Saturday, March 8, 2014

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Dystopia

Fourth installment of the 2013 Releases for the TBR List series. Seems fitting to follow up the post on sci-fi reads with one on dystopian reads. For more information, also check out parts one (contemporary) and two (space).

This post has actually been saved as a draft for months now, but didn't get around to finishing and completing it until now. To recap quickly: links lead to Goodreads, where the synopsis descriptions are also pulled from. If you have any opinions on any of these books, or any other recommendations, do drop a note in the comments section below!
Reboot - Amy Tintera
May 7th, 2013 | HarperTeen
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

This one has been receiving a lot of buzz recently, and I've had my eye on it for awhile, after spotting it at the local Indigo bookstore.
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey
May 7th, 2013 | Putnam Juvenile
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Another one that's been the object of a lot of hype this year. Had the same release date as Amy Tintera's Reboot.

In the After - Demitria Lunetta
June 25th, 2013 | Harper Teen
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rush - Eve Silver
June 11th, 2013 | Katherine Tegen
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

The Program - Suzanne Young
April 30th, 2013 | Simon Pulse
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Of Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay
July 23rd, 2013 | Delacorte
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Sci-Fi

This is the third installment of the 2013 Releases for the TBR List series. For more information, check out parts one (contemporary) & two (space). Following a feature on YA novels that take place in space, it seems only natural (see below, first one on the list is titled The Naturals) to progress to science fiction.

Same as before, books showcased here are either standalones or the first in new series. Links direct to Goodreads, where the book descriptions are also pulled from. If you have any particular or additional recommendations, please do drop a note in the comments section!

The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
November 5th, 2013 | Disney-Hyperion
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill
September 3rd, 2013 | Disney-Hyperion
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

Mila 2.0 - Debra Driza
March 12, 2013 | Katherine Tegen Books
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau
June 4th, 2013 | Houghton Mifflin
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

When We Wake - Karen Healey
March 5th, 2013 | Little, Brown
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn't all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Control - Lydia Kang
December 26th, 2013 | Dial
When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Space

Here's a second installment of 2013 Releases for the TBR List. The first part, featuring YA Contemporary novels, can be found here. Some necessary caveats: books showcased in this series are either standalones or the first in new series. Links direct to Goodreads, where the book descriptions are also pulled from. If you have any particular or additional recommendations, drop a note in the comments section!

Science fiction/dystopian novels set in space have been getting big recently. K.A. Applegate's Remnants series and Beth Revis' (interview) Across the Universe (review) (#2 on Top 10 of 2011 list) series quickly come to mind, obviously. But a number of others have also joined the fray in 2013:

These Broken Stars- Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The Starbound Trilogy
December 10th, 2013 | Disney-Hyperion
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

Perfect Ruin - Lauren DeStefano
The Internment Chronicles
October 1st, 2013 | Simon & Schuster
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

Absolutely adore Lauren DeStefano's writing. Really enjoyed Wither (review) (The Chemical Garden trilogy) - it was actually ranked as my favourite YA book of 2011 (list).

Starglass - Phoebe North
July 23rd, 2013 | Simon & Schuster
Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.

But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain's guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship's idyllic surface. As she's drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime--one that will determine the fate of her people.

Slightly funny side story: so I was going through old (like really old) messages on the Absolute Write forums the other day, and found some brief exchanges with Phoebe North from a few years ago, did a quick Google search, and realized that I'd actually seen her book, Starglass, at the grocery store over the summer, and remembered thinking that the synopsis sounded interesting. Small world, huh?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Contemporary

I could probably count on one hand the number of YA novels I've read in 2013 (sad, right?). But by the looks of it, there have been some awesome releases in 2013, so over the next couple of days, I'm running a series of compilations of 2013 YA releases that look worthwhile to be added to the TBR list. Just a heads up, the books that'll be featured will either be standalones or the first in series. If you have any particular recommendations, drop a note in the comments section!

Without further ado, let's get started with Contemporary (in no particular order; links lead to Goodreads, where the descriptions are also pulled from):

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
September 10th, 2013 | St. Martin's Press
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

This one's been getting a ton of hype recently, and I've been seeing it around despite being basically (metaphorically) under a rock (in regards to YA), so definitely curious to check it out. And Eleanor & Park was a NYT Bestseller, so.

