Readers looking for a thrilling, action-packed story from the future will find satisfaction in Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward, the first in what promises to be a series with a plotline similar to that used by Orson Scott Card in Ender’s Game. In Sanderson’s futuristic novel, seventeen-year-old Spensa Nightshade loves to explore and to hunt rats in the caverns of Igneous where no one lurks to mock, to stare, or to whisper insults about Chaser, the cowardly pilot, forcing her to defend her father and her family’s honor. Here, she also dreams of becoming a pilot and flying a starfighter for the Defiant League to fight mysteriousRead More →

At age sixteen, Elle Zoellner is just a young adult, but the adults in her life want her to be understanding of their addictions and their shortcomings when all she wants is to be understood.  When her mother is consumed by the Beast of addiction to prescription drugs and gets sentenced to Jessup Correctional Institute in Maryland, Elle—whose absent father has only been sarcastically called Mr. Tokyo—ends up in the foster care system where she encounters lice, bedbugs, and overlords who restrict her showers to one per week.  Pairing those hygiene challenges with her initials and her mixed-race status makes Elle an EZ target forRead More →

Four Three Two One by Courtney Stevens recounts the story of four young adults, all unique in their idiosyncrasies as they board Charter Bus 21 in New York City on June 15 bound for Ellis Island: Chandler Clayton is allergic to sudden changes but artistic with a sketch pad or a chain saw and logs; Golden Jennings is eager to explore the world beyond the towering oaks and billowing blue grass of Kentucky with her vintage No. 3 Kodak; Rudy Guthrie is a talented soccer athlete and a writer who has just won a scholarship to Emerson College in Boston; and Caroline Ascott from a wealthyRead More →

At age seventeen, Lei is plucked from her family and taken to live in the Hidden Palace of Han to lead a privileged life of service to the Demon King as a Paper Girl.  Tien, Lei’s surrogate mother, has told her that some families see great honor in their daughters being chosen, but for Lei, “honor is in family, in hard work and care and love, in a small life well lived” (55). In the world of Ikhara, three castes coexist.  Those in the Paper caste are fully human, while the Steel caste consists of humans endowed with partial animal-demon qualities—both in physicality and abilities—andRead More →

Combining humor, heartbreak, and hope, Canadian writer Susin Nielsen writes No Fixed Address.  In this story about people who suffer from a childhood trauma and subsequent depression, Nielsen also exposes some of the long-term consequences. Felix Knutsson, who is twelve and three quarters years old, calls his mom Astrid because she considers the title Mom to be too hierarchical.  The reader will discover several other peculiarities about Astrid, who spent some time as a child in the foster care system after she and her brother were abused by their father.  But, if nothing else, Astrid is a survivor and a prevaricator. Unlike his mother, FelixRead More →