Zélie lives in constant fear. In a land where magic users, or maji, are hunted and disposed of, she knows all too well the dangers that surround her.
Majis have been driven to extinction under the authority of a tyrannical king.
The king's daughter Amari, however, decides that her father's ways are wrong and sets out on her own. This angers the king who puts a price on her head.
In a chance meeting, Amari and Zélie meet as Amari is on the run. Together they flee with Zélie's brother.
Chased by Amari's brother, Inan, the three go from one nail-biting adventure to the next as Zélie discovers that she may be the key to bringing magic back to the land.
Filled with thrills, Indiana Jones-style adventure and truly original characters, I can't recommend this book enough.
If you're looking for strong female characters with complex histories and troubled pasts with tons of great fight scenes, a strong fantasy plot and a ton of grit, this is the book for you.
I will be buying quite a few copies of this to keep our teens happy. Highly recommended!
When angels start falling from the sky around the world, people start preparing for the end. Religious institutions see a massive rise in attendance, flights are cancelled and cults spring up everywhere - some to praise the fallen ones and some to denounce them as devils.
Jaya's father leaves his job and decides to devote his life to tracking the angels, dubbed Beings.
He maps where they have fallen, what their characteristics are like and spends countless hours hunched over his laptop discussing how to anticipate where the next one will fall.
Jaya and her sister feel abandoned, their mother passed away tragically only ten days before the first Being fell to the ground. When their dad bundles them in the car and whisks them to Edinburgh to try and catch a Being fall, Jaya is annoyed and depressed. Not only is she grieving her lost mother, her girlfriend Leah has seemingly vanished from the face of the earth.
As things begin to spiral out of control, a two things happen that change Jaya's life forever. First, she meets Allie, a girl who seems to understand that the Beings aren't commodities to be studied, cut open and have their feathers sold on eBay. She feels an instant connection with her and her heartbreak starts to lessen the more she's around her.
The second thing that happens is that a Being falls to Earth right at Jaya's feet. The difference between this one and all of the others around the world?
It's still alive.
Jaya decides to hide the Being from her father and recruit the help of Allie and her reluctant brother, Callum. The Being can't speak English, and one of its wings is broken. With the help of her new friends, Jaya is determined to keep the Being (nicknamed Teacake) hidden from the strange Angel Cults roaming Edinburgh and her own father, who has descended into A Beautiful Mind-esque mania.
This is a great story about loss, grief and how people process it differently. Jaya has some major issues to work through, things that she hasn't properly spoken to her father and sister about regarding the loss of their mother. Allie is equally complicated, fiery and stubborn but harbouring a secret that affects her ability to carry through with Jaya's dream of freeing Teacake once and for all. There's also a dark undercurrent with the cults and Jaya's ex-girlfriend Leah. All of their stories will combine in an exciting action sequence.
I have students who come to the Library looking for books exactly like this, books with sadness and grief and uplifting aspects all rolled into one. Don't miss this! I recommend it to ages 14 and up.
Petula is struggling. She's developed OCD after a tragedy in her family. She doesn't ride elevators, she doesn't eat ground beef, she doesn't take public transport. She also doesn't speak to her former best friend anymore.
She sees the school counsellor, but feels herself falling further and further from what everyone else calls "normal" teenage life.
Her parents aren't much help. Her mother appears to be collecting cats for a living and her father buries himself in work to try and numb the pain from their loss.
The only break in Petula's day is taking an art therapy class with other teens equally or more confused, sad or angry as she is. Then she meets Jacob, he has a prosthetic hand and a mysterious life story that Petula can't seem to crack no matter how close they get.
Jacob helps Petula open up see many of her fears as irrational, but Jacob won't open up about his past, and that bothers her. Jacob's story is one that might damage Petula more than she can bear.
Optimists Die Firs tis full of heart and humour, with some relatable awkward and touching moments. I think our students will really gravitate towards it as I think a lot of them will see themselves in Petula, great stuff!
