March 2016 was an exceptionally good month for young adult new releases. We saw the end to some memorable series, the introduction of new favorites to fill their void, and plenty of debut authors burst onto the scene as well. This made my job of nailing down the six books I’m most excited for exponentially harder, and with my decision making skills? It’s a miracle this post ever got written. In it though you’ll find a great mix of fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, and contemporaries sure to give you momentum heading into beach read season. Soooo…ready for your TBR to get bigger?
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands follows Amani, a teenage girl who, as the plot blurb describes her, is more gunpowder than girl. She’s desperate to free herself from the confines of the withdrawn, desert town Dustwalk and is counting on her sharpshooting skills for a ticket to freedom. What she doesn’t expect is a devastatingly handsome (her words) foreigner named Jin to appear, presenting the perfect escape route. Now she’s fleeing the nation of Miraji on a mythical beast, being chased by the Sultan army for harboring a fugitive accused of committing treason. In a not so shocking twist, Amani finds herself falling in love with the boy who holds the key to discovering the “powerful truth” of who she really is. While that synopsis may seem heavy on the cheese, it raises a lot of questions I’m already very curious to read about, such as what is the powerful truth? Or the mythical beasts that roam the Miraji? Similarly, I’m thoroughly curious to see if I find Amani and her love interest as kickbutt as other reviewers have. Those two just may be the Etta and Nicholas of I need to fill the Passenger shaped void in my heart.
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
I debated long and hard with myself on whether or not Wink Poppy Midnight was a March release I really wanted to read. Afterall, I finished April Genevieve Tucholke’s debut Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea nearly two years ago, and still internally cringe at the thought of it. My main problems were the purple prose so heavy you could nail it with a hammer, and Tucholke’s lackluster attempts at creating a gothic horror story. So why am I even considering her second book as an anticipated read? Well, besides the hipster names Tucholke is so fond of using, the story line sounds really cool, with massive potential to blow me away…positively or negatively. It reads: Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain. Every story needs a secret. Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.What really happened?Someone knows. Someone is lying. Ok, so does that not sound amazing? Oh, and don’t even get me started on that GORGEOUS cover that I would so love to have featured on my bookshelf.
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
Yet another early March release, Into the Dim is being laureled as a teenage version of Outlander, a comparison of which I’m sure will inspire many readers to pick up this otherwise dark horse. Basically, it involves time travel to twelfth century Scotland, where a girl must rescue her time traveler mother from the clutches of a malevolent secret society (!!!!!). Of course, there’s also hints to a “mysterious” boy who could be either Hope’s knight in shining armor or the force behind an untimely demise. This romantic trope is a bit overused (that whole sentence was practically filled with young adult buzz words), but nonetheless the Goodreads ratings are staggeringly stellar and enough reassurance for me to pick this one up. I get the feelingf Into the Dim will either make my top ten list of 2016, or be buried in the vault of memories I reserve for the worst of the worst. Pick your poison, Janet B. Taylor, as I’ll be watching out for you.
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
I’ll be the first to admit that I have never been a huge follower of the Sherlock Holmes fandom. I know the basis of his mysteries, and that of reboot programming like Elementary, but to say I am a devotee would be an overstatement. However, I can still appreciate the English accented detective and his fiery sidekick in a young adult reimagining of their great-great grandchildren falling in love and kicking some butt at an East Coast prep school. The atmosphere seems very similar to that of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which I absolutely adore, and I expect the writing to be filled with lots of snide commentary that is sure to make little heart go a flutter. Not to mention that I shamefully lust over just about any love-hate relationship ever to appear in fiction, and I do believe this one has that exact dynamic with a twist. Oh, yeah and crime fighting investigator work tied into a mystery among private school elite (secrets, lies, and spies, oh my). But that cover though…it really kicks me where I’m weak with it’s blue and orange color scheme and clever designs. Be prepared to see a lot more mention of this one in the coming months.
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
I’m a bit contemporaried out, but just the other day I read First & Then, an adorable little romance that totally blew me away and renewed my faith in the genre. What is Seven Ways We Lie about though? Essentially seven intertwining stories and characters as they react to a student-teacher romance at an ordinary high school. All narrators bring some aspect of the seven deadly sins to the table as they describe their gamut of reactions and feelings to the taboo subject. While that’s some pretty heavy base material for a cover that features a rainbow color scheme, I don’t think debut author Riley Redgate is taking her inspiration from the movie Se7en. Instead I see her opting to infuse edgy humor and heartfelt revelations into characters that any reader can relate too. I know that synopsis likely raises a lot of red flags for potential readers as it contains the same conflict as the critically and commercially panned Even When You Lie To Me, and features a kiss-of-death bookish sin in containing SEVEN narrators (I’ll be the first to attest; a nearly impossible feat). However if Redgate can spin all these threads into one contemporary heavyweight there’s big potential for a fissure to open in the universe and raise her on a pedestal of which all future multiple POV’s will be judged upon. Or the book is going to royally fail. But I’m willing to find out!
The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan
When I first saw The Leaving Season pop up as a recommended NetGalley, I actually thought it was an entirely different book. You see there’s this book coming out in June with an eeriy similar color scheme about a rash of disappreared children who return years later. Obviously, this Lifetime movie-esque contemporary is not that book. Instead Cat Jordan’s debut follows Middie, a high school girl head over heels in love with her boyfriend Nate. The two intend to spend the rest of their lives together, and Middie has never had a reason to build a future otherwise. But when tragedy strikes, Middie’s whole world is set spinning. No one seems to understand just how lost she is…except for Nate’s best friend Lee. Middie and Lee have never gotten along. But with the ground ripped out from under her, Middie is finding that up is down—and that Lee Ryan might be just what she needs to find her footing once more. So basically that sounds like a total cheese fest, and I’m pretty sure I already have the “twist” nailed to a tee, but there’s still a likely chance I end up reading this one. It’s exactly the kind of emotional manipulation I need to get me out of tough reading slumps, and with the summer season among us…who knows what quick reads I’ll be after?
Have you guys checked out any of these March new releases? Or are there any you’d recommend to me? Let me know in the comments!
-Keep Calm and Read On