10 New Books You'll Love as Much as 'Hunger Games'
bySandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense MediaJul 30, 2015
Are your teens on the hunt for a new book series like The Hunger Games? Eager to discover the next Divergent? You're in luck. From the New York Times bestseller A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas to the awesomely weird I Crawl Through It by the enormously popular A.S. King, the blockbusters in the latest crop of young adult books are itching to be uncovered.
Following on the trend toward edgier young adult subject matter, some of these titles are getting attention for their envelope-pushing topics. If your kids hear about them, check out the full reviews at Common Sense, they'll be adding reviews as the books are released. For younger readers, see 10 New Books for Middle Schoolers. Here are the top 10 new and soon-to-be-released titles that are sure to be on your young adult reader's radar.
1. A Court of Thorns and Rosesby Sarah Maas What It's About: In an ancient fictional land, young huntress Feyre kills a mysterious wolf -- an act so serious that she's forced to move into the home of a shape-shifting beast named Tamlin as punishment. Of course, "beastly" Tamlin is actually a gorgeous faerie High Lord who along with the rest of the faeries is living under a deadly curse. As Feyre gets to know the brooding Tamlin, they slowly develop an intense romance full of secrets. Why Teens Will Love It: It's an epic fantasy with both page-turning adventure and steamy romance. Readers (particularly teen girls and adult women) can't get enough of Maas' engrossing storytelling. Even readers who aren't keen on faerie stories will be entranced by Maas' inventive (and, it can't be overstated, swoony) take on Beauty and the Beast.
2. Daughter of Deep Silenceby Carrie Ryan What It's About: The summer she was 14, Frances Mace was one of only three people to survive a catastrophe aboard a luxury cruise ship. But the only other survivors -- a senator and his son (her vacation fling) -- openly lie about what brought down the ship. Orphaned and desperate, Frances assumes the identity of her dead best friend, Libby, with the full blessing of Libby's grief-stricken father. Four years later, now fully immersed in her new identity as Libby, Frances decides to exact her revenge and finally find out the truth about what happened on the ship. Why Teens Will Love It: Inspired by Alexandre Dumas' classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, with a hint of the ABC prime-time soap Revenge and Titanic thrown into the mix romance-wise,Daughter of Deep Silence is the story of a girl who will stop almost at nothing to make those responsible for her parents' deaths pay a steep price. Teens who like mysteries and revenge stories (and are willing to believe two different couples fell deeply in love at age 14) will find this book virtually impossible to put down.
3. Legacy of Kingsby Eleanor Herman (Release date: Aug. 18) What It's About: The first volume in Herman's Blood of Gods and Royals series is a historical fantasy about Alexander of Macedonia, the 16-year-old heir to the empire, and a cast of real and imagined figures in ancient history. In addition to Alexander, there's court newbie Katerina, who has a secret mission to kill the Queen; Katerina's former flame Jacob, who's desperate to win her away from Hephaestion; and Alexander's betrothed Zofia, a Persian princess he's never met and who wants to use the Spirit Easters to change her destiny. Why Teens Will Love It: Herman, a historian who is best known for her steamy nonfiction exposés of the secret lives of kings and queens, gets into the YA spirit with this crossover fantasy that should appeal to adults and teens alike. With loads of juicy court intrigue, mysticism, talented teens, hormones, and historically accurate details about Alexander the Great's life, Legacy of Kings is as addictive as Game of Thrones -- but far more teen-appropriate.
4. The Marvelsby Brian Selznick (Release date: Sept. 15) What It's About: Selznick returns after three years of research, drawing, and writing with another opus that will make readers of all ages marvel at the author's creative genius. Pulling together two distinct story lines, Selznick first tells one story through pictures -- that of Billy Marvel, the sole survivor of a 1766 shipwreck and five generations of his mysterious, theatrical family -- and then another, exclusively through prose -- that of a 1990 boy named Joseph who has run away from boarding school and heads to London in search of a specific address. Why Teens Will Love It: Teens -- especially those who read and adored the award-winning author-illustrator's The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck in elementary school -- are in for another look into Selznick's mastery as a wordsmith, storyteller, and artist. Like Selznick's other books, The Marvels is a one-of-a-kind reading experience that should appeal to reluctant and die-hard readers alike.
5. Tonight the Streets Are Oursby Leila Sales (Release date: Sept. 15) What It's About: Arden is what her mother calls a "gardener" who tends and cares for her "flower" friends. But when her best friend disappoints her yet again and Arden realizes she's loyal to a fault, she asks the Internet, "Why doesn't anybody love me as much as I love them?" and ends up immersed in the world of the first search result, the blog of a wealthy New York teen. Peter's musings chronicle his tumultuous romance with the beautiful Bianca and captivate Arden to the point of compelling her to meet him. Why Teens Will Love It: Social-media-savvy teens will definitely relate to the idea of following someone online to whom they feel connected on a deeper level. Don't worry -- this isn't about "stalking" but about the way young people (actually, all people) make connections in the digital age and one young woman who realizes no one is as perfect as status updates or posts make it seem.
