Aliens are invading the Teen section. Unlike a certain two-hearted bowtie-wearing alien doctor, the extraterrestrial visitors of Margaret Stohl’s Icons and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave mean us harm. Not only will both titles make you want to build a tin foil hat and prepare your emergency kit, they also release on the same day. How do you choose which one to read first?
Icons is Margaret Stohl’s solo debut; it’s the easy first choice for fans of the Beautiful Creatures series. Instead of a complex world in and beneath tiny Gatlin, Stohl builds a complex world in post-invasion Los Angeles. I loved seeing familiar landmarks like the Griffin Observatory transformed. I also enjoyed the insertion of research documents or transcripts in between chapters, as it reminded me of video games where you hunt for scraps of the history as you play through the present storyline. Too many details would give things away, but Stohl has obviously given considerable thought to how the history of her world has shaped its present.
The biggest draw of Icons is the concept of the Icon Children. Read a little deeper and you can see their group dynamics as an exploration of how emotions work within our psyches. Similar to the Casters (from Beautiful Creatures) and their individual powers, the idea of what being a Weeper, Rager, Lover, or Freak means and how it affects every aspect of that character’s life is fascinating. Thus, the book is far more about the characters of Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas than it is about the aliens who conquered their world.
In Icons, the future is occupation and oppression. The aliens may not walk among us, but no one forgets the hold they have over Earth. As the story happens after the invasion, the world you see is the result of years of servitude. Because society has returned to a status quo, Icons reminds me of classic science fiction like John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids.
Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave is a book so gritty you feel sand crunch in your teeth. Yancey drops you into the invasion, as The 5th Wave could happen tomorrow—and the immediacy of that dread is heavy in the air. Described as both “Ender's Game meets The Passage” and “Dark Inside meets The Host,” The 5th Wave is a must-read for all fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games.
Extermination is the modus operandi of the aliens in The 5th Wave. Grief and loss saturates this world—it is survivalist, militant, dark, and violent. Within the first hundred pages, Yancy grounds the tale in realistic details so you feel the isolation of the woods and that quiet stillness that happens when you leave the hum of the city. Only this silence blankets the entire earth.
Both Icons and The 5th Wave have romantic subplots. Both explore the ideas of family and loyalty. Both feature strong characters learning to be emotionally vulnerable and emotionally vulnerable characters learning to be stronger. But Icons is a tighter, more character-driven story, and The 5th Wave is an ambitious, more plot-driven story. Icons made me believe any of us could save the world from aliens; The 5th Wave made me believe it needed saving from aliens.
Read Icons first if: You’re a fan of Beautiful Creatures. You like stories that start smaller and build to big emotional climaxes. You want a story balanced between light and dark moments, with lots of science fiction references and jokes. You like anime. (Especially if you like Sailor Moon.) You get excited about Doctor Who.
Read The 5th Wave first if: You want a gritty, Christopher Nolan-like approached to alien invasion. You loved Divergent. You can’t wait to watch Ender’s Game on the big screen. You play Halo. You want tons of action. The more plot twists a book has, the more you want to read it.
It’s hard to say whether Ally Carter or Toronto gives the warmer welcome as she takes the stage at Indigo Yorkdale. "Hello, Canada! I feel like a rockstar," Carter says to a cheering crowd, who have gathered to meet the author of two best-selling Teen series: The Gallagher Girls and the Heist Society novels.
Part thriller and part mystery—with a dash of romance—Ally Carter's novels are all adventure. They're the kind of books you pick up and don't put back down; the kind that make you feel like our world is as mysterious and exciting as any found in a fantasy or science fiction title. Carter builds books around the troupe of teenagers taking on more than they can handle, and as a result her plots are driven by smart young women who get themselves in and out of trouble. "I write about teenagers. Those are my people," Carter says. "No one is more underestimated than a teenage girl."
The Heist Society series follows the daring adventures of Katarina "Kat" Bishop, whose family business is long cons and expert fakes. Think Ocean's 11 with teens, and you're headed in the right direction. Full of twists, double-crosses, and mysteries, the Heist Society novels are brainy good fun. Enjoyable because the reader is immersed in Kat's world, and even Kat doesn't always know who to trust.
"I like the idea of not everything being spoonfed," Carter says. "I write spies and thieves. I'm a covert kind of girl."
