Category: Young Adult

6 Reasons You Should Read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows Duology

After finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, it bumped The Lunar Chronicles right out of the top-spot as my favorite book series (sorry Marissa Meyer, but you’re always in my heart). This high-fantasy heist series is a striking read. I can’t get enough of the characters, the narrative, the world. Despite having read it a few years ago, to this day it’s left me with the biggest book-hangover of my life. Here are the top six reasons why you need to read this duology too.

 

 

6. You don’t have to read her first series to understand it

Grisha Trilogy

Image via Goodreads

 

While technically a sequel series to Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, you definitely don’t have to be well-versed in the world to dive right into these books. I personally didn’t read any of the original series and was still able to fall head-first into everything Six of Crows had to offer. It’s completely different than the first series with all new characters. And while I’m told there are a few minor cameos by characters from the Grisha Trilogy, this duology works brilliantly as a standalone.

 

5. It doesn’t play into YA fiction tropes

YA love triangle

Image via WordPress

 

Spoiler alert: there are no lost princesses in this duology! No love triangles, no “I’m not like other girls” girls, and absolutely no Chosen Ones. Even though this is a fantasy novel (and a high fantasy one at that), it strays greatly from the YA conventions of the fantasy genre. With those elements gone, it makes way for a truly unpredictable narrative. With the absence of these stylistic tropes, this series makes way for different aspects of YA to be explored. Not to mention without the comforting predictability of the high fantasy story structure, you’re constantly on your toes while you’re reading.

 

 

4. It delves into real-world issues

 

World Vs. Money

Image via Investopedia

 

Ketterdam is where the duology is primarily set and it’s a nation that is so dedicated to capitalism that it’s a religion to them. Bardugo uses these books to explore the dangers of a country that values money above all else. As a consequence of this world, we see characters as members of gangs, having to be prostitutes, and being plagued by illness and addiction. Bardugo paints a grimy world—one that requires her teenage-aged protagonists to grow up faster than most and she writes the psyche of each character so incredibly well.

 

3. The writing is extraordinary

 

Image result for six of crows quotes

Image via WordPress

 

Bardugo’s one of those authors whose writing just hits you. She balances the serious with the loving and the heartbreaking. And despite how grim the subject matter might seem, the duology still manages to be uplifting, relatable and hilarious. Not to mention quotable as hell. Careful, though. You might end up with a Six of Crows quote as your Twitter bio.

 

 

2. The diversity is on point

 

Image result for six of crows characters

Image via We Heart It

 

Much needed discussions in the YA community about diversity are finally being had. And as a tough critic on the lack of book characters of color and how they’re treated when they are there, I can actually give these series a stamp of approval. Not only are the characters racially diverse, but Bardugo is also inclusive in other ways. There’s a character that is plus sized, characters with both physical and mental disabilities, and LGBT+ representation. And when I say LGBT+ representation, I don’t just mean That One Gay Character in the main friend group and his under-developed boyfriend. I’m talking MULTIPLE queer characters of varying identities that are fleshed out. Not only is this diversity baked into the narrative, but it’s also not tokenized or stereotyped. Bardugo strikes a nice balance between writing her diversity so obscurely that nobody knows they are until she retroactively tells us in interviews (looking at you J.K. Rowling) and making that diversity the sole trait of those characters. She’s able to write diverse characters as people and that’s what we want when we ask for representation.

 

1. It’s going to be a TV series

 

Image result for netflix

Image via Vox

 

This is your chance to be the “I saw it first” friend. As of January of this year, Netflix has ordered an eight episode series of Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows. While there’s no details on how yet, the show will be combining both of Bardugo’s book series to make the show. Get a jump on the narrative by reading the Six of Crows duology. Not only will you be ahead of the curve for what is sure to be a highly talked about adaptation, but it’ll also be fun watching the world and character you know come to life onscreen.

 

Featured image via Affinity Magazine

Wil Wheaton Will Narrate New ‘Looking for Alaska’ Audiobook

Ahead of the highly anticipated Hulu adaptation of John Green‘s Looking for Alaska, it’s been announced that Wil Wheaton will be lending his voice for a new audiobook version of the bestseller.

 

Wil WHeaton/Image via Gazette

 

Wheaton is best known for his childhood roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Stand by Me. Wheaton’s more recent roles include playing himself on The Big Bang Theory, and voicing Flash in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

 

 

Wheaton has always been very public with his love of all things nerd culture, much like Green. Looking for Alaska, follows the story of a young man who is based on a teenaged version of Green, making this project a perfect fit.

