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New Review! - Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

 

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Teen Advisory Board Member Tiffany Reviews Stepsister

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

by Jennifer Donnelly

“Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.”

In her unapologetically feminist novel, Donnelly confronts demand for females to be beautiful, the way society belittles those who are “ugly,” the history of how women weren’t allowed to get an education, the concept of pitting girls against each other, the power of courage and bravery, and the right to make our own destiny rather than relying on fate or chance.  The representation of these principles is skillfully done, provoking empowering thought and leaving an impact on the reader.

Isabelle is both a complex character and a powerful female lead who may not be perfect and sweet, but is defiant and heroic in her own way.  Not only is she a character readers can look up to, but one who has struggles and insecurities many can find relatable. Isabelle isn’t the only complex character either-nearly everyone in Stepsister is comprised of a multitude of layers-both beautiful and ugly ones-beneath who they appear to be upon first impression.

If you like dark, twisted retellings or just an empowering read, pick up Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly.

Stepsister is available in stores now! 

These 10 YA Characters (or books) would slay Kerry Washington’s nail polish collection!

By Amanda, Tiffany, & Ava
We absolutely adored the GORGEOUS shades of the Kerry Washington nail polish collection (collab with OPI). Next time you snap a bookstagram for the following ten novels, be sure to paint your nails these colors in order to match the book covers!
 
1.  Artistic Isobel from AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS would say CIA=Color Is Awesome.

By Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
 
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
 
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
 
2. Exploring the morality and stories of villains, BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO HATE ME “Liv” in the Grey.
By Amerie

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

-and-

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel)

“In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.


These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!”

 

3. Showing the joys of female friendship and perseverance, OUTRUN THE MOON proves the power of We the Female.

By Stacey Lee

“San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?”

 

4. Action-packed and exciting, there is Never a Dulles Moment in SIX OF CROWS.

By Leigh Bardugo

“Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”

 

5. Standing up for her rights, Layla from INTERMENT promotes Freedom of Peach.

By Samira Ahmed

 

“Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp's Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.”

 

6. Shh...It’s Top Secret, because we are the WICKED SAINTS

By Emily A. Duncan

An instant New York Times bestseller!

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

 

7. Hesina from DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE is more than just a princess: She’s Madam President

By Joan He

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death... because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago. Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high? In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

 

8. Having a bad summer? (Like Lou from HOT DOG GIRL) Then please, Stay Off the Lawn

By Jennifer Dugan

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She's landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.

* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou's never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.

* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who's always been up for anything, suddenly isn't when it comes to Lou's quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou's scheme to get close to Nick.

* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland--ever--unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Jennifer Dugan's sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love--and themselves--in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

 

9. Pale to the Chief, because we’re DEALING IN DREAMS

By Lilliam Rivera

At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city's benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.
 

Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?

 

10. Listen to Bri from ON THE COME UP: She’s the Squeaker Of The House

By Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

 

Zodiac Signs as Characters from YA Books! (Pt.1)

By Amanda & Ava
Here are six characters that totally represent the first half of the Zodiac!
*Disclaimers—This is not according to the characters’ birthdays, but rather to their personalities.
 
1. Maia from SPIN THE DAWN is an Aries!
 
By: Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
 
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
 
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
 
Firey and passionate, Maia fully embodies the characteristics of an Aries. Both take rein of their lives and refuse to let anything stop them from reaching their goals, being from the fire element.

2.Mercy from OUTRUN THE MOON is Taurus!

By Stacey Lee

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
 
On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
 
Mercy, a definite Taurus, knows exactly what she wants, but she must learn to sometimes compromise with others.
 
3.Elle from MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE is Gemini!
 
By Rachel Cohn
 
 
In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World's future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.
 
Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn't exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it's air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who's frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.
 
My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.
 
Elle is curious to try new things in her Tokyo dream life, but will her Gemini’s typical anxiety hold her back?
 

4.Esther from A SELF-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES is Cancer!

By Krystal Sutherland

 

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather met Death, her entire family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime—a fear that will eventually lead each and every one of them to their graves. Take Esther’s father, for instance: He’s an agoraphobe who hasn’t left the basement in six years. Then there’s her twin brother, Eugene, whose fear of the dark goes far beyond the things that go bump in the night. And her mother, Rosemary, is absolutely terrified of bad luck.
 
As for Esther, she’s managed to escape the curse…so far. She doesn’t yet have a great fear because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, crowds—anything that might trigger a phobia is off-limits and is meticulously recorded in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares. 
 
Esther thinks she has it all figured out, until she’s reunited with an old elementary school classmate—and first crush—Jonah Smallwood. The encounter leaves her stranded at a bus stop and swindled out of her phone, all her cash, a Fruit Roll-Up she’d been saving, and her list—not to mention her dignity. But the theft is also the beginning of an unexpected friendship between the two, one that sends the pair on a journey of self-discovery as they try to break the curse that’s consumed Esther’s family. Together they face their greatest fears, one debilitating phobia at a time, only to discover the one fear they hadn’t counted on: love.
 
