Cozy Up With These Five YA Books

Now that it's fall, I am all about cozying up with books that have some meat to them in various forms. I am excited to read books that take me far beyond the confines of my living room.

Now that it’s fall, I am all about cozying up with books that have some meat to them in various forms. I am excited to read books that take me far beyond the confines of my living room. The books below run the gamut from the stories of young women dealing with grief in various forms, the sequel to an EXCELLENT fantasy book, and the story of a young woman deal with sexism to a retelling of The Snow Queen. All five books chosen for today’s post have a young woman as main character which absolutely is normally what I want to read for a main character.

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cozy Up With These Five YA BooksHow the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman
Also by this author: Kissing Max Holden
Also in this series: Fathomless
Published by Feiwel & Friends on August 6, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781250305688
Goodreads
four-stars

Katy Upperman's How the Light Gets In is a haunting YA novel about a teen coping with the loss of her sibling.

Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents once were.

When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.

But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?

I feel like I find myself somewhat on the fence with regards to some of Katy Upperman’s books. I loved her debut but wasn’t all that into The Impossibility Of Us. And now, I just finished up How The Light Gets In and absolutely enjoyed it. So, 2/3 is a pretty good track record. I find myself now looking forward to whatever is next for Upperman. How The Light Gets In has excellent characterization and at heart, an unflinching look at sisterhood – good, bad, and ugly – through the lens of grief.

Callie is struggling. She’s turned to getting high and all but quit swim team. Her grades suck. And she’s distanced herself from her friends. Naturally, she is in the grieving process. After all, everyone reacts differently to the loss of a loved one. In Callie’s case, the tragic loss of her younger sister Chloe has shaken her world. And so, Callie’s father sends her to her aunt Lucy’s to assist with the renovation of her Victorian house by the sea. Her aunt Lucy hires a 19 year old named Tucker to handle the landscaping. Tucker is full of light and upbeat and exactly what Callie needs. Throughout the summer, the two develop a trust between them – especially as Callie unravels Tucker’s family history. Meanwhile, Callie is also seeing the ghost of her sister Chloe and looking for closure.

This book was just really easy to gel with. Callie doesn’t come off as TOO MUCH. In fact, she’s someone that you come to care for deeply as a reader. Plus, the relationship between her and Tucker is sweet and seems pretty realistic. Also, Tucker’s friends are wonderful to read about. The only real thing that I’d have to say I didn’t love about How The Light Gets In is just the lack of friends for Callie – like in the time before Chloe dies or even the time after. How The Light Gets In is a very quick read about grief, family, and picking yourself back up after a fall.

How The Light Gets In is a very quick read about grief, family, and picking yourself back up after a fall.

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cozy Up With These Five YA BooksVow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Also by this author: The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, Dance of Thieves
Published by Henry Holt and Company (BYR) on August 6, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781250162663
Goodreads
four-stars

Vow of Thieves is the thrilling sequel to Dance of Thieves, set in the same world as Mary E. Pearson's New York Times-bestselling Remnant Chronicles.

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them—the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor's Watch will be a kingdom, and Kazi and Jase will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and they soon find themselves captured in a tangled web of deceit woven by their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies, a place where betrayals run deeper and more deadly than either had thought possible, and where timeless ambitions threaten to destroy them both.

You might remember that time I was like YOU NEED TO READ DANCE OF THIEVES and had all of the excitement over Mary E. Pearson’s companion book to The Remnant Chronicles series. After reading Dance Of Thieves, I felt like the story seemed wrapped up but was well aware that Vow Of Thieves was coming and would actually wrap the series.

