New In Young Adult Fiction

I’ve recently been on a huge YA reading kick and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  New books are coming out constantly so I know sometimes it’s hard to decide what it worth reading and what is not.  So if we have any YA readers out there then perhaps I can help you choose your next book.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse has been called dystopian, but it really doesn’t feel like one. The setting seems to be a made up country that reflecting earlier time periods in our own history. It’s almost a historical fiction without actually being set in a specific time period and perhaps not even on earth. There is no magic or aliens, just the sense that it’s in a past time. Okay, enough about trying to determine the exact setting of this novel and on to the plot.  Kestral, a high society Valorian girl and a general’s daughter, purchases a Herrani slave, Arin, after being told he sings. Kestral has a deep appreciation for music, something the Valorian people consider an eccentricity.  The story surrounds Kestral and Arin’s evolving relationship whilst rebellion stirs amongst the background.  This book has a large focus on its characters and relationships more so than plot, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kestral is a wonderfully flawed character and she epitomizes how to write a strong female character without making her physically adept/violent.  The story also presents the inherent issues of having a relationship between master in slave and it’s characters don’t ignore this as so many star-crossed lover stories do. Love can’t conquer all or if it does it leaves a huge mess in its wake.

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic follows the story of Heather and her quest to win the dangerous high-stakes game of Panic. Every year the local, middle of nowhere, high school’s students raise money for the winning pot to go to the winner of Panic. Only graduating seniors may participate and the game can involve dangerous and/or illegal stunts as challenges. Heather never planned on entering however after being dumped by her boyfriend she does so to help find a sense of identity and later because she’s in financial need. Heather is a very likable character and you are rooting for her the whole way through. Unfortunately, the male counterpart, Dodge, is a little less likable due to questionable motives and his position as a plot device.  Panic is a fun read, however I have to wonder if it’s going to give bored teens so bad ideas.  There is a decided lack of consequences in this book that is a bit bothersome.

The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman

Rowan Rose has lived her whole life in Nag’s End and has not experienced death since her mother died when she was a baby. This all changes when five men head into the mountains on an unknown mission never to return, except as corpses. Their deaths herald the start of mystery and tragic horrors as the village tries to protect themselves against a deadly evil, unknown and unseen.

It is a rarity that I find a horror YA book that actually hits just the right tone. The Glass Casket is one of those sacred gems and one of my favorite books of 2014 thus far. Templeman manages to pull the reader into the story, tapping into the fear of the unknown. The story uses all the right horror elements to send a chill up the reader’s spine. One of my favorite aspects is how the story alludes to several fairy tales. It is not a retelling, however the illusions to Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and others are still present within a unique and original fairy tale.

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