Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, Anisaa, and Kristin
YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK
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Bound by Blood and Sand
by Becky Allen
Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.
Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.
Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.
But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.
Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the realm’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Bound by Blood and Sand?
Here's a confession: I was a pretty annoying kid in my high school English class. I loved to read and write, but I hated analyzing books. What was the theme? What did the use of color mean? Why did the author choose to use the setting they did? I not only had no interest in thinking about that kind of thing, I insisted none of it meant anything at all. The writer was just writing, just trying to tell a story. There were no deeper meanings. I'm pretty sure I drove my teachers nuts.
Well, I'm eating those words now.
I knew I had finally figured out the book when I could sum it up in five words: "oppressive society and oppressive heat." And I think that's probably my favorite thing - the way the setting, the tone, and theme work together.
As you can definitely tell from the cover, BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND takes place in a desert. Now, I personally grew up in upstate New York, hiking through woods to find waterfalls. So needless to say, the desert was not my forte. But the thing about those summer hikes was that the hotter it got, the less I wanted to move. I would walk down the street in my tiny town and feel the heat reflecting back off the sidewalk, see the blacktop get melty and sticky. When it got that hot, forget about hiking. I'd lay around reading instead of going outside, because it was so hot that I just didn't want to move.
As I wrote about Jae and her desert world, that was what I remembered. The kind of heat that made it impossible to move. The kind of heat that was oppressive.
Jae, the protagonist of BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND, is a slave -- she was born into slavery because of a failed rebellion her ancestors had attempted, and she lives under a curse that magically compels her to obey orders. She's never even had a chance at freedom. Never had any agency. All she's known, her whole life, is oppression.
I had to write the book a few times from the ground up to get it right. In the third version -- the one that eventually sold -- I started with Jae outdoors in the sweltering heat. She's desperate for a drink of water that she isn't allowed to have, and she's fantasizing about revenge and freedom. And I knew, finally, that paying attention to the desert location would set the tone -- one of exhausted desperation. I knew this draft was darker than the previous two had been. I knew then that the story wasn't just an adventure about saving the world, set in a desert. It was a story about questioning if the world was even worth saving -- one where the world itself only reinforced Jae's problems.
It was setting, and theme, and tone, all working together. Reinforcing each other to strengthen the story I was trying to tell. I'd never written anything that way before, and it was miles better than the previous drafts had been. So I owe my high school teachers an apology. It turns out, sometimes those aren't just details after all. Sometimes, they make the whole story.
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The Weight of Zero
by Karen Fortunati
Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, almost triumphed once; that was her first suicide attempt.
Being bipolar is forever. It never goes away. The med du jour might work right now, but Zero will be back for her. It’s only a matter of time.
And so, in an old ballet-shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her own life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. Before she goes, though, she starts a short bucket list.
The bucket list, the support of her family, new friends, and a new course of treatment all begin to lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. The problem is, her plan is already in place, and has been for so long that she might not be able to see a future beyond it.
This is a story of loss and grief and hope, and how some of the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—affect a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and the stigma of treatment.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Weight of Zero?
There are two things that I love about this story. The first is that it’s a story of hope. When you first meet Catherine, she’s in a dark place. She’s dealing with the loss of her grandmother, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, abandonment by her friends and horrific anxiety over the return of her depression aka “Zero.” She doesn’t feel that a life like this is worth living and plans to end it. What the story is about is how that plan gets derailed when completely unexpected things occur. These include the arrival of a new friend, Kristal; a psychiatrist who seems to be a lot more in touch with Catherine than anyone before; a new med that’s actually working; her mom attempting to tackle her own issues; and a romance with Michael, who comes with Nonny, his sassy, little Italian grandmother who can text with the best of them.
The second thing that I love about this story - and you might have gotten a hint from the above – is the characters. Each one arrived fully formed in my head with distinct personalities and backstories. The early reviews have been so positive about this cast but the one who’s getting the most attention, besides Catherine, is Nonny! It seems like everybody wants a Nonny in their lives – including me!
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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS
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Brigands M.C. by Robert Muchamore: Emma M.
Everyone We've Been by Sarah Everett: Ashley A.
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig: Morgan M
Remember Yesterday by Pintip Dunn: Ellie M.
The Black Key by Amy Ewing: Lysette L.
The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster: Clarisa R.
Transcendent by Katelyn Detweiler: Karen B.
Way Down Dark by J.P. Smythe: Brand H, Shannon M, Amber H, Nadine S, Courtney W.
We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash: Tiffany M.
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: Michelle M.
MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
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by Brie Spangler
Knopf Books for Young Readers
A witty, wise, and heart-wrenching novel that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan.
Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.
Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Beast?
I love Dylan and Jamie! Love, love, love Dylan and Jamie, like seriously, I love them so much. I want to write about them making sandwiches and arguing about which movie to see next Saturday until maybe the end of time. I just really got into their relationship and loved being with them. I hope it shows.
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by M.P. Kozlowsky
Cinder meets The Walking Dead in a chilling futuristic fairy tale that will reboot everything you thought about family, love, and what it means to be human.
Sixteen-year-old Frost understands why she's spent her entire life in an abandoned apartment building. The ruined streets below are hunting grounds for rogue robots and Eaters.
She understands why she's never met a human besides her father. She even understands why he forbids her to look for medicine for her dying pet. But the thing is, it's not her real father giving the orders ...
It's his memories.
Before he died, Frost's father uploaded his consciousness into their robot servant. But the technology malfunctioned, and now her father fades in and out. So when Frost learns that there might be medicine on the other side of the ravaged city, she embarks on a dangerous journey to save the only living creature she loves.
