By Lisa Drakeford.
Oct. 2016. 256p. Scholastic/Chicken House, $17.99
(9780545940276); e-book, $17.99 (9780545942843).
Olivia’s seventeenth birthday party is everything she wanted it to be: her best friends
Nicola and Ben dancing around her; her
weird younger sister, Alice, quietly confined
to her bedroom; her boyfriend, Jonty, looming lovingly (if somewhat possessively) by
her side. But when Olivia discovers Nicola
in the bathroom giving birth to a baby she
didn’t even know she was having—Jonty’s
baby—the celebration comes to a crashing halt. Over the next few months, Olivia,
Nicola, Jonty, Alice, and Ben adjust to life
with Nicola’s baby, Eliza. Olivia struggles to
forgive her friend, while Alice attempts to
make a new one; Nicola takes to motherhood with relative ease, leaning on Ben for
his support and constant companionship;
and Jonty initially resists his responsibilities
as a father. While relevant issues like domestic violence and autism are woven gracefully
across the narratives, the resulting conflicts
are too neatly wrapped up. Written in alternating third-person voices, Drakeford’s
debut transforms the stark and grim realities of teen pregnancy into much fluffier
fare, complete with a surprising, rom-com-worthy eleventh-hour twist. —Rebecca Kuss
Everyone We’ve Been.
By Sarah Everett.
Oct. 2016. 400p. Knopf, $17.99 (9780553538441);
lib. ed., $20.99 (9780553538458); e-book, $17.99
(9780553538465). Gr. 9–12.
Before: Addison Sullivan is falling in love
with Zach. After: Addison is in a bus acci-
dent and keeps seeing a mysterious guy from
the crash wherever she goes. Before: Addi-
son’s viola music fills the lonely place inside
of her, making her feel whole again. After:
her parents’ divorce has ruined the fam-
ily, and home feels underwater. To finally
solve all of her problems, Addison heads
to the Overton Clinic for a memory treat-
ment. This delightfully confusing narrative
will have readers thinking they understand
it, before it yanks the rug from underneath
them. (They’ll enjoy the tumble.) Everett
gives readers sweet romance and solid friend-
ships and then sprinkles on a pinch of sci-fi:
a procedure that can erase painful memo-
ries. The implications of this procedure will
leave readers pondering the way the way
their hearts break and how they remember
the ones they lost. Everett’s story is an ef-
fective look at the kind of love you dream
about and the kind you should never forget.
By Jenny Moyer.
Nov. 2016. 352p. Holt, $17.99 (9781627794817).
Orion, 16, has a special ability to locate
cirian, a valuable element that prevents radiation sickness—and in their postradioactive,
flash-curtain world, cirian is essential. Subpars (mine workers) like Orion and her
fellow Outpost Five residents will spend—
and likely lose—their lives mining it. But if
they can gather a total of 400 grams, subpars
can escape to the protected city of Alara,
though no one has ever lived long enough
to do so. Orion and her mining partner,
Dram, however, are close to achieving this
goal when Orion discovers the corrupt politics behind cirian and realizes revolution is
what’s needed. Moyer has constructed a cinematic page-turner: there’s gore, romance,
daring rescues, political commentary, and
a strong message of social justice. Multiple
small details of the rituals that sustain subpars in their grim life lend verisimilitude
to the world Moyer has created. Although
character development takes a backseat to
the nonstop action, the empowering element of a teen-led rebellion creates its
own energy and sweeps the reader along.
By Elly Blake.
Jan. 2017. 384p. Little, Brown, $17.99
(9780316273251); e-book, $9.99 (9780316273268).
Seventeen-year-old Ruby Ottera is orphaned
after watching her mother be murdered by the
people she had been protecting Ruby from all
along, called frostbloods. Ruby is thereby
thrust into a life where friend and foe want to
use her fire-wielding powers as a weapon—
a fireblood in a kingdom ruled by frost.
Driven by a prophecy, rebel frostbloods save
Ruby from certain death, hoping that she
will help them break the curse on their king-
dom. Ruby is continuously torn between
red-hot anger and a spark of fondness for her
instructor, Arcus, a frostblood with a trag-
ic past, as he trains her to fight for her life
and his kingdom. Ruby’s thirst for revenge
is seemingly thwarted when she’s captured
again and forced to fight in an arena where
a fireblood has never triumphed, while be-
coming an object of fascination for the king.
This enchanting and fast-paced debut lights
up the page with magic, romance, and ac-
tion, all of which is expertly interwoven
throughout the text. Readers will be eager-
ly anticipating the next book in the series.
Girls in the Moon.
By Janet McNally.
Nov. 2016. 352p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062436245).
Meg and Kieran Ferris were young and famous in the heady music scene of the 1990s.
But after an “accident” produced their
daughter Luna, and a “mistake” brought a
second daughter, Phoebe, Meg abandoned
her music career. Luna and Phoebe grew
up far away from the limelight, fiercely protected by their mother. Now 19 years old,
Luna has moved to New York City and
started a band. Phoebe decides to visit her
sister during the last bit of summer before
senior year. She is curious about the untold
story of her parents’ fame, resorting to information gleaned from an old Spin magazine.
As Luna seems destined to follow in her
mother’s talented footsteps, Phoebe finds a
soul mate who shares her love of song lyrics.
This is mostly Phoebe’s story, with flashbacks
from Meg’s reluctant stardom. McNally’s
first novel shows an appreciation of poetic
phrasing, as well as plenty of musical references. Recommend this introspective novel
to readers who enjoy stories about music and
musicians. —Diane Colson
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett.
By Chelsea Sedoti.
Jan. 2017. 400p. Sourcebooks/Fire, $17.99
(9781492636083). Gr. 9–12.
When Lizzie Lovett goes missing, Hawthorn becomes obsessed—how could
something bad happen to beautiful, popular
Lizzie, who always seemed immune to pain?
Hawthorn, who’s always coveted Lizzie’s
seemingly easy existence, goes to desperate,
nearly crazy lengths to explain her disappearance, and in the process of her investigation,
she befriends Lizzie’s 25-year-old boyfriend,
Enzo, who indulges her bizarre quest (more
than he should) and makes Hawthorn feel
like less of an outsider. But she becomes
so caught up in her search that she finds
herself even more alienated, and when the
truth finally comes out, Hawthorn is forced
to examine her own choices. Sedoti’s debut
offers an enlightening look at the dangers of relying on outward appearances to
judge someone’s character, and Hawthorn’s
first-person narrative, filled with obsessive
thoughts and, eventually, meaningful reflection, is a lively, engaging vehicle for the
story. A rich cast of secondary characters,
including Hawthorn’s family and a caravan
of hippies camping in her backyard, adds