Esther, like any other Cancer, has a wild imagination that can conjure an infinite number of what-ifs, but her what-ifs also prevent her from living her life to the fullest.
 
5.Hetty from WILDER GIRLS is a Leo!
 
By Rory Power
 
 
It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.
 
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
 
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Hetty would totally be a Leo, dazzling and protective as they are. She’s firey, dynamic, and would stop at nothing to save her friends.
 

6. Princess Anthia from THE STORM CROW is a Virgo!

By: Kalyn Josephson

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life...until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother's death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.
Princess Anthia is loyal and logical, just like a Virgo. Although she is calm and collected, she is fierce when it comes to her family.

 

Famous Art Pieces + YA Books

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By Evgenia, Alannah, Tiffany, & Ava 

The best of both worlds: literature and art. (O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo.) Here are six YA books that remind us of our favorite art pieces!

BONUS: A piece of modern art, titled “Famoose” and brought to you by Amanda, awaits at the end of the list.

1. An air of mystery connects MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN and the Mona Lisa

 

By: Ransom Riggs

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is easily one of the most popular and well-known works of Renaissance art, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a certain mysterious allure to its famous subject, in the clever glint of her eye and subtle curve of her smile. This air of mystery is reflected in Jacob Portman’s tale in MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. Jacob leads a perfectly normal - and dull, even - life, working at a shop in his uncle’s enormous drug store chain and taking care of his increasingly delusional grandfather in whose wonderous stories of the children’s home where he grew up Jacob used to delight. That is, until the day he finds said grandfather dead. Still reeling in shock, Jacob travels with his father to Cairnholm, a small island off of Wales where all of his grandfather’s most fantastical stories were set. At first glance, he finds this island to be little more than perpetual rain and an abnormally large population of sheep. But Cairnholm, as Jacob soon realizes, has secrets of its own to reveal; least of all that his grandfather’s stories were real.

2. Karou from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE would just love to see this Cafe Terrace at Night

By Laini Taylor

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

3. ILLUMINAE and Starry Night both have space as their backdrop

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

4. Dark and sinister, Katherine and Toby from AN ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON may meet during The Night Watch.

By Virginia Boecker

When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn't the only secret he's been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and to take it one step further--kill the queen herself.

Katherine's opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare's newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn't know is that the play is not just a play--it's a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play's leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.” 

5. As she faces the storm within, Nym from STORM SIREN may make The Great Wave of Kanagawa.

By Mary Weber

 

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

6. From The Birth of Venus arises LOVELY WAR

By Julie Berry

It's 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She's a shy and talented pianist; he's a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it's immediate and deep—and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who's played Carnegie Hall, he's a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that's before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who's already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers' fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

Congratulations, reader! Now for the BONUS:

modern art - “Famoose”

 

Eight YA Books You’ll Enjoy if You <3 BBC Shows

By Ava Lee, Amanda Kay, Alannah Blumstein, and Evgenia Anastasakos
 
Face it. Unless you're stuck in the 18th-century, we all want to be British (that accent makes us swoon). The closest we can get is by watching BBC shows. Here are YA books for eight of your favorite BBC shows! Bonus points for reading this in a British accent.
 
1. Killing Eve with I HUNT KILLERS
By Barry Lyga
 
Jasper “Jazz” Dent is the son of the notorious serial killer, gifted with the ability to see every crime from a killer’s point of view. When corpses begin appearing at every corner, Jazz must join forces with the cops to find this mysterious murderer to clear his name from the list of suspects.
 
One may ask, what do these things have in common? Well, the answer is… a lot. Just like Eve and her desk-bound beginnings, Jazz is recognized for his talent for hunting killers, and must stop the murders before its too late. Fans of Killing Eve will love I HUNT KILLERS!
 
 
2.Doctor Who with THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE
By Heidi Heilig
 
On her father’s time traveling ship, Nix has been able to see the world. With just a map, they can sail anywhere, even to places only in myths and stories. Her father, however, obsesses over finding a specific map, to take him back to Nix’s mother. If he were to find that map, it could stop her from ever existing at all. 
 
Time travel, time travel, and time travel describe both of these things perfectly, but they share a more profound bond than that. Both have a lust for adventure that will leave you wanting more!
 
3. House of Cards with THE FIXER
By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
House of Cards is a captivating political thriller in which the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party thirsts after the Prime Minister spot after Margaret Thatcher’s reign, his ambition allowing him to do whatever it takes. Fans of this Macbeth-esque television show will love THE FIXER, a YA political thriller. Sixteen-year-old Tess goes to Washington D.C after her sister calls for her and gets wrapped up in a plot of murder, espionage, and secrets.
 
4. Broadchurch with THE CELLAR
By: Natasha Preston
 
Broadchurch is a beautifully written crime drama where detective Alex Hardy and his partner Ellie Miller have to investigate the murder of a young boy in a small town where everyone has secrets. Similarly, THE CELLAR takes place called Long Thorpe, a town where nothing happens, until Summer Robinson disappears. Locked in a cellar with several other girls, she learns of Colin’s abusive past and must protect his family in time.
 
