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YA Book Reviews by Amy

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I Will Go Down with this Ship 

While I may not read a lot of purely romance books, I do like to read romance within other genres. When the romance is done correctly, it can be so enjoyable, but if it is lackluster or I just do not believe the connection that the author is trying to convey to me… well that can definitely ruin how I feel about a book, no matter how great the plot is. There have been many books that I have read and enjoyed that did not have romance within their pages, but I usually like rooting for two characters to get together.  

I do not like cliched romance or the kind of romance that falls into certain tropes like: love triangles and forbidden love. When the character development is done well I tend to ship or pair certain characters together.  

Some terminology you may or not be aware of: 

Shipping: the act of liking or rooting for a certain couple. For example: I’m reading the Hunger Games right now and I am totally shipping Katniss with Peeta.  

OTP: stands for One True Pairing; this is for your all time favorite couple. Example: Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows is my OTP.  

Canon: plot or character pairings that are true to the book, series, or author’s intentions. Canon couple would be Harry and Ginny, but a non canon character pairing could be Harry and Draco (you can still ship non canon characters!)  

Let’s talk about some of my favorite couples that may or may not be canon because NO SPOILERS! 

 

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason (Stoker & Holmes series) 

Mina Holmes is the niece of famous detective Sherlock Holmes; just as analytical as her uncle, Mina can come across as cold and logical even when her mother went missing years prior. Evaline is the sister of famous author, Bram Stoker (Dracula) and has a secret, she is a vampire hunter during the night. Mina and Evaline are to work with each other to solve a murder at the museum. The only clue that they have is a clockwork scarab. 

While I love the relationship between our main characters, I definitely like the respectful (and at times blustering) chemistry between Mina and a certain young inspector. Since it takes place in the late 1800’s the friendship and potential romance between these two is tantalizingly slow. Continue reading with The Spiritglass Charade, The Chess Queen Enigma, The Carnelian Crow, and The Zeppelin Deception. 

This title is available on Overdrive and Hoopla  

 

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms series) 

In the land of Mytica, three kingdoms have fought for power. Jonas, a rebel from Paelsia will do anything to gain reputation within his tribe and not to be overrun by the north or the south. Cleo, princess of Auranos, has been spoiled her entire life until the life she knows is destroyed and she must go on a rough journey. Lucia and Magnus are the princess and prince of ice-cold Limeros; the king seeks magic to become the leader of all of Mytica. Four separate stories that come together in great and terrible ways.

There are many couples in this YA fantasy that is similar to Game of Thrones in the sense that death is common and the political intrigue is strong. My favorite couple sounds like a very unusual ship because these two characters are truly enemies, could they possibly become lovers? Cleo and Magnus are both heirs to their respective thrones and have every reason to despise each other.   

Available on Overdrive and Hoopla
 

And I Darken by Kiersten White 

This is a reimagining of the life and infamy of Vlad the Impaler, only genderbent; what if Vlad the Impaler was really Lada Dragwlya, a girl that was raised to be ruthless and seemingly uncaring, but with a need to be a ruler to help her people of Wallachia. Her brother, Radu, does not have the concerns that Lada does and only wants to love and be loved. They both must grow up with their enemies and learn to become rulers

Radu, Lada’s younger brother, has an unattainable crush that at times can be very heartbreaking, but if you continue to read the series, Radu transforms and finds love. Continue with Lada and Radu’s story with Now I Rise and Bright We Burn. 

This title is available on Overdrive 

 

Cress by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles) 

The third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cress follows Cinder and her crew to save New Beijing and meeting Cress, a girl who has been trapped and isolated in a space craft. Cress will play a vital role to helping in this retelling of Rapunzel.  

Cress is a character that I find near and dear to my heart. She is smart, kind, and grows so much throughout the book that I could not help but find her relatable. Her crush on Thorne is sweet and the protectiveness that he feels for her is too cute! While it is quite clear that the readers can infer the outcome of this particular couple, it is still entertaining to read. 

 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi 

Based in 1889 Paris, a group of misfit characters seek out the inheritance of Séverin who has been excluded from the four most powerful families. An heir of one of the four families offers to restore the inheritance in exchange for the group using their skills to retrieve a magical object. Clues of the old artifact lead the team to a treasure hunt with a mysterious and deadly secret society on their heels. Supernatural events and magic occur the further they delve into the unground city of Paris and infiltrate the city’s elite. 

This is the only couple that I am not aware of the outcome since the second book The Silvered Serpents is coming out soon, I do have a couple I would like to see together: Enrique and Zofia. It’s not that they can’t stand each other in the beginning, but they do not understand each other. It is a slow potential burn that I am excited to see if it comes to fruition in the sequel.  

Available Overdrive and Hoopla
 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz 

In this realistic YA fiction, two boys meet at the local swimming pool. Set in the 1980’s, this book follows two years of Aristotle and Dante’s friendship. Aristotle has to deal with the anger he has about his brother being in prison and his struggle to connect with his parents. Dante is everything Ari is not; he is charming, happy, and has a fantastic relationship with his parents. Ari and Dante will learn from each other. 

The friendship between Aristotle and Dante is a fierce one that made me hope that there was something a little more there. No matter what, this is a stunning novel that many readers will love just as much as I did. This is one of the few books that I finished and wanted to start over and reread as soon as I closed the book.  

Available on Overdrive  

 

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman 

Kate Thompson is seeking vengeance, or as Kate sees it: justice, after her father is murdered by a group of bandits seeking information and secrets from a journal. Disguised as a boy, Kate begins to track down the Rose Riders. On her journey she encounters: a pair of brothers that she just can’t shake, a deadly poker game, a superstitious story that may be true, and a promise of gold. But as Kate has learned, “gold makes monsters of men.” 

This wouldn’t be a list if my favorite western couple was not on it.  Jesse and Kate are two very independent characters that are tough and not entirely likable, but there is something about their journey (and the readers get to see a little bit more in the companion book Retribution Rails) that made me care for them to have a future together.  

Available on Hoopla. 

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

Six teens with extraordinary skills try to pull off a heist. The leader is a thief with a tragic past, a sharpshooter as a best friend, a girl that is the best spy of Ketterdam, a magic user with the ability of manipulating the heart, an ex-convict and war veteran, and a runaway. This unlikely crew must break into an impregnable prison or will die trying. 

There are too many couples that mean something important to me in this duology and too spoilerly to mention, but there are 3 couples that give various feelings! 

Available on Overdrive