New YA: June 1-7.
Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy), by Leigh Bardugo:
While it has the outer trappings of historical fiction and epic fantasy, it doesn’t read like that. If you switched out the physical details, the dialogue and Alina’s internal musings wouldn’t be out of place in a novel set in a contemporary high school. Secondly, there’s a twist that comes out of nowhere. And I mean NOWHERE. No foreshadowing whatsoever. Which is a problem, as it makes the sudden change feel like a hop over to a parallel universe, rather than like a surprising—yet organic—shift in the storyline.
Devine Intervention, by Martha Brockenbrough
Girl Out Loud, by Emily Gale
Grim, by Anna Waggener
Surrender: A Possession Novel, by Elena Johnson
Tempest Unleashed (Tempest Maguire), by Tracy Deebs
Transcendence, by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu
Messy, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
A Midsummer's Nightmare, by Kody Keplinger
Miracle, by Elizabeth Scott
Mirage, by Kristi Cook
Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne
Now, by Morris Gleitzman
Seize the Storm, by Michael Cadnum
Shadows Cast by Stars, by Catherine Knutsson
Stunning (Pretty Little Liars, Book 11), by Sara Shepard
Spook's Blood (Wardstone Chronicles), by Joseph Delaney
All These Lives, by Sarah Wylie
Arise (Hereafter), by Tara Hudson
Dead Reckoning, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
A Girl Named Digit, by Annabel Monaghan
The Vampire Stalker, by Allison van Diepen:
The premise is far stronger than the execution: The characters are flat and never develop, there’s a distinct lack of any sort of tension; the dialogue is choppy and the description tends towards the Tell rather than the Show.
Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray:
That’s a lot of girls, a lot of questions and a lot of issues. So, although they come off as real people in their private moments, and although there was a clear effort to portray each one as an individual, most of them come off as caricatures in the group scenes. Part of the reason for that, of course, can be attributed to satire as a genre: It’s always hard to develop emotional ties with characters who act, in part, to provide commentary on larger cultural issues.
Envy (Empty Coffin), by Gregg Olsen:
I gave Olsen points for not glossing over the more gritty details of life or crime—unlike Grisham's Theo, the Ryan twins don't live in Pleasantville—but, at the same time, those details don't give Envy a ring of truth: Instead, those details make it come off as lurid. And it feels like the narrator is giving the audience what he thinks we want (the gorey details) while regularly chiding us about it.