Recently in YA novels Category

Holding Up the Universe

holduptheuniverse.jpgHolding Up the Universe (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016) by Jennifer Niven is an interesting read told from two colliding viewpoints.

On the one side is LIbby Strout, who three years ago had to have a wall knocked down to get her out of the house. She'd lost her mother and ate and ate until she weighed 653 pounds. Now that she's lost 302 pounds, she can walk, run, dance, ride in a car, and Libby's going to high school. Where, of course, she's still the biggest girl there.

On the opposite side is Jack Masselin. He has a secret--face blindness that makes it very difficult for him to tell people apart, even his own family. He covers it up by being the life of the party--being friendly with everyone. Not his girlfriend or even his family know about his problem.

A dare a school makes the two teens meet and they are forced to spend time together. The weird part is--they should be enemies--both are surprised at how well they get along.

I think the bad language could have been toned down, but I do understand there are teens who talk like this.

On her website, Jennifer Niven says her stories are "about ordinary people doing extraordinary things." That definitely fits this story. Read more about her here.

The Passion of Dolssa

PassionofDolssa_PrintzHonor.jpegThe Passion of Dolssa (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016) by Julie Berry is a historical novel that shows a time of extreme prejudice for those who don't believe the same way as a another group--and the latter are in power. In this case it's the Catholic church inquisitors going after men and women who may have merely talked about the love of Jesus. This story is told in multiple viewpoints and was fascinating. I grieved for Dolssa, for Botille and her family, and even somewhat for some of Dolssa's hunters. At some points it may be a difficult read, but it's definitely worth persisting.

This book is a 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor title, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

The author writes middle grade as well as YA and you can see all her titles here. Plus on that page there's a short video about the setting and historical backdrop for this novel.

The Diabolic

DIABOLIC.jpgThe Diabolic (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016) by S.J. Kincaid is an amazing story.

Nemesis is a diabolic--created to protect Sidonia. She'll do anything to keep Donia safe, including killing. So when Nemesis is asked to impersonate teenage Donia at the Imperial Court, she'll do that too out of love, even though it's more like trying to make a tiger, or something worse, into a kitten.

Here's the book trailer.

The exciting news is that a sequel is coming out this year in October. Looking forward to The Empress! S.J. Kincaid has also written the Insignia series, which I need to check out. Read about the author on her website.

For writers, you'll want to read this post on Ellen Oh's blog: What's the Best Writerly Advice You'd Give Your Younger Self - S.J. Kincaid.

The Secret of a Heart Note

secretheartnote.jpegThe Secret of a Heart Note (Katherine Tegen Books, 2016) by Stacey Lee had me in awe of the author's imagination at creating characters with a unique ability. I love her descriptions of what Mimosa and her mom can smell as aromateurs, for example: "I clamp my lips, but the scent of my anger, like burnt rubber tires, blackens the space around me."

Fifteen-year-old Mimosa has convinced her mom to let her go to public high school versus being homeschooled, but she's having trouble balancing her duties as an aromateur with her seven periods of classes. When a client shows up whom Mim knows personally, its obvious she hasn't read his application, so Mom knows something is up.

What do aromateurs do? Help the lovelorn. "Clients come to us when they've tried everything to woo the target but can't get the fire going, whether due to shyness, insecurity, or even prejudice." Mim and her mom follow the Rulebook created by their ancestors. And the worst rule is "Love witches can't fall in love."

I loved reading the story of how Stacey was inspired to write this book. You can find it on the right hand side of this page.

This is Stacey's third book; now I want to read the others.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

GirlofFireandThorns.jpegThe Girl of Fire and Thorns (Greenwillow Books, 2011) by Rae Carson is a wonderful YA fantasy. I just discovered book one of this trilogy and raced through it.

Sixteen-year-old Elisa has been chosen to be the Godstone bearer. But as the younger princess, the princess who keeps getting bigger and bigger because she eats when she's upset, she doesn't see how she can ever be used. Married off to a neighboring king, at risk from the enemy, Elisa goes on a journey that changes her and her whole world.

Loved this book and am looking forward to reading book two, The Crown of Embers (2012) and following it up with The Bitter Kingdom (2013). Why didn't I hear about this New York Times bestselling trilogy earlier?!

This was Rae Carson's debut novel and was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. The trilogy has been translated into other languages. See covers here. She's also written other stories in the universe, The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories (Girl of Fire and Thorns Novella). WalkonEarth.jpeg

Like a River Glorious, book one in the Gold Seer Trilogy, came out in September 2015 and is a YALSA 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick. More to add to my TBR pile. ;-)

Holding Up the Universe

The Passion of Dolssa

The Diabolic

The Secret of a Heart Note

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Enchantress Sacrifice


A Time to Dance


The Scourge

Written in the Stars


the impossible knife of memory


In the time of the Dragon Moon

The Chance You Won't Return

Ship Breaker


Not in the Script

All the Bright Places

This Girl Is Different

An Ember in the Ashes

Tunnel Vision

How It Went Down

Thrills and Chills - The Third Twin

Eerie - Sorrow's Knot

Draw or Die - The Rithmatist

Not just a Mystery Weekend - Suspect

Dangerous Impersonation - The False Prince

Girl in Trouble - The Rules for Disappearing

Shaping Her Own Fate - Passion Blue

Fated to be Useless? - Firstborn

Secrets! - The Pledge

Ultimate Fractured Fairytale - Enchanted

A Cat Lover's Novel - Cat Girl's Day Off

Fantasy AND Humor - The Last Dragon Slayer

The amazing Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Eye-opening Historical - Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Not Your Average Greek Myth - King of Ithaca

Amazing Historical - The Year We Were Famous

Fascinating Premise - Wake

Fascinating problem - Flip

Whose life? - How to save a life

Historical YA Giveaway - Second Fiddle

Another time and now - Blessing's Bead

Another place - Island's End

Powerful Story - After

Memorable Story - Tell Me A Secret

Twist after twist - White Cat

Distinct voices - Blink & Caution

Great first line - Split

Very Very Good! - Crunch

Very Interesting - The Everafter

Hard to put down! - Divergent

Murder in Space? - Across the Universe

Another great heroine - Girl, Stolen

Another Very Good Book - Absolutely Maybe

Unputdownable Fantasy - The Demon King

Humorous SciFi - The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

Historical Fantasy - Plain Kate

Facts just slip into your mind - The Red Umbrella

How could you not care?

Focus, shoot! - Flash Burnout & hold still

Book Felt SO Real - memoirs of a teenage amnesiac

Book Plus - Invisible i - The Amanda Project

Fantasy Sequel - yea! - The Timekeeper's Moon

Book 1 - glad more is coming - Shiver

Steampunk and Darwin - Leviathan

Emotional Book - Rubber Houses

Modern Fantasy - The Demon's Lexicon

Powerful Book - Hate List

Please let me slap the father! - Candor

Unforgettable - Unwind

Parental Discretion Advised - Jumping Off Swings

Companion Book - Eternal

Character Growth - Red Glass & Mexican WhiteBoy

Modern-day Retelling - Beastly

Powerful story - Right Behind You

Must read - The Hunger Games

Fantasy to Love - Graceling

"we become what we have to be" - Nation

Catching Up on Reading - Book of a Thousand Days

Murder Mystery, yet so much more - Perfect Shot

Couldn't Stop Reading - Elsewhere

Prepare for fun - Once Upon a Marigold

Science Fantasy - Enchantress from the Stars

Novels in Verse - Seeing Emily

Limits not reached - Downsiders

Hooked by Voice - Stuck in Neutral