Fennbirn is a kingdom that sees a new set of triplets born every generation. These triplets are in line for the throne. But, only one can become queen and rule. In Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, each of the triplets is born with a special gift that will allow them to manipulate the natural world. One triplet can resist poisons. The second can manipulate the weather, and the third can control nature and the animals. When the triplets turn sixteen, there is a fight to see which will become Queen. This fight is to the death. But, this series has some twists and turns as the sisters fight, and love, and live. Who will remain the rightful Queen. We will have to wait and see. The story continues in books two and three, One Dark Throne and Two Dark Reigns.
With the popularity of reality television shows, it is no surprise that a book would be written that addresses the behind the scenes. What happens when a reality show changes the life of the participant and the family feels the after effects. To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin is the story of Savannah. Savannah's mother was one of the participants in a weight loss reality television show. Savannah's world has turned upside down as her sister leaves for college, and she is left to deal with a "new" mom. How can she be true to herself and still keep the peace with all the changes in her world?
Another author that has a history of addressing controversy is S.A. Bodeen. I was challenged to think in her series The Compound. Her new book is The Tomb. Can you imagine waking up from a virtual world to find that you are one of a small group of survivors from the end of earth. But even this small group has a challenge. Their ship has an engine problem and time may be running out.
The third book I want to mention is an interesting collection of Asian retellings. Different cultures have collections of stories that are passed down through the ages. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is a collection by several popular authors sharing retold stories from their cultures.
Is it too early to think summer? We definitely think vacation this time of year. I'm one of those lucky ones who is taking a few days off for the holidays. Maybe a little early to think summer, but this collection of books will have you doing that as we take some summer road trips.
Three of the books in the Summer Road Trip series include: Golden, Surprised?, and Vegas. Each of these titles will lead you on an adventure with mystery, romance, and life lessons. From Texas, to Vegas, to Canada, we can follow the characters as they face the unknown and start out on a cross country road trip. Who knows, maybe it will help summer come early.
We've probably all known individuals who had a special gift for something. Or, we've seen a video of a young person who excels at something and we are left in awe of their talent. We find ourselves wanting to push that young person to grow that talent. Sometimes encouraging becomes exploiting. This is part of the story of The Prodigy by John Feinstein.
The Prodigy is the story of Frank Baker. A young man who loves to play golf and is very, very good. He has received a full scholarship to attend the university of his choice. But, his father has other thoughts. His father thinks he should skip college and jump right into playing with the pros. Maybe he could make it, maybe not. Is he ready to play with the pros? Does he want to play with the pros? Will his father listen and let him choose his future? When do we go beyond encouraging a young person's talent to exploiting a young person's gift? Maybe this book has the answers.
For those who enjoy the works of Scott Westerfeld, he has a new novel set in the world of his series, The Uglies, In this new novel, Imposters, twin sisters have been raised to live one life. The two girls are inseparable, and they exist as one. Rafi has been raised to be the perfect daughter and she is in the public eye. Frey has one purpose, she is to protect her sister. She has been trained to kill in defense of her sister. So, when a dangerous situation arises, Frey is the one who attends. But, things don't always turn out as planned. Frey finds herself having to chose whether or not to stay anonymous, or reveal herself in order to save herself, and ultimately save her twin.
Each year the Iowa Center for the Book chooses a book that will be promoted across the state. The purpose of the All Iowa Reads is to promote a sense of unity through reading by encouraging people across the state to read and discuss a single book. This program was established in 2003 and for the first time, in 2017, they added a Young Adult and a Children's selection. This year, the Young Adult selection is A Land of Permanent Goodbyes, written by Atia Abawi.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is a timely story of refugees. It is a story of war and survival. It follows the journey of Tareq and his family as they realize that the only way to survive is to leave. They have seen their homeland torn to pieces and have left Syria to find safety and a future in Turkey and Greece. This is one refugee families story, but this story could be told hundreds of times just with different names.
There are sayings that talk about old becoming new again like, "There's nothing new under the sun," and, "What goes around comes around." Well, I think this is true in literature also. Personally, I love a retelling of a familiar tale and today, I'm highlighting a book I read several years ago and a new version.
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen is not a new story. It is the telling of Robin Hood, but with a twist. Will Scarlet is not the character that you expect. Because, Will is a girl. She has been running the streets and posing as a boy as she hides among the thieves of Nottingham. This is a creative and exciting telling of Robin Hood from the viewpoint of Will Scarlet.
Now, transport yourself to the present, and what was old is new again. The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell is a fresh retelling of Robin Hood. This story follows Silvie, whose brother is the new Sheriff of Woodshire, as she runs away from his cruelty and joins up with others to create a community and family of her own.
I have to confess. I have a love and hate relationship with series. I'm right there with a lot of Young Adult readers in that I love series. I love the time that a series gives to an author for the reader to develop a relationship with the characters. I love that they can thoroughly develop a plot line. There doesn't have to be jumps of assumption because they can completely develop the story line. So, why do I hate series. I hate having to wait. I may start a series and by the time the last book comes out, I may have to reread to get back into it. Or, it may take me the first few chapters to really jog my memory and get me back into the story. But, I still love series.
One series that I'm working on the first couple chapters of book three is An Ember in the Ashes. The third book is A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir. It's been two years of waiting for book number three. When I started reading this series, I couldn't hardly wait to finish the first book. I'm reading book number three a little slower as I reacquaint myself with the characters. I'm already starting to pick up speed as I am remembering events that led me to love these characters and their story. If you want to read a really good series, and haven't tried An Ember in the Ashes, I recommend it.
Another series that I thought was finished, but now has another book coming soon is from author, Leigh Bardugo. If you liked the series Shadow and Bone, you will look forward to King of Scars. This book comes out in January and will continue the story of Ravka, and secrets, and dark magic.
Over the years I have seen different series come and go. Some have come to a finish and they are done, but every once-in-a-while, there will be a series that keeps coming back with something new. One series that fits this descriptions is I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
Fugitive Six is the next book in a series that has a group of loyal fans. The first seven books are the Lorien Legacies, then the story continues with The Lorien Legacies Reborn. So, if you've been following the life of the Garde on Earth and wondering what has happened to the last survivors of Lorien, you might want to pick up the newest addition to this series - Fugitive Six.
As a note of interest, another author is adding to a well loved series. Christopher Paolini is adding to his Eragon series with a new book set in the land of Alagaesia. The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm will be coming out at the end of December. You can watch for it at the start of the new year.
After a very busy few weeks, and my not being around to write consistently, I am here to announce the winners in the voting for Teen's Top Ten 2018. I really like this award list because it is chosen by the targeted audience - teens. I am sometimes surprised at the books that win the top ten, because they aren't always the ones I would pick. That's one of the reasons that it is so important for us to be listening to our teen patrons as we make decisions and order books. So, for those who want to read the best of the best, here is the 2018 Teen's Top Ten winners.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Hi! I'm Sonya, the Young Adult Librarian at Algona Public Library. I'll be sharing about YA books - old and new.