Given this love of action, it's no surprise that Carter's current book obsession is Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Like Carter's characters, Katniss Everdeen also proves the dangers of underestimating teenagers. Carter found The Hunger Games as a whole to be "so perfect" that she would've been satisfied with the story without reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay. (Of course, she has read the entire trilogy.)
As Carter signs copies of Perfect Scoundrels, the latest Heist Society book, we discuss how Collins so successfully told a story about war and its ramifications. Carter notes how the returning champions in Catching Fire—the movie due out this November—represent a wide variety of people, but all of them have been damaged by their time in the Arena. “If you go to the Hunger Games, it’s going to ruin your life,” she says. “You’re going to die or wish you’d died.”
While Mockingjay emphasizes how damanging the Hunger Games and war are to everyone involved, that message was often overshadowed in the lead up to the book's release with readers asking each other "Team Peeta or Team Gale?". Carter is facing a similar situation. While working on the final Gallagher Girls book, she has had the frustration of readers asking which guy Cammi, the main character, will be paired off at the end. One reader, in particular, was very opinionated about it and told Carter so on Twitter.
“It bothers me as a writer and as a woman,” she says, “when a character’s story isn’t over until she’s married with a baby.”
Teen series readers are known for their passionate opinions on whom should end up with whom—which may have begun with Twilight, and is now a part of the reading experience for most of the popular series in the section. While it creates an easy way for readers to connect with the books and each other, it can also create unfair expectations for authors. Obsessions have a dark edge, after all; they can make us lose sight of things.
"You don't get to make a threat to get the ending you want," Carter says. "You should be surprised by the ending of your favourite book."
She explains that part of the success of series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight is that fans didn’t know how they were going to end and had to keep reading to find the answers. I have to agree; what makes me hungry for more Heist Society novels is the greater mystery around Visily Romani—or at least who is currently using his identity. (Is it Uncle Eddie? Someone we haven't met yet?) Sparks fly between Kat and Hale, and I'm definitely invested in seeing how that works out, but it's the adventure and intrigue that grabbed a hold of me in Heist Society, kept me turning pages in Uncommon Crimminals, and had me counting down to the release of Perfect Scoundrels.
But I'd be lying if I denied being obsessed with learning what the W's in W. W. Hale the Fourth stand for. When the mic passes to a reader in the crowd who asks if we'll ever find out, Carter smiles and replies she’s having too much fun keeping Kat—and us—guessing.
Requiem is the fitting finale to Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy, an ode to the things lost and found by Lena and really, everyone, as we enter adulthood. All of Oliver’s books are beautifully written; their lyrical prose pulls you through the story and into this future world where love is a disease—dangerous, illegal, and much harder to extinguish than anyone thought.
Told in alternating POVs, Requiem moves between Lena in the Wilds, as she fights for the resistance and against her feelings for both Julian and Alex, and Hana in Portland as she navigates her post-cure life and upcoming marriage to Fred Hargrove. It’s interesting how Lena and Hana went in opposite directions as they grew, and I enjoyed Hana's comments on this in Requiem.
Oliver’s trilogy is a superb example of how a talented writer can use setting as metaphor, allowing the outer world to convey the inner world of her characters. In Delirium both Portland and the Wilds took turns acting as an idyllic world, but as the story progressed both places are shown to be full of as much darkness and strife as they are joy. One of the things I respect this trilogy for is its honesty about what escaping civilization would really be like. I also love how this series is distinctly not-paranormal but Oliver ties the delira together with the idea of vampires or other monsters, showing how in this future society the idea of love has been transformed into the monsters of our horror stories.
Within Requiem are many of the needed confrontations and reconciliations between characters. Both Lena and Hana have some choices to make, and they both struggle against different obstacles to find the courage to seize control of their lives and futures. We’ve been hearing from some readers that Requiem wasn’t what people expected, but when you consider what the trilogy set out to do, I think Oliver has accomplished it magnificently. (There was a similar response to Mockingjay, after all.)
The final scene of Requiem, which I can’t say much about without spoiling, is perhaps the most poignant section of the series. It uses a metaphor that Oliver has presented again and again throughout the trilogy, neatly tying together the underlying message of the importance of love in all its forms. I can’t wait to see where Oliver takes us in whatever she writes next.
