Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

A 2013 Americas Book Award Commended Title

A 2013 ALA Notable Book for Children

I’m going to divide my review into two sections – one without spoilers, one with – because I can’t really say what I want to say without giving the end away.

No spoilers:

This book has been winning awards left and right and the author just won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, which is pretty prestigious. I know  it’s getting a lot of attention because it’s a young adult book about homosexuality – the only YA novel I know of that has this as a main plot point, although there are others? probably? just not as prominent? – but that kind of cheapens it. That’s the great part about it – it’s a book about discovering/coming to terms with being gay (yourself or a loved one) but it’s a complete story that’s about a lot of other things too. That’s just one of its topics, just like in life. Gay people are not one dimensional, and neither are these characters or this story. (I apologize if my language in this review is imprecise. I know some people say being gay is something they always know, while others have to discover it as they mature.) Continue reading »

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Fuse by Julianna Baggott

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image_126Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian

Sequel to Pure

Spoilers for Pure may be contained.

The story starts right where it left off, with Pressia, Bradwell and El Capitan working together at OSR and Partridge and Lyda with the Mothers. Before long, Partridge is headed back into the Dome, leaving the others behind to deal with the Dome’s newest threats and try frantically to decipher the information contained in the black box they acquired in the last book. Continue reading »

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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Genre: Fantasy

I recently reread Graceling in preparation for reading its sequel, Bitterblue. It’s still one of my favorite young adult books.

Graceling takes place in a fictional kingdom in which certain individuals have “graces” – a grace being a special ability of some sort. Heroine Katsa has such a grace – she is graced with a talent for killing. Forced to act as a tool for her uncle, the king, Katsa acts out behind his back as part of a council she has formed to bring justice to the kingdom – and those kingdoms around her – with the help of friends and allies. Continue reading »

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Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

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Genre: Fantasy

Young Adult Library Services Association 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults pick

I really wanted to love this book. Enchanted is a fairy tale in its purest form, making no mistake about it setting, a world in which fairy tales are true and magic is an everyday occurrence.

Enchanted is the story of Sunday Woodcutter, a young girl who has grown up in a family at the center of all fairy tales. Sundays sisters area all stars of familiar fairy tales and her family, while of simple origins, is at the center of the kingdoms stories and legends. Continue reading »

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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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Genre: Fantasy

Young Adult Library Services Association 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults pick

A 2013 ALA Notable Book for Children

A 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book

This was an excellent read – I had trouble putting it down at times!

Seraphina takes place in an imaginary land (medieval in nature) in which dragons take on human form and intermingle with humans. However, the treaty they have made with the citizens of this land to co-exist peacefully is in jeopardy. It is up to the heroine, Seraphina, and her friends to save the day when the peace of the land is threatened. However, Seraphina has secrets of her own to keep, which threatens her friendships and hinders her mission. Continue reading »

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