Emma is 16 years old and has just been "ghosted" by her boyfriend Leon. If you're like me and have no idea what "ghosted" means, it's when someone you think you are in a relationship with suddenly acts like they don't know you or want to know you.
Distraught, and then even more distraught when she sees that Leon is "in a relationship" on Facebook, Emma decides to turn her life around. How does she do this? By creating a new Emma online, one that will help her find someone worthy to be in a relationship with her.
Standing in her way is her mum, who is herself "out there", online and looking for love and a perpetual source of frustration and emotional hostage-taking for Emma. Also standing in her way is Emma herself. Through a series of awkward, cringe-worthy and laugh out loud funny experiences manages to alienate and embarrass herself in the process.
Editing Emma is a funny and frank look at trying to find out where you belong and who you are in an online culture where everything is fragmented and has a 5 minute shelf life. It's a great novel that I think a lot of teens I work with in the school library can see themselves in, which is important.
Branton Middle School has a problem. At least the students do when the principal, Mr. Wittingham (or the Big Ham as he's known) bans all cell phones within the school.
To compensate, four friends, Frost, Bench, Deedee and Wolf decide to use sticky notes that they attach to their lockers in order to communicate.
The trend catches on and soon gets out of hand.
To make matters worst (at least for some) a new girl comes to the school and disrupts the tight friendship the four boys have.
The sticky note war escalates, the friendships are strained and before long Frost finds himself at the breaking point.
Posted is a funny, touching look at surviving Middle School. Filled with awkward moments, true heartache and the strains that working families face on a day to day basis, I think a lot of tweens will really connect with this story. In the school in the UK that I work at, cell phones are not allowed at all. We are reading this with thirty 11 year old students and they are fascinated by American culture and schools in general so they are eating this up! Highly recommended, a nice read about friendship and what it means to be honest in this day and age.
Diana is desperate to prove herself. Surrounded by warriors who make every feat of strength and agility look like a cake walk, she does her best to stand out.
When her big chance comes, however, she throws it all away to rescue a teenager drowning off the coast of her island home.
Interacting with a human is strictly forbidden in Diana's culture, let alone saving one and hiding them in a cave.
This, however is no ordinary human. Her name is Alia and unbeknownst to her she is a Warbringer, someone who may be responsible for the greatest war ever to befall the human race.
Using a controversial myth as a guide, Alia and Diana set off to end the curse that Alia has become convinced she carries.
Full of action, sarcastic wit and strong female characters, Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a great teen read for anyone who loves superhero backstories. Bardugo has created a character with real depth that flies off the page, highly recommend this!
Every teen should read this book.
A superb anthology of stories and poems by diverse authors that touches upon issues like terrorism, OCD, depression, loss, cultural appropriation and simply trying to survive being a teen in the modern world.
"Marionette Girl" dives deep into the suffocating bubble that teens with severe OCD experience on a daily basis. It looks at how people without OCD can often brush it aside as "acting up" or "taking things too far" when in reality it's an all encompassing nightmare.
"We, Who?" is a brilliant peek at having someone you consider a good friend suddenly post racist garbage on their Facebook page. It's startling, blunt and very real. How do you cope when you realise you don't really know someone at all?
"Hackney Moon" examines teens finding out who they really are, the pressures to conform and how it feels to experience real love for the first time.
There are many more stories, each like a jolt of electricity to the spine. We need more books like this, more of these stories for teens to connect with. I'm going to champion this book for a long time in the library.
It's the early 1900's in the UK and women still can't vote.
That's the reality that I hope teens take away from this novel right away. It's something I constantly stress in the library when I teach responsible researching skills to students using WWI as a backdrop.
Speaking of research, Nicholls has done hers and in the process created a thrilling and engaging tale about a topic I've never before come across in a YA novel: the plight of the Suffragettes and women's rights in general during World War One in the UK.
