Rotten, by Michael Northrop:
More easily accessible and not quite as gritty as Gentleman, but still realistic and truthful. But I know that the burning question in your mind—it was the one in mine, at any rate—is probably this: IS THIS A CRYING BOOK? Well, that's a pretty major spoiler. So I shall leave the answer to that question in the comments section.
That Time I Joined the Circus, by J.J. Howard:
While it’s not a title that has inspired me to gush, it’s a solid debut and a solid book: I have absolutely no complaints. Lexi’s narration is clear and honest, her guilt about what happened back in New York is understandable and palpable, and the friendship storyline is given just as much weight as the romance. Howard shifts back and forth between past and present so smoothly that, by the time Lexi's past catches up with her, the groundwork has been laid to allow for a reaction worthy of one of her beloved Regency romances...while still being emotionally believable.
Stung, by Bethany Wiggins:
While I liked the basic premise of Stung—bees die out, which basically causes the apocalypse (no bees, no food; no food, people freak out; scientists try to save the bees and accidentally create a rage virus; the haves create a governmental structure that is focused on their own survival, and to hell with the have-nots)—I couldn't get over my issues with the main character. The issues, though, are somewhat spoilery, so if you're planning on reading it, I'd suggest skipping the rest of the post.
The Sweetest Dark, by Shana Abe
Money Run, by Jack Heath
Wanderer, by Roger Davenport
Garden of My Imaan, by Farhana Zia
A Corner of White: Book 1 of The Colors of Madeleine, by Jaclyn Moriarty
Reaper's Legacy (Toxic City Book Two), by Tim Lebbon
Rise: An Eve Novel, by Anna Carey
The Rising (Darkness Rising), by Kelley Armstrong
Shadow Grail #3: Sacrifices, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith
Vengeance Bound, by Justina Ireland
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy), by Robin LaFevers
Fearless (Mirrorworld), by Cornelia Funke and Oliver Latsch
In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters
Light: A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant
Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter, by Simon Mayo
Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness (Tales of Beauty and Madness), by Lili St. Crow
White Lines, by Jennifer Banash
Emilie and the Hollow World, by Martha Wells:
Martha Wells’ Emilie and the Hollow World is so entertaining, so compelling, SO MUCH FUN that it made me do something that I haven’t done since the fourth grade: When my lunch break was over, I just kept on reading by super-stealthily hiding my book under the desk. Which would have been less obvious if I’d been sitting in my office rather than the library’s circulation desk. Happily, judging by all of the smirks I caught, my patrons apparently approve of the appearance of my (usually Inner) Bad Librarian.
I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga:
Beyond Jazz, who's such a fabulous narrator that I'd recommend the book for his voice and characterization alone, everything else here is straight-up, flat-out super. The mystery and investigation, the friendships, the secondary characters, the depiction of media and its view of Jazz as a commodity, the pacing, the atmosphere, everything. There's a wonderful balance between dark humor and actual gravity, between real life and epic drama.
It's Our Prom (So Deal With It), by Julie Anne Peters:
[Azure] definitely dominates, and she's also much harder to like, mostly because her behavior is so hypocritical: she's supposedly hugely open-minded and stridently opposes People Judging Each Other, but she's very dismissive of people who have opinions different than her own, and she judges other people on the basis of their appearance on a regular basis. BUT, realizing that is a big part of her personal journey.
The Night She Disappeared, by April Henry:
The technical details about the investigation (especially the methods of the dive team) are worked in naturally, and fans of procedural/forensic mysteries are bound to like those elements. Similarly, fans of The Mentalist will like the subplot that deals with the faker psychic lady. Oh, and it's worth noting that John Robertson is creepy as all get out, but while there's certainly an implied threat of sexual assault, nothing like that ever happens onscreen.
No Safety In Numbers, by Dayna Lorentz:
Enjoying No Safety in Numbers will require some suspension of disbelief and for readers to avoid thinking too hard about details. You’d think, for instance, that a mall large enough to house a rock-climbing gym and an ice rink would, A) have some showers somewhere, if not an actual gym, and B) have at least a bare-bones custodial staff on hand during the day. But, no. Not this one.
Ripper, by Stefan Petrucha:
The original characters—Carver's peers, their adoptive parents, the Pinkerton detectives—read more like stock characters than real people, but Teddy Roosevelt and Alice, especially, really shine. I didn't form emotional attachments with anyone, but some of their relationships were affecting: Carver and Finn's sloooow journey from enemies to allies was especially well done, in that it was organic and subtle. Also, although Carver is mostly an Everyboy Type, he's not perfect, which always makes for more interesting reading. The mystery itself is spun out very well, and the climax/reveal is fabulous: yes, I guessed where it was going, but not because of any missteps on the author's part. I'M JUST THAT SMART.