This adaptation of the Norwegian fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon is embellished with threads of Beauty and the Beast and imbued with the author's musical sense of storytelling. It is wistful, yet gentle. Wrenching, yet comforting. Stinging, yet hopeful, and warm enough to carry you through the bitterest winter. In many ways, it is a story about stories, about the powerful magic of understanding your own mythology. Keep this book on hand for a lazy day because once you start, you won't want to let go. -Sarah C.
The Guardians at Innovations Academy repeatedly call Philomena's relationship with her classmates, her sisters, 'codependent' but she describes it as necessary. And it is necessary to stick together, to draw strength from one another when you can't trust the world you've grown up in, especially when it turns on you, when the men turn on you who were supposed to be your caretakers. This book highlights these bonds and the power of friendship, and it is not a laughable matter. A prime example of a page-turner, Girls With Sharp Sticks is as sharp as its title implies; these pretty girls now have sharp sticks, and the world is at their mercy. -Leah
This book is too close. Too possible. What should be a horrifying-but-purely-fictional future where the United States forces Muslims into internment camps feels like something I might see on the news tomorrow. Samira Ahmed writes with considerable courage as she delves into the dark corners of Islamaphobia. She refuses to relinquish her power to prejudice, and doesn't allow her characters to either. As a narrative, it is tightly constructed and well-paced. The moral imperative is clear, yet the story takes into account a broad range of perspectives. Most importantly, the book is a call to action to keep this story in the world of fiction and render the premise implausible. -Sarah C.
There's hardly words to do With the Fire on High justice. Calling this book gorgeous just doesn't seem enough, and Emoni is such a strong and well-crafted voice, I thought she might jump out of the pages and come alive right front of me. Acevedo has masterfully weaved a story of an aspiring chef and the power that food has to not only bring people together, but its power to heal old wounds as well. I cannot recommend this book enough! -Heather H.
Wow! What an unusual kind of storytelling. My initial hesitation with a male author writing Joan’s story was completely flipped by the creativity and passion shown in its telling. Her life and last moments are told through half a dozen kinds of medieval poetry, pulling points of view from historical records of her trials, to her sword and armor themselves. Highly recommend for fans of Hamilton or lovers of history and poetry. -Leah
Um, you need to read this. If you’re at all a fan of fairy tales, or beautiful writing, or thought-provoking plots, then PLEASE pick up this book! My friend gave this to me, assuring me that I would devour this book and read it in one sitting . . . I did. The main character develops into the amazing queen of a woman that she was born to be, and the romance in this book wasn’t cliché, which is rare for YA (sorry guys). The fairy tales referenced will sound familiar, but - just as you think you know what is going on - the story will suddenly shift and you’ll be beside yourself in suspense and shock! -Ryan
This book is told in alternating points of view and a thousand years apart; Rielle and Eliana are women unknowingly connected by a looming prophecy spanning the centuries in which they live. Conspiracies, secret identities, toe-curling romance, and (of course) awesome fight scenes, Furyborn has it all. And the best part: of these two prophesied queens, one is doomed to end the world, one to save it...but which one which? If you're a fan of Sarah J. Maas books, Kristin Cashore, Leigh Bardugo . . . basically what I'm getting at is this, look no farther because here is an instant YA fantasy classic that'll keep you up into the early hours of the morning. -Leah
No 'ship name in the literary world is more known than "Malec." And finally, finally, together, Cassie and Wesley Chu write a book about our favorite couple, the quiet and strong Shadowhunter, Alec and the immortal warlock with the best sense of style in history, Magnus. This is set right after City of Glass while they are on their first romantic vacation across Europe. Unfortunately, their vacation quickly becomes derailed by demons (of course), necessary camping (Magnus style), and underlining everything are the difficulties of traveling with a new partner (even if WE know it's true love). I've read all of Cassie's books and this is my favorite one. I basically happy-cried through the whole story. -Leah
Eliza's anxiety makes it difficult to connect with people in her day-to-day life. Online, however, she is the center of her own universe as the creator of a popular webcomic. Her two worlds collide when she befriends one of her biggest fans at school - without revealing who she really is. I made the mistake of finishing this book on a airplane. I missed the drink cart and ended up openly weeping in the window seat. So, be warned, it is very emotional but well worth your time. The book deftly navigates the complications of Eliza's double life without diminishing the value of finding one's voice online. Most of all, this is the story of connection, wherever and however it develops. -Sarah C.
King Arthur . . . IN SPACE! I usually meet this premise as the punch line of a bad joke, but here it is executed brilliantly. This sci-fi explores the future of the Once and Future King as a teenage Merlin trains the 42nd incarnation of Arthur. Only this version of Arthur is a seventeen-year-old girl named Ari who does not intend to follow Merlin's script. She's more invested in undermining the large monopolizing corporation that tore apart her home and her family. The stakes are high from the beginning, both internally and externally, and not even magic can soften the blows. Fresh, funny, familial, and familiar, this incarnation of the Arthurian legend is timeless. -Sarah C.