So many good books come out this month! You may go broke with all the books published on October 4th, so here are my quick takes so you can find what suits you best.
I’m off to New York Comic Con next week! Say hello if you see me running around! I’ll have lots to share afterwards so stay tuned!
The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
Pitch: The conclusion for Young Elites, a fantasy trilogy about a girl who becomes the villain
Story: “There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.
Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.
Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.
Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series”
Quick take: A terrific conclusion to this thrilling and difficult (in a good way!) series. This is a fascinating series about a young girl’s descent to the dark side. Yes, if you’re looking for something different and something a bit more challenging, read this! Somehow, as terrible as things get, Adelina still remains relatable is some way. This is a master storyteller at work here…
Available: October 11
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Pitch: Contemporary YA at its best with a fun and heart
Story: “Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.
Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.
Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.”
Quick take: I wish I talked the the characters in an Emma Mills book! This book is funny and also, at times, very sad. Underneath the witty and fun banter, there are some lonely and grieving people looking to heal. But mostly this is a snappy and fun book – a breezy read that will make you laugh and feel and cheer for the characters.
Available: October 4
The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Pitch: Romeo and Juliet crossed with Fast and Furious
Story: “I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.
Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.
Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?”
Quick take: If you’re looking for a contemporary YA romance, this has plenty of emotion and conflict as Frankie deals with her new life and the mysterious boy from the other side of town. Lots of heartache and love. A great ride!
Available: October 4
When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
Pitch: Inspired by Chinese folklore, this is a gorgeous story about a young girl’s quest to reunite her family
Story: “A breathtaking, full-color illustrated fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore, a companion to the Newbery Honor winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.
Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.
A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky”
Quick take: Beautifully written book with lots of short fables — which all weave together in the end. This book is full of optimism without being saccharine. I can’t wait to see the final version with the fully-fleshed out illustrations, but the rough sketches hint that this is going to be gorgeous to see as well as read. Not only do you get lost in the lovely language, but you’ll keep reading for the surprise twists that bring all the loose pieces together. Definitely earned its National Book Award long list placement!
Available: October 4
Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz
Pitch: A story about figuring out your future, told by a girl who discovers that she’s an undocumented immigrant
Story: “It feels like there’s no ground beneath me, like everything I’ve ever done has been a lie. Like I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong?
Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.
And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.
For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own”
Quick take: This is Seventeen’s first book in their new imprint and they choose a very timely story. This is a must-read book that gives voice to many people who do not have a voice. It’s an important book, but also a good book.
This is clearly a personal story for author Melissa de la Cruz. Jasmine’s anxiety and insecurities and her in-between status are clearly and emotionally laid bare as she adjusts to the sudden change in her identity and future. On top of off this change, there’s a sweet romance with earnest Royce from the other side of town. Lots going on and lots of emotions flying in this story. Many undocumented families are facing this exact threat of deportation and/or separation. If people could read this book, then maybe they’d have a better idea of what’s at stake in this election year.
Available: October 4
Replica by Lauren Oliver
Pitch: Dystopian story about two girls which can be read 3 different ways
Story: “Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…”
Quick take: Three different ways to read one book? You can read Lyra’s story first or (flip the book over) and read Gemma’s story first or you can alternate chapters. I alternated between Lyra and Gemma’s story which made for interesting overlap in later chapters. (HINT: It helps to use two book marks so you’re not always searching for the spot in the other girl’s story!) It’s an interesting look at the same story from two very different perspectives. When their worlds start to collide, it’s fascinating to see their different perspectives on the same events. There are lots of twists and turns with enough story revealed to satisfy and reserve enough for upcoming sequels.
Available: October 4
Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino
Pitch: Middle Grade fantasy debut from the creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra
Story: “In twelve-year-old Giacomo’s Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist’s creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punished akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he’s in serious trouble.
Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools–objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path–Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him”
Quick take: The setting is in a fantasy world inspired by the Italian Renaissance where magic flows out of art and not wands which makes for a nice, unique change. The kids really have modern attitudes so it doesn’t feel like historical fantasy. For a middle-grade book, it’s kind of bloody so proceed with caution for really young kids.
Available: October 4
Thanks to Penguin Teen (The Midnight Star), Macmillan (This Adventure Ends, The Lovely Reckless, Rebel Genius), Little, Brown (When the Sea Turned to Silver), Seventeen (Something in Between) and Harper Teen (Replica) for providing the books for review. Want more details on my impression of these and other books? Check out my ratings and full reviews at Goodreads.