Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari. ★★★
I picked up this YA science fiction because I heard it had asexual representation. That turned out to be the only memorable thing about it.
Isaak is a teenage boy living on a future Mars colony. Then he sees a strange arch formation that almost exactly matches the depiction on an ancient coin belonging to his missing father. But how is that possible? There’s no such thing as ancient Martian civilization… right?
Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn. ★★★★
I loved this fantasy novella! I picked it up mainly because I heard the protagonist was asexual (true), and I ended up with a novella that was beautiful in so many ways and really resonated with me.
Lai’s mother and grandmother before her have been priestesses, and Lai can’t imagine any other life for herself. In order to become a priestess, she must win through the trials, for only one girl can be selected by the gods as the next priestess. But what about after the trials? What will happen to the friends she’s in competition with? And what if… she fails?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. ★★★★★
Sometimes I read a book that I have no idea how to review. A book that’s so remarkable, so moving and affecting, that anything I have to say will feel hollow by comparison. But I’m going to give this a go anyway.
Most of what I review is either science fiction or fantasy, so The Hate U Give is a rarity for me – a contemporary YA novel! I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve read one of these. Anyway, I kept hearing about how amazing it was, as well as how timely – it was inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement – so I decided to get a hold of a copy. And boy, am I glad I did.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. ★★★1/2
The Girl from Everywhere contains one of the most original time travel methods I’ve ever seen. More than that, it’s simply a beautiful book.
Nix has grown up on her father’s ship, traveling from one place and time to another. Their travel depends on hand drawn maps from the original time period, each of which can only be used once. Her father wants nothing more than to find a map which can take him back to 1868 Honolulu and Nix’s mother before she dies in childbirth. He wants to save her and rewrite history… even if it means rewriting Nix. What will happen to her if her father get’s his heart’s desire?
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. ★★★1/2
I saw the words “gender fluid assassin” and was sold. I immediately requested an ARC, even though I already had a number of other books to read. Then I saw the back blurb comparing it to Throne of Glass, and I started getting nervous. I hated Throne of Glass. Turns out, I shouldn’t have been worried. Mask of Shadows is way better, and it delivers practically everything I want from a YA fantasy book about a battle of assassins.
Sallot Leon makes a living as a thief, but Sal doesn’t plan on staying a thief forever. They are still haunted by memories of their family and homeland… and the twisted Shadows that destroyed them both. Sal planned on joining the army to try and gain their vengeance, but then they find a flyer announcing that the Queen is holding trials for her new Opal, one of her four most trusted assassins. And Sal spies an opportunity. But it’s not until they’ve already joined the competition that they realize this is a fight to the death.
The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie. ★★★★
The Edge of the Abyss is the high octane sequel to the fabulous The Abyss Surrounds Us. Bad news? You have to read the books in order. So if you aren’t familiar with The Abyss Surrounds Us, grab yourself a copy before diving into The Edge of the Abyss. And do pick up a copy, particularly if sea monsters, pirates and f/f romance sound at all up your alley.
Also, spoilers will follow for The Abyss Surrounds Us. So beware!
Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron. ★★★★
Island of Exiles is a survival focused YA fantasy novel that may appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.
The desert island of Shiara is a harsh world where allegiance to the clan means all. Khya, a young warrior, has ambitions to the council that helps the immortal elders rule the clan. Only one thing can rival Khya’s loyalty to the clan… her loyalty to her younger brother. So when her brother is endangered, Khya faces a choice that will reshape everything she knows about her world.