Wilders by Brenda Cooper. ★1/2
Trigger warning: suicide
Reading Wilders was a struggle from the get go. It took me three weeks to finish. I haven’t had this much difficulty forcing myself to finish something since my senior English class read Faulkner. I may take Faulkner over Wilders.
The future is divided between the cities and the unincorporated land outside them, intended to be restored to nature and wilderness. Coryn Williams lives in the megacity of Seacouver but is left orphaned after her parents double suicide. Her sister Lou leaves her behind to become a ranger, working for an NGO on the outside. On her eighteenth birthday, Coryn is determined to reunite with Lou… so she ventures outside her city, accompanied only by her robot Paula.
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig. ★★★
This YA time traveling book is the sequel to The Girl from Everywhere, and I suggest the series be read in order. While I find the time traveling method quite novel, reading The Ship Beyond Time made me realize I wasn’t caring about the characters enough to want to continue with this series.
Nyx has finally taken the helm, directing her family’s ship through the tides of history. She’s thrilled… until she learns what fate awaits her. She’s destined to suffer the same fate has her father, losing the one she loves. Is it possible to change time itself? A mysterious stranger claims he knows the secret of it, and he requests Nyx’s presence at a mythical island where nothing is as it seems.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. ★★★★
Edit: I just read the sequel. It added romance. After I spent my entire review praising this book for not having romance. And yes, I’m super salty about it.
This Savage Song is a YA fantasy novel that I had serious trouble putting down. Also relevant? There’s a male narrator and a female narrator but no romance whatsoever.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are heirs to a city of monsters. Long before the start of our story, acts of human violence began to form creatures that were decidedly inhuman. Violent crime leads to Corsai, murder to Malchai, and mass murder to Sunai. These monsters began to destroy the city and the people living in it, and yet more destruction was caused by a war between two fractions of the populace. Kate’s father made a deal with the monsters, letting them hunt those who hadn’t paid for his protection. August’s father believed that the only right thing to do was continue to fight the monsters and protect human lives, regardless of whether or not they could pay. After much death, the two sides entered a truce, dividing the city between them. But now, that truce threatens to break, and Kate and August are right in the middle of it.
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. ★★★1/2
While I found The Screaming Staircase a tad predictable, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
For the last fifty years, England has been beset by a plague of supernatural spirits referred to as The Problem. Only children and teens are capable of seeing ghosts, so all agencies for dealing with hauntings rely on minors as their agents. After an investigation gone wrong, Lucy Carlyle has fled to London and taken up a position with Lockwood & Co., which is essentially three teenagers in a house investigating ghosts. The Screaming Staircase begins right in the middle of the action, with Lockwood and Lucy spending the night in a house where their client’s husband died. They soon encounter a ghost much more powerful than they expected. The result is one part ghost story, one part murder mystery, and a pretty entertaining ride.
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.