Last week Team Booko checked out popular children’s series; this week it’s all about the latest in YA (young adult fiction). Our picks span many hot trends, including cli-fi (literature themed around climate change); diversity (gender / sexuality / ability / ethnicity); verse novels; and social issues such as mental health and sexual consent. YA continues to be a vibrant publishing space for narrative-driven fiction that does not shy away from challenging existing norms nor examining current issues – worthwhile reading for both teen and adult readers.
The Trial by Laura Bates
A group of seven teens are washed up on a deserted island after a plane crash. What first appears to be an adventure with Lord of the Flies vibes, turns into a psychological thriller when the teens’ survival efforts are sabotaged by someone looking for justice. What happened at the party on the night before the crash, and why is nobody willing to talk about it? The Trial is a tense thriller with a thought-provoking message. Laura Bates, an award-winning author and gender equality activist, uses this novel to pose timely questions around consent, coercive control, victim-blaming and male entitlement.
Tough As Lace by Lexi Bruce
Lacey Stewart seems to have it all – she’s a talented and popular high school athlete – but deep down she feels like a mess. Her parents are dismissive of her achievements and she’s constantly feeling overwhelmed about how to juggle schoolwork, part-time work, sport, and preparations for university entrance. Lacey eventually realises that she has clinical anxiety, and needs to work out where and how to seek much-needed help. Tough as Lace is a compelling reflection on adolescent mental health. The verse novel format (story told in poem form) adds succinct, punchy power to Lacey’s voice.
Green Rising by Lauren James
In a near future approaching climate catastrophe, three teenagers from different backgrounds are thrown together when they develop the ability to grow plants from their skin – a superpower suddenly appearing in young people around the world. To use this power for good – and to prevent it from exploitation by corrupt and greedy corporations and politicians, Gabrielle, Hester, and Theo must learn to work together. Can they pull off a “green rising” and save the world while navigating first love and family expectations? Green Rising is a fast-paced and suspenseful story with wit, romance, well-rounded, diverse characters; it is a terrific new addition to to the burgeoning cli-fi scene, and relates to many issues that young adults are passionate about.
Serendipity: Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed edited by Marissa Meyer
Watch ten of the hottest, award-winning YA authors have fun with, and put their unique spin on your favourite romantic tropes. Serendipity is a collection of 10 short stories, each written by a different author and featuring a different trope, including The Secret admirer, The Fake Relationship, and The Best Friend Love Epiphany. These totally swoon-worthy stories are joyous, surprising, diverse and inclusive. Contributors include Marissa Meyer (author of The Lunar Chronicles), Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi), Julie Murphy (Dumplin‘) and Abigail Hing Wen (Loveboat, Taipei).
Our Broken Earth by Demitria Lunetta
Our Broken Earth is a tense adventure story set in a world made dangerous due to climate change. Mal lost his family in a storm and now lives with a group of young people who banded together in order to survive. Faced with the threat of rising water and illness, Mal and his friends must travel across the country to reach safety. Our Broken Earth is a verse novel written in a High-interest, Low-vocab (HiLo) format to make it accessible to more readers. Interest level aimed at Grade 9+ (age 14+), with reading difficulty at approximately Grade 2-3 level.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
Loki: Trickster. God of Asgard. Brother. Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to show he is heroic and capable, while everyone around him seems to suspect him of inevitable villainy. Wanting to prove himself to his father, Loki accepts a mission from Odin to go to Victorian England to investigate rumours of Asgardian magic on Earth – and becomes entangled in a rash of mysterious deaths. Where Mischief Lies is a fresh, exuberant origin story for Loki, and the first of three YA stories focussing on the antiheroes of the Marvel Universe. Mackenzi Lee – author of the riotous Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a great fit for the witty, action-packed story of this teenage, bisexual God of Mischief.