WHERE FUTURES END (Kathy Dawson Books)
There are lots of tropes and archetypes in YA books that readers love. This book has none of them and yet it’s still one of my must-reads of 2016. WHERE FUTURES END is a collection of connected short stories chronicling the end of the world- or what COULD be the end of the world. A little bit classic fantasy, a little bit gamer-fiction, a little bit sci-fi, this book is speculative fiction at its best. WHERE FUTURES END is a hard book to describe, but imagine CLOUD ATLAS with a healthy dose of reality TV and even a touch of Margaret Atwood and you have a teensy sense of what you’re about to get into. Definitely the most original book I’ve read in a long time.
SALT TO THE SEA (Philomel, February)
Ruta Sepetys knows how to hook a reader from line one. From there you will fall in love with her evocative prose, her complicated, lovable and sometimes maddening characters, and her unforgettable renderings of forgotten history. This pulse-pounder tells the story of three teenage refugees making a dangerous trek across war-torn Europe to board a ship that promises to take them away from the horrors of WWII. Fans of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY may recognize Joana, but this is not a direct sequel to the soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture blockbuster novel. Steeped in history, SALT TO THE SEA is an epic story told through the eyes of ordinary teenagers in extraordinary circumstances. I dare you not to cry!
SAVING MONTGOMERY SOLE by Mariko Tamaki (Razorbill Canada, April)
Mariko Tamaki is an exciting author to watch. Even better? She’s Canadian! Her book (YOU) SET ME ON FIRE is one of RollingStone.com’s 40 Best YA Novels and it was long-listed for the 2015 Canada Reads competition- a great feat for a YA novel. THIS ONE SUMMER, illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki, topped every best-of list and has the distinction of winning a Printz AND a Caldecott honour in addition to the GG for illustration. So what’s next for Mariko? A funny and moving look inside the world of odd-ball Montgomery Sole. Monty one of three members of the Jefferson High Mystery Club, a group dedicated to exploring all things weird and unexplained. It is the perfect distraction from the more uncomfortable parts of life, such as the extremely homophobic pastor that has moved in to town, targeting Monty and her two moms. The club is all in good fun until one of Monty’s projects, the mysterious Eye of Know, makes all of Monty’s wishes come true…even the nasty ones. One of Mariko’s greatest strengths is her ability to get to the bottom of teenage emotions and strife. With a great supporting cast and pitch-perfect dialogue, this is a gritty yet touching tale that will ring true with readers.
A HUGE thank you to Vikki for taking the time to send over her own list. Any of these titles make your own 2016 Must Read list? Let me know in the comments.