Recent YA Reads – June 2009

June 13, 2009

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of YA. Here are a few of the books I’ve finished in the past month or so:

oncedeadOnce Dead, Twice Shy, by Kim Harrison

A girl who died after her junior prom is able to stay in the world of the living thanks to a mystical amulet stolen from the supernatural being who killed her. Thankfully a light reaper and guardian angel are trying to help keep her safe from its previous owner- or at least as safe as a dead girl can be.

Madison, the heroine of the story, is one of the best YA characters that I’ve come across lately. She’s fun to read about. But I’m not sure if I’m that interested in the premise yet. This is another one of those “first in a series” books that was actually introduced in an anthology (2007’s Prom Nights From Hell), so the amount of backstory and world-building info that had to be recapped didn’t exactly help the flow of the book. And since I don’t think I’ve said it yet this month, I still hate that trend of separately-published short stories that contain series-critical information.

I’d recommend this book to any YA readers, but do yourself a favor and track down the short story first.

awakeningThe Awakening, by Kelley Armstrong

This is the second of Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series, it uses the Otherworld setting but no major players from the adult series have made an appearance so far. At the start of the story, Chloe is locked in the headquarters of the Edison Group, an organization that approaches the supernatural from a scientific perspective. Her only shot at escape is to pretend to lead her captors to the hiding place of her friends who are still on the run.

I liked the characters and the concept, and this one was more action-heavy than the first. It felt like too many of the character interactions involved arguing with each other, though. Having characters in a novel compare their activities to fictional stories is a pet peeve of mine, and Chloe, with her interest in movies, does this a lot. Still, I’ll happily read the next in the series because I really enjoy Armstrong’s world.

It’s an enjoyable series so far, but if it sounds interesting then make sure you start with the first one (The Summoning).

huntedHunted, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

This is the fifth House of Night book (the series starts with Marked), but it’s the last one I’ll be reading.

After the exciting events and character growth of book four, it feels like the series basically just reset to square one. Some storylines that felt nicely wrapped up started all over, Zoey falls back into the same old mistakes, and god forbid she not have three love interests at any one time. Despite her advanced boyfriend-juggling skills, Zoey sounds more and more like a much younger character, and the series has gone back to “Zoey can fix all problems with relative ease because she’s super fledgling” land.

Not recommended.


4 Responses to “Recent YA Reads – June 2009”

  1. Eden Tyler Says:

    *good to know that Once Dead, Twice Shy is recommended. i’ve been wanting to read it.

    *same with The Awakening. i read The Summoning, and while it was a little young for my tastes, it was still good, and i’d like to find out what happens.

    *Hunted. eh. i only read it because i’ve read the others. and i’ll continue to read the series as the books are released, but yeah, eh… that’s all i have to say..


  2. janicu Says:

    I wish they’d make it more obvious that Once Dead, Twice Shy starts from the Prom Dates from Hell anthology. And I read that anthology! I’d been thinking: this premise sounds soo familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until someone had reviewed the book and pointed it out.

  3. deety Says:

    I read it too, but I didn’t remember it – probably because I’d only read that anthology once when it was released a couple of years ago. I didn’t make the connection until I got that dreaded “hey, the beginning of this story seems really exposition-heavy for the first book in a series” feeling. I liked the book, but I think I’d have connected with it more if I’d known to re-read the short story first. And of course even then, the recaps probably would have come across as awkward.

    • Janicu Says:

      I wasn’t sure I liked the short story, but I find it’s sometimes a too-small space for some authors whose full-length novels I do like. I will keep an eye on this one since I like Kim Harrison.

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