Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Eyes of the Forest

Eyes of the Forest (Henry Holt and Company, 2021) by April Henry is a bit different than the author’s usual YA mystery or thriller. This one has humor and purple prose (you’ll have to read it to find out) as well as danger.

The problem: Bob is missing. Only Brigid can help.

Bob aka R. M. Haldon is a fantasy writer of an epic series who has writer’s block and is not writing the book, Eyes of the Forest. Seventeen-year-old Brigid is his biggest fan and has maintained R. M. Haldon’s fantasy world database since she was twelve. Her classmate Derrick loves LARPing (live action role play) but is not sticking to only pretend events. Ajay is involved because he invited a girl to lunch.

It really is a fun read. The book was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and was on the Tome Society “It List.”

Read some fun facts about April or check out all her teen books.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage (Little, Brown and Company, 2013) by Gail Carriger is the first of four books in the Finishing School series. I missed it when it came out but am glad I found it now–and I have three more books just waiting for me to read! If you like humor, steampunk, adventures, and an intrepid character, you won’t want to miss this book.

It’s 1851 and Sophronia is 14 and not all that interested in learning how to curtsy properly or in being reformed to be more ladylike. However, Mumsy has arranged for her to go to Finishing School. It’s only on probational terms, since Sophronia is such a mess. But once Sophronia enters the carriage and meets another student, she discovers the school might not be what her mother imagined. For one thing it’s not in a particularly fixed location. And that’s not to mention the werewolves, vampires, and flywaymen.

Gail Carriger is a New York Times bestselling author who has written numerous book series. Read about her here and check out her books here.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Outrun the Moon

Wow! Outrun the Moon (G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2016) by Stacey Lee is an outstanding read. Set in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake, it’s hard to put down. (And such a gorgeous cover.)

Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to go to high school at St. Clare’s School for Girls, but who would ever let a Chinese girl in? The Chinese have their own school–never mind that it ends at 8th grade. Her ingenuity and resourcefulness gets Mercy in, but she’s not accepted by her classmates and even many of the staff. Then the whole community is stricken by the earthquake. Mercy, not only survives, but with the help of some classmates makes a difference to many involved in the disaster.

Stacey Lee is a founding member of the We Need Diverse Books movement. Here’s her website. Check out all her books here.

Previously I recommended her The Secret of a Heart Note and I should have recommended the wonderful The Downstairs Girl.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

I expected to like The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (Katherine Tegen Books, 2020) by Garth Nix, and I wasn’t wrong. What’s better than fantasy mixed with booksellers? I’m so happy it is a series and that book two is already out.

Set in an alternative 1983, eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw goes to London early for college, but also plans to find out more about her father–a man she’s never met. She doesn’t expect to run into magic. But then she meets Merlin, a left-handed bookseller, in the very upsetting occasion of him killing “Uncle Frank” with a prick of a pin. When he protects her from a horse-sized bug, and says “we’ll both be dead if we stay,” she follows him out the window. It turns out her quest and his overlap. Will they both get the answers they are searching for?

I like the humor, mysteries, and of course the magical parts of this adventure. More than any of the author’s other books, I’d love to see this one made into a movie.

This bestselling author has a number of fantasy titles plus some stand alone books–check them out on his website. Read about Garth Nix here. And, yes, as his FAQ answers, Garth Nix is his real name.

Posted in So Many Good Books, Writing Life, YA Novels

The Kingdom of Back

The Kingdom of Back (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Marie Lu is such an unexpected story–history and fantasy–about the other Mozart. The sister.

It’s 1759 and Nannerl Mozart wants to be recognized as a musical prodigy. She doesn’t want to be forgotten. Her younger brother Wolfgang is getting more and more attention. While she helps him with his compositions, she is secretly composing herself. But when a stranger from a dream promises she’ll be remembered, things go oddly wrong.

This is Marie’s first historical novel. And is a standalone book. Most of her other books are series. Read about all her titles here. Read about The New York Times bestselling author here. I’m really looking forward to her newest title coming next April: Stars and Smoke.