Seventeen year old Evelyn comes from a wealthy family but is filled with frustration at the fact that she can't go to university. Women were expected to stay at home and raise families, and although she could apply to go to Oxford, her father forbids it. Evelyn decides to join the Suffragettes and is immediately plunged into a dangerous and exciting world filled with police brutality, hunger strikes, protests and serious jail time.
Fifteen year old May comes from a Quaker background, already part of the Suffragette cause, she rallies against violent protests that some parts of the movement get involved in. When May meets Nell, a girl who has known nothing but hardship her entire life, something awakens in May that she never knew was there before.
Nell has always known she was different, she dressed, looked and acted unlike any of the other girls she grew up with. Her life is taking care of her siblings in their tiny flat in London. Starvation and extreme poverty is always on the horizon. With May, Nell finds a temporary release from the misery.
Set against real-life events that changed the lives of women everywhere, Things a Bright Girl Can Do will anger you, bring you to tears and enlighten you to the extreme hardship brought to the UK because of the foolhardy decision to engage in a ridiculous war that nobody won.
Nicholls also brings to life the effects of PTSD on soldiers that returned home and the pain, confusion and frustration felt by those left at home to pick up the pieces.
I can't wait to talk about this book to teens at the library, it's an important topic that has been handled with grace, wit and a razor sharp insight into history.
Lucy Hannsson life is falling apart.
Her mother's cancer reappears, forcing her to question her faith and her relationship with her long-time boyfriend.
Usually, Lucy works at the Christian children's camp every summer. Her dad is a pastor and Lucy has been heavily involved in the church ever since she was born.
However, at the insistence of her mother, Lucy takes a job at the summer camp a mile away called Daybreak.
Daybreak is a camp for children who have had hard times in their lives. While there, Lucy's eyes are opened to the brutal reality of some people's existence.
At first terrified, Lucy starts to get to know her co-workers, who are open and frank and real and everything that Lucy isn't.
It isn't long before Lucy falls in love with Daybreak, the children there and her newfound friends.
However, Daybreak holds secrets that will directly affect Lucy's relationship with her family and her faith.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book,, Lord has created a realistic summer camp atmosphere (having spent time in some in Canada myself) and the situations and experiences fly off the page as genuine. I was interested in Lucy's in and out relationship with her faith as it is not something that is often tackled in YA fiction in my opinion. The writing is sweet yet realistic and frank at times.
I know the teens at my library will really eat this one up as they will be fascinated with the summer camp setting and the twist at the end, great stuff!
When I was a kid I was obsessed with UFOs.
My dad witnessed the unexplained object streak across the sky at his home in Clark's Harbour Nova Scotia in 1967. It would be known as the Shag Harbour UFO incident because many locals claimed to have seen a craft crash into the ocean. Some told stories of thick orange foam covering the top of the water and Russian ships suddenly converging on the area.
Whatever it was, it was an experience shared by others and the stories remain to this day.
Encounters is all about a shared experience. Based on the Ruwa, Zimbabwe UFO incident when dozens of school children claimed to have seen silver discs land behind their school, Encounters follows the journey of six children that have their lives changed forever because of the alleged alien encounter.
The most fascinating UFO experiences that I have read about are the ones where the witnesses share some kind of collective unconscious aftermath - they have recurring nightmares that are eerily similar to each other, they daydream about the same thing and they often have an almost indescribable feeling of never being alone.
Wallace captures this experience perfectly. In Ruwa, the school children drew pictures of what they saw. The pictures that were drawn were almost identical to each other. In Encounters, The school children draw the same images and each have the itchy feeling that the creatures that they saw emerge from the ships were warning them about something.
For each of the six children, all suffering from turbulent home lives in some for or another, the warnings mean different things.
If you're fascinated with stories about people who've claimed to see UFOs, you simply can't ignore this book. Its tone is pitch perfect, a dream-like haze mingles with the boiling heat of the African sun, creating an eerie atmosphere that will stick in your guts for a long, long time.