I’m always writing about the latest and greatest (in my opinion) young adult literature that’s already hit the market, but what am I looking forward to? Today, I’m teasing, tantalizing, and enticing with five upcoming releases that I’m excited about -- and I think you will be too.
“Untold,” Sarah Rees Brennan (Random House, 24 September)
Basically, I am waiting on tenterhooks for this one after the epic ending of “Unspoken.” If you haven’t read “Unspoken,” hop to it so you’ll be prepared this September -- and if you already have and you’re wishing you had more Sarah Rees Brennan to read while you wait, check out her Demon’s Lexicon series, which has equally entertaining characters and some fascinating and clever writerly sleight of hand in terms of exploring alternate points of view.
For those just getting on the Sarah Rees Brennan appreciation train, welcome aboard, and here’s the deal: The Lynburns have mysteriously returned to Sorry-in-the-Vale after a long absence, and Kami Glass wants to find out why. She won’t rest until she does, even though her friends and family warn her away, and what she finds out about the Lynburns, and herself, shocks her.
Did I mention it's hilarious and snappy and brilliant? Because it is.
In case you’re wondering, I’m torn between liking Angela and Rusty best.
“The Testing,” Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin, 4 June)
Houghton Mifflin is pushing this trilogy hard, and this is the first entry in the series, so if you want your chance to pick something up before it was cool, give this a shot. If you’ve been longing for a followup to “The Hunger Games,” this might be just what your palate needed. It’s a very action-driven series set in a dystopian world where promising young adults are sent to the capitol city to undergo a series of tests to determine if they’re fit for university.
Let’s just say these tests are a little more extreme than your average SAT, okay? Our heroine, Cia, has to figure out how to survive the tests while navigating a world where no one is trustworthy and anything could be a trap. The followups will be coming in January and June 2014, so you won’t have to wait a full three years for this trilogy to wrap up!
“Inheritance,” Malinda Lo (Little, Brown, 24 September)
Every time I start talking about it, I end up gushing, because it is so good. The followup to last year’s “Adaptation,” “Inheritance” looks at what might happen if aliens were actually real, had been in contact with us for a long time, and were sharing their medical technologies with us. When two teens find themselves at the heart of an interplanetary incident, it highlights historical and cultural tensions in what is also a book with a whole lot of action. And some kissing.
More than that, though, “Inheritance” deftly examines issues of gender, sexuality, and orientation. I’ve come to expect this from Malinda Lo because she’s got an established track record in the field, but she really outdid herself this time. “Inheritance” is amazing on its face just because it’s a great novel, but what Lo does with relationships and gender in this book is mindblowingly awesome. Seriously, wear a helmet while reading this book, okay?
“Reboot,” Amy Tintera (Harper Teen, 7 May)
This may be my favorite take on the zombie meme yet. Imagine that a virus has raged through society but that it comes with a twist: when you die, there’s a chance you will rise again, much stronger than before. You heal rapidly, and the only way to kill you is by destroying your brain. In the subsequent collapse of society, the government has created itself a little race of zombie supersoldiers, but not everyone is ready to go along.
Our heroine, Wren aka 178, finds the humanity behind her zombie facade, and starts to find out what happens if you question the purpose of the organization that’s using you. Is she ready to disobey orders in the name of a higher purpose? “Reboot” is an excellent play on the zombie theme, showing that it is in fact still possible to take old and seemingly troped topics and make them fun again.
“In the After,” Demitria Lunetta (Harper Teen, 25 June)
Alien invasion is showing up twice on this list, and I don’t know what to tell you about that, because it’s not normally a genre I read a lot in. I mean, I read a lot of science fiction, but invasions of Earth in particular have never really floated my eyeball -- I’d much rather read about exploring the universe and encountering other people in their home worlds. As peaceful envoys, not invaders. Anyway, I’m digressing.
The point is that “In the After” follows a girl who enjoyed a pretty privileged life in Chicago before aliens invaded the world and started eating everyone (super awks, right?!), forcing her to grow up in a hurry. That process was accelerated when she found an child who needed her protection, but when she and “Baby” are finally rescued, Amy quickly learns that her rescuers may not be all they are cracked up to be. This is an intense, fast-paced read that plunges you headlong into the chaos of Amy’s life as she (and you) try to figure out what the heck is going on.
Which upcoming book releases are you looking forward to?