5. Planet Earth with THE SCORPIO RACES
By Maggie Stiefvater
 
November signals the start of the Scorpio Races, a race in which the person who rides their untamable water horse to the finish line first wins—that is, if they’re still alive. Puck Connolly, the first ever girl to enter this competition, is determined to win, though the temper of her dangerous water horse grows each day. Admittedly, Planet Earth is a far cry from racing dangerous water horses but rest assured that they both share some very unique characteristics (if it can be called that). Nevertheless, this book is definitely a must-read!
 
6.Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell with A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC
By V.E. Schwab
 
Kell, the adopted son of the king of Red London, has a special ability: he can use his rare magic to travel between alternate Londons. When he travels to the magic-less Grey London, he crosses paths with the mysterious pickpocket, Delilah Bard. Chaos ensues when they are pursued by a magician from the violent White London. This book and the series, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, share their vivid magic and both partially take place in nineteenth-century London. Both are exciting and adventurous, perfect for readers and views of all kinds.
 
7.Victoria with VICTORIA

By: Daisy Goodwin (who as it so happens also wrote the screenplay for the BBC show…)
 
Victoria’s position is far from simple. Next in line for the throne, she’s grown up knowing that someday she will be Queen of England, and when her uncle the king becomes ill with no sign of getting better, she knows it can’t be long. But even once she’s crowned, there are still a few complications. People doubt that the young Victoria can rule England, and some try to manipulate her every move. How can she prove herself worthy of the right to rule?
 
It’s pretty self-explanatory why these two are similar, but both deal with the life of Queen Victoria. If you love one, you are sure to love the other!
 
8. Downton Abbey with THE CRUEL PRINCE
By: Holly Black
 
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. As betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. Both Downtown Abbey and THE CRUEL PRINCE are drama-intense and will leave you wanting more. The sly politics of the High Court will surely make you reminisce about the TV show.
 

 

 

Book Covers and Halloween Candy

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- Written by Kristine and Tiffany


Just in time for Halloween, it’s time to break out the candy, and of course, more books! Each of these 12 colorful, imaginative books needs a tasty counterpart--so we have compiled a list of candies that serve as the tasty reincarnations of these delightful novels! Lift your spirits and trick or treat yo’ self to these great reads and sweet treats!

1. The yellow, orange, and white aesthetic of THE WHITE ROSE fits perfectly with candy corn.

By Amy Ewing

   Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.”

The yellow glow of the roaring fire on The White Rose’s cover, along with the white backdrop and orange lettering, matches perfectly with candy corn’s autumn aesthetic.

 

 

2. Like the shattered lollipop on the book’s cover, Jace Sullivan’s family is SWEET SO FRAGILE .   

By Margaret Chatwin

 

 

 

 

 

During a robbery, Jace Sullivan's wife, Cari, was murdered. If that wasn't bad enough, she was seven months pregnant when it happened. Though medics were able to save the child, the unfavorable circumstances behind the premature delivery has left baby Colton with severe health issues. Now, while trying to pick up the pieces of his own shattered life, Jace must watch helplessly as his son desperately fights to keep his fragile life. Meanwhile, his teenage daughter, Jorry, seems to be carelessly throwing hers away.”

Not only does the rainbow lollipop on Sweet So Fragile’s cover immediately make us think of the lollipops we get on Halloween, but it is also representative of how Cari’s death shattered the once-delightful family.

 

3. In ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE, the chocolate heart on the cover may just change Anya’s life.

By Gabrielle Zevin

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

 

Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I've Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic.”

 

In a world where chocolate is illegal-can you image what Halloween would be like there?-, it should come as no surprise the role sweets would play in Anya’s life, especially considering that her father was a crime boss who manufactured chocolate.  Of course, there’s more to this story than just chocolate, but don’t let that stop you from snacking on it as you follow Anya around through her breathtaking story.

 

4. The rainbow colors of THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS' cover matches perfectly with Skittles.

By Ashley Woodfolk

 

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

 

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

 

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

 

Despite the odds, one band's music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

You can practically taste the rainbow on The Beauty that Remains’s colorful and bold cover-reminiscent of its colorful storyline and bold message-, so feel free to eat Skittles while you read this book.

 

5. Like Sour Patch Kids, Haden from THE SHADOW PRINCE is both sweet and sour.

By Bree Despain

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails.  As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

A pulsating romance of epic proportions, Bree Despain’s The Shadow Prince will leave her fans breathless for the next book in the Into The Dark series.

Sour Patch Kids are iconic for their distinct flavors, and the way they are “sour then sweet.”  Likewise, Haden is sour and resentful of his family in the Underrealm-for good reason-and wants to prove his worth, but he is also extremely sweet and loving when he is allowed to show his emotions around Daphne.

 

6. Break apart your Kit-Kat as you read ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART-and enjoy the sweetness of both the candy and Reiko’s journey.