The original audiobook version of the novel was read by Jeff Woodman, a professional narrator. Though the update is probably being made for the purpose of promoting the Hulu series, it also seems like Wheaton may have more of a personal connection to the story that Looking for Alaska is telling.

 

One of the first looks at the Hulu adaptation/Image via TV Guide

 

The new audiobook will be coming out on September 24th, and the Hulu adaption will premiere on October 18th!

 

 

Featured Images via Amazon and Salon

The Real Hogwarts Experience According to ‘My Life as a Background Slytherin’

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to Hogwarts while the events of the seven books were taking place? Wonder no more. Emily McGovern has laid it all out in her brilliant comic series, My Life as a Background Slytherin (and Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor). Tag yourself I guess? Here are my faves.

 

Ravenclaw

I’m just saying, her objection DOES make sense. Now, maybe this was explained in a tweet or something, I don’t know, and I frankly don’t care. Most of England is south of London, and much of Wales, as well as all of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Do they take a boat, travel down to London, then travel all the way back north to Hogwarts like, three times a year? I have questions, I tell you. Why can’t your parents just drive you and make sure your entrance is super embarrassing? No. Gotta go to London, ride a train, ride in a carriage drawn by invisible death horses. Gotta keep it simple. Am I the only one who’s got this many thoughts on this?

 

 

Gryffindor

Well, I’m not sure it’s courageous exactly, but you know if anyone was blatantly defying Umbridge for cigarettes or whatever wizard teenagers do, it would be the Gryffindors. They’re like, prohibition? Violence? Autocratic rule? Sounds like an opportunity for HIJINKS. They’re a strangely cheerful bunch. They really do make the best of Hogwarts and it’s nonsense. Painful death? Let’s check it out. Lethal forest? Sounds like good old slumber party fun. Ghosts? That’s a friend. Dangerous death match for children? Sounds like my kind of party. They might be courageous, or maybe they really just have no sense of danger whatsoever? Not judging, just saying.

 

 

Hufflepuff

These are determined people. Gotta make sure those plants are doing well. Still nice and angry. So obviously the willow was planted to protect the passage to the house in Hogsmeade where Lupin went when he transformed but actually like… think about that plan. We’ve got a werewolf student. Give him a potion to soothe him when he transforms? Maybe that’s not invented yet. Put him in a medical coma for a few days behind a screen in the hospital wing? Not extra enough. Just put him in a dungeon? The castle has plenty. No. He needs a secret tunnel, to a secret house, hidden behind a secret tree that beats up a ton of students. It’s foolproof.

 

 

Slytherin

Wizards have been persecuted in the past, so we need to make a safe place for magical children! We’ll put a giant snake dungeon, moving staircases, lots of trap doors for falling through, an evil forest with murder centaurs and spiders the size of mini vans, and let’s make ex-death eaters professors and also current death eaters, we’ll hire a werewolf and he’ll be the SAFEST one! We’ll have such beef children fight for centuries! Dementors on campus? Great idea! Child death match? Let’s do it! Dangerous time machine? She’s thirteen, she can handle it. Get locked out? Sleep in the hallway and DIE.

 

 

Featured image via My Life As A Background Slytherin

Top Picks: Top Five Astonishing YA Books!

Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.

Today, we’ll be recommending five of the best YA novels that You’ll Find Astonishing!

 

 

5-Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan

 

Elizabeth Keenan

Image Via Twitter

 

Writer, feminist, musicologist, Elizabeth Keenan gives us her stellar novel, Rebel Girls.

 

Rebel Girls by [Keenan, Elizabeth]

Image Via Amazon

 

We have Athena Graves, a woman who is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than talking with, well, anyone. Plus, people aren’t exactly taken to her given her at St. Ann’s, a conservative Catholic High School, due to her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock.

Now there are rumors circulating the school, spreading like a virus, a rumor that her popular pro-life sister, Helen, had an abortion over the summer. Now the school administration is involved, threatening her with expulsion.

Now Athena and Helene must not only find a way convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do, but also see eye to eye.

The book came out September 10th, Kirkus Reviews called it a “must-read,” so what more do I need to add?

