Sunday, May 15, 2016

Best new fiction releases for YAs and MGs--week of May 17, 2016

Well, so far I've officially kept up with a new YA and MG releases "best of" list for three weeks in a row! It's been a popular list with librarians and teachers, so please help share the love!

This week's list features my top seven YA picks, two MG picks, and one Islamic fairy tale picture book for older readers. Since only two MGs got my attention this week, I've included them in this post rather than writing a separate post for MGs.

*The links below are Amazon affiliate links, so if you click one of my Amazon links, then buy something (anything!) from Amazon, I get a minuscule percentage to help support my insatiable Starbucks Hazelnut Latte habit.

MY TOP YA PICKS THIS WEEK (MAY 17) ARE...


The Crown's Game (Evelyn Skye)
Debut author! Set in Russia! During the Ottoman Empire! With magic and romance! Do I have your attention now? This one reminds me a bit of Throne of Glass and And I Darken (coming in July), both of which feature strong female leads who can kick some serious boo-tay. Nikolai and Vika are the only two enchanters in Russia. The tsar, fearful of constant threat from the Ottoman Empire, holds The Crown's Game, an ancient fight-to-the-death duel, to see which one is strong enough to become the tsar's enchanter. Historical fiction, action, romance.

Places No One Knows (Brenna Yovanoff)
Overachiever Waverly Camdenmar dreams herself into the bedroom of stoner Marshall Holt. Magical realism can be a bit of a tough-sell, but I think the romance between this unlikely pair could make it a hit with readers (like me) who loved Levithan's Every Day and In a World Just Right (Brooks). Magical realism, romance.
Devil and the Bluebird (Jennifer Mason-Black)
I love road trips, and this one is devil-inspired! Grieving over her mother's death to cancer, Blue Riley meets a beautiful devil and makes a pact: trade her voice for one chance to find her runaway sister Cass. Armed with a blue guitar, some mementos, and a pair of magical Boots, Blue heads west to find Cass. Contemporary, problem fiction, magical realism.
Draw the Line (Laurent Linn)
Another promising debut author! Adrian Parker a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay--not the easiest combination for a high school boy in Texas. So Adrian tries to blend in as much as possible and enjoys working on his comic drawings of a non-violent superhero named Graphite. But when a shocking hate crime turns Adrian's life upside down, Adrian starts to wonder if it might be time to become more visible. Oh, and it's illustrated! Contemporary, GLBT, graphic novel.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You (Lily Anderson)
Author Lily Anderson is a school librarian--talk about knowing your audience! I love how so many YA books and TV shows are helping to make geekdom cool. In this one, Trixie Watson has two goals for Senior Year: save enough money to buy all the Dr. Who figurines at the local comic book shop, and to rank higher at graduation than her arch-enemy-since-first-grade, Ben West. But when Trixie's best friend starts dating Ben's best friend, Trixie finds herself around Ben a lot more than she wants to be. Contemporary romance.
The Problem With Forever (Jennifer Armentrout)
For Mallory "Mouse" Dodge, silence and staying in the shadows are the key to survival. Since a traumatic event four years ago, Mallory has nurtured her scars with a loving adoptive family. Now 17, Mallory faces one of her greatest fears: returning to her public high school after years of homeschooling. On her first day of school, she encounters Rider Stark, her former friend and protector who she hasn't seen since childhood. Contemporary romance.
Girl Against the Universe (Paula Stokes)
Convinced she causes bad luck for anyone around her, Macguire decides it's best if she just stay in her room and avoid meeting anyone new. But when Macguire meets Jordy, a lucky aspiring tennis star, she just can't make herself stay away. Contemporary romance.

AND MY TWO MIDDLE GRADE PICKS FOR THIS WEEK:
Beautiful Pretender (Melanie Dickerson)
I have read several of Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale retellings, and I always love them. They are Christian fiction set in medieval kingdoms, so expect prayer, chivalry, and a pretty clean read. This one is about a servant girl named Avelina who is sent in someone else's place to participate in a two-week bride selection process at the palace. Like America Singer in Cass's The Selection, Avelina is not interested in marrying the prince, which is exactly what gets his attention. This title (as well as other Dickerson fairy tales) is labeled YA but would also work for middle school. Christian fiction, romance, fairy tales.
Some Kind of Happiness (Claire LeGrande)
Finley Hart has troubles. Her parents' marriage is on the rocks. She's been sent to her grandparents, whom she's never met, for the entire summer. Life is overwhelming, and she's battling a LOT of sad days. To keep herself sane, Finley retreats into Everwood, a place that exists in the pages of her notebook. But when she arrives at her grandparents, she discovers that the woods around their house are Everwood. Magical realism.

HONORABLE MENTION GOES TO:

Sleeping Beauty: An Islamic Tale (Fawzia Gilani)
Okay, so it's not technically a YA book, but I wanted to mention this one because Islamic picture books are hard to come by! More importantly, the author is a teacher and librarian who has taught in the US, UK, and Canada. She is now an educational consultant in Qatar. I love reading picture books with my middle and high school students, and I think considering today's hostile political climate, anything we can do to encourage a better understanding of Islam and Middle Eastern cultures is a good thing. The same author also wrote Cinderella: An Islamic Tale and Snow White: An Islamic Tale.


MORE YA AND MG RELEASING THIS WEEK:











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