It’s Tuesday, which mean it’s Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday, as always is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Halloween freebie, but I am not a big Halloween person (I wouldn’t even say I’m a big holiday person in general, except Christmas.) So I decided to skip to next week’s topic, books for your book club. I’ve focused it around young adult books, since that is what I mostly read, but we will be delving deeper as well. This will be partly books I’ve read and partly books I want to read. Let’s get started.
If you’re looking for a YA historical fiction with intriguing premises, try…
This takes places in New York City during the Son of Sam serial killer. However, that element is really in the background. The main focus is Nora dealing with her brother’s uncontrollable anger as he gets into deeper and deeper trouble and what she’s going to do when she graduates from high school, plus a bit of a romantic interest at her job. This book has a lot of different elements at play throughout, and while I think some things wrapped up a little too nicely (but some things were also left open), it was overall an excellent read.
I’ll be completely honest- all of Jennifer Donnelly’s historical fiction is excellent. This one, however, has a bit of a mystery element as well, which makes it a fast read. Jo’s life is seemingly perfect, she’s a well off young woman at the end of the nineteenth century. She has a respectable beau and believes they will one day be married, even though she secretly dreams of being a journalist like Nellie Bly. Then tragedy strikes when her father is found dead in his office. Though the death is ruled an accident, Jo knows her father would never attempt to clean a loaded gun and believes murder is afoot. But who would want to kill her father? She teams up with Eddie, a young, brash reporter,and they navigate New York City’s high and low society, uncovering secrets that could change everything. This was somewhat of a predictable read but enjoyable all the same.
This is historical fiction with a time travel element, which I happen to have a weakness for. In one night, violinist Etta Spencer loses everything she loves. She is thrust into a strange world and only knows one thing: She has traveled not only miles from her home but also years. Nicholas is content with his life at sea, finally free of the Ironwoods, a family he previously served in the colonies. However, when Etta unexpectedly lands on his ship, he finds himself back in the Ironwoods business, as they believe only Etta can retrieve a stolen object of untold value. This book is definitely a slow build, but the ending will leave you craving the next one (which isn’t out until next year.)
If you’re looking for contemporary YA with a bit of romance and grief, try…
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I discovered how amazing Emery Lord’s books are after reading When We Collided in June and that she has rapidly become one of my favorite authors. So it’s no surprise I’m recommending one of her books for my list. This one holds a special place in my heart. It’s been a year since Paige’s boyfriend died in accident and Paige feels she is finally ready for a second chance at high school. And she has a plan: 1-Get her old crush, Ryan, to date her. 2- Join a club. But when Ryan’s nerdy cousin start school and convinces Paige to join quiz bowl, Paige’s plan is thrown for a loop. What I loved most about this book was the dynamic of Paige and her friends and the fact they felt like they were actually in high school, homework and everything. Often, school is merely the backdrop where the action unfolds. Not here. It also dealt with grief in an interesting way. Obviously, it’s been a year since the accident happen and we’re to assume that Paige has been kinda stuck this past year. So watching her put herself out there and try (and fail) in a lot of different ways was really fun to read.
Sarah wakes up in the Mall of America, also know as purgatory for murdered teens. yes, murdered. Sarah just can’t figure out why she would be murdered because she is perfectly average. With the help of her death coach she must either move on, or worse, become a mall walker, reliving her death over and over again. As she tries to finish her unfinished business, she falls in love with another murdered teen, Nick, and together they work to discover why she was murdered. This turned from an interesting take on the afterlife into a murder mystery where the murdered party is attempting to solve her own murder. This would definitely lead to interesting discussions on the afterlife and ghosts.
If you’re looking for YA to generate lots of discussion…
This is a book about a school shooting, and there’s a lot to unpack here. There’s a whole cast of diverse characters and perspectives, both inside and outside the active shooter situation. There’ a lot of connections between the characters too-Opportunity is portrayed as small town America and it follows through. This is also a shorter book- I got through it in an afternoon, so it’s excellent for busier book clubs.
Ok, this book doesn’t come out until February but it looks like it’s going to be amazing for book clubs. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the world of the poor neighborhood where she lives and the world of her fancy suburban prep school. This balance is destroyed when her childhood best friend is shot, while he is unarmed. Soon, his death is a national headline and everyone wants to know what really happened that nights. And the only one who knows is Starr. Reviews for ARCs of this have been glowing and I’m excited for it to come out in February.
I read this book a month ago and I think about it on a consistent basis. Romy was raped at a party and when she speaks out no one believes her. So she retreats inside herself and she is shunned by everyone she was previously friends with.But when a former friend goes missing, there is a bit of a mystery to unfold that leads to all kinds of dark secrets. Romy must choose whether to speak up again-though they certainly won’t believe her now- or stay silent and live with the cost of silence. This a powerful, raw read that would lead to tons of discussions about rape culture, small town politics and more.
If you’re looking for an adult book a YA reader may enjoy…
England is running out of magic and newly appointed Sorcerer Royal Zacharias Wythe must figure out why, in addition to dodging murderous accusations. On his way to Fairyland, the source of England’s magic, he meets a Prunella, a woman with immense magical power and ambition. Together they will change sorcery and British society forever. I actually just finished this pretty recently. It’s not YA specifically but it does have a lot of elements similar to what you’d find in YA fantasy in that there a coming of age element to it and a bit of romance.
Franny has six months until her self-imposed deadline to get her big break in New York. And while she’s in a elite acting class and waitressing at a comedy club, she is nowhere near where she thought she’d be three years ago. She lives in Brooklyn with her best friend, Jane, and sci-fi writer, Dan. She doesn’t know if she’ll run out of money or time first, but one thing she does know is there is no way she wants to move back to home and become a teacher, her backup plan. Luckily, things seem to be looking up for Franny. This was a really cute read. It definitely had Lauren Graham’s voice, so people who grew up watching Gilmore Girls and Parenthood will recognize her voice.
What are some books you would recommend for a book club? Let me know in the comments!