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YA Book Reviews by Amy

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YA Book Reviews by Amy: New & Notable

It is difficult to keep track of all the new books coming out every week; if you are like me, you might check what is coming out for the month and make a list of all the titles that sound interesting, then place them on hold. What is even more difficult, is keeping one eye on the new books and then looking at all the slightly older titles too, all wanting to be read. The saying, “Too many books, so little time,” feels truer than ever.

How do you prioritize what you read? Availability? Interest? Hype? New & notable?

For me there are different priorities in place: I tend to read several titles a month because I am in quite a few book clubs, or it is purely based on what I am in the mood to read at the moment I want to read it; which makes it hard to predict a solid list of books that will be read at any time.

Lately, I have been mostly reading newly released YA books and here are some that I think many readers should keep in mind when searching for that next read.

 

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

Mila has felt lost ever since entering the foster system when she was fourteen; now she is eighteen and she applies to The Farm as a school teacher. The Farm is a place where a couple has been known for taking in children and adopting them. Mila hopes to find family in the loneness she feels, and she must face her past to be able to move on.

A very short read that packs a punch; Nina LaCour brings the feeling of loneliness to life for the readers. This book presents emotional moments with a surprising supernatural force.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

 

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel wants to prove to his father and community that he is a true brujo with the abilities to see ghosts and help those spirits move onto the afterlife. After performing the ritual to the Lady of Death, Yadriel receives his powers and decides to resurrect the spirit of his recently missing cousin to figure out what happened; instead Yadriel brings back to life Julian, a boy his age, that cannot remember how he just died. Yadriel believes Julian’s death and his cousin’s disappearance might be connected; can they solve the mystery before Día de los Muertos?

This is one of my favorites books that I have read this year. Yadriel and his companions are so likable, and you want their different journeys to be successful. The plot is full of mystery, culture, and romance that just hit all the right notes for me. This is a fantastic novel with LGBTQ+ representation.

Available on Overdrive as an eBook and eAudiobook and at the library* for checkout.

 

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Enchanted wants to be a singer more than anything, even though she knows it might be unrealistic. When famous singer and R&B artist, Korey Fields, hears her audition, he thinks he can help her get her start in the industry. Korey also begins to show Enchanted attention and affection and wants it to be reciprocated even though Enchanted is underage and Korey is much older than she is. So begins the toxic, controlling, and scary relationship and a situation that causes Enchanted to be isolated and abused. All the readers know from the beginning is that this will not end well for anyone.

This is such a difficult read, but an important one. Tiffany D. Jackson provides content warning: “mentions of sexual abuse, rape, assault, child abuse, kidnapping, and addiction to opioids” so, just be aware that this book has this content. A fast read that will make readers want to know what will happen.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

When the Hawthorne estate contacts stranger Avery, she has no idea how she, a poor girl just trying to survive, is linked to this wealthy family that lives halfway across the country. She has never met them, but when it is announced that she will inherit the majority of Tobias Hawthorne’s estate after he died, she instantly becomes one of the wealthiest teens in America and becomes the bane of the surviving Hawthorne’s existence. Avery must work alongside with the four grandsons to figure out her connection while trying to survive.

This is a mix of the movie Knives Out and the middle-grade book The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin for teen readers and lovers of the YA mystery genre. I loved the clues and mystery surrounding the inheritance of this semi-likable and dysfunctional family. The conclusion wraps much of the story up, but leaves enough mystery for the future sequel.

Available on Overdrive as an eBook and eAudiobook and at the library* for checkout.

 

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Margot’s family has always just consisted of her and her mother. Not knowing any other family, and her mother is unwilling to talk about her past, Margot wants to dive into that history. What has her mother been trying to hide and why? Margot finds a photograph of a place called Phalene and believes this will lead her to her answers.

This was an interesting read! Burn Our Bodies Down is a science fiction YA novel with horror elements and an intriguing mystery. Definitely creepy at moments, this book could be a fan favorite for many readers that enjoy the horror genre with a twist.

Available on Overdrive as an eBook and eAudiobook and at the library* for checkout.

 

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

When Emma Lewis and Travis Bell are recruited by the FBI to help interview teen serial killers, they believe it is to gain insight on a current investigation that is scaring the nation; teens are dying in a horrific fashion and there are no leads. Emma and Travis both have horrific pasts that make them the perfect interviewers, but they are forced to work with a ‘Hannibal Lecter’ type that seems to know more about the crimes then he should. Will they figure out who is behind these crimes before there are more victims? All they know is that no one is safe.

This book is for fans of the movie The Silence of the Lambs because of the 1980’s setting, murder mystery plot, a helpful but deceitful serial murderer, and a young lady with a past working alongside the FBI. The mystery surrounding the murders is scary and atmospheric, while the characters are likable.

Available at the library* for checkout.

 

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Ellie lives in a world not-so-unlike our own, except the paranormal is normal and known to everyone. Ellie can communicate with the dead and potentially bring the dead to life with her touch. When she receives a message from her cousin that he died at the hands of a man named Abe Allerton, she knows that there are larger plots surrounding this quiet Texas town. Ellie wants justice for her cousin and his family, so her family and friends begin to investigate what really happened that night; all they know is that the story and the truth are two different things.

Elatsoe is a great combination of paranormal fiction and mystery, and while I enjoyed the mystery aspect more, I know many readers will love the paranormal elements. Ellie is such a strong character and I absolutely loved that she worked alongside her parents to solve this case. The connection she has with her Native American culture, particularly the tales of her six-great grandma, were amazing. I am looking forward to see more from Darcie Little Badger.

Available on Overdrive and Hoopla.

 

*check the link for available copies or to place on hold

Amy

Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.