We’re talking about our book obsessions for the next few weeks here on the blog. I enjoy many books, and I love several, but the ones I will glady confess to be my obsessions are in a different league. They're the can't-put-them-down and stayed-up-all-night-to-finish ones. (Like that time I accidentally read Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken in a single sitting.) I mean the books that feel like they were written just for me; the ones filled with places I long to visit and characters so real that they become friends. While I’ll read a little bit of everything, most of the titles that I feel this way about are paranormal books.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love Beautiful Creatures. This gorgeous Southern Gothic weaves magic into a rich setting and has a cast of characters who feel like family. I read each book in the series the instant it was in my hands and then read them again to prepare for the release of the final book, Beautiful Redemption.
In the Beautiful Creatures series the magical world is intimately intertwined with our day-to-day lives—thriving in our sleepy small towns and running beneath our feet through Caster Tunnels we could spend several lifetimes mapping. The book begins with Ethan dreaming of finding his life far from Gatlin, but he comes to understand that belonging has to do more with people than places.
That’s another of the strengths of paranormal—it’s about characters who love across cultures, religions, and ethnic divides. What makes Ethan Lawson Wate and Lena Duchannes’ love so epic is that it is attainable. Easy? No, but possible. And that affirmation is important.
I guess you could say that The Caster Chronicles was my first love in the Teen section, so I was a bit concerned as it wrapped up that I wouldn't find something else I felt as passionately about.
It was a short-lived worry, because I am head over heels for Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. It felt like it was written just for me. I wanted it from the moment I read about its announcement in Publisher's Weekly. Blue lives in a house full of psychics; Gansey spends his spare time searching for a sleeping Welsh King. What's not to love? While I adore the adventure and quest element, what pulls me through the book is the created family of The Raven Boys—Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah—and how their dynamic changes once Blue joins their group. This is a book about seeing yourself, your friends, and your world differently than you had.
All of the paranormal titles are about worlds hidden within our own, secret worlds with action-packed battles that happen when we aren’t looking. These books invite us to be a part of struggles that are bigger than the ones we may face, but still feel familiar. Tessa Gray and Sydney Sage can do things that we can’t, but they want the same thing we do—to find their place and be accepted. (Also to hang out with Magnus Bane.)
I guess that’s the answer to my obsession, really. I love the idea that the world we think we know can still evoke wonder and awe—we just need to (re)learn to see it.
Check out all of the titles we're obsessing over, and #GetObsessed with us on Twitter!
Get Obsessed: Melissa de la Cruz
Get Obsessed: Fairy Tales & Fantasy
Get Obsessed: Meeting Cassandra Clare
Get Obsessed: Guest Post: Marissa Meyer
Get Obsessed: Mysteries & Thrillers
Get Obsessed: Contemporary & Real World Fiction
It may be a blustery afternoon outside, but it’s warm and friendly inside Indigo Yorkdale, where YA readers have gathered to meet Melissa de la Cruz at the Toronto stop of her Gates of Paradise Tour.
This tour is special for two reasons: de la Cruz’s fans helped to determine which cities she would visit through online voting, and Gates of Paradise is the finale of her New York Times bestselling Blue Bloods series.
When I ask if her fans have been more excited about choosing the locations or the series finale, de la Cruz says it was a little of both—but the finale is the bigger draw.
“There’s definitely a different feeling of excitement,” she tells me. “It’s been very celebratory.”
Part of how de la Cruz has been celebrating is sharing the history of her Teen paranormal series. The Blue Bloods began with a phone call from her agent asking if de la Cruz would be interested in writing something darker than her popular Au Pairs series. The idea thrilled de la Cruz, as she’s always been obsessed with vampires—and loves novels by Stephen King and Anne Rice. Beneath her fashionable exterior, she jokes, is “a big geek.”
A firm believer in outlines, de la Cruz originally planned nine books for the series. While she worked on the first one, Blue Bloods, another book called Twilight hit the shelves. Vampires were suddenly everyone’s obsession. When Blue Bloods joined the teen section in early 2006, it was perfectly timed to help sate readers’ hunger for more. And the rest is history.
The Blue Bloods series comprises seven novels, a companion book and a Valentine Day’s collection. The series has been described as "Gossip Girl with vampires," but that simplification doesn’t give credit to the historical, mythological, and location research that has gone into de la Cruz’s books.
