Young Adult New Releases: Week of July 31, 2018

HEART OF THORNS by Bree Barton

(Katherine Tegen Books ~ July 31, 2018)

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Review and photo by Paige ~ @popthebutterfly on Instagram

In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood. Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch. But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Oh my gosh, how this book was gorgeous on the inside and the outside. This book grabs your attention immediately and never lets go throughout. The characters are well developed, the plot was interesting and engaging, and writing was really well done! Mia is the type of character I long for in books and the book had strong LGBT+ inclusion in it. I literally couldn’t put this book down.

However, I did feel that the pacing was a bit off. It was like we would get an action scene and then the book would kinda slow down during it but then immediately pick back up. It sometimes went too slow between the action scenes and then too fast at the action scenes. It was kinda weirdly paced, but the story wasn’t hampered at all. I also wish we had more world building in the book.

Verdict: Overall, I feel this book will break some hearts this year.

LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP by Justina Chen

(Arthur A. Levine Books ~ July 31, 2018)

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Review and photo by Sugar ~ @penroseacademyhomeschool on Instagram

When I saw that Justina Chen (author of NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL) had written another book, I jumped at the chance to read it. Lovely, Dark, and Deep is about a girl named Viola who suddenly develops an extreme case of photosensitivity – or an allergy to the sun. At the same time she meets Josh, who is there every step of the way as she tries to learn to navigate this new normal.

What I enjoyed about this book: I really enjoyed learning about photosensitivity, and learning exactly how horrible it can be to live with – especially if you have an extreme case. I thought the author did especially well with the research and the explanations and feelings about dealing with this issue. I loved the characters – Viola and Josh both felt real. I loved how they both had their own visions. I loved how vulnerable they both were. I loved their interactions. I also loved the progression on the story – Viola going from anger (“I’m not changing anything”), to depression (“I’m not going anywhere, talking to anyone, I am staying in my basement forever”), to empowerment “(I am going to figure this out by safely testing my limits”). I even loved the over- protective parents!! Lastly, I loved the list of things she could do at night – a beautiful bucket list that should be on anyone’s must do’s!

What I didn’t like: I didn’t like the instalove – I believe Josh and Viola kissed on seeing each other the second time. Way too fast – we don’t even have a relationship yet. I didn’t like how some references seemed to come out of nowhere. Hopefully that’ll be edited a bit better in the final copy. (For readers who are selective: Full disclosure: This book contains curse words, sexual references, kissing scenes.

All in a it was a well rounded story, and I enjoyed it for the most part.

STORM-WAKE by Lucy Christopher

(Chicken House ~ July 31, 2018)

This one is just making its way to our reviewers: 

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“…I’m ready to dig into this read that’s set to be released on Tuesday!”

– Hype and photo by Jay & Meg – @bibliophilebesties on Instagram


“A tale of strange magic and faith lost and found that packs a wallop.” –Booklist

Moss has grown up on the strangest and most magical of islands. Her father has a plan to control the tempestuous weather that wracks the shores. But the island seems to have a plan of its own once Callan — a wild boy her age — appears on its beaches. Her complex feelings for Callan shift with every tide, while her love for the island, and her father, are thrown into doubt…

And when one fateful day, a young man from the outside world washes up on the beach, speaking of the Old World, nothing will ever be the same. 

A dark reflection of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Storm-wake is one girl’s voyage of discovery — a mesmerizing tale of magic, faith, and love.


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