Sixteen-year-old Neruda Diaz, influenced by his namesake, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, yearns to fall in love but has yet to find the right girl.

Alive by Chandler Baker

After finally receiving a heart transplant, seventeen-year-old Stella throws herself into her new life, but her recovery is marred with strange side effects and hallucinations, and when she meets Levi Zin, a mysterious new boy at her Seattle prep school, Stella soon realizes that she and Levi have more in common than she could ever imagine.

Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

Two girls, two stories, one novel.

While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other’s story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters. I decided to read them separately.

Lyra
Lyra’s story begins at the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, it looks serene and even beautiful, from a distance. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.

But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.

Gemma
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April.

But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 (Lyra) and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learns terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.

I really liked the idea that the novel could be read by alternating chapters, or as separate stories with interconnecting elements. Turn the book one way and read Lyra’s story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma’s story. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey. In this “flip book” that contains two narratives in one, and is the first in a duology, Oliver explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. She is excellent at portraying the emotion and angst of a (relatively) normal teen with Gemma, which contrasts starkly with the bleak, futuristic environment poor Lyra inhabits. The interplay between all the characters is really interesting as well, especially how both girls react to the different boys in their lives, and with each other. All in all, it made them both pretty relatable, and so you get invested in the story and its characters. Once I started it, I burned through this novel. Highly recommended for anyone who likes Science Fiction or Dystopian Fiction, and for anyone who enjoys interesting representations of teenage girls as main characters in contemporary fiction.

Romantic Reads

Looking for some romantic reads to get your Valentine's Day fix? Look no further than these love stories!

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Romeo and Juliet meets The Fast and the Furious in this edgy romance set in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

When Oliver and June are forced to ride to school together each morning, no one is more surprised than this odd couple when a friendship--and then romance--develops.

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

While Liz is planning a summer that includes a possible new boyfriend and great parties, Jason Sullivan, the boy who used to be her best friend before he was sent away, returns, and she is torn between her new life and her feelings for Jason.

No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston, but Preston doesn't know. Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics swim team so there is very little time for Nathan to come clean about his feelings. Will a whirlwind trip to Europe help things along?

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Taylor, a senator's daughter, was captain of the soccer team and contender for valedictorian at her private school, but gets kicked out, sent to a rival high school, and soon she is falling for her brother's friend Ezra. Taylor's always pushed herself to be perfect, but one impulsive lie to cover for her boyfriend and she's kicked out of private school. Starting over at Hundred Oaks High it's hard to fit in and play on a soccer team that used to be her rival. Only her brother's friend, Ezra, seems to understand all that she's going through. Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods

As the daughter of an astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows the truth lies within the stars, so when she discovers a rare planetary alignment she is forced to tackle her worst astrological fear--The Fifth House of Relationships and Love--but Wil must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her mother's legacy when she falls for a sensitive guitar player.

Love and F1rst Sight by Josh Sundquist

Sixteen-year-old blind teen Will Porter undergoes an experimental surgery that enables him to see for the first time, all while navigating a new school, new friends, and a crush.

The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron

A heart-wrenching debut novel about relationships in its many forms--families, friendships, romance--and how Lily and Dari, coming from different backgrounds and different worlds, strive to find a connection through their differences as they fight against their own individual pasts.

Darcy Swipes Left by Jane Austen + Courtney Carbone

The classic Jane Austen love story of Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy is told through its characters texting with emojis, checking in at certain locations, and updating their relationship statuses.

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

An aroma expert embarks on what she fears will be a life of solitude and dreams of a normal high school existence before an accident leads to an unexpected forbidden romance.

History is all You Left Me by Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen

Charlotte has a plan: get the top grades in her class, make her grandmother proud, and get into Stanford with early admission, something no one else in her family has done. Her plan does not include dating, boyfriends, or the prom--because she doesn't want to end up like her mother and sister, who were obsessed with boys and have paid the price. But that was before Tate. Before the biggest pop star on the planet took an interest in her. And now, Charlotte doesn't know what she wants.

Rose Blood by A. G. Howard

Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past. Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she's seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn't have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he's ever known.

Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

In the midst of racial conflict and at the edges of a war at the Texas-Mexico border in 1915, Joaquín and Dulceña attempt to maintain a secret romance in this reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it's the 80's after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they've graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams. During their first year apart, Scott and Cath's letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that's clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond. This funny yet deeply moving book--set to an awesome 80's soundtrack--captures all the beautiful confusion and emotional intensity we find on the verge of adulthood ... and first love.

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it's okay to be less than perfect, because it's our imperfections that make us who we are.

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

As alluded to by the title, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two teenage boys named Will Grayson who one day meet out of fate in downtown Chicago. In the book, each Will’s perspective is written by alternating between chapters. One Will Grayson has a huge friend, ironically named Tiny Cooper. This Will Grayson takes a liking to Tiny’s friend Jane. Meanwhile, the other “will” (who only writes in lowercase letters), is in love with his online boyfriend, Isaac, which doesn’t work out. In a surprising turn of events, Tiny and will end up dating. As their lives begin to intertwine, each Will Grayson struggles to find his place in the world. Not only is the story revolving around the Will Graysons, but there is a lot of emphasis on Tiny Cooper, who is trying to write an amazing musical about his life.

This novel, is full of lots of drama, with some exaggerated character types, which make the novel a fun and interesting read. It’s very well written and easy to distinguish between the two Will Graysons. I really enjoyed the plot line and how there was a more modern view taken on it. I’d recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson to any teenager who likes other novels written by John Green or any teenager in general.

Reviewed by Brina Patel