 

 

4-Minor Prophets by Jimmy Cajoleas

 

Jimmy Cajoleas

Image Via Lemuria Books

 

His debut YA novel, The Good Demon, wowed us, and now Jimmy Cajoleas has a new release that we can’t wait to tell you about!

 

Minor Prophets by [Cajoleas, Jimmy]

Image Via Amazon

 

Poet Lee Sanford has always had visions. One of his visions was of his mother’s death in a car wreck, right before it happened. When this vision comes to pass, Poet and his younger sister, Murphy, are put into the care of their tyrannical stepfather: Sheriff Horace.

They run for it, heading straight to their estranged grandmother’s remote homestead. At the commune, their grandmother welcomes them in open arms and encourages Poet to explore his vision even further, but why did their mother try to keep them away from her for so long?

Another book that was released September 10th, this book, in the words of Kirkus Reviews “[h]arrowing and hypnotic”. A perfect horror novel for any YA fan who loves it when their skin starts crawling.

 

 

 

 

3-Stormrise by Jillian Boehme

 

Stormrise by Jillian Boehme

Image Via The Nerd Daily

Jillian Boehme brings us an epic YA fantasy novel where Rain must takes a chance to seize the life she wants.

Disrespected by her tribe because of her gender, Rain purchases powder made from dragon magic that enables her to disguise herself as a boy. From there she goes to the war camps where she becomes a maverick soldier, but there is one problem: she hears a voice inside her head, the voice of a dragon.

After being enlisted into a secret task force with plans of rescuing the High King, Rains begins to realize the dragon inside her might be the key to winning this war.

Kirkus Reviews calls it “Mulan with dragons for added fun: Be prepared to break out into ‘I’ll Make a Man out of You’,” and, honestly, what more do you need from this September 24th release?

 

 

2-Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

 

Rainbow Rowell

Image Via Amazon

 

Rainbow Rowell, an author you already have your radar, has brought us the second book in the Simon Snow series.

 

Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series Book 2) by [Rowell, Rainbow]

Image Via Amazon

 

If you recall, the first book, Carry On, ended on a triumphant note. They won the war, he fell in love, what more could he want? But for some reason it all feels hollow, so he goes for a change of scenery.

That’s how Simon, Penny, and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West. But they get lost, very lost, and now have to wonder where they were heading to in the first place as they encounter dragons, vampires, and shrunken-headed beings with shotguns.

Set for a September 24th release, this is one book that you won’t want to miss out on!

 

 

1-The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

 

Megan Cooley Peterson

MeganCooleyPeterson.com

 

Megan Cooley Peterson brings us her debut novel, and it’s something special…

 

The Liar's Daughter by [Peterson, Megan Cooley]

Image Via Amazon

 

Seventeen-year-old Piper was raised in a cult, but she doesn’t know it. When the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers, including Caspian, the boy she loves, Piper is sent to live “Outside.”

Then “They” introduce her to a stranger claiming to be her father, who tells her that the one she calls “Father” stole her from them.

But, as the Amazon description puts it, “Piper knows better. And Piper is going to escape.”

The book hits shelves October 1st. Want to pick it up? Kirkus Reviews calls it “[an intriguing look at a young woman adjusting to life outside a cult,” but we warn you: haunting with each line, this story grabs you and runs you through each and every page.

 

 

Featured Images Via Amazon

5 YA Books That Get Disability Right

You already know about the YouTube hit that is CinemaSins, the channel that critiques movies and points out all on-screen offenses under the sun. Superhero movies are obviously not excluded, and CinemaSins co-creator Jeremy Scott decided to write his debut novel about the kinds of disabled superheroes “that superhero culture would marginalize,” according to an interview with Publishers Weekly.

 

Image via Amazon

 

With The Ables, Scott has inspired younger generations with a tale about kids with disabilities who become the superheroes they weren’t sure they could be. He’s proven the importance of telling these stories, especially when told appropriately, and even has a sequel, Strings, arriving shortly in September.

Here are five other YA novels about characters who struggle with their disabilities, find their strengths, and hopefully find a happy ending or peace with their circumstances.

 

 

5-Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan

 

Rick Riordan Image via Audiobooks For Soul

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan taught English and history for fifteen years before his Percy Jackson series stardom. Between his teaching background and telling inspiring bedtime stories to his son who has ADHD and dyslexia, Riordan was uniquely qualified to bring us a protagonist who struggled with his perceived (pun intended) weaknesses before finding his Olympian-level strengths.