With only a robot as a companion, Frost must face terrors of all sorts, from outrunning the vicious Eaters . . . to talking to the first boy she's ever set eyes on. But can a girl who's only seen the world through books and dusty windows survive on her own?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Frost?
Like my first book, JUNIPER BERRY, which is named after my first daughter, Margeaux Juniper, FROST is named after my second daughter, Vivienne Frost. My hope is that sometime in the future my girls will pick up these books and find themselves in each, or at least find who they are meant to be. It is part of the reason I created these strong young females. They are to be role models for my daughters and any other reader who may need to look past certain grim realities and find inspiration in the books they read. In the beginning of the novel, Frost doesn’t have a lot going for her: she lost her mother, her father is trapped inside a robot, and her beloved pet is dying; she is small and completely in the dark when it comes to the world outside her home, a world she has never set foot in. She is deeply unprepared for all the dangers waiting for her, but she is also brave and full of love. And so she ventures out, not for herself, but to save her pet. What’s my favorite thing about FROST? It’s the hope that my daughter finds more of herself in the character than just a name.
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by J.R. Johansson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.
Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.
Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Row?
I really enjoyed being able to represent a fairly underrepresented segment of our YA readers, children who have had/do have parents in the prison system. I haven't seen many books that deal with this issue, but it is unfortunately increasingly common in the U.S. With her dad being on death row, Riley's situation is at one end of the spectrum, but I think many of the things she feels will resonate. It also deals with the idea of finding out that your parents may not be exactly as good or bad as we've always believed and that struggle happens in the life of almost everyone.
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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK
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Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee
by Mary G. Thompson
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
A bittersweet homecoming holds dark secrets in this heart-wrenching story of loss, love, and survival for readers of Room.
When sixteen-year-old Amy returns home, she can't tell her family what’s happened to her. She can’t tell them where she’s been since she and her best friend, her cousin Dee, were kidnapped six years ago—who stole them from their families or what’s become of Dee. She has to stay silent because she's afraid of what might happen next, and she’s desperate to protect her secrets at any cost.
Amy tries to readjust to life at “home,” but nothing she does feels right. She’s a stranger in her own family, and the guilt that she’s the one who returned is insurmountable. Amy soon realizes that keeping secrets won’t change what's happened, and they may end up hurting those she loves the most. She has to go back in order to move forward, risking everything along the way. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is a riveting, affecting story of loss and hope.
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Be Good Be Real Be Crazy
by Chelsey Philpot
Three teenagers. One road trip. Countless detours. From the author of Even in Paradise comes a compelling story of self-discovery that is perfect for fans of Paper Towns and Mosquitoland.
When Mia first waltzed into Homer’s small corner of Florida, her bold approach to life changed Homer’s entire world. It wasn’t long before he was hopelessly in love.
Now Mia is moving away—and Homer and his younger brother, Einstein, are helping her drive hundreds of miles to her new home. This is Homer’s last chance to tell Mia how he really feels. And with so many detours in front of them, anything could happen.
In the tradition of Let's Get Lost and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Be Good Be Real Be Crazy is a story about love, friendship, and finding yourself.
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Black Widow: Red Vengeance
by Margaret Stohl
BLACK WIDOW: RED VENGEANCE is the action-packed sequel tothe instant New York Times best-seller, BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED, penned by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. This time, Stool takes readers inside the minds of Marvel's most cunning and dangerous spies:--Black Widow and Red Widow--delving deeper into their powers and will reveal more than ever before about the infamous assassin and her fledgling hero-in-training.
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Every Hidden Thing
by Kenneth Oppel
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The hunt for a dinosaur skeleton buried in the Badlands, bitter rivalries, and a forbidden romance come together in this beautifully written new novel that’s Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones.
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt it’s the “rex”, the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. Because if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. And with both eyeing the same prize, their budding romance seems destined to fail. But as danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light, Samuel and Rachel are forced to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry—and with it a new life together—or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
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In Case You Missed It
by Sarah Darer Littman
Sammy Wallach has epic plans for the end of junior year over: Sneak out to the city to see her favorite band. Get crush-worthy Jamie Moss to ask her to prom. Rock all exams (APs and driver's).
With a few white lies, some killer flirting, and tons of practice, Sammy's got things covered. That is, until the bank her dad works for is attacked by hacktivists who manage to steal everything in the Wallach family's private cloud, including Sammy's entire digital life. Literally the whole world has access to her emails, texts, photos, and, worst of all, journal.
Life. Is. Over.
Now Sammy's best friends are furious about things she wrote, Jamie thinks she's desperate, and she can barely show her face at school. Plus, her parents know all the rules she broke. But Sammy's not the only one with secrets -- her family has a few of its own that could change everything. And while the truth might set you free, no one said it was going to be painless. Or in Sammy's case, private.
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My Unscripted Life
by Lauren Morrill
Perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Smith and Huntley Fitzpatrick, you'll love this funny and sweet contemporary romance about a Southern girl ready for a ho-hum summer until she meets the boy of her dreams who happens to be an international pop star.
Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the pre-college fine arts program of her dreams. But if she'd gone away, she wouldn't have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade.
It's not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she's just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there's a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there's more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never. . .
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Star Wars Ahsoka
by E.K. Johnston
Disney Lucasfilm Press
Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance.
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Still Life with Tornado
by A.S. King
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Sarah can't draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has "done the art." She thinks she's having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she explores the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she's finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can't quite recall. After decades of staying together "for the kids" and building a family on a foundation of lies and violence, Sarah's parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original —and yet it still hurts.
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The Midnight Star
by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu.
There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.
Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.
Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.
Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina's story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.
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