Looking for a new book to read? Check out the young-adult books that the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and other highbrow publications have recently sprinkled with some of their magical critical fairy dust.
Fifteen-year-old Willo lives in a post-apocalyptic world in which the new ice age has descended on Earth. When his parents are removed by the government, he sets out to find them, following the guidance of a dog’s voice in his head. Willo narrates the story in a strong dialect, giving the story a darker edge.
“After the Snow is a coming-of-age novel, first and foremost—a brutal, tough and sometimes truly transcendent one.”
Violet discovers she’s an angel, and that the man who has been training her in self-defense is actually her angel partner; Lincoln, who is devastatingly handsome, has hidden this secret from her for two years. Violet finds herself thrown into battles with dark angels, and is caught up in a love triangle she never expected.
Hayat, a young Muslim boy, lives in a wildly dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic father and a bitter, tired mother. When Mina, his mother’s long-lost friend, arrives from Pakistan, Hayat begins to feel an uncontrollable attraction towards her; when she falls in love with a Jewish man, Hayat beings to search for answers in the Quran.
“Akhtar has done precisely what he set out to do: give readers a ‘felt sense’ for the confusion, roiling pain and occasional deep beauty of an American-Muslim childhood.”
Jamie’s fallen in love with Caro, a wild, uncontrollable teenage girl who’s no friend to anyone. Jamie’s sister hates her, and his older brother Rob, newly returned from Afghanistan with a ruined leg, seems to be just as in love with her as Jamie is. Caro’s deep into something bad, and Jamie sets out to help her, even if it means digging himself into the same hole she’s in.
“Three pages in, though, I was hooked, fascinated by the voice of the story’s central character and already feeling a mounting sense of anticipatory dread on his behalf.”
Callie is desperate for money. Her brother is dying of some unknown disease, and she’s squatting in an abandoned hotel. Her parents died in the Spore Wars, just like everyone else between the ages of 20 and 60, and the government has forbidden teenagers to work. So she does the only thing she can–she gives her body to a company that rents it out to the rich and elderly.
“Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games will find it here.”
In a magical ancient world, the old ways are being forgotten as a new religion starts to dominate, bringing with it violent Saramands–Vikings–and a royal conflict that threatens to ruin civilization. The wizard Puretongue is training two wizards for the most important task of his life–to restore the Summerlord before his brother, the Icelord, plunges their world into a never-ending ice age.
“What looks at first glance like a pretty traditional epic fantasy turns out to be something a bit darker, and stranger. And it does wind up raising some fascinating questions about how we come to be the people we are.”
Aria lives in a bubbled world that protects its inhabitants from the wild storms of the outside. In a desperate attempt to try to find her scientist mother, she is caught and thrown outside the dome. Peregrine, who lives in the outside, saves her, and the two embark on parallel quests to recover lost loved ones.
“Although this is a first novel, it comes across as the work of a master craftsman and should appeal to both teen and adult readers far beyond dystopia fans.”
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