New YA: January 1-7.
Splintered, by A. G. Howard:
Like Carroll's Alice, much of the time that Alyssa is in Wonderland, things are out of her control. Unlike Carroll's Alice, though—and this is where my major difficulty with the book lies—Alyssa's loss of control can almost always be chalked up to one of the two guys in her life: Morpheus, a Wonderland denizen who has a penchant for fancy hats and a hookah, and Jeb, the aforementioned crush. She is bossed around, held against her will, lied to, and argued about as if she A) wasn't standing right there and B) someone with, you know, AN OPINION ABOUT HER OWN WELFARE.
In addition to the murder mystery and the ghost story, there's a whole thread about Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Jade is reading it in class, and while there's not a huge focus on it—this isn't a straight-up retelling like New Girl—there are loads of parallels, and they pop up in complicated, inventive ways. No character in The Dead and Buried perfectly represents another one in Rebecca: rather, most of them have traits or backgrounds that mirror multiple facets of different characters. Also, in the second half of the book, Jade starts actively noticing the parallels, which makes for some rather hilarious lines.
Empty won't be for everyone. Because there's not a whole lot of hope here—Dell adores her little sister, she's an amazingly talented singer, and when she's in shape, she's an outstanding athlete—but none of that is enough to fill the void inside of her. When she's with her peers, she wants to be invisible... except for when she really does feel invisible, and then she wants to be seen. More than that, though, she wants desperately to be loved, to simply be embraced, but no one—not her mother, her father, her best friend—is willing or able to give her that.
Catherine, by April Lindner:
It’s not as atmospheric as Wuthering Heights—is anything?—but it’s got the same threads of star-crossed love, insanity, unfairness, classism and racism, and there are lots of plot parallels as well: Catherine’s journal, Heathcliff/Hence’s misunderstanding of a half-overheard conversation, his relationship with his adopted father and brother. As in Jane, Lindner changes the outer trappings of a familiar story while still preserving the bones and spirit of the original, and, also like Jane, it isn’t at all necessary to have read Brontë’s book to wholeheartedly enjoy this one.
Falling for You, by Lisa Schroeder
The Essence, by Kimberly Derting
Ali's Pretty Little Secrets, Book 2, by Sara Shepard
Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters, by Suzanne Weyn:
It’s an easy-going read, almost entirely told in entries from Ingrid’s journal and Giselle’s diary, and the ultimate solution to the murder mystery is big, big fun. While the book has some seriously problematic aspects (see below), younger fans of creepy historicals may well enjoy it.
The Fire Horse Girl, by Kay Honeyman
Quicksilver, by R. J. Anderson
Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles), by Ellen Oh
Altered, by Jennifer Rush
Teeth, by Hannah Moskowitz
Victoria Rebels, by Carolyn Meyer
Zom-B Underground, by Darren Shan
The Sin Eater's Confession, by Ilsa J. Bick
Maine winters require escape, preferably of the smoochy sort. So I was quite happy to find The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
And yay you, Jennifer E. Smith, because it totally worked. Escape city. It's a sweet little book, and now, just looking at the cover makes me smile.
There is no real life in it. No spark, no heart, no swoon, no swoop. The writing is perfectly serviceable—no howlers that I noticed—but it feels passionless and rote. The characters were likable, sure, but they were also completely stock: the Good Guy Hero, the Determined Yet Resigned Heroine, the Hero's Comedic Sidekick, the Heroine's Plucky (not to mention "Exotic/Other") Companion, the Fish-Lipped Slimeball, the Money-Hungry Villain. None of them ever becomes more than a walking trope.