6. I Crawl Through It by A.S. King (Release date: Sept. 22) What It's About: Four Pennsylvania seniors deal with heavy stuff: One is a compulsive liar, one is the daughter of a dominatrix, one is grieving, and all would rather do anything but succumb to the monotony of standardized tests, safety drills, and bomb threats. Their response? To fly away in an invisible helicopter, to turn their bodies inside out, and to have their hair grow foot by foot every time they lie, Pinocchio-style. Why Teens Will Love It: There's a movement of sorts to "Keep YA Weird," and if you've read King's previous novels or those of Andrew Smith, Patrick Ness, or John Corey Whaley, you get the idea. Paranormal romances and fantasy trilogies are great for some readers, but others need their stories more surreal and imaginative, more probing of what it means to slog through the miserable, lonely, grief-inducing aspects of adolescence. This is bizarre but brilliant, and teens who like those descriptions will love this book.
7. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Release date: Sept. 22) What It's About: In a distant future, an artificial intelligence called Talis has taken over the world and maintains world peace by forcing all rulers to submit their children to be raised as hostages in a UN-controlled monastery-like boarding school. Should a government declare war on Talis, its heir must be sacrificed. When war claims one of her fellow Children of Peace and the replacement hostage arrives and begins to subvert the system, Greta, crown princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, starts to wonder whether she should be willing to die to overthrow the system. Why Teens Will Love It: Bow's sci-fi/dystopian page-turner will be just what fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent have been waiting for, and the fact that platonic relationships are even more important than romantic ones makes this title equally appealing to guys and girls (there's also a LGBTQ component for those who value diverse books). This is an original and captivating story with gripping action, thoughtful political commentary, and plenty of heart.
8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Release date: Sept. 29) What It's About: If Shadow and Bone takes place in an alternative universe resembling czarist Russia, Bardugo's latest is set in the same universe but a different "country" -- this time a place resembling 18th-century Netherlands. In the dangerous city of Ketterdam, the underworld's brightest star is young gang leader Kaz, who gathers a team to rescue a kidnapped chemist. The Ocean's Eleven-type team includes a magical healer (Nina), an acrobat-spy (Iniej), a rich engineer (Wylan), and a skilled sharpshooter (Jesper) for the profitable job. Why Teens Will Love It: Bardugo, who's best known for her beloved Grisha trilogy, delivers another book set in the same universe but without any overlapping characters. Given the early reviews, Bardugo's built-in audience, and her reputation for pulse-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance, Six of Crows should be the start to another beautiful (and best-selling) series.
9. The Rest of Us Just Live Hereby Patrick Ness (Release date: Oct. 6) What It's About: You know how for every "Chosen" or supernatural young character in pop culture, there's a group of kids who aren't the sidekicks but are just there? Imagine a book about some of the random Hogwarts students who weren't in Dumbledore's Army or even Draco's Slytherin crew. That's what this clever and humorous book is about: the "ordinary" teens who may witness what the "indie" (supernaturally blessed) cool kids are doing but who are uninvolved except to think, "They better not blow up the school again." Why Teens Will Love It: Ness' latest is perfect for fanboys and fangirls who will easily pick up on the ways he's subverting the "Chosen One" idea. By doing away with the hero's journey and focusing on the kids on the sidelines, he's reaching out to kids who've never felt like Harry or Buffy or Katniss or Ender or Luke or Tris. And what teen doesn't want to see the extraordinary lurking beneath an ordinary-looking life?
10. Rose Societyby Marie Lu (Release date: Oct. 13) What It's About: In a fantasy universe reminiscent of Renaissance Italy, young Adelina Amouteru is the survivor of a blood fever that has left her with silver-white hair, a scary facial scar, and special powers. She's also the survivor of attempts on her life and a betrayal that has set her heart on one thing only: revenge. After the goings-on of the first book of the series, The Young Elites, Adelina and her sister flee Kenterra to find other people with special abilities like hers. But Adelina is no benevolent Professor X; she's definitely like a young Magneto who can't see beyond the ways she's been wronged. Why Teens Will Love It: First, readers should start with The Young Elites to meet and understand Adelina, who's so jaded she doesn't know how to trust others or believe they care about her. Compellingly complicated, Adelina has a choice to make: give in to her dark side or seek out the light. As this is a young-adult book, expect her to embrace her dark impulses.