August was a tough month for chooses releases, I have over twenty new releases on my list for this month, so choosing my top five wasn’t easy. I really tried to stick with the books I’m most interested in reading and possibly adding to the library.
EDIT: I ended up pulling one of the books from my list because it turns out the representation was racist. The publisher even pulled the publication, so…
The Smaller Evil
by Stephanie Kuehn
Published August 2nd 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
256 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Sometimes the greater good requires the smaller evil.
17-year-old Arman Dukoff is struggling with severe anxiety and a history of self-loathing when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to "evolve," as Beau, the retreat leader, says.
Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman's not sure, but more than anyone he's ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless.
The retreat compound is secluded in coastal California mountains among towering redwoods, and when the iron gates close behind him, Arman believes for a moment that he can get better. But the program is a blur of jargon, bizarre rituals, and incomprehensible encounters with a beautiful girl. Arman is certain he's failing everything. But Beau disagrees; he thinks Arman has a bright future—though he never says at what.
And then, in an instant Arman can't believe or totally recall, Beau is gone. Suicide? Or murder? Arman was the only witness and now the compound is getting tense. And maybe dangerous.
As the mysteries and paradoxes multiply and the hints become accusations, Arman must rely on the person he's always trusted the least: himself.
I was lucky enough to grab a copy of this at the ALA conference, so I should be picking it up before too long. The possibility of a cult really piqued my interest. Now, if I would only stop checking things out from the library so I can read the books I own.
The Monster on the Road Is Me
by J.P. Romney
Published August 30th 2016 by Farrar Straus Giroux
336 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
It starts with the crows. When you see them, you know he s found you.
Koda Okita is a high school student in modern-day Japan who isn't very popular. He suffers from narcolepsy and has to wear a watermelon-sized helmet to protect his head in case he falls. But Koda couldn't care less about his low social standing. He is content with taking long bike rides and hanging out in the convenience store parking lot with his school-dropout friend, Haru.
But when a rash of puzzling deaths sweeps his school, Koda discovers that his narcoleptic naps allow him to steal the thoughts of nearby supernatural beings. He learns that his small town is under threat from a ruthless mountain demon that is hell-bent on vengeance. With the help of a mysterious - and not to mention very cute classmate - Koda must find a way to take down this demon. But his unstable and overwhelming new abilities seem to have a mind of their own
This sounds like it could have more of a magical realism feel than a full on fantasy world feel. That’s part of why I want to read. It’s also set in Japan! That’s awesome and almost ever happens in YA unless it’s a historical novel.
Girl in Pieces
by Kathleen Glasgow
Published August 30th 2016 by Delacorte Press
416 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes Kathleen Glasgow’s debut novel about a girl who has lost everything—almost even herself.
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.
So, this one sounds heartbreaking and really dark. It’s going to take the right time and mood to actually pick it up. I got a copy of this at ALA also, and I’ve been meaning to read it all month. I just couldn’t seem to get myself into the right mood for it. Hopefully, I can get to it this month.
A Torch Against the Night
by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2
Published August 30th 2016 by Razorbill
464 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.
In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.
I might be breaking my series reading rule for this. Normally, I would wait until all the books are out, but I just don’t want to wait. Also, this is going to be a big book for my readers at school and I’d like to be able to talk with them about it. My only dilemma is that I picked up an ARC at ALA, but I listened to the first book on audio so I sort of want to wait until it comes out and listen to the audio instead of read the print. Since school starts back before the book comes out, I might give it to one of my students instead. I know they would be really excited to get something before it’s released. We’ll see!