However, she is a Gossip Girl fan. While we discussed whether The Carries Diaries might be the next big thing, de la Cruz admits she doubts that there will ever be another Gossip Girl. Her reasoning being that the Gossip Girl TV phenomenon began in the late 90’s, a different era from today.
“Culturally, we’ve moved on,” she explains. Citing shows like Revenge and Downton Abbey, she points out how our view of the wealthy has changed from debutante balls. TV now shows us the rich “as they are.”
I ask her if this tendency to downplay glamour is also evident in young adult fiction and she agrees.
“Fantasy is grittier,” she says. “People are drawn to more realistic stories.”
For example, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which was undoubtedly the biggest Teen book of last year. (It made both the Indigo Teen Blog and the Indigo Best of 2012 lists.) When asked about Green’s novels, de la Cruz says she enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars but her favourite is Looking for Alaska.
But her current book obsession is the adult novel, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s “well-plotted” and “the writing is very literary.” Not just a compelling read, de la Cruz adds that a writer can learn much from Flynn in “how she [tells] the story” and “surprises [the reader].” The book is deeply immersive, de la Cruz explains, a “full experience.”
Watching as reader after reader at the event approaches the signing table with the entire Blue Bloods series, it’s evident de la Cruz has managed to create her own “full experience” for her fans.
The final book of the Blue Bloods is definitely not the end of this experience. A gorgeous graphic novel adaptation of the first novel released the same day as Gates of Paradise. Also, her popular adult spin off, The Beauchamp Family series, has a new installment coming in the summer. Lifetime recently picked-up the TV adaptation of first book, Witches of East End.
Looking forward, de la Cruz has a new Teen book coming out this fall. FROZEN is the first book set in a post-apocalyptic ice-covered world. When I ask her if she means winter in Canada, she laughs and says “no.”
FROZEN takes place in an ice-covered Las Vegas. She and her husband/writing partner, Mike Johnston, describe the new series as “The Lord of the Rings in reverse.” Their series will explore a world where science and technology have broken down and magic is returning.
“It was fun to go completely into fantasy,” she says. While she enjoyed imagining “our broken world,” she assures us that “Vegas is still Vegas.” To keep that sense of realism, she did a lot of research on casinos and gambling so she could write her new main character: a young Black Jack dealer with a dark secret.
Ice-covered Las Vegas? Magic? Sounds like we’ve found a new obsession.
Thank you to Melissa de la Cruz, and our friends at HGB Canada for organizing the interview time. The Blue Bloods series is available in-stores and online.
Lisa McMann's Crash is the first book in her new paranormal series, The Visions. In Crash, a young woman named Jules is haunted by a reoccurring vision of an accident that results in nine body bags in the snow. The vision takes over television shows, billboards, and even begins to play across windows. Jules worries that she's going crazy, and the terror of doubting her own mind is intensified by her knowledge of her family's history of mental illness.
Mixing the pacing of a thriller with a strong narrative voice, McMann uses these visions as a catalyst to discuss the stigma of mental illness. I found Jules and her quirky (sarcastic) sense of humor endearing, it made her real and made me able to feel worried for her as I wondered while she did if she was having a psychological breakdown.
The book sets up a Romeo & Juliet-esque feud between two Chicago restaurant families, and I predict the secret of their feud will have some involvement in the explanation of the visions. This is another strong, quick read from McMann sure to please her fans and any readers looking for an accessible read with a paranormal hook.
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Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): Welcome, Lisa! I laughed so hard about Jules and her siblings driving around in that amazing meatball truck. What's the oddest food truck you've ever seen?
Lisa McMann (LM): I think the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile is pretty odd. :) I also saw one shaped like a paddle pop.
ITB: One of the things I loved about Crash was its strong sense of character voice. Did Jules pop into your head fully formed or did you meet her as you wrote?
LM: I don't think any character is ever fully formed until you've reached the end of the book (and then you go back and revise her so she is consistent). But I generally have a good sense of what my main characters will be like before I start writing. That was definitely the case for Jules.
ITB: Given the Romeo & Juliet-level of feuding restaurant families in Crash, I have to ask which is your pizza of choice: Deep dish or thin crust?
LM: If we're talking Chicago pizza, I have to go with deep dish. There's nothing like it.