By Katherine Webber

From the author of the acclaimed Wing Jones comes a 'break-up' book about a Japanese-American teenager, set in the Palm Springs desert, California. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything and Sara Barnard's Beautiful Broken Things.

Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free…

Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you...

 

Like breaking apart a Kit-Kat, Reiko’s story starts off with her break up with Seth, though her own journey of self-discovery through loss is just as sweet as taking a bite out of this delectable treat.

 

7. Eden and his story from REBEL is like Malted Whopper Milk Balls, underrated but AMAZING in his/their own way

By Marie Lu

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . .

 

Now, this candy may not be on the cover, but having the opportunity to eat Whoppers Milk Balls AND read about Eden’s journey is a pivotal experience. While the Whoppers Milk Balls may not be as known as candies like Snickers and Skittles, having a liking for the underrated ones (like Eden and Whoppers Milk Balls) can change your life forever!

 

8. The roses from THE BEAUTIFUL rose to the occasion to match up with red rose candies

By Renee Ahdieh

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.


Just in time for Halloween, our love for sweet treats is spiked! And, what better way to spend your Halloween than eating rose chocolate candies while curled up with a good book! On top of this, what better way to enjoy seeing someone steal Celine’s heart with a Halloween and Valentine’s staple!!

 

9. “My love stems deep” is a phrase that the girls in THE GRACE YEAR seem to know, or at least pretend to know. Think of this while you

By Kim Liggett

SURVIVE THE YEAR.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

The color pink seems to resonate both in rose lollipops and the cover of the Grace Year. Plus, what better way to celebrate Tierney James’ experience then living vicariously through her, though, in the safety of your own reading niche. Enjoy a rose lollipop with an equally rosy novel (but in this case, rosiness is an aphrodisiac)!

 

10. The colorful, zesty-looking cover of NOW ENTERING ADAMSVILLE needs to be paired with Starbursts, or else it’ll burst

By Francesca Zappia

Zora Novak has been framed.

When someone burns down the home of the school janitor and he dies in the blaze, everyone in Addamsville, Indiana, points a finger at Zora. Never mind that Zora has been on the straight and narrow since her father was thrown in jail. With everyone looking for evidence against her, her only choice is to uncover the identity of the real killer. There’s one big problem—Zora has no leads. No one does. Addamsville has a history of tragedy, and thirty years ago a similar string of fires left several townspeople dead. The arsonist was never caught.

Now, Zora must team up with her cousin Artemis—an annoying self-proclaimed Addamsville historian—to clear her name. But with a popular ghost-hunting television show riling up the townspeople, almost no support from her family and friends, and rumors spinning out of control, things aren’t looking good. Zora will have to read between the lines of Addamsville’s ghost stories before she becomes one herself.

 

 

The colors present in the cover of Now Entering Addamsville really speak for themselves! With the Halloween candy vibes this cover gives off, and the presence of ghosts, you sure know you’re in for a spooky, lively read!!

 

11. With THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, set in 1957, and Mary Janes candies--you’re set for a timeless experience

By Ruta Sepetys

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Mary Janes, with their sweet peanut butter flavor and chewy taffy, go perfectly with The Fountains of Silence. With the richly descriptive and detailed description of post-war Spain and the deliciousness of Mary Janes, one’s set straight for heaven!

 

 

 

12. Jolly Ranchers will sure go jolly well with FRANKLY IN LOVE!

By David Yoon

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

A book that delves into the struggles one experiences when juggling his/her culture alongside the pressures society, Frankly In Love has a core centered around love, identity, racism, and familial relations. And, there is no better way to celebrate the core of a good book than with a Green Apple Jolly Rancher, straight from the core of an apple ;). Never underestimate the power of a good book and some candy to make your life more jolly!

 

Ghostly New Review! - Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

 

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Review By: Teen Advisory Board Member Tiffany Nguyen

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

by Laura Ruby

“From the author of Printz Medal winner Bone Gap comes the unforgettable story of two young women—one living, one dead—dealing with loss, desire, and the fragility of the American dream during WWII.

When Frankie’s mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, it was supposed to be only temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet and be able to provide for them once again. That’s why Frankie's not prepared for the day that he arrives for his weekend visit with a new woman on his arm and out-of-state train tickets in his pocket.

Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned alongside so many other orphans—two young, unwanted women doing everything they can to survive.

And as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death walk the streets in broad daylight, it will be up to Frankie to find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America—every minute of every day spent wondering if the life she's able to carve out will be enough.
I will admit I do not know the answer. But I will be watching, waiting to find out.
That’s what ghosts do.”

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All is a historical fiction novel set from 1941 to 1946, and not only was Ruby effective in making her novel feel like the time period it was set in through the mindset and actions of her characters, but she is also able to confront the reality of inequality and division in America-both then and now.

