Earlier this month, Klindt’s held our 2nd Got Books? young adult event and I got the chance to play hostess and get to know twelve of my favorite authors. Authors are to me what rock stars are to most, so June is by far my favorite month. Now I get the opportunity to gush about these amazing writers and their books. There’s something for every YA reader in this talented group.
In 2009 I came across The Dark Divine and was immediately taken with Bree Despain’s characters, Grace, Daniel, the werewolves and their group of friends and family. They have an amazing camaraderie, love, knowledge and understanding of each other that is tested and often times pulled taut only to have love and faith restored time and time again. Grace’s struggles elevate in the The Lost Saint and lead into the grand finale in The Savage Grace. I highly recommend this series and not just because I want to be a werewolf!
Angels and sexy down-to-earth boyfriends more your cup of tea? Then I urge you to pick up Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly. Clara is part angel who has visions of a purpose that she wants to fulfill. Clara meets Christian who is also part angel and whom she is destined to be with. But Tucker appeals to Clara’s human side. Hand’s second book, Hallowed, follows Clara and the struggles she faces to become who she is meant to be. Boundless is the next installment and is due out in January 2013. I have it on good authority that it will be a sexy shade of pink!
Everyone loves a new twist on old mythology. Brodi Ashton twists an enthralling story in Everneath. Ashton has a strong character in Nikki Beckett that you find yourself rooting for on every page. It’s a gorgeous new take on the tale of Persephone that leaves you aching for more when it ends. Ashton will fill that ache in January of 2013 with Everbound.
Salem author Colleen Houck taught me a different kind of mythology with her Tiger’s Curse series. I was completely taken with Houck’s story about a girl with the power to break a curse on two brothers that turns them both into tigers. Through Houck’s series I was introduced to Eastern Indian mythology that was fascinating all on its own. But throw in all of the adventure, magic, travel, family dynamics and the love story and you’ve got a series that you want to read start to finish. Tiger’s Curse was recently released in paperback. Tiger’s Quest and Tiger’s Voyage are available in hardcover. The fourth and final in this series, Tiger’s Destiny, is due out September this year. IMDb currently shows Tiger’s Curse the movie being released in theaters in 2015.
Magic. I often dream of attending a school for magically gifted students. Thanks to Inara Scott I got to attend that school through Delacroix Academy. In The Talents, Dancia is recruited to the academy, learns about her powers and helps save the school from danger. In Scott’s newest release, The Marked, Dancia has to decide who at the academy to trust and where her loyalties lie. Both books in this series are filled with friendship, magic, intrigue and the epic good vs evil battles that have you cheering on Dancia and her friends. The Talents is an Oregon Spirit Book Award Honor Book.
When in the mood to be terrified, I reach for a ghost story. Often times I am let down by the lack of fright. Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood was no such let down. Anna haunted my dreams well after I read the last page. Anna is a truly scary ghost who kills without prejudice. Theseus Cassio Lowood, but please, call him Cas, kills the dead. It’s a family business that keeps him and his mother on the move. Cas and his trusty athame follow the legend of Anna straight into a terrifying and unexpected experience that will leave the reader in awe. The Girl of Nightmares, Blake’s second in the series, comes out August 7.
Gregg Olsen is well known for his adult thrillers. I think he’s going to be just as big on the YA scene with his Empty Coffin Novels. The first is Envy, a vivid thriller inspired by a ripped- from-the-headlines true crime cyberbullying incident. Characters Haley and Taylor Ryan were inspired by Gregg’s own twin daughters. The second Empty Coffin Novel, Betrayal, comes out in September.
Speaking of edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Cat Patrick’s Revived keeps your mind and heart racing as you read about Daisy Appleby and her trials as a subject of a large and sinister government experiment. Revived would appeal to conspiracy theory cultists no matter the age.
In Patrick’s Forgotten, London is a teenager who struggles with losing her memories every night when she sleeps. The key to unlocking her memory might be something in her past that’s haunting her. I loved this tragic and enchanting book!
Jen Violi has had a wonderful year with her Putting Makeup on Dead People. And it happens to be well deserved. It’s a beautifully written story about 18-year-old Donna, who never anticipated that her path to discovery would be found in a funeral home. The novel was nominated for the 2012 Oregon Book Award and the 2012 Oregon Spirit Book Award.
Trent Reedy. I admire Trent so much. He was a soldier who served his country and brought back his experience to share in his debut, Words in the Dust. Zulaikha is a 13-year-old Afghani girl with a cleft palate. The novel follows Zulaikha as she struggles through daily life in a rehabilitating Afghanistan. This book was emotional, touching and truly inspiring. I see Trent going on to great things and feel honored to have gotten to know him. Watch for the release of his second book, Stealing Air, due in October.
Let’s step into the not-so-distant future. Katie Kacvinsky’s Awaken takes place in a world of 3D coffee shops, online school and close friends you’ve never actually met. Maddie, daughter of the man who helped structure the current online society, becomes awakened and wants more: reality, people, love. This rebellion in Maddie leads to an adventure and an awakening for others. The sequel, Middle Ground, has a November release. I got a sneak peak and it’s an exhilarating ride! I also recommend Kacvinsky’s First Comes Love, a story about the firsts of love told in the alternating viewpoints of Gray and Dylan.
Last but certainly not least comes Starters, Lissa Price’s first book. It’s a heart-stopping, page-turning frenzy that, yes, will keep you up until 3 am until you know exactly what happens. Think Dystopian society that has been completely ravaged by an illness referred to as the spore wars. Only the vaccinated survive. All that is left are the young, and the old. And if you are young and left without any family, you would do anything to keep what you had left. In order to achieve comforts, medicine and food, you may just rent out your body to an elder who can’t experience the thrills of life in her own failing body. Callie gives up her mind to rest, while her body is used, within the rules of course. But Callie’s renter has other ideas. Those ideas become a struggle between renter and host when Callie gains consciousness with the renter still inside of her. I implore everyone: do not miss this book! As I say this, I long for Enders, the final book in this riveting series. The original release date was December of this year, but it has now been pushed back to 2013. This reader/bookseller is going to speculate that it may have something to do with a movie deal. Hmmmm? Congratulations are in order because Price has recently been nominated for an award from the Young Adult Library Services Association.
I know I have been long winded, but I believe in each one of these authors. I loved, enjoyed and now cherish each of their books. Each book different. Each special and meaningful to me in their own ways. I recommend each and every book I mentioned above.
A few others I read this month that I recommend are Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Railsea by China Mieville, Fated by Alyson Noel, The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead and Changeling by Philippa Gregory.
Angela Hanson is addicted to young adult literature. She works at Klindt’s Booksellers & Stationers in The Dalles, OR, where she’s pretty famous for her curated, color-coded YA section.