ITB: Another thing I enjoy about your books is how they use fantastical elements to examine mental illness. (For example, the OCD in Cryer's Cross and the depression/hoarding in Crash.) What comes first for you: The fantastical element or what you'd like to use it to discuss? What draws you to examining mental illness in your books?
LM: The fantastical element always comes first -- the hook, as we call it. Girl has a vision of a truck hitting a vision and an explosion. The intricacies of her life follow. There must always be more layers. It's the layers that make the main character react in the ways she does. As for mental illness in my books, the inspiration for Kendall in Cryer's Cross comes from my daughter, who has struggled with moderate to severe OCD (she, like Kendall, now keeps it in check, but it's still there). As for the hoarding, I've just always been intrigued by a person's need to hoard, what triggers it, etc. So I was studying that and it fit for this series.
ITB: I love Jules' brother, Trey. He's my favourite character. In fact, I loved how Crash was as much about Jules' family as it was about her. Will the next book be about Sawyer and his family?
LM: I love Trey too. He is the brother we all wish we had, isn't he? You'll get to see more of both Trey and Sawyer in Book 2. As for Sawyer's family...not so much. But we learn things about them through Sawyer.
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It's no secret (Gansey) we can't wait to get our hands on The Raven Boys sequel, which continues Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle. Or that we read every single snippet Sarah Rees Brennan shares of Untold, the follow-up to Unspoken. We're waiting for news of when we can read the next book of Libba Bray's The Diviners (and how!) as well as the final book in Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy.
We have many beloved series continuing or ending, but we're also on the lookout for what's new. We want to celebrate debuts and hunt for trends. Below, we've carefully crafted a list of books we think promise the best of 2013. Get ready to add to your reading list!
Shadowhunters & Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader edited by Cassandra Clare (1/29). Some of our favourite writers writing about The Mortal Instruments? Yes, please!
Perfect Scoundrels: A Heist Society Novel by Ally Carter (2/5). We love Hal, and this series about teen thieves.
Dualed by Elsie Chapman (2/25). A debut about a teen assassin from a Vancouver author.
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong (4/9). The last book of The Darkness Rising trilogy.
Ink by Amanda Sun (6/25). A debut set in Japan from an Ontario author.
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (7/2). The latest book from the contemporary YA superstar.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (8/20). A spooky-sounding debut that has us intrigued.
If the Mayans are correct, then this world is not long for us. In the spirit of "what if?" we asked on @IndigoTeenBlog which one book best prepared you for the apocalypse, and the majority answered Suzanne Collins'sThe Hunger Games. We dug deeper, thought hard, and we've come up with a few other titles that may help. Here are 21 books you should read before the world ends on Dec 21st. (A couple of these are found in adult fiction, but they're teen reader appropriate.)
- Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
- Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
- Blood Red Road by Moira Young
- The Diviners by Libba Bray
- Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brenna (Note: We felt like the world ended on the last page of this one.)
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Note: In case we need to find Glendower to fix things for us.)
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
- How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
- Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- Gone by Michael Grant
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
- This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (Dec 18)
- The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
- Good Omens by Terry Prachett & Neil Gaiman
Just to be safe we asked the Indigo Fiction Blog team for a list of 21 adult titles to help you prepare.
- The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
- White Horse by Alex Adams (trade paperback Dec 18)
- World War Z by Max Brooks
- The Passage / The Twelve by Justin Cronin
- Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
- The Stand by Stephen King
- Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
- Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
- Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
- I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
- The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
- On The Beach by Nevil Shute
- Zone One by Colson Whitehead
- The Blondes by Emily Shcultz
- Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt
- Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
- The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
These two lists make 42 books, so stock up your bunker library! We'll see you on Dec 22nd. Or we won't because the world really did end. In that case, we'll be glad Team Teen member Kate (not pictured above) took those archery lessons.
Ladies and Gentleman, readers of discerning tastes who seek the finest of entertainments, may we interest you in a fabulous new tale from Toronto resident, Lady Adrienne Kress?
Kress describes The Friday Society, her Teen debut, as "Steampunk Charlie's Angels—without the Charlie." It's an incredibly accurate description: imagine the fun, adventure, action, and female-friendships of Charlies Angels set in the Edwardian period—and then add the utter coolness of steampunk to the mix.
