Book Reviews

Check out these reviews for some of our newest YA Books:

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Majesty
American Royals series, Vol. 2
by Katharine McGee

-You can find this book here.

America’s new queen has a royal wedding to plan in the follow-up to 2019’s American Royals.

Imagine that George Washington was crowned America’s first king instead of president, and you’ve got the intriguing premise of McGee’s addictive series. In the wake of the sudden death of King George IV, his oldest daughter and heir to the throne, Beatrice, must put her grief aside and throw herself into her new responsibilities as queen. But first, she must get married. Even in a contemporary America, the very idea of a single woman taking the throne is controversial. She’s engaged to the perfectly nice son of the Duke of Boston, Theodore “Teddy” Eaton, but her heart lies with a commoner, and Beatrice is torn between love and duty. Meanwhile, her younger, hard-partying sister, Samantha, is consumed by her own romantic foibles, as is her best (and nonroyal) friend, Nina, who briefly dated Samantha’s twin brother, Jefferson. Then there’s relentless social climber Daphne, Jeff’s ex, who plans to win him back at any cost—along with the status that comes with him. McGee skillfully juggles each woman’s narrative, framing their struggles with plenty of pomp and circumstance and the challenges of living very public lives. Add in a dramatic finale that packs in all the feels, and you’ve got a royal winner. Most characters are white, but Nina is Latinx, and there is diversity in the supporting cast.

An immensely fun sequel. (Fiction. 14-19)

Review found here.


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Blood & Honey
Serpent & Dove series, Vol. 2
by Shelby Mahurin

-You can find this book here.

After Serpent & Dove (2019), Lou and Reid must gather allies to take on villainous Morgane.

In a stumbling first act, witch Lou and her forced-husband–turned-love, Reid, struggle to retain likability, making foolish decisions while hiding out from enemies as the heroes regroup and prepare for their next encounter. In a painful bit of characterization, Lou’s sassy empowerment comes at the cost, early on, of the sexual boundaries of the characters around her (unfortunately played as steamy). Further troubling characterization comes in a classist scene in which the heroes mock a dirty, poor person for having missing teeth. To stop Morgane’s murderous endgame spell, they must forge an alliance between enemies: blood witches (Coco’s people), the witch hunters, and werewolves. A colorful surprise alliance comes when they join traveling performers with secrets. Lou and Reid’s romance hits character-driven speed bumps—Lou’s pull toward magic’s darker side isn’t terribly original but is solidly done, and it strengthens Reid’s self-hating and self-acceptance storyline, fueling his anti-magic bias. There’s plenty of action, and secondary characters have their own romantic storylines. The climax gives only a moment to breathe before sinister implications for the next book set in. Though the leads default to white, racial diversity is present in the world and in secondary characters (like brown-skinned Coco and Beau, who is coded as white and Polynesian); additionally, there’s casual inclusion of same-sex relationships and respectful bisexuality representation.

The strong magic system and plentiful conflicts don’t make up for problematic missteps. (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Review found here.

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Midnight Sun
Twilight series, Vol. 5
by Stephenie Meyer

-You can find this book here.

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Review found here.



October Take & Make