This novel does an amazing job portraying the overarching theme of how so many things from societal standards to war can hold people back from the American Dream.  Despite being historical fiction, these struggles are still prevalent in today’s world, and this novel discusses the hardships women face while showing how some have pushed back and refused to accept their reality. Through this, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All is inspiring in that it doesn’t just talk about the ways society represses many of us, but it also reveals the good worth fighting for.

Frankie is courageous and resolute, allowing her to survive against the societal and emotional challenges she faces.   At the same time, she, along with the other kids at the orphanage, feel like real people-you are able to feel their authentic terror as families and friends go off to war, and you feel their grief and frustration when the people meant to love them treat them like they’re an unwanted inconvenience.

Like Frankie, the other girls at the orphanage, especially Loretta and Stella, are far from perfect, and yet it is the stories behind their flaws and all they’ve overcome that adds a whole other level of depth to their characters.

In this world, there are also ghosts who wander the Earth, watching the living while obsessing over their own lives and deaths and wondering if they can affect anything in the living world.  Pearl, our narrator and a ghost watching over Frankie, reveals her own story about how her family and relationships lead to her death, and it is just as intriguing and heartbreaking as Frankie’s.

All in all, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All is a moving and meaningful story, perfect for people who struggle with inequality or want to hear more about its existence throughout history.

 

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All, in store now!

 

 

thirteen books that remind us of the K-12 tracklist

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- Written By Ava and Amanda

 


By this point, you’ve probably watched Melanie Martinez’s short-film, K-12. If you haven’t watch it now! Here are thirteen young adult books that remind us of the K-12 tracklist. (MSL=Most Suitable Lyric

 

1. INTO THE CROOKED PLACE we go, Wheels on the Bus turning

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

No one's watching them, until the catalyst happens. Now, these four have to work together to save them all in this wicked, fierce book. A must read for sure!

By Alexandra Christo

MSL: No one's watching us, don't give a f--k/Wheels on the bus

 

2. WICKED SAINTS and monsters are in a Class Fight

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

The Wicked Saints and monsters are in a class fight for their lives, and it isn’t pretty.

By Emily A. Duncan

MSL: And my one true love called me a monster

 

3. THUNDERHEAD is The Principal of the Scythedom

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world.

Will the Thunderhead ever act to help their problems, or will it just sit back on the sidelines?

By Neal Shusterman

MSL: By the separation in this place that you've created/F--k all of your rules and guidelines/You shouldn't even be on the sidelines

 

4. Tova from THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK feels like she’s playing Show & Tell

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Facing the fear and mistrust of others, Tova may feel like she’s playing Show & Tell. This intense, exciting read is perfect for all!

By Adrienne Young

MSL: Show and tell/I'm on display for all you f****** to see

 

5. Maia had better use her magic scissors to SPIN THE DAWN, or she’ll get sent to The Nurse’s Office

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Maia needs a “nurse’s pass” to escape her village and fulfill her dreams of becoming a tailor, but the nurse’s office isn’t quite what it seems.

By Elizabeth Lim

MSL: Give me that pink slip of permission

 

6. Todd wants no part in the war’s Drama Club during the SUMMER OF ‘69

With his girlfriend, Robin, away in Canada, eighteen-year-old Lucas Baker's only plans for the summer are to mellow out with his friends, smoke weed, drop a tab or two, and head out in his microbus for a three-day happening called the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. But life veers dramatically off track when he suddenly finds himself in danger of being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam.

If that isn't heavy enough, there's also the free-loving (and undeniably alluring) Tinsley, who seems determined to test Lucas's resolve to stay faithful to Robin; a frighteningly bad trip at a Led Zeppelin concert; a run-in with an angry motorcycle gang; parents who appear headed for a divorce; and a friend on the front lines in 'Nam who's in mortal danger of not making it back. As the pressures grow, it's not long before Lucas finds himself knocked so far down, it's starting to look like up to him.

Todd doesn’t want to be part of the Vietnam War’s drama, but what choice does he have?

By Tod Strasser

MSL: I never signed up for your drama club

 

7.Prince Emory wants a taste of that DAMSEL’s Strawberry Shortcake

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

Prince Emory expects all of her strawberry shortcake, but Ama is suspicious of their his hidden intents.

By Elana K. Arnold

MSL: It's my fault, it's my fault 'cause I put icing on top/Now, the boys want a taste of the strawberry shortcake

 

8. In THE GRACE YEAR, Tierney’s dealing with Lunchbox Friends.

 

A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!

SURVIVE THE YEAR.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

With decisiveness and power, THE GRACE YEAR is a definite must-read. Girl turning on girl, Tierney learns quickly that some people are no more than Lunchbox Friends.

By Kim Liggett

MSL: We can be friends if you want to be/But only 'til the clock hits three

 

9. With SCARS LIKE WINGS, life can be as sour as Orange Juice

Relatable, heartbreaking, and real, this is a story of resilience--the perfect novel for readers of powerful contemporary fiction like Girl in Pieces and Every Last Word.

Before, I was a million things. Now I'm only one. The Burned Girl.

