Top Picks from YA Bloggers in the Know
Our darling Clementine Bojangles of Early Nerd Special is in the The Children’s Book Review playhouse today. At ENS, Ms. B. weighs in with always enlightening pop culture commentary. For February, a romantic month indeed, we’re thrilled she could share her choosiest new YA selections with us. Enquiring minds want to know…
We’re into the new year, and that means that there’s a ton of new things to read. I love reading and books, but I also love making lists. When I get to combine these things, I do a little happy dance. Without further ado, here are five books I can’t wait to get my hands on and read!
By Amy Spalding
This one has some really good buzz already, and it’s the kind of YA contemporary that’s right up my alley. Spalding is a debut author, and all signs are pointing to this one being a slam-dunk.
When Devan’s father dies, she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. Reece Malcolm is her mother, but all Devan knows about her is from the list in a notebook she has. Once ensconced in the world of L.A., Devan begins a new life—including a new group of friends and a new cute boy she’s interested in. But another addition to the Reece Malcolm list might also mean that Devan will lose everything she’s just gained.
Ages 14 and up | Publisher: Entangled Publishing| February 5, 2013
By Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys blew everyone away with her debut Between Shades of Gray (not to be confused with that other novel), and this one appears to be just as mind-blowing. Sepetys writes characters that are compelling, and her prose is gorgeous, so what’s not to look forward to here? Smart historical fiction with a dash of mystery should make for a great read.
The French Quarter of New Orleans is full of secrets, and Josie Moraine certainly has her own with which to contend. It’s 1950, and the fact that Josie is the daughter of a brothel prostitute hasn’t exactly made Josie’s life a cake walk. She wants more than New Orleans can offer her, and devises a plan to finally escape. However, a mysterious death in the neighborhood traps Josie in an investigation that will have her questioning her loyalty to everyone she knows.
Ages 14-17 | Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group| February 13, 2013
By Robin Benway
I loved Benway’s Audrey, Wait! (that’s a must-read for any music fans out there) and enjoyed her sister-centric The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June, so it was pretty much a given that I’d be excited for whatever Benway came up with next. This one seems as fun as her previous two novels, with another strong female protagonist for readers to root for.
Maggie Silver is a 16-year-old ace safecracker and a daughter of international spies. Maggie’s life has some benefits: she gets to travel the world and solve crimes, but it’s got downsides, too. There’s not much of a social life to speak of if you’re never in the same place for very long. When Maggie is sent to a ritzy New York prep school for her first solo assignment, she finds that it’s a lot harder to keep her cover…especially when she’s totally into the guy she’s supposed to be pumping for information.
Ages 12-17 | Publisher: Walker & Company| February 26, 2013
I love, love, loved Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls, so it’s no wonder that I’m eagerly anticipating her next novel for teens. This one seems to embody some of the magical realism she employed so successfully in Imaginary Girls, and I can’t wait to see how this one unfolds.
Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. There isn’t much linking these girls except the fact that they are all 17 and all disappeared, seemingly, into thin air. As Lauren deals with the fact that these girls are talking to her, she also struggles with how to help them. Another question looms large, too: is Lauren next?
Ages 14-17 | Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group | March 21, 2013
By Meg Medina
This one is a little edgier than some of the other titles on this list, but it also appears thought-provoking and interesting. I’ve read Medina’s The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, and found it engaging and full of vivid characters. This contemporary YA novel should offer much of the same, albeit with some hard issues thrown in.
When some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to beat her up, Piddy is confused. She doesn’t even know who Yaqui is; let alone why she’d have a beef with her. A little investigation tells Piddy that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck up and not Latin enough with her pale skin, good grades, and lack of an accent. Piddy’s got enough on her plate without Yaqui’s harassment, but when the threats start to escalate, Piddy realizes she’s going to have to deal with what’s going on.
Ages 14-17 | Publisher: Candlewick Press | March 26, 2013
Nicki Richesin is the author and editor of four anthologies; Crush, What I Would Tell Her, Because I Love Her, and The May Queen. She is the San Francisco correspondent for Du Jour and a frequent contributor to Sunset, The Horn Book, 7×7, The Huffington Post, and Daily Candy. Find her online at https://nickirichesin.com/.