With the writing of her debut novel, We Set the Dark on Fire, Tehlor Kay Mejia set out to begin an answer to some questions: What do we lose when we are forced to subjugate our desires for our drive?  How long can we keep ourselves in the cages in which society is so fond of locking us?  As she chips away at the answers, she actually asks more questions, as all good research will do.  The promised second book in the duology will certainly answer and ask more.  This daring and romantic fantasy will likely be appreciated by fans of The Handmaid’s Tale byRead 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 →

Weighed down by her parents’ rules, paranoia, fears, and three years of betrayal after her sister Rachel’s death, Elizabeth Jones wants to escape the noose and have some fun.  Because of the constraint Beth feels, she yearns to “bust windows, get drunk, and have sex with as many people as possible” (136).  So, before summer ends and her senior year begins, Beth attends a party and hooks up with Chase, a blond hottie with an aura of controlled calm. “But it didn’t take very long for . . . the thrill of doing something new and exciting and rebellious [as losing her virginity] to beRead More →

At seventeen years old, the protagonist in The Fall of Grace by Amy Fellner Dominy, Grace Marie Pierce, is living the life of a privileged girl, the pure embodiment of the American dream with money, security, friends, and hope for a golden future.  Hardly ever angry, Grace has been sheltered by wealth and fame as the daughter of Janelle Pierce, an investment broker who swaddles herself in luxury: exotic travel, expensive clothes, and other unlimited material comforts.  Janelle occasionally escapes the heat of Phoenix, Arizona, and the stress of the financial world by visiting her favorite place, Blue Lakes in Ridgway, Colorado, where the serenity and theRead More →

With pollutants and poisons pouring into the earth and air, the humans aren’t so easy to befriend by the faery folk whose hesitation is warranted since their very existence depends on clean air, soil, and water.  Still, LilyDark, who will be crowned the new heir to the throne, is determined to proclaim peace.  In One Blood Ruby, a sequel to Seven Black Diamonds, Melissa Marr continues the saga of the seven half-fae, half-human beings, that the Queen of Blood and Rage has converted into weapons to advance her cause. But the cessation of war turns out to be far more dangerous than any of theRead More →

At the end of her sophomore year, Summer Everett will travel to France to visit her father, a famous but somewhat flaky artist.  She will be spending her sixteenth birthday away from all that is familiar in Hudsonville, New York, where her mom is a philosophy professor.  In Provence, she anticipates a summer of possibility, inundated with wild surprises, maybe even her first kiss.  But without the abundant confidence and curvy figure of her BFF, Ruby Singh, Summer is plagued with uncertainty.  In fact, Summer’s favorite question is what if: What if I answer my cell phone before I board the plane for France? OrRead More →

We humans are all broken, broken by life’s trials and tribulations, undone by love, fragmented by bullies who shoot holes in our confidence, or traumatized by loss—whether a consequence of death, divorce, or some other life-altering trauma.  These truths unfold  from the beginning line—“Life is bullshit”—of We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson, a novel that explores both the absurdity of and the grand scheme of the cosmos and of human existence. Ever since he was 13 years old, Henry Jerome Denton has been abducted by aliens, whom he calls sluggers.  The abductions always begin with shadows and end with his being deposited—often naked—far fromRead More →