7 Reason To Read Vow Of Thieves:

  1. As my favorite president, Jed Bartlett says “What’s Next?” Friends, this book delivers entirely on what’s next. We get to see even more of the ultimate fates of characters from the Remnant Chronicles. We also finally see how all plays out for Kazi and Jase and get a solid conclusion.
  2. In which Kazi lives up to her nickname Ten. Okay, so we know that Kazi has the nickname Ten because she essentially stole a tiger from under someone’s nose in basically broad daylight. What she steals in Vow of Thieves is much, much more precious.
  3. The stakes are so high. I was actually worried for Kazi and Jase. They go through some horrific things and through some serious pain. At one point I genuinely thought at least one would die. This book is actually a nail biter if you are actually a person who bites your nails.
  4. No matter the pace at which you read this, you’re consuming excellence. I had expected to get through this book in like 2 days, but it actually took me 11. Life happens, but no matter. I always found myself looking forward to more time in Pearson’s world.
  5. The struggle is worth it. I’ll keep saying this but the ending is so perfect. All the persistence on behalf of the characters really plays out for the best. I liked that we actually got some payoff instead of being subjected to difficult situations for naught.
  6. Oh, and the beginning few chapters are right out of left field. I had no idea to expect THAT. You’re dropped right in to a situation and are like really, THAT GUY? That freakin’ guy. Okay then, I guess it’s going to be that way.
  7. You just can’t go wrong with Mary E. Pearson. I am a pretty big fantasy consumer. And so, the market is big and it can be hard to pick a book. Straight up though, all the books by Mary E. Pearson deliver. Always. I have yet to read one of her fantasy books and be let down. If you run in taste that is similar to me, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this book as well as all the Remnant Chronicles and Dance Of Thieves.

7 Reason To Read Vow Of Thieves: As my favorite president, Jed Bartlett says "What's Next?" Friends, this book delivers entirely on what's next. We get to see even more of the ultimate fates of characters from the Remnant Chronicles. We also finally see how all plays out for Kazi and Jase and get a solid conclusion.

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cozy Up With These Five YA BooksThe Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Published by Abrams on April 19, 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781613128992
Goodreads
three-stars

Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel (6 starred reviews!!!) from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year, Costa Children's Book Award, and Horn Book-Boston Globe Award.

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered. In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder—or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself. Frances Hardinge is the author of many acclaimed novels, including Cuckoo Song, which earned five starred reviews.

I had really been looking forward to The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. After all, I was obsessed with Fly Trap. So, I had walked into this book with EXPECTATIONS. As it turns out though, I probably just did not read this book at the right time for me.

The Lie Tree follows Faith Sunderly whose father is the subject of controversy. You see, he allegedly faked a fossil specimen  – a nephilim. And so, the Sunderly family has fallen from grace in Kent and so they run away to the island of Vane where the Reverend Sunderly has been invited to provide his expertise during an excavation. Unfortunately, he is murdered. Only, everyone thinks he died by suicide except for Faith.

So, Faith uses this tree that her father was hiding — the Lie Tree — and she feeds it these lies that grow to the point that the murderer takes notice of Faith. When you feed the tree lies, it drops a fruit that will reveal a truth to you. For Faith, she just wants the truth about her father’s death.

I had really been looking forward to The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. After all, I was obsessed with Fly Trap. So, I had walked into this book with EXPECTATIONS.

Ultimately, this book is about the roles of women in society and the Victorian era. You could almost say it’s about women in STEM and draw parallels to how women are treated in STEM today (not as well as men). But yeah, it just didn’t hit me quite as hard as The Grace Year when it comes to books about the subjugation of women.

I think if I had read The Lie Tree back when it first came out and not concurrently with an audio on a similar theme, I would have enjoyed it more. For the most part though, the pacing just felt slow and I had such a hard time caring or connecting.

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cozy Up With These Five YA BooksCold Spell by Jackson Pearce
Also by this author: Fathomless
Series: Fairytale Retellings #4
Also in this series: Fathomless
on November 5, 2013
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Adaptations, Girls & Women, Historical, Romance, Steampunk
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780316243582
Goodreads
two-stars

Kai and Ginny grew up together--best friends since they could toddle around their building's rooftop rose garden. Now they're seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together.But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora--a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough.If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved--and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him? Jackson Pearce, author of the acclaimed Sisters Red and Fathomless, has returned with a unique vision of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," one about power and redemption, failure and hope, and the true meaning of strength.

Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce is I believe the final book of her Fairytale Retellings, however, I could be wrong. Anyways, I found myself looking forward to Cold Spell. The biggest reasons being I expected a quick read and it has been getting cold here. So my expectation was that I could sink into something that would give me cold season feelings and get really into a new fairy tale retelling. Turns out, I was wrong.

