I’ve gotta say, this was a very good run of books. Five very different stories that all accomplish exactly what they set out to do!
- Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
What it’s About: No sooner has Hartley discovered that her boyfriend Josh is cheating on her, than the other woman turns up dead. Josh quickly becomes the number one suspect, and asks Hartley to look into things and help clear his name. In spite of what he did to her, Hartley still believes Josh is innocent, and agrees to take on the case.
What I Thought: This is basically Nancy Drew with a generous helping of snark and sarcasm. If you’re in the mood for something fun and quick to read, this is a solid option to consider. This is the first book in a trilogy, though unfortunately for me the second book has neglected to show up at a store or library near me, much like that later books in Jacqueline Green’s Truth or Dare series, and Elisa Ludwig’s Pretty Crooked series. Also, the third book has been repeatedly delayed after initially being planned to come out in 2013. So take that under consideration before checking out Deadly Cool, though at least the first book has a full story arc and won’t leave you hanging when you come to the end.
- Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
What it’s About: Sara Black is the new student at an elite private school, and manages to form a bond with Queen Bee Carling. Wanting to protect the new friendship, Sara decides to conceal the fact that the obsessive-compulsive new school janitor is actually her father.
What I Thought: You probably have a general idea of how this book will go, and you would be right. The story follows a simple formula, but it does it very well, and is worth a read. The main character is flawed and compelling, and the relationship with her father is handled well. One strange element of the book is that Sara becomes rather obsessed with Carling’s underwear. Right at the start of the book she sees Carling’s bag pull up her skirt, revealing day-of-the-week underwear for the wrong day, and spends a good deal of time for the rest of the story trying to get another look at the underwear, wand pondering whether Carling has a system for what she wears each day, or if it’s just random. I guess it’s meant to show that Sara is a bit obsessive herself and could never really escape from her father’s legacy, even if she really wanted too?
- A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
What it’s About: Ellie’s Monday is a complete disaster. She gets a ticket, flunks a quiz, loses in the school election, fails to make the softball team, and gest dumped by her boyfriend. Before going to sleep she begs for a change to make things right. Much to her surprise, the next day turns out to be Monday again, and Ellie tries to figure out how to stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her.
What it’s About: A fun and quick read, much as you’d expect from a YA version of Groundhog Day. A fairly predictable but still fun ride, and my only real issue with book is that it felt like the last Monday was a bit too perfect. Though that’s not a huge deal with this type of book.
- The Call by Peader O Guilin
What it’s About: The humans of Ireland are at was with the fae race called the Sidhe. The good news is the Sidhe have been forced into another dimension. The bad news is that they have the ability to call young humans to their world. Every teenager will at some seemingly random moment be whisked away to the world of the Sidhe. Three minutes later, whatever’s left of them will reappear in the same place. Unfortunately, those three minutes actually amount to twenty-four hours in the world of the Sidhe, being relentlessly hunted down. The things that the Sidhe do to humans are so horrible that it is common practice for parents to mercy kill children who seem to have no real chance of surviving the call. Everyone thinks that Nessa really should have been put down, but she is determined join the ranks of those who have managed to survive the call.
What I Thought: Most of the book follows Nessa’s time at a school where she and other students are given training that is meant to help give them the chance to survive the call. However, we also go with a few characters as they are called to the Sidhe world, and fight for their lives. The other world is appropriately disturbing, though the Sidhe themselves might be rather surprising if you’re expecting hideous monsters. They are incredibly beautiful beings who also happen to be unfailingly polite, even to the humans they torment. One of them responds to being mortally wounded by cheerfully congratulating the human who just killed him. A dark and compelling story that has me eagerly anticipating the sequel.
- How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
What it’s About: Sam Mather, much like her creator Adriana Mather, is a descendent of Cotton Mather, an infamous figure from the Salem Witch Trials. With costs piling up due to her father being in a coma, Sam and her stepmother are forced to move to her father’s childhood home of Salem. Sam is greeted rather coldly, especially by the group of four girls and one boy who call themselves The Descendants. This group is descended from those who were executed during the trials, and they are rumoured to actually have magical powers. But that’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
What I Thought: Speaking of eagerly waiting for the sequel, this is a good option for anyone who likes witch stories. Mather wrote this story to draw a parallel between the Trials and modern day bullying, which leads to some parts of the book playing out far more publically than you might expect, for better or worse. I was definitely left wanting more, and was very happy to find out that there will be a sequel. I’m also interested in learning more about the past of the Salemites, so I actually tweeted Adriana Mather to ask if she had any thoughts about writing a prequel. She confirmed she had, but we will have to wait to see if one actually gets written.