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn't need a mirror to know what she looks like--she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be "normal" again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends--no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn't have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn't afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she's going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

    Orange Juice is a song about loving yourself despite differences and things you wish could be better, and it definitely matches this touching book. 

By Erin Stewart

MSL: From the words you spoke/When you're screaming at the mirror

 

10.Louise le Blanc from SERPENT & DOVE certainly feels like she’s in Detention

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

With a love that’s dangerous and unpredicatable, SERPENT & DOVE is a perfect, high-stakes read. Tensions run high and if you aren’t careful, you might find yourself in detention.

By Shelby Mahurin

MSL: Hey, can you meet me tonight in detention?/I can feel your blood pressure rise, f*** this tension

 

11.Teacher’s Pet + ALL OF US WITH WINGS

Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rock-star family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in their household, which is relaxed and happy despite the band's larger-than-life fame.

But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas accidentally summon a pair of ancient creatures devoted to avenging the wrongs of Xochi’s adolescence. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe—not the family she’s chosen, nor the one she left behind.

Xochi isn’t sure why she’s falling for her employer: the father of the girl she’s babysitting. Can she keep it a secret?

*Trigger warning: content condones underaged girls and older men*

By Michelle Ruiz Keil

MSL: You got a wife and kids, you see them daily/Don't know why you even need me

 

12. In THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS, Darcy and Asher may be High School Sweethearts

From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.

While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.

Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.

This heartwarming, book-centered book is perfect for all readers. When Darcy meets Asher in a bookstore, they totally have the potential to become High School Sweethearts.

By Laura Taylor Namey

MSL: If you can't handle a heart like mine/Don't waste your time with me

 

13. It’s not Recess for the THE GOOD-LUCK GIRLS

Westworld meets The Handmaid's Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.

Aster, the protector

Violet, the favorite

Tansy, the medic

Mallow, the fighter

Clementine, the catalyst

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls--they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a "welcome house" as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta's most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It's going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

This book is absolutely stunning, with adventure, friendship, and promises. Born into a life they would’ve never chosen, they must work together to find a place to call home.

By Charlotte Nicole Davis

MSL: Don't let them hurt you, baby/Just say "recess, " I'm tired

 

 

New Review from The Teen Advisory Board!- Ziggy, Stardust and Me

 

Teen Advisory Board Banner

By Teen Advisory Board Member

Ziggy, Stardust and Me

 by James Brandon

For Jonathan, he wants nothing more than to not be gay. Bullied at school, distant from his father, and forced to go to therapy sessions to make himself straight, he finds comfort in two things: his best friend, Starla, and his idol, Ziggy Stardust. With them, he’s able to just be himself. Soon, the arrival of a new boy at school, Web, forces him to begin to come to terms with his identity. Jonathan is left torn between his feelings and what society tells him is right.

This book is an interesting coming of age story, steeped in pop culture and social justice issues. The plot line of Jonathan grappling with intense self-loathing was very emotional, and despite his faults, it was easy to like him and relate to him. Due to the first person point of view in the book, and the care the author took in developing a distinct voice for him, Jonathan is a realistic character. Additionally, one issue this book addresses really well is internalized homophobia. This is all explored through Jonathan, but also with other closeted characters.


Ziggy, Stardust and Me is a great choice for readers interested in the 1970s, David Bowie, social justice. The bittersweet romance and relatable characters will stick with you even after finishing the book.


Lover tracks that are basically these books set to music

Teen Advisory Board Banner

- Written by By: By Ava and Amanda


All bops, no skips, we stan Lover! In fitting TAB fashion, here are some books that perfectly embody each of Taylor’s bubbly songs.

(MSL=Most Suitable Lyric)

1.   THE YEAR THEY FELL, they told each other “I Forgot You Existed”

When a horrible tragedy unites five very different high school seniors, they discover the worst moment of your life can help determine who you really are in the powerful YA novel, The Year They Fell.

Josie, Jack, Archie, Harrison, and Dayana were inseparable as preschoolers. But that was before high school, before parties and football and getting into the right college. Now, as senior year approaches, they're basically strangers to each other.

Until they’re pulled back together when their parents die in a plane crash. These former friends are suddenly on their own. And they’re the only people who can really understand how that feels.

To survive, the group must face the issues that drove them apart, reveal secrets they’ve kept since childhood, and discover who they’re meant to be. And in the face of public scrutiny, they’ll confront mysteries their parents left behind—betrayals that threaten to break the friendships apart again.

A new family is forged in this heartbreaking, funny, and surprising book from award-winning storyteller David Kreizman. It's a deeply felt, complex journey into adulthood, exploring issues of grief, sexual assault, racism, and trauma.

Despite them trying their best to forget each other’s existence, each person must stick together in order to reveal facts about each other…and to take on the future. 

MSL: And I couldn't get away from ya/In my feelings more than Drake, so yeah

By David Kreizman

 

2 The STAIN on our life? Well, it’s a Cruel Summer.

https://www.booksinc.net/book/9781419731419

A high-fantasy gothic fairytale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea.

Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins...

