Hello book lovers! You are, as usual, very welcome back to Bookstr’s Three to Read! As the title suggests, we have a hefty dose of YA content today, but fear not, whether you are a young adult or not, you’re going to love these picks. Let’s get into it.
by T.J. Klune
Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.
Klune’s debut is the perfect mix of quirky romance and YA superhero narratives turned on their head. It’s got the ingredients of a classic superhero story, but with hefty doses of humor, wit, and romance. Having a neurodiverse, gay main character is such a hugely important aspect, yet it is done in an understated and natural way – as it should be! You love found family? This is for you. You love pining? This is for you. You just want a good time? This is for you. Nick’s dad is an important character, rather than being a throwaway YA parent, and the story is really grounded by this. It is an urban fantasy that has the kind of role models any young adult needs in their life, especially those who may connect with Nick’s struggles (even his crush on unattainable superheroes!!).
by Chelsea Ichaso
From breakout debut author Chelsea Ichaso comes Little Creeping Things, a compulsively readable YA suspense novel with a narrator who can’t be trusted, perfect for fans of Natasha Preston. She never meant to hurt anyone.
When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it. She’s a victim too. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.
And then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information about what happened. She knows she should go to the cops, but…she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.
Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what’s really going on, before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.
This is the perfect novel for anyone interested in thrillers, crime fiction, detective fiction, or just good page-turners! The plot is suspenseful, keeping the mystery alive throughout. Now, I know we are all anxious enough these days, but with this nail-biter, you’ll be distracted from your own stresses, and worried about that of Melody and her eerily small town instead. The added layer of unreliability to the narrator means you’re kept guessing, which makes this the perfect beach read, even if we usually have far more romantic fare on the menu. You’ll be glued to your deck chair to find out what really happened, and who is to blame.
by Susan Kaplan Carlton
A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.
While set in 1959, this novel is still relevant today. Tragically based on a temple bombing in Atlanta, the anti-semitism of the South at the time is brought into sharp focus by Ruth’s conflict, as she struggles between two versions of herself. The questions of morality brought about by her own situation is one that compliments the usual teenage angst that will be familiar to many. As Ruth struggles to align her faith and her desire for acceptance, the backdrop of a civil rights movement gives it an added weight. It is a particularly important read for those at Ruth’s age, wondering how much they are willing to put on the line to stand up for their own beliefs.
And there you have it! Your Three to Read for another week! You can catch the video in full below: