10 PRINT “Heart of Code: The Impossible Fortress”

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak Published: February 7th, 2017 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Genre(s): Young Adult, Fiction, Coming-of-age Format: Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins The Impossible Fortress hits the exact right notes of eighties nostalgia without turning into a catalog of bygone pop culture. It definitely opened a flood of memories …

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The Girl Who Wasn’t: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

LIFEL1K3 is the rare book that I mostly enjoyed until the end soured me on the whole thing. It’s a mash-up of a lot of genres and tropes, which gives it a certain amount of madcap charm, but it squanders that good will with some draggy pacing, an overload of teenage angst, and a final twist that feels like a gotcha moment designed only for shock value. It’s also overstuffed with plot and world-building, so it’s almost impossible to summarize succinctly.

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Girl vs. Ash: Darla’s Story by Mike Mullin

Darla’s Story is novella that provides a bit of backstory for a character in Mike Mullin’s Ashfall trilogy. I haven’t read the trilogy, but the novella is meant to stand alone as a complete work, so I read it with that in mind.

I instantly liked the fact that this story features an Iowan farm girl as its main character. I also liked that it doesn’t take place in a far-flung dystopian future. Instead, it takes place immediately after an apocalyptic volcano eruption covers the entire US in falling ash. Midwesterners and the mid-apocalypse aren’t common tropes in YA (at least not the books I’ve read), so I was intrigued by the novelty.

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Wrong-Headed: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

I wanted to like Noggin more than I did. It has a clever premise, it’s definitely funny, and it delivers on more than one genuinely touching moment. Unfortunately, despite everything the book does right, I just wanted to wring the main character’s neck after a certain point. During one scene late in the book I actuallty grimaced in horror at his stupidity.

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The Awesome: Sex, Blood & Monster Hunters

The Awesome has a fantastic cover. Even though the main character is a monster-hunting teenage girl, she isn’t pictured striking a pose in skintight jeans. Instead, we’re treated to a stylized green vampire skull and the title in hot pink graffiti. This cover is by far one of the book’s best assets, and it also does a great job of setting the tone for the book itself: fast, loud and a little punk

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Fan for Life

Published: September 10th, 2013 Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Genre(s): Young Adult, Coming of Age Format: eBook Length: 445 pages Fangirl tells the story of twin sisters Cath and Wren from the start of their freshman year in college. Even though they are going to attend the same school, Wren unexpectedly decides not to room with …

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Stealing Hearts and Paintings: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Published: February 9th, 2010 Publisher: Brilliance Audio Genre(s): Young Adult, Crime, Thriller Format: Audiobook Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins First, a confession: I was mostly inspired to pick up this book thanks to an incredible cover re-design done for Maureen Johnson’s #coverflip challenge a few months ago. I’d seen Ally Carter’s books on the …

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Memories of a Ghost: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Published: February 26th, 2013 Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Inc. Genre(s): Young Adult, Mystery, Fantasy Format: Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins The Name of The Star, the first book in Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series, ends with the main character, Rory Devereaux, discovering new powers that may change everything about her relationship to the …

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Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Published: October 11th, 2011 Publisher: Ember Genre(s): Young Adult, Romance Format: Paperback Length: 272 Pages One day, while browsing in the Strand bookstore in New York City, Dash finds a red Moleskine notebook hidden next to a copy of Franny and Zooey. He opens it and discovers that the owner, a girl named Lily, has …

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Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Published: October 12, 2010 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy Format: eBook Length: 352 pages In Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Sam LaCroix is a college drop-out with a dead-end job at a burger joint. He just coasts along, hanging out with his friends/coworkers Ramon, Brooke and Frank, never quite satisfied with his …

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Published: September 27th 2011 Publisher: Walker Books Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror Format: Hardcover Length: 215 pages A Monster Calls is a young adult book with a deceptively simple plot – a thirteen year-old boy wakes up in the middle of the night and discovers a monster in his back yard – that reveals an …

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Young Adult: Just Another “Dumbed-Down” Genre

Recently while thoroughly frittering away an evening online, I decided to respond to a commenter who was doing a bit of trolling with some admittedly low-hanging fruit. The thread was over at io9, which actually has what I consider the rare comments section worth reading, and it was on their post about essential SF&F reads …

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