You may have missed out on some of the best books of 2017!
Here at The Fandom, we read A LOT of books. Many of them are bestsellers from big publishers with major advertising that everyone is talking about. However, we also devour some books that are published quietly and without fanfare, even though some of them really deserve all the fanfare!
Today, we celebrate five of those smaller books, the ones you probably haven’t read yet, but should definitely consider scooping up with all those holiday gift cards. Take a look!
Kait recommends ROSEMARKED by Livia Blackburne
Livia Blackburne’s latest release is intense world-building, political intrigue, medical drama, action, and a complex romance rolled up into one impressive series starter. Despite its lack of magical elements, the book felt like a high fantasy from the first page. Main characters Zivah and Dineas are interesting characters who bring a lot to the story as individuals, and they have great chemistry, to boot. The novel has a great, quick-paced plot, but it also leaves plenty of room for theories and anticipation.
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Kait recommends FIRST WE WERE IV by Alexandra Sirowy
Dark, edgy, and wholly unpredictable, Alexandra Sirowy’s latest novel is part teen cult thriller, part revenge fantasy, and part murder mystery. It revolves around four friends who start a “secret society” to expose troublesome underbelly of their small town, including the mystery of a Jane Doe found dead years ago that was largely ignored. But as the teens savour their newfound power, the stakes go higher and higher until it all snaps. Readers know from the beginning to the novel that someone is dead, but the suspense is pulse-pounding as you see the pieces come together and wait for the moment when it all falls down.
Kait recommends BERSERKER by Emmy Laybourne
Ancient Norse powers and the Old West aren’t exactly an obvious match-up, but Emmy Laybourne kills it with this surprise combo! The novel follows a family of Nytteson– those gifted powers by the Norse gods through many generations– narrated by Hanne, a troubled young “Berserker” who flies into a lethal state whenever someone she loves is seriously threatened. After Hanne unleashes her deadly powers on a gang of men attacking her father, their quiet, secret life is uncovered and the siblings must flee to the New World to escape the clutches of a powerful men who mean to collect them. Once they arrive in America, they meet Owen, a simple cowboy looking for honest work as a guide. He has no idea what he’s about to get into: A race to safety in the lawless, untamed wild west as the Hampstead family is hunted and magical abilities are tested.
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Nat, the Geek Girl recommends WILD BIRD by Wendelin van Draanen
This story is geared more towards the younger YA group, but really it’s a good story for anyone. It’s about a girl who, during a rebellious stage, does something beyond what her parents and family can deal with, so they send her off to a sort of boot camp for troubled teens. Sounds corny, but the author really draws you into the story and makes the character, Wren, very relatable in a lot of ways. She’s not so different as your typical teen, but she’s unique as well. She finds her way, not to who she was before, but to someone who’s learned how to be better than she was.
Ruqayyah Recommends HOW TO BREAK A BOY by Laurie Devore
Newcomer Laurie Devore, crafts a story of friendship, betrayal, grief, and the viciousness of southern high school girls in her debut HOW TO BREAK A BOY. Olivia Clayton is one of her smalltown high school’s most feared and envied students. However, behind the facade of her picturesque life she carries a world of secrets. After her best friend and boyfriend Adrienne betray her, Olivia enlists school golden boy, Whit DuRant as her tutor and pretend boyfriend. With Whit by her side Olivia embarks on a journey of revenge against her former bff. Soon Olivia is in over head and the gut wrenching secret she’s kept buried for so long threatens to be exposed. HOW TO BREAK A BOY combines our favorite tropes of high school mean girls and fake (but swoon-worthy) romance with the heartbreakingly real issues teenagers face. And of course, we can’t forget Devore’s authentic southern charm.
I enjoyed this book because while I expected it to be fluffy and tropey “fake boyfriend” book, it was so much more. Laurie Devore is an upcoming talent who is reminiscent of Courtney Summers and Kody Keplinger. She writes mean, unlikable girls who are a rarity in YA (and as many authors have discussed even discouraged as main characters!). Despite the viciousness of Olivia Clayton I found myself rooting for her and even sympathizing with her. There were moments where Laurie Devore had me believing I might behave the same way, had I had similar circumstances. On top of that, the romance is fun and provides some light moments for an otherwise meaty read. The book deals with: female friendships, betrayal, hazing, cliques, bullying, suicide, grief, and coming out (particularly in a small not at all diverse town). Laurie’s next book WINNER TAKE ALL, sounds like it will be just as fun.