Readers of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will likely find Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh a lively read, rich with action and adventure but frightening with its plot line and themes about the abuses of power and the disparity in the treatment of human beings in their fight for both justice and survival. Like Katniss Everdeen, Astrid Jael is a strong and feisty female character who has chosen to risk her life in a cutthroat competition in order to win her freedom and to gain citizenship for herself and her family.  With its choreographed cruelty, the Race of Oblivion grants citizenship with allRead 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 →

With his debut novel, Tyler Johnson Was Here, Jay Coles tells the story of Tyler and Marvin Johnson, twin teenage boys living in Sterling Point, Alabama.  In their neighborhood, they worry often about police visits, gang-infested streets, robberies, vandalism, and gun violence.  For eight years, their father has been in Montgomery Correctional Facility for a crime he did not commit, and Marvin would “kill to have him back” (19). Because he hung around men who committed crimes, Jamal Johnson received his sentence from a corrupt system.  To cope with his dad’s absence and to see past the shame, Marvin writes letters to his absent father,Read More →