Intrigued by mystery? Love realistic fiction with a fantasy twist? Of Scars and Stardust, by Andrea Hannah is a great read for you. It all begins in the small, quiet town of Amble, Ohio. Claire Graham, the police chief’s daughter, is used to a quiet life, regardless of her father’s reputation. He allegedly messed up the biggest missing persons case the town has ever seen, when eight year old Sarah Dunnard went missing a month before. One night, Claire finds her younger sister, Ella, in the corn patch, her face covered in cuts and blood. She starts ranting about the “wolves” that got her sister and Sarah. Claire is sent to Manhattan to stay with her aunt and recover from the accident. Two years later, she is struggling to form a new life when all she can think of is Ella. In every bird, on every corner, in every sound she hears, all Claire knows is the pain her sister is going through, and how it was all her fault that Ella was alone in the cornfield that night. The only good thing she has to hold on to is the fact that Ella is still alive, even after her attack. When her aunt received a call from her mother saying that Ella has gone missing, Claire spirals out of control. Now, the wolves are everywhere. Paw prints on the side walk. Glowing eyes in the book store. Claire flees from Manhattan back to Amble in search of her sister. Embarking on a thrilling quest to find her, Claire quickly learns just how many secrets are buried under that quaint, small town façade.
Recommended For: Advanced Readers/ Fans of The Underneath
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Shock of the Fall is about a man remembering his nine year old self. Throughout the course of the novel, he gradually relives the tragic death of his autistic older brother through his poetic writing. This was a shocking and original book, and reminded me of The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. It was somewhat poetic without using a standard “poem” format. I would say this book is meant for more advanced readers than myself, but it was still very powerful for me.
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay was a very enjoyable book to read, with realistic teenage characters, especially those struggling with their identities and accepting themselves. Jamie, the main character, has a crush on his best friend of many years, Mason, and is unsure if his feelings will be reciprocated. He makes friends with a fellow art class student, Eden, and together they make their way their way through high school and prom. All the while trying to get another student’s comic, which features two gay characters, into “Gumshoe” which is the school’s magazine.
It is very good to see LGBT representation, especially in Young Adult novels. Fan Art was a fantastic book for this, with four main characters who respectively identify as gay and lesbian. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed that one character [spoiler alert!] was not bisexual, because they had romantic interactions with characters of different genders. Having LGBT characters in novels is fantastic, but usually they focus around gay and lesbian characters, while bisexual and transgender character are featured less.
All in all, Fan Art was a fun book, with both tension and humor in turn. I would rate it a four out of five stars.
Take a look at these recent arrivals in the YA section that may have slipped under the radar. These books focus on realism or historical fiction.
Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams
Deo and his disabled brother escape attacking soldiers in Zimbabwe with not much more than a soccer ball. But it’s what’s in the soccer ball that sets them apart.
Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia
Three very different girls from multicultural backgrounds attend summer school in Switzerland in the 70s.
Bestest Ramadan Ever by Medeia Sharif
15 year old Almira struggles with her strict upbringing and her desire to be a “normal” teenage girl in America.
Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Shecter
Cleopatra Selene is the only living daughter of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. She recalls her tumultuous life in this historical fiction work.
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
Felton develops a new outlook on high school life after a giant growth spurt allows him to become a powerful athlete instead of a scrawny, picked on loser.