Are you a fan of Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices or Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy? Then you're going to adore The Friday Society. This is a book of three bright, bold young ladies who band together to thwart crimes and save their city. Kress balances the multiple POVs of the girls, giving each character her own distinct personality while maintaining a unifying tongue-in-cheek style of narration, and resolves the interweaving plots in a satisfying way.
I admire how Kress emphasizes the camaraderie of Cora, Nellie, and Michiko—a trio of go-to "Girl Fridays" who assist three powerful men of London. While I like each of the girls, Michiko might be my favourite; Kress writes an English as second language character in a way that's both respectful and realistic.
In general, Kress has a knack for characterization and culture-building. Reading The Friday Society, one can tell that she's an imaginative author who has taken the time to immerse herself in the culture of steampunk, but she presents it in a way that is fun and accessible. Kress' flavor of steampunk is vivid, lively, and fantastical—she doesn't try to emulate Victorian-style prose. She has created something very much her own.
While this book acts as an origin story and therefore stands alone, I hope The Friday Society will be the first of several novels featuring these lovable characters. Can't wait to see where Kress' imagination takes the girls—and us—next!
The Friday Society is now available.
It's time for the most exciting post of the year: The Top Ten List! This year all the members of Team Teen worked together to compile a master list of the must read Teen books from 2012. We're very proud of this one; it's a perfect mix of all the books we love and the books we think you'll love, too.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. When we asked around the office, this was one of the titles everyone mentioned. We loved Green's endearing characters from page one; his quirky humour had us laughing at a cancer book—something we never thought we'd do. (Our review and Q & A with John Green.)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. We want to get in the Pig (Gansey's car) and go on adventures with Stiefvater's mature and well-developed cast. From smart commentary on wealth and privilege, to witty banter and magic, this lyrical book is like a teen Indiana Jones with Welsh mythology. (Our Q & A with Maggie Stiefvater.)
The Diviners by Libba Bray. Team Teen pos-i-tute-ly thinks this Jazz Age fantasy is the bee's knees, the elephant's eyebrows, and the cat's pyjamas. This is the 1920s as only Libba Bray can write them with her observant blend of humour, intrigue, and magic. Surprisingly creepy—but we aren't complaining! (Our Q & A with Libba Bray.)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer. When Beijing’s number one mechanic, Linh Cinder, finds herself repairing the Prince’s beloved android, she unlocks a galaxy’s worth of adventure in this sci-fi take on the classic Cinderella. We love this re-imagined fairy tale’s high stakes action, beloved supporting cast, and Whedon-worthy delicious snark.* (Our review and Q & A with Marissa Meyer.)
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Seraphina lives in a medieval world where dragons can fold themselves into human shape. They live among humans as gifted academics, who are baffled by human emotion. Seraphina is a talented musician with a head for solving mysteries, who quickly finds herself deep in palace intrigue as she tries to keep her own dangerous heritage a secret from those closest to her. We can’t get the melody of this lyrical tale out of our heads.* (Rachel Hartman's guestpost.)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth. We were early fans of Divergent and Insurgent has more action, more danger, and more Four! We loved learning about the other Factions, and we can't wait to see how Tris will save her world in the third book of Roth's trilogy. (Our review and Q & A with Veronica Roth.)
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garica & Margaret Stohl. The final book of The Caster Chronicles was everything we hoped for—and a reminder of why we fell in love with Beautiful Creatures. We'll miss Gatlin, with all its secrets, magic, and pie. (Our review.)
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. We always love catching up with the Shadow Hunters—and City of Lost Souls returned our favourite antagonist to the series! We're really looking forward to Clockwork Princess to help make the wait for CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE easier. (Remember the amazing COLS Scavenger Hunt Contest?)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Unspoken charmed us, made us laugh out loud, and then broke our hearts. From lady detectives who do victory shimmies, to dangerous bad boys with hearts of gold, this book has everything we love! (Our review.)
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel. We're big fans of Oppel's The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein and enjoyed last year's This Dark Endeavour, but this sequel is one of those rare gems that outdoes the first book in the series. Can't wait for the next one! (Our review.)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. The follow-up to Delirium introduced us to new characters, answered some questions, and left us starved for next year's Requiem. (Our discussion post and Q & A with Lauren Oliver.)