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest ... disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra's rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight, for she is his true equal. As Lyra rediscovers her identity, an impostor princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.

It’s definitely a Cruel Summer for Lyra after she has to face imposter princesses, evil aunts, and more. A story about a princess who lost everything and fights tooth and bone to get it back, STAIN is must-read for sure.

MSL: That's what I tell 'em, no rules/In breakable heaven 

By A.G. Howard

3. Lara Jean is a Lover TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE (she’s) LOVED BEFORE

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Lover is practically Lara Jean’s theme song, encompassing the thrill of romance.

MSL: My heart's been borrowed and yours has been blue/All's well that ends well to end up with you/Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover

By Jenny Han

4.  THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL wishes she could reap the privileges of The (white) Man

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.

While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta's most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.

Being a Chinese girl in the sexist and racist South isn’t easy when you’re a saucebox like Jo. But, Jo speculates, if she was a white man, she would be revered for her “good ideas and power moves.”

MSL: What I was wearing, if I was rude/Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves

By Stacey Lee

5.  The SONG OF THE CRIMSON FLOWER can only be sent free by The (figurative) Archer

Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician's apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman's daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao's prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.

Is Lan The Archer and Bao the prey?

MSL: 'Cause all of my enemies started out friends/Help me hold onto you

By Julie C. Dao

 

6.  MAYBE THIS TIME, I Think He Knows

One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year's Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn't so bad after all . . .

Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

A cute, comedic romance with plenty of opportunities for banter, this book is sure to please readers (even those claiming to be “too old” for teenage romance). It’s funny, angsty, and everything in between.

MSL: Wanna see what's under that attitude

By Kasie West

7. Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince are in the CIRCLE OF SHADOW

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

Sora as Miss Americana and Daemon as the Heartbreak Prince? Sign me up. In all seriousness, this book about standing up for your kingdom matches perfectly with the political-protest vibe of Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince.

MSL: The whole school is rolling fake dice/You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes

By Evelyn Skye

8. THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE may be revealed with the promise of Paper Rings

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

Their romance is forbidden, but Mim would still seal it in an instant with paper rings.

MSL: I like shiny things, but I'd marry you with paper rings

By Stacey Lee

9. THE ARRIVAL OF SOMEDAY on Cornelia Street

In this heartfelt and emotionally candid contemporary YA, author Jen Malone delves into the life of a teen whose world is brought to an abrupt halt when she learns she’s in dire need of an organ transplant.

Hard-charging and irrepressible eighteen-year-old Amelia Linehan could see a roller derby opponent a mile away—and that’s while crouched down, bent over skates, and zooming around a track at the speed of light. They don’t call her Rolldemort for nothing! What she couldn’t see coming, however, was the unexpected flare-up of a rare liver disorder she was born with. But now it’s the only thing she—and everyone around her—can think about.

With no guarantee of a viable organ transplant, everything Amelia’s been sure of—like her college plans, the mural she’d been commissioned to paint, or the possibility of one day falling in love—has become a huge question mark, threatening to drag her down into a sea of what-ifs she’s desperate to avoid.

Then a friend from the past shows up. With Will, it’s easy to forget about what’s lurking underneath the lightness of their time together. It’s easy to feel alive when all signs point elsewhere. On the other hand, with the odds decidedly not in her favor, Amelia knows this feeling couldn’t last forever. But what can?

On Cornelia Street, Taylor knows her love won’t last, just as how Amelia’s uncertain about how long anything will last—including her burgeoning romance.

MSL: And I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends

By Jen Malone

10. Will LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI be the experience of Ever’s life, or will it end with her Death By A Thousand Cuts?

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

If love comes with the possibility of a breakup, would Ever risk a death of a thousand cuts? Or should she just play it safe?

MSL: I get drunk, but it's not enough/'Cause the morning comes and you're not my baby

By Abigail Hing Weng

11. Shane’s doing college AGAIN BUT BETTER with her London Boy

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane's made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change—there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

Shane’s time abroad at England has cultivated a love for her London boy.

MSL: And now I love high tea, stories from uni, and the West End/You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends

By Christine Riccio

12. ALICE BY HEART is convinced that Soon You’ll Get Better if you hear the tale of Wonderland

London, 1940. Amidst the rubble of the Blitz of World War II, fifteen-year-old Alice Spencer and her best friend, Alfred, are forced to take shelter in an underground tube station. Sick with tuberculosis, Alfred is quarantined, with doctors saying he won’t make it through the night. In her desperation to keep him holding on, Alice turns to their favorite pastime: recalling the book that bonded them, and telling the story that she knows by heart–the story of Alice in Wonderland.

What follows is a stunning, fantastical journey that blends Alice’s two worlds: her war-ravaged homeland being held together by nurses and soldiers and Winston Churchill, and her beloved Wonderland, a welcome distraction from the bombs and the death, but a place where one rule always applies: the pages must keep turning. But then the lines between these two worlds begin to blur. Is that a militant Red Cross Nurse demanding that Alice get BACK. TO. HER. BED!, or is it the infamous Queen of Hearts saying…something about her head? Soon, Alice must decide whether to stay in Wonderland forever, or embrace the pain of reality if that’s what it means to grow up.

