Book Bomb! Fantastic Fummer Finds!

That should read “Fantastic SUMMER Finds” but for the sake of visual alliteration let’s just pretend that “Summer” has been spelt using the medieval long ‘S’ which bears a striking resemblance to the lowercase ‘F’. Bit of typographical trivia for you there, bonus!

I didn’t read nearly as much  as I wanted to over the fummer (ahem) summer - during the summer break we hosted a stampede of programs (no really, there was actual stampeding) built around reading, literacy, and all-around library fun.  There were live animals, some wild, some domesticated; magic shows, some with animals, some without, some with a little comedy, some that were all comedy.  A few libraries even hosted their own version of The Hunger Games! Only with less violence and tragedy, more laughter and comedy. I would hope.

If you missed out this year, well, now you know, come visit us next fummer. Summer.

Here are some of the books I did read that I thought are stellar additions to the YA genre, saturated as it is with so much dystopian-, vampire/werewolf-, and zombie-themed material. These books have something shiny new about them, whether unconventional characters, original plot-twists, non-stereotypical romantic developments, or just all-around literary freshness. Now that school is back in session and you have better things to do than read books, here’s your chance to procrastinate!

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (New York Times Bestselling author of the Shiver Trilogy) goes against the typical teen novel mold and weaves the most engrossing mystery without all the angst-choked hormonal clichés typical in so much of teen fiction today. When Blue, the only girl in a family of psychics without a drop of ESP, sees the spirit of a boy who is definitely still breathing, her mother, a powerful clairvoyant (and powerful pain in the butt) explains: “Either you’re his true love… or you killed him.” I know it sounds cliché, but Gansey, her possible love (or victim), and his group of friends aren’t your typical wealthy, private school students, these so-called Raven Boys. Nope, they’re up to something, something dark… dangerous… something with dirt. When there are boys, there’s always a good chance that dirt is involved.

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1) Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan is a supernatural teen novel that has some of the most entertaining dialogue and characterizations I’ve read in a good long while. Utterly hilarious and unexpected, it follows Kami Glass who has had an imaginary friend for as long as she can remember, a boy named Jared, who only she can hear. At least she thought he was imaginary, until he shows up as her school, just as non-fictional and freaked out as she is that the comforting delusions they both thought were the mental equivalent of childhood blankets are real, and so not comforting. What would you do if the person who knows everything about you, absolutely everything, is standing in front of you? And (you’d ask after all the hysterics) how is it even possible?

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1) Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, the first in a series (what book isn’t, these days), takes a staple of the fantasy genre and builds a fully-fledged world that’s exciting and engrossing. No, it’s not hobbits, or fairies. Or buxom barmaids. It’s dragons! After a draconian-human treaty ended a terrible war between the two species, the great scaled beasts re-shaped themselves into less-threatening (and less dignified, in their opinion) human shapes to assimilate, offering up their advanced mathematical and logical abilities to humans as scholars and instructors. Seraphina, a gifted musician in the royal court, is drawn into the restless undercurrents rising up as the treaty’s fortieth anniversary approaches, tides that will unveil dark scaled secrets, including the ones Seraphina is trying so hard to hide, not the least of which is her strange and dangerous ability to understand the language of dragons.

Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1) Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis, is an amazing composite of an assortment of fairtytales you might find familiar BUT Kontis’ re-imagining of these elements is utterly enchanting (okay, no more puns, pinky promise). It just feels like new ground. In the woodcutter’s family, Sunday is the youngest of seven sisters all named after the days of the week and who have all been blessed (or cursed, or both) with characteristics attributed to being born on those days. Her sister Monday is almost flawlessly beautiful, their sibling Tuesday is a dancer of unusual grace, Wednesday keeps to her lonely tower and descends only to spout less-than-cheerful (and obscure) pronouncements, and so on until Sunday, who is all the things a Sunday’s child is said to be except… terrible things happen around her (especially when she writes about them first). And then there’s the frog who wasn’t always a frog, but who could turn out to be the single most-hated person in all the world to her family, only, he loves Sunday. The simple Woodcutter household isn’t quite what it seems at first glance…

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, is not my favorite on the list but I would still place it at the top of the formidable parade of YA books that have marched in front of these bespectacled eyes within the past few months. Celaena, at only eighteen, is notoriously renown as her country’s most lethal assassin, and has been incarcerated in a grueling salt mine from which the only escape is death. Until Prince Dorian offers her a deal; compete with assassins, thieves, and swordsmen from all over the country for the right to be the King’s official Champion (a.k.a. personal killer), and win her freedom in a few short years. Failing that, she would be returned to the mine. Or stay in the mine, indefinitely, and either die escaping, die insane, or die by her own hand (because she is only just toeing the line keeping her desperation in check). Reminiscent of The Hunger Games, all these fights to the death, it’s a common trope, but there’s just enough originality and suspense to keep you engaged until the end. Spoiler: there is a love triangle (I know, I know – at least it’s not between a wolf and a vampire).

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) The Diviners, by Libba Bray, is a wonderful contemporary jaunt back in time to the 1920’s during the Prohibition, when the happy juice flowed freely (behind gilded doors and crystal-beaded curtains), and occultists went hand in hand with flappers, speakeasies, and opulent Tiffany-décor. Bray captures with stunning vitality the daring exploits of sparkling nonconformist and closeted psychic Evie, who has been shipped off to New York City after a mortifying episode involving her psychometry (ability to knows things by touching people and objects). Sent to her uncle who is, coincidentally, obsessed with the occult, Evie is reluctantly drawn into an investigation that has its roots in the paranormal, with ties to a growing movement of others like her, people with otherworldly gifts. The Diviners is deliciously creepy, engaging, and bright with language and detail that bring that era to life.

And check out a more detailed review (as well as a nifty ol' book trailer) for The Diviners here.  It is the cat's pajamas!  Not quite sure what that means. but I'm assuming "good'!

Click on any of these titles to visit the OC Public Libraries website and reserve a copy today!

No comments: