October and November are always some of the biggest months of YA. These months are always filled with fantastic releases from some of the biggest names in YA. This month, we have two books of the month. Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Both are superb starts to new series from some of our favourite authors and are equally awesome, equally fun, and equally addictive.
Scroll down to read what Sarah McDuling and Tanaya Lowden had to say about the YA books of November. Happy reading!
Reviews by Sarah McDuling
This book is just so wonderfully, tremendously FUN! In all seriousness, I can’t even begin to decide what I loved most about Unearthed. I think the answer is everything. Every part of this book is 100% awesome and I am pretty much frothing at the mouth for the sequel.
Of course I am not surprised. When I first heard that Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (authors of The Starbound Trilogy) had written a book described as “Indiana Jones and Lara Croft in Space” I knew that I would love it. I love everything these authors have written, both together and separately. The Starbound Trilogy is one of my all-time favourite space-romance-adventure series and I’m very pleased to say Unearthed is every bit as good as I expected… if not better!
First of all, let’s talk about the lovable main characters. Mia is a feisty, streetwise thief with a heart of gold. As a scavenger, she is tough, smart and determined, but also achingly vulnerable. Meanwhile Jules is a passionate scholar who has been raised with privileges and advantages far beyond Mia’s experience. The two have virtually nothing in common… but when circumstances force them into a reluctant partnership they soon find themselves on a wild treasure hunt across an alien landscape, pursued by danger at every turn.
Unearthed is a captivating read with flawless world building and a thrilling plot full of action, adventure, mystery and romance. It’s basically all of my favourite things rolled together in one addictive book! Learn More.
What happens when an aspiring superhero and a rising supervillain find themselves fighting side-by-side on the same team? I’ll tell you what happens. I find myself a new series to obsess over, that’s what happens!
Marissa Meyer’s Renegades is an explosive and highly entertaining read in which super-powered heroes and villains are engaged in a turbocharged war. The stage is set for an epic comic-book-style saga of good versus evil and Marissa Meyer definitely delivers. With secret identities, star-crossed love, vengeance vendettas, hidden agendas, divided loyalties and evil plots a-plenty… Renegades is everything you want from a superhero story and more!
Nova is a rising villain with a score to settle. Adrian is an aspiring hero on a mission. Nova wants to destroy The Renegades. Adrian is a member of The Renegades. When Nova goes undercover to bring her enemies down from the inside she is stunned to find herself making friends. Pretty soon, things start to get complicated ….
A guaranteed hit for fans of Marissa Meyer, Renegades will also appeal to anyone who loves superheroes. And really, who doesn’t love superheroes?? Learn More.
I absolutely adore Stephanie Perkins. Her YA contemporary romances are such a joy to read, so much so I’ve read them all multiple times. She knows exactly how to blend humour, romance and raw emotion to tell stories that will have you laughing and crying and grinning and sighing all at once!
When I heard she had written a horror story about a serial killer on the loose in a small town I was both shocked and giddy with glee. One of my favourite authors making the switch into one of my favourite genres? Yes please!!
There’s no denying I’m a sucker for scary movies and I tend to gobble up tales full of horrific murderous violence at an alarming rate. And yet at the same time, I also love a sweet romantic story of young love. Happily, There’s Someone Inside Your House ticks all these boxes for me. It’s horror meets high school and actually reminded me a lot of the Scream movies… except with way more heart!
Written with Stephanie Perkins’ trademark charm and wit, this book utterly beguiled me with it’s endearing characters and adorable romance. It also totally freaked me out! The slowly growing tension as the killer claims more and more victims was so intense! The horror, the suspense, the shocking twists and turns! It was just so COOL!
I had so much fun reading this delicious book, I was too caught up in the story to even think about guessing the identity of the killer. This is a sign of how much I was enjoying myself. Usually I can’t help trying to figure out who the killer is, but this time I was totally lost in the story.
This is quite different from Stephanie Perkins’ previous books, but equally awesome. After reading There’s Someone Inside Your House, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing Stephanie Perkins can’t do. I can’t wait to see what she writes next! Learn More.
Sarah Rees Brennan has such a delightfully quirky sense of humour! Her Lynburn Legacy series is very dear to my heart, in large part for the wonderfully offbeat humour. It also happens to be one of my favourite YA series of all time. So, all things considered, it’s safe to say that I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of Sarah Rees Brennan’s latest book, In Other Lands.
I expected this book to give me magic. I expected an adventure. I expected many lols. And sure enough, I got everything I expected plus a whole lot more! I was already laughing before I finished the first page and by the time I finished the first chapter I was deeply in love.
The book is almost like a fond parody, which lovingly celebrates the cliches of “portal fantasy” in children’s fiction. Just think of every book you’ve ever read about a child (or group of children) entering a magical realm full of fairytale creatures. Narnia springs to mind, as does Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and of course Harry Potter. In Other Lands is a hilarious homage to all of these books.
Elliot doesn’t share much in common with traditional heroes. He is sarcastic, bad tempered, obnoxious, antisocial and rather selfish. He is also amazing funny and one of the best protagonists I have come across in a very long time.
In Other Lands takes some of the most beloved tropes of children’s fiction and turns them upside down and inside out. It playfully and rather lovingly pokes fun at familiar cliches and the result is very amusing and utterly enchanting.
I thoroughly enjoyed this gem of a book and highly recommend Sarah Rees Brennan to anyone who likes to feed their imagination with magic, adventure and a generous serving of laughter. Learn More.
Reviews by Tanaya Lowden
Marissa Meyer is an established and well loved young adult author. Her Lunar Chronicles series is a fun twist on beloved stories (I mean, cyborg fairytale retellings set in space. Who wouldn’t want that?). Renegades is the first in Meyer’s newest series, and is one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. In fact, it’s even my favourite Marissa Meyer book ever, and that’s a difficult conclusion to come to with so many wonderful books of hers to choose from.
Renegades is a story about superheroes and villains. Told in a dual perspective from Nova and Adrian, she wants vengeance and he wants justice.
There isn’t much I didn’t like about this book. The characters are fun, interesting and likeable. The world building is incredibly detailed and well fleshed out. The plot is fast-paced and filled with all the things that make a great YA read. And I loved the relationships between the main and side characters. Marissa Meyer’s books have a particular feeling to them – one of joy, adventure and excitement – and Renegades is no different.
I often find that in books where the characters have powers, it can be quite difficult to be original. The same powers are always showing up, and it can make it difficult to bring something new to the genre. I praise Marissa Meyer, for she actually created some refreshing powers. Adrian’s in particular is my favourite. He can bring things he draws to life, and he uses this to give himself additional powers by tattooing himself with symbols to represent other powers.
Something else I also really liked is that this book made me think about the ethical outcomes of superpowers. The standard good vs. evil argument is brought into question, but with an interesting take. The good guys and the bad guys both perform some very questionable actions. While the good guys are praised, the bad guys are frowned upon, and it made me think about how just because someone is perceived as good, it doesn’t mean their actions should be excused.
This book also makes you think about if there are people with powers to save the day, society get used to relying on these people and learn over time to not do things themselves. I have not read this perspective in a superhero book before, and really enjoyed getting to see how this was developed throughout the book.
Renegades is a definite must-read for all. The only bad thing about this book is that there is now a long wait for the sequel! Learn More.
This Mortal Coil is one of the best YA debuts I’ve read this year, and one of the most unique YA dystopians I’ve read in a long time. It’s filled with action, adventure and some really well written plot twists making this a book you’ll want to devour in one sitting.
Set in a world with a deadly disease that sees victims explode into plumes of pink dust, the story follows Catarina. Cat’s father is the world’s leading geneticist and the person responsible for finding the cure to the disease. When he is killed, he leaves Cat clues to complete his work and ensure the cure is delivered in the hands of everyone and not the chosen recipients of the company he worked for.
This book has so much occurring in it that this plot summary really does not do it justice, and it’s one of those books that you can easily go into knowing not much about and still thoroughly enjoy.
Something I really loved about this book is how genuine the world building feels. Emily Suvada is a scientist with a particular focus on genetic engineering. In a world where DNA coding has become a part of society, Suvada’s area of expertise shines through and is highly appreciated. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the best at science, and although I sometimes didn’t quite understand the scientific explanations in the book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and having them influence my overall perception of this world.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that I’ve not want to put down. Suvada writes in a way where little revelations are dropped regularly throughout the book, normally at the end of chapters, and this along with the fast-paced plot made me want to read it in one sitting. The twists and turns throughout the book are fun, refreshing, and for the most part unpredictable. The last fifty pages in particular were incredibly well done, and have made me desperately want the sequel now!
Overall, This Mortal Coil has all the elements I love in a YA book. There is a fast-paced and action-filled plot, a likable main character, an incredibly detailed and fascinating world, a sweet romance, and twists and turns that have not been overdone. With the YA dystopian genre well past its prime, This Mortal Coil is worth the read and a fantastic example of why we love these types of stories so much. Learn More.
First things first let’s just give some appreciation to that A+ cover. It is simply stunning, and so fitting for this enchantingly wonderful book. Written by Connie Glynn (the youtuber known as Nooderella), Undercover Princess is a sweet debut filled with all things royalty.
Undercover Princess follows Ellie and Lottie. Ellie is a princess who would wish for nothing more than to be a normal teenager. Lottie is fairy tale obsessed and on scholarship to the prestigious Rosewood Hall. When the two are roomed together, they devise a plan to have Lottie pretend to be the princess, and from there mayhem ensues.
If I had to use one word to sum up this book, it would be fun. There’s dances and balls, and princesses, and boarding school, and boys, and adventure, and everything my younger self adored as a reader. Rosewood Hall is the kind of boarding school I would have dreamed of attending.
I love the wondrous feeling and the whimsical writing throughout the novel. Connie Glynn has done a fantastic job of setting up this series, as I finished Undercover Princess feeling as if the series is only going to get better.
With a slightly younger set of characters and a more simplistic writing style, Undercover Princess is definitely perfect for mature middle grade readers and YA readers in their younger teen years. As a 23-year-old, I can attest that older YA readers will also enjoy this enchanting read, and perhaps feel reminiscent of beloved books including The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. Learn More.
About the Contributor
Tanaya has been a lover of books for as long as she can remember. Now, her book collection is a little out of control, mostly consisting of YA fiction and pretty hardcovers. When she’s not reading, she spends a lot of her time taking photos of books for her bookstagram account, @prettypagesblog. She also has a love of Disneyland, bullet journaling and cats.
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