Alice tells Alfred the story of Alice in Wonderland, convinced that he’ll somehow get better.

MSL: You like the nicer nurses, you make the best of a bad deal/I just pretend it isn't real

By Steven Sater

13. THE VENTRILOQUISTS pat Nazis on the head and say “You Need To Calm Down.

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s entire world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network publishing dissident underground newspapers.

Aubrion’s unbridled creativity and linguistic genius attract the attention of August Wolff, a high-ranking Nazi official tasked with swaying public opinion against the Allies. Wolff captures Aubrion and his comrades and gives them an impossible choice: use the newspaper to paint the Allies as monsters, or be killed. Faced with no decision at all, Aubrion has a brilliant idea: they will pretend to do the Nazis’ bidding, but instead they will publish a fake edition of Le Soir that pokes fun at Hitler and Stalin—giving power back to the Belgians by daring to laugh in the face of their oppressors.

The ventriloquists have agreed to die for a joke, and they have only eighteen days to tell it.

Hitler and Stalin just need to calm down and let the people speak their minds.

MSL: You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace/And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate

By E. R. Ramzipoor

14. THE BOY AND GIRL WHO BROKE THE WORLD: They’re False God(s)

Billy Sloat and Lydia Lemon don’t have much in common, unless you count growing up on the same (wrong) side of the tracks, the lack of a mother, and a persistent loneliness that has inspired creative coping mechanisms.

When the lives of these two loners are thrust together, Lydia’s cynicism is met with Billy’s sincere optimism, and both begin to question their own outlook on life. On top of that, weird happenings including an impossible tornado and an all-consuming fog are cropping up around them—maybe even because of them. And as the two grow closer and confront bigger truths about their pasts, they must also deal with such inconveniences as a narcissistic rock star, a war between unicorns and dragons, and eventually, of course, the apocalypse.

Billy and Lydia’s friendship is one made in hell, not meant to last, but lasts anyways. Similarly, Taylor’s metaphors details a relationship that might not be the healthiest, but exists anyways.  

MSL: They all warned us about times like this/They say the road gets hard and you get lost

By Amy Reed

15. Basking in the Afterglow with THE BECKONING SHADOW

Vesper Montgomery can summon your worst fear and turn it into a reality—but she’s learned the hard way that it’s an addicting and dangerous power. One wrong move and you could hurt someone you love.

But when she earns a spot in the Tournament of the Unraveling, where competitors battle it out for a chance to rewrite the past, Vesper finally has a shot to reverse the mistakes that have changed her forever. She turns to Sam Hardy, a former MMA fighter who’s also carrying a tragedy he desperately wants to undo. However, helping heal Sam’s heart will mean breaking her own, and the competition forces her to master her powers—powers she has been terrified of since they destroyed her life.

Afterglow is a beautiful song about repenting after hurting someone you love—fitting for Vesper’s powers. 

MSL: Sorry that I hurt you/I don't wanna do, I don’t wanna do this to you (Ooh)

By Katharyn Blair

16. THE MADNESS BLOOMS in ME!

My brother Bastian was born in a tulip field, or so the story goes. The woman at the church orphanage boasted this proudly to the seed merchant who had chosen Bas as his apprentice. Lucky for me, he took us both.

When a single tulip bulb sold for the price of Amsterdam’s finest houses, the flower shop was supposed to be our future, our survival. But when our master died, there wasn’t even money to pay for his coffin. He, too, had caught the tulip fever.

Bas and I hatched a dangerous, outrageous plan, a plan I hoped would save our shop—and save us. I would dress as a man, take on a new name, and attempt to sell a fake Semper Augustus bulb, the rarest and most valuable tulip of all, to the one merchant in town with the money to pay for it.

But then I met his daughter, Elsje, and fell in love with her at first sight. Immediately, we were bound together. And the longer I lived a man’s life, the less it felt like a disguise. The trousers fit better than dresses ever had, and my new name dripped from Elsje’s tongue like sweet syrup.

Now, I hardly know—and must discover—what to do. Who to save. Who to become. Who I am.

He reassures Elsje that she’ll never find another like him.

MSL: I never wanna see you walk away/And there's a lot of lame guys out there

By Mackenzi Lee

17. Even with the IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC, It’s Nice to Have a Friend

Music is Simon’s life—which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counselled, refusing to learn sign-language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly-experienced deafness.

Simon’s and G’s friendship is everything—showing that It’s Nice to Have a Friend who’s always there for you. A poignant, emotional story, IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC is perfect for fans of all genres.

MSL: You've been stressed out lately, yeah, me too

By Sean Williams

18. Step into the Daylight, reach ECHO NORTH

Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.

This magical, mysterious book perfectly fits the hopeful theme of Daylight. We highly recommend!

MSL: I've been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night

By Joanna Ruth Meyer

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