Basically this book is a retelling of The Snow Queen, but it is not nearly as breathtaking as say, Breadcrumbs. Instead we get what is a promising opening, set in the 1950s with a young lady and her boyfriend who is stolen by the Snow Queen. Then we launch up to the future and that woman, Dalia is old and a grandmother. Dalia has a grandson, Kai, who is amazing with music. Living in the same apartment building in Atlanta is Ginny. Dalia for some reason I don’t understand doesn’t seem to like Ginny and is trying to keep her away from Kai. Anyways, a storm rolls in, so does the Snow Queen and Kai runs away with the  Snow Queen.

Ginny’s love for Kai is strong though. So, she goes after Kai. Along the way she meets a tracker named Lucas and an heiress named Ella, and she also meets a large group of “Travelers.” And lessons are learned. Adventures are had as we go from Atlanta all the way to Michigan.

On the whole, I was kind of bored while reading. This book took me so long to get through. Normally a book this short with font as big as the library copy I read takes me like two days if not less to read. This one took about a week. I just had such a hard time getting into Cold Spell. Plus there’s certain things in it that I do not think would fly in 2019 (the travelers bear a strong resemblance to the Romani, there’s some mean jokes about fatness etc). Maybe if I could go back in time and read this at a different stage of life I might have liked it more. But yeah, I think that you all might just struggle with this one unless you are a Snow Queen super fan.

I found myself looking forward to Cold Spell. The biggest reasons being I expected a quick read and it has been getting cold here.

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cozy Up With These Five YA BooksHostage Three by Nick Lake
Published by A&C Black on 2014
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781408828229
Goodreads
three-stars

It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing- a girl on a yacht with her super-rich banker father; a chance for the family to heal after a turbulent time; the peaceful sea, the warm sun . . . But a nightmare is about to explode as a group of Somali pirates seizes the boat and its human cargo - and the family becomes a commodity in a highly sophisticated transaction. Hostage One is Dad - the most valuable. Amy is Hostage Three. As she builds a strange bond with one of her captors, it becomes brutally clear that the price of a life and its value are very different things . . .

Hostage Three by Nick Lake is the oldest book on my Netgalley queue. So old that I was like meh to reading the eARC and ended up just getting a physical copy of the book out of the library. A whole lot of time and change has happened between when this book first came out and now. And well, I think that the world is different and we just think differently about certain things.

So, I had read In Darkness when it won the Printz Award a while ago and found it interesting. Thus, when I saw Hostage Three coming out, my interest was piqued but apparently not enough to actually pick the book up until 2019 when I decided to challenge myself to get through as many of my Netgalley outstanding books as I could this year. I don’t know how well this book really holds up. My instinct says it doesn’t hold up super great. I mean, this book is told from the perspective of a white girl who is on a yacht which gets captured by Somali pirates, written by a white man. There’s a whole lot of privilege to unpack here. Plus, I don’t really know who is the right person to tell this story.

As for the plot, Hostage Three is told from the perspective of Amy Fields, a girl who is known on the yacht as hostage three – her father and stepmother are hostage one and hostage two. They are given these aliases by the pirates to make them easier to kill, should it come down to that. So, we read about the time before the yacht when Amy is making bad life choices – resulting out of the trauma of her losing her mother. Then we get into the section of her dad randomly deciding to buy a yacht and sail the world and drag Amy along for the trip. Then, of course, the yacht is taken over by Somali pirates and Amy falls for one of them, Faroud. It could be Stockholm syndrome, it could be actual love.

I will say this book doesn’t really have chapters in the traditional sense which drove me batty. It also doesn’t have dialogue marked with quotation marks and traditional dialogue markers. I felt like this was a little bit pretentious for me. It took a long time to get through and never really made me feel fully invested. But, on the upside, we did get a variety of perspectives and got to see why the pirates took the ship and why colonization sucks. I think there is a lot to discuss with Hostage Three but I absolutely do not see myself revisiting this book. There’s an audience – people who are erudite and think deeply about issues.

Now that it's fall, I am all about cozying up with books that have some meat to them in various forms. I am excited to read books that take me far beyond the confines of my living room.

four-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Leave a Comment

*

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: