So I recently realized that over the past year I’ve read several YA books that I never got around to reviewing. Now, many of these books have sequels out or soon to be released. Here’s a quick look at some of the books I overlooked:
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
In a near future where chocolate and
caffeine are contraband, water and
paper are carefully rationed, and curfews are strictly enforced, sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine finds
herself coping with an ailing grandmother and mothering her orphaned siblings.Oh, and she also gets herself tangled up in the illegal family business while falling for the son of New York’s new District Attorney. Anya is a strong and fascinating character and this book provides a slightly different slant in dystopian literature, but I felt that some of the details strained credibility. For me the book fell a bit flat, especially the romantic relationship. But there’s still hope for this wonderful premise and characters: Book 2, Because It’s in My Blood, is due out September 18, 2012.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
On the run from an incurable brain tumor, 17-year-old Alex is camping alone in the mountains when catastrophe strikes. The sudden explosion of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) instantly kills most of the adults and turns many of the younger humans into crazed, flesh-eating monsters. Tough and resourceful, Alex teams up with a contrary eight-year-old and a young soldier named Tom. The first half of this novel is a high-energy gorefest that kept me enthralled, but events take a sudden turn midway though. The creepy factor ratchets up in a totally new way, but the sudden veer had me baffled for a bit. However, the cliffhanger ending takes a turn back in the right direction. There are tons of questions left in the air, and I can’t wait for the sequel, Shadows, due out September 25, 2012! For its foray into societal issues and mores as well as the vivid action sequences, Walking Dead fans will definitely want to check this one out.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Decades ago, when it became clear Earth would not survive much longer, two pioneer spacecraft were launched to locate and colonize a New Earth. Fifteen-year-old Waverly and her boyfriend Kieran were born aboard the Empyrean, a completely self-contained habitat. The Empyrean and its inhabitants are still at least 40 years away from reaching their goal when their sister ship, New Horizon, inexplicably attacks and kidnaps all of the girls. Suddenly, Kieran finds himself in a power struggle with Seth, who becomes both a romantic rival and a rival to Kieran’s role as future leader of the ship. Meanwhile, Waverly must figure out a way to thwart her captors. This is a fast-paced space epic with some fascinating twists. A less-than-subtle dig at the corruptible qualities of organized religion may alienate some readers. The second installment of the series, Spark, was released July 17, 2012.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole sees ghosts. Or, at least she believes that’s what they are. Now that she is home—after being hospitalized for a nervous breakdown—her older brother and guardian has hired the Hourglass Institute to help Emerson deal with her “hallucinations.” But Micheal Weaver is not the therapist Emerson expects; instead he is a consultant for a secretive organization that works with gifted people of the X-men variety, helping them to develop and use their abilities for good. Emerson believes he’s nuts at first, but soon she’s thinking all sorts of things might be possible, including time travel. This book isn’t perfect, but Emerson is a likeable, slightly offbeat narrator, and the romantic triangle that develops with Michael and Kaleb is intriguing if a bit predictable. Hourglass is a clever combination of science fiction, superheroes, and paranormal romance that will appeal to a wide range of readers. The sequel, Timepiece, is now available.
Genre: Post-apocalyptic Fiction
Rating: 3/5 Stars
In a future world where genetic engineering has created a disease that kills women by the age of 20 and men by the age of 25, polygamy has become a way of life for the rich and a means of ensuring survival of the species. Rhine is sixteen when she is kidnapped from her Manhattan neighborhood and forced to become the bride of Linden Ashby, one of the most handsome and affluent young men in Florida. Even as Rhine struggles with her feelings about her new husband, she also develops a wary relationship with one of the household’s male servants. And yet she is determined not to allow her developing relationships to make her lose sight of her goal to escape and somehow reunite with her twin brother. This is a creepy, dangerous world filled with hidden agendas. The narrative tension is high and although I was often frustrated by Rhine’s inner conflicts, I fully plan to discover more of this disturbing world in Fever.