The Milk of Birds - Sylvia Whitman
April 16th, 2013 | Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Know that there are many words behind the few on this paper...

Fifteen-year-old Nawra lives in Darfur, Sudan, in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed’s trail of murder and destruction. Nawra cannot read or write, but when a nonprofit organization called Save the Girls pairs her with an American donor, Nawra dictates her thank-you letters. Putting her experiences into words begins to free her from her devastating past—and to brighten the path to her future.

K. C. is an American teenager from Richmond, Virginia, who hates reading and writing—or anything that smacks of school. But as Nawra pours grief and joy into her letters, she inspires K. C. to see beyond her own struggles. And as K. C. opens her heart in her responses to Nawra, she becomes both a dedicated friend and a passionate activist for Darfur.

In this poetic tale of unlikely sisterhood, debut author Sylvia Whitman captures the friendship between two girls who teach each other compassion and share a remarkable bond that bridges two continents.

Out of Nowhere - Maria Padian
February 12th, 2013 | Knopf Books for Young Readers
At Maquoit High School, Tom Bouchard has it made: captain and star of the soccer team, boyfriend to one of the prettiest, most popular girls, and third in his class, likely to have his pick of any college, if he ever bothers filling out his applications. But life in his idyllic small Maine town quickly gets turned upside down after the events of 9/11. 

Enniston has become a “secondary migration” location for Somali refugees, who are seeking a better life after their country was destroyed by war—they can no longer go home. Tom hasn’t thought much about his Somali classmates until four of them join the soccer team, including Saeed. He comes out of nowhere on the field to make impossible shots, and suddenly the team is winning, dominating even; but when Saeed’s eligibility is questioned and Tom screws up in a big way, he’s left to grapple with a culture he doesn’t understand and take responsibility for his actions. Saeed and his family came out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly. And Tom may find himself going nowhere, too, if he doesn’t start trying to get somewhere.

My Life After Now - Jessica Verdi
April 2nd, 2013 | Sourcebooks Fire
Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

Ketchup Clouds - Annabel Pitcher
November 2012 | Orion
Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.
What a title! Concept sounds very unique and intriguing as well. 

OCD Love Story - Corey Ann Haydu
July 23rd, 2013 | Simon Pulse
When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.

Since You Asked - Maurene Goo
June 25th, 2013 | Scholastic
A humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's been a while...

It's been a while since a lot of things. Since I've updated this blog (nearly a year!), since I've really had time to read consistently, since I've been as plugged in to the YA blogosphere.

Went for a walk with a friend one night last week, and we stumbled upon a secondhand bookstore. And then I found this gem for only $1! Double Spell by Janet Lunn, first published by Penguin back in 1968. I remembered reading this as a child (which would've been in the late '90s/early 2000s), so it was super exciting to find a copy still in really good condition and for so cheap.

So I think I'm going to try to get back into a pattern of reading frequently, one book at a time. And maybe this blog will see a bit of a revival in the coming days...

So what books from your childhood are you still nostalgic for?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (42)

What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang
*September 18th, 2012 HarperCollins
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything. 
Doesn't this sound like an enticing read? There's something really striking about the cover image (really digging the double face effect as well), and the synopsis sounds fascinating! Definitely really interested to delve into this one.

What's your pick this Wednesday?

*WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Writers: Mac or PC?

From Goodreads
So I was on Goodreads just now, when I spotted this photo of J.K. Rowling with the caption "J.K. Rowling at her laptop", holding what is clearly a white Sony VAIO (aka a PC). I mentioned this to a friend, and he immediately commented that "that is rare; nearly every writer uses a Mac these days." 

Now, I'm wondering how valid of a claim this is. So let's have a poll. Chime in, writers, aspiring writers, agents, publishers, bloggers - anyone in the book industry - what do you use, Mac or PC?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (41)

Alice in Zombieland - Gena Showalter
*September 25th, 2012 Harlequin Teen
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
There's something very haunting about that cover, don't you think? The contrast between the dark grays and the light blues carries a certain air of allure. And the whole play-on with the title has me interested! Sounds like an interesting paranormal story.

Your turn now - what're you waiting on this Wednesday?

*WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine
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