I love fairytales, and I am Italian, so I jumped on the opportunity to read “A Maiden of Snakes” by Jane McGarry. I was not disappointed! The main character, Biancabella, was born through magical intervention from the town’s witch, as her mother, marchioness Adeleta Lamberico secretly sought her help to conceive a child. She did so knowing that such favor would have a price; but because of her desperation to produce a child, she decided to overlook those rumors. As a result, Biancabella was born with a magical serpent wrapped around her neck. The serpent disappeared from her neck right after birth, but not from her life, as she was Biancabella’s magical sister....
Sweepings of the Street is a powerful story about overcoming tremendous obstacles and never giving up hope.
Emotionally charged and authentic - “Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” by Vincent Traughber Meis is a timely book about a young, Black male trying to make sense of growing up during 2020 when the whole world seemed to be falling apart. Relevant topics such as racism, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the pandemic are weaved into this coming-of-age story that ultimately depicts a quest for self-discovery. Like other teens, Colton is beginning to see the world through a different lens, leaving him questioning where he belongs.
"The Underground Book Readers: The Secret Society" is a sprawling dystopian YA novel set in the year 2031. The World Force, a military totalitarian group, has taken over the United States and turned the country upside down, requiring complete subservience from its citizens. The organization banned the reading of any books and Bibles and also outlawed attendance at churches and schools. In a secluded underground tunnel deep into the mountains of Virginia, four orphaned teenagers, Kahn, Jairus, Asher, and Casey, originally members of a Secret Society group, have been meeting secretly for several years.
When I read this series, I think about Daniel as a character who is living a life that many of us fantasize about if we won the lottery. His situation is a bit different in that he comes from wealth, but through his father’s wealth, he has created even more. He uses his wealth and his compassionate heart to reach out and help those in need. This would be my dream if I had the resources to do so.
Hierarchy of Blood a virtual storm of emotions. It’s beautiful, exciting, gritty, suspenseful, and maddeningly addictive.
In "Chase Across Time: Search for the Ice Castle of Fire" by authors Z. Altug and Tracy Gensler, Danny Day is an average 10-year-old kid who doesn't have special powers like most of his peers. On a mission to rescue his parents from the evil Lord Daaggerd, Danny assembles a crew of regular kids from different time periods and different countries and, in the process, he learns that despite being a Non (a person without powers), he still has value and can offer his own talents and virtues to stand out among the rest.
In the world today there are so many young adult fantasy stories to choose from that it gets to the point where one gets a bit bored assuming they are getting the same-old-thing. I am here to tell you that Lynne Howard’s debut novel, Dylan Dover, Into the Vortex, is not the same-old-thing and it should not be missed. It is an excellent story giving us a new supernatural hero, actually more than one, and it gives the reader an adventure and characters that are truly likeable, which is not always the case.
Author Michele Kwasniewski does it again in “Burning Bright,” the second book in The Rise and Fall of Dani Truehart Series. Picking up where book one, “Rising Star,” leaves off, readers continue to follow Dani Truehart as we witness the changes her rise to fame is having on her. As she juggles this new world and leaves high school and other kids her age behind, readers will wonder whether stardom is truly all it is cracked up to be.
One teen’s single-night journey full of magic, surprise, and introspection. “Because of the Night” is a creative, lively, and delightful read. Written for teens, many ages will easily enjoy this story. In fact, there were times I was convinced the author had hidden “Easter eggs” for the adults; little gems of humor that only those who lived in the last millennium will appreciate.
“Our Threatened Kin - Fur, Feather & Fin: Verses on India’s Vanishing Wildlife” by Dev Shah is an encyclopedia style book of unique, exotic, and vanishing animals from India. The target audience is Teen/YA, but I believe it would also be great for young readers. The book presents a list of animals native to different regions within India. Each animal has its own feature spread. Within its pages, readers will find a beautiful, accurate image; a descriptive information paragraph; a map showing the region where they are located; and a color-coded status on each animal.