This October really is the greatest month of the year so far – at least in terms of Young Adult Fiction. We have such a glorious bounty of amazing new releases hitting shelves this month, it’s a miracle my head hasn’t yet exploded from sheer joy. A miracle, I tell you!
Gemina, the highly-anticipated second book in the Illuminae Files series, is a marvellous book! Pure, unadulterated fun with an action-packed plot full of crazy twists and turns, Gemina is being described as Die Hard meets Aliens… how cool is that? (The answer is very cool.)
Return to the Old Kingdom with Goldenhand by the always wonderful Garth Nix! I have been wanting this book for such a long time and words cannot describe how much I enjoyed reading it! (Although I did try to find some words, check out my review below.)
We also have The Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – the sequel to Six of Crows which is definitely right up there on my list of Best Reads Ever. The Crooked Kingdom will complete the duology begun in Six of Crows. It’s going to be epic and I cannot wait to dive in!
Check out our top 7 Young Adult books of the month. Happy Reading!
Reviews by Sarah McDuling
Illuminae was definitely one of my favourite books of 2015. So much so that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Gemina. And now that I have read it, I cannot wait to read it all over again! Gemina not only manages to match the mad genius explosion of space opera awesomeness that was Illuminae – it takes things to a whole new level.
It’s so very rare to find a book that is both laugh-out-loud funny, genuinely terrifying, sweetly romantic, utterly devastating and also triumphantly uplifting – but such is the magic of the Illuminae Files series. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have somehow managed to capture exactly the right blend of action, horror, humour, romance and adventure. Basically, it’s a perfect storm of everything amazing.
(And if it sounds like I’m gushing like a rabid fangirl that’s only because I AM.)
Gemina has been described as “Die Hard meets Aliens” which is a very apt description. This book has everything from psychic alien worms through to space mafia mobsters. With a story that creatively unfolds through a combination of emails, IMs, transcripts and dossiers (plus illustrations by Marie Lu!), reading this book is truly an immersive experience. Much like its predecessor, Gemina is a wildly addictive and super fun reading experience that will leave you cheering and craving more!
Like all fans of Garth Nix’s much beloved Old Kingdom series (AKA readers of good sense and excellent taste), I have been looking forward to Goldenhand for ages. I have loved this series for so long, Sabriel, Touchstone, Lirael, Nick and Sam feel like old friends!
Goldehand continues the story of Lirael as she settles into her role as Abhorsen-in-Waiting. It also continues the story of Nicholas Sayre who is determined to return to the Old Kingdom and learn how to control the strange combination magics flowing through his veins.
As well as revisiting familiar characters, Goldenhand introduces readers to some wonderful new characters such as Ferin, a very strong and determined young woman with a mission to fulfil. (Possibly my new favourite Old Kingdom character!)
It is always such a pleasure to return to the Old Kingdom, and with Goldenhand I found myself wishing the book would never end. Full of action, adventure, magic and a heart-melting touch of romance – Goldenhand is a truly wonderful addition to the series.
Goodwood is a difficult novel to categorise – which is a very good thing. I love it when books straddle different genres and defy categorisation. It means the book is for everyone and will delight all different kinds of readers!
While not strictly a Young Adult novel, it is narrated by a seventeen-year old-girl and explores themes like first love and sexual awakening which are often associated with YA.
While not strictly a crime novel, the central plot deals with the disappearance of two people in a small town and touches on some dark topics involving domestic and sexual abuse.
Both a touching coming of age story and a mystery fraught with tension and suspense, Goodwood is also a remarkably detailed snapshot of time and place.
Set in 1992 in a small town where everybody knows each other and very few secrets are kept, Goodwood explores how tragedy can affect a community, causing suspicions to flare and gossip to run rife. In the blink of an eye, a safe, quiet town where nothing ever happens in transformed into a tense powderkeg where no-one feels safe…
This is a story full of bright, endearing characters and disturbing secrets. It’s a story that will haunt you long after you have finished reading it, and one that you will probably want to revisit time and again.
Reviews by Emily Meredith
In Swarm, the Zeroes crew is back. They discover that there are more teenagers like them – with wacky, sort-of useful but not really powers. And then there’s Swarm – he is powerful and dangerous, determined to destroy other Zeroes.
The Christmas holiday has pretty much been destroyed at this point…
Scam is still my favourite character, though Nate impresses me a lot in this book. The story was a little bit slow to start, but it gets more and more exciting, culminating in an epic finale which has me desperately craving book 3!
Libby is starting her first year of high school. She hasn’t been to school in a long time – not since her Mum died. Since then, she’s also been named America’s Fattest Teenager after they had to dismantle her house to get her out. She’s lost a lot of weight, and she’s ready for the onslaught of ridicule. She can do this.
Jack has propognasia – he doesn’t recognise faces. Every time someone turns away from him, he forgets what they look like. It’s an interesting situation for the most popular boy in school to be in. When his group of boys begin playing a game called ‘Fat Girl Rodeo’, Jack is torn. He doesn’t want to be the hunted, nor does he want to hurt anyone. But high school is tough. And so he slips Libby a letter, explaining his dilemma.
A friendship arises between the two, which slowly becomes something more. A cute story about two teenagers helping one another to overcome their obstacles.
This book was an interesting mish-mash of Snow White and the Ice Queen. The main character, Snow, has spent most of her life inside a mental hospital and has quirkily named all of her different medications after the seven dwarves.
Snow sees a different world inside reflective surfaces – one covered in snow and ice. And then a boy arrives, and he leads her to the world of her imagination. There is so much deception, so many plot twists – who is on Snow’s side?
This book kept me guessing until the very end! And with three love interests, there’s a book boyfriend for everyone (I liked the roguish, thief type. Yum!).
Review by Tracey Mills
Imagine if everywhere you looked you saw demons, frightening demons attached to everyday objects? Imagine it’s 1096 AD and if anyone found out about you seeing demons you would risk another exorcism by the cruel priest Ramberti. This is the situation faced by Luca, heir of the Conte de Falconi. Not only can Luca see demons he also has dreams of the future, a future where he sees his father’s death at the hands of a mysterious man.
As his father, Onorato, plans to leave Tuscany on a religious crusade, he entrusts Luca with a mysterious book that has been passed from father to son for generations. There is a great mystery surrounding the book, and there is a prophecy that one of the de Falconi will be able to read the unknown language the book is written in.
When Onorato asks that Luca remain behind to protect the book and the de Falconi family, Luca knows his first duty is to save his father’s life and so pledges himself to the crusade, against his father’s wishes. The pilgrimage brings Luca into contact with Suzan, a young girl who sees visions of Luca riding across the desert – a girl who can read the mysterious book!
The Book of Whispers is a fascinating blend of history, romance and fantasy set against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent, brutal and religious periods in our history. Luca and Suzan are compelling characters who draw you into their epic adventure across the holy lands as they try to save the world from the human and demonic forces seeking to destroy the world. An engrossing read for ages 14+.
About the Contributor
Sarah McDuling is Booktopia's Senior Content Producer and Editor of The Booktopian Blog. She has been in the bookselling game for almost a decade and a dedicated booklover since birth (potentially longer). At her happiest when reading a book, Sarah also enjoys talking/writing/tweeting about books. In her spare time, she often likes to buy a lot of books and take photographs of books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instragram @sarahmcduling
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