 

Percy JacksonImage via Amazon

 

Percy Jackson has struggled in school because of his dyslexia and ADHD, but after he enters the world of mythical Gods and monster he learns from his friend Annabeth, child of Athena, that:

 

You’re impulsive, can’t sit still in the classroom…That’s your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they’d keep you alive.

 

Here, Percy learns that his disabilities are not a result of him being less, but simply the trade-offs of being a powerful demigod and part of the Ancient Olympian family tree. Then, as the books go on, Percy and his friends rely on his ADHD mind to save the world time and time again from various ancient threats, ultimately embracing his strengths as well as the new family that he is now a part of.

 

4-The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

 

Image Via Alison Gervais.com

 

Having gained recognition by posting her work on Wattpad in 2011, Alison Gervais took time out of her busy schedule of rereading Harry Potter, watching Supernatural and Law and Order: SVU, and enjoying life with her husband and their two cats, Jane and Smoke, to bring us this August release.

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year means Maya will be leaving Pratt School for the Deaf. Now she’s attending Engelmann High, a public school, where everyone except for her can hear and be heard.

When Engelmann’s student body president, Beau Watson, starts using ASL in order to talk to her, Maya is suspicious he has a hidden agenda. Then, when Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya would rather simply remain true to herself.

Publisher’s Weekly writes that “…Gervais adroitly pulls readers into her world—conveying ASL through all caps and spelled-out words—as well as her work navigating the deaf and hearing worlds and her awareness of who she is,” and we here at Bookstr hope that Gervais will bring us another book sooner rather than later—although we too are busy rereading the Harry Potter series.

 

 

3-How We Roll by Natasha Friend

 

Image via Natasha Friend

 

Friend’s first three books, PerfectLush, and Bounce, all won awards and acclaim, her 2012 novel My Life in Black and White won an award, and her 2018 novel is one you need to read right now.

 

Image via Amazon

 

After developing alopecia, Quinn lost her friends along with her hair. In addition to her autistic brother, she also has to deal with sexual harassment from fellow students.

Quinn catches a break when her family moves. A new start in a new town at a new school. At school she meets Jake, a former football player who lost his legs after an accident caused by his brother. The two feel a connection, but first, they have to learn to trust others once more…

Publisher’s Weekly writes that “[s]mall acts of kindness balance the cruelty Quinn has suffered, and the message that single characteristics don’t define who people are, invites contemplation” and we here at Bookstr say this that, since this book was released last year in 2018, then you should definitely have it on your bookshelf.

 

 

2-Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

 

Image via Shirley Reva Vernick

 

Author of the Sydney Taylor Honor–winning The Blood Lie, Shirley Reva Vernick brought us something for anyone with a heart to enjoy with this 2013 release.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Summer looks like it’s going to be a drag for Johnny. When his mother gets a job in upstate New York, far away from Vermont, Johnny is sent to live with his aunt and cousin for the summer. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for his cousin, Remember Dippy.

Yep, you read that right, his cousin’s name is Remember Dippy. And, for Johnny, that isn’t the worst of it. Remember Dippy likes his days to follow a certain order, and any disorder or excitement is a recipe for disaster. This is because Remember Dippy is autistic.

Things go awry when a pet ferret goes missing, a close friend suffers a fall, and a new love interest might change Remember’s life in ways he doesn’t even suspect.

Kirkus Reviews calls this “[a]n enjoyable and provocative exploration of the clash between ‘normal’ and ‘different’ and how similar the two really are,” and we couldn’t agree more!

 

 

1-Stuck In Neutral by Terry Trueman

 

Image via Yalsa

 

Terry Trueman brought us the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award in 2001, and we’ve all been talking about it since.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Shawn McDaniel has cerebral palsy and his entire body is affected; he has absolutely no control over any of his bodily functions, but his memory is pitch-perfect. Sadly, his family thinks he’s a fool.

The novel follows Shawn as he tries to find what we all strive for – a connection – especially since his father Sydney McDaniel talks constantly about euthanasia.

Kirkus Reviews once wrote that “…Shawn will stay with readers, not for what he does, but for what he is and has made of himself,” but we have to say that is an understatement. Throughout the novel, Shawn himself introduces the reader to his life—his family, his school life, and his condition. It’s a meditative read that can be morose, even violent, and will shake you to your very core.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Turner Publishing