If you enjoyed The Hunger Games and haven't read the first two books of the Divergent trilogy (Divergent and Insurgent), run, don't walk, to a bookstore. This series has garnered rave reviews from readers and critics alike. If you read and enjoyed Divergent, then you shouldn't hesitate to pick up its sequel. The novels are set in Chicago in the distant future, and humanity is divided into five factions, each representing a human virtue. Beatrice Prior, our strong, feisty heroine, has a birthday coming up, and she must decide once and for all where she belongs, because once she chooses, there's no going back.
If you're looking to immerse yourself in something more contemporary, in a novel that will bring back all the joy and angst of high school, Susane Colasanti is a great choice. Her latest novel, Keep Holding On, focuses on the very difficult, yet timely, issue of bullying. Noelle is a victim, both of bullying and an uncaring, neglectful mother. In order to get through each day, she keeps her pain to herself, refusing to share it even with her best friend. But when the bullying takes a turn for the worse, will Noelle continue to take it, or will she finally stand up for herself?
If you're looking for a fantasy novel and don't want to catch up on a book or two, then Shadow and Bone is a great choice. It's the first in the Grisha trilogy, and it's set in a vast, magical land called Revka that has been cleaved in two. Through the middle of the land now runs The Shadow Fold — an area swarming with monsters that is nearly uncrossable. When Alina Starkov's best friend is attacked by one such monster, she does everything in her power to save him, and by doing so, unleashes a magic she didn't know she possessed. This attracts the attention of the royal court, who take Alina away from everything she knows and put her to work as a trainee for the Grisha, the magical force under the command of the royals.
Historical fiction is really an ideal genre for the YA market because it carries such crossover appeal. While teens will enjoy reading about someone their age (or perhaps younger) being crowned a queen or having to make very difficult decisions, adults will recognize that things happened at a younger age in the past. Philippa Gregory, the queen of historical fiction, is capitalizing on this with her newest book, and first for the YA crowd, Changeling. When 17-year-old Luca Vero is cast out of his religious order and accused of heresy, he thinks it's the end for him. But before he knows it, he's recruited into a secret society intent on looking into the supernatural across Europe.
More and more adult authors are turning to YA as a brand new market in which to flex their writing muscle. Jodi Picoult, one of the most prolific and best-known writers of provocative women's fiction, is no exception. Between the Lines is her first foray into novels for the teen market, and if you doubt that Picoult can write a solid novel for a younger audience, she recruited her teenage daughter, Samantha van Leer, to cowrite it. It's the story of a girl named Delilah who becomes consumed by a book — only to find out the main character in it, with whom she's fallen in love, is very real and is clamoring to escape from his literary prison.
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