Interview: Rhiannon Thomas, author of A Wicked Thing

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I want to say that the book by Rhiannon came out February 24 and this post from me is my congratulations to her.
SO CONGRATS, Rhiannon! ❤ I hope this year will be amazing for you. I can only add that I looking forward to start A Wicked Thing, which is already waiting for me on my Kindle!

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Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world… and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.


1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on A Wicked Thing? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?
A Wicked Thing went through loads of names. Giving it a title was kind of a nightmare. It was called After for a long while, which I really liked, but there are already a lot of books called that. But I am terrible at naming things. The day before I was supposed to give my editor a list of potential titles, I remember sitting in a café with some of my friends and a notebook, just trying out every possible combination of Sleeping Beauty related words and quotes from the book, desperately hunting for anything that might work. Argh, titles.

But what always makes me smile about the book is the evolution of one of the characters, Finnegan. He didn’t appear in the first draft, and he was just a plot device in the second – I needed Aurora to have a meeting with somebody important, so she could then miss the meeting for Plot Reasons that I don’t remember any more. That part of the story didn’t stick around, but my friend read that version, and her main feedback comment was “I want more Finnegan.” He was in like four pages of the book at that point. So I rewrote and gave him a bigger role, then gave the book to another friend. “I love Finnegan,” she said. “He should be in it more.” So I gave him a BIGGER role. Then my agent told me that she loved Finnegan and he should be in it more. Then my editor told me the same thing. By the end, I was considering scrapping the whole thing and just calling it The Finnegan Story.

They were right, though. He was a really fun character to write, and he ended up being key to the story that I wanted to tell over the series.

2) What inspired you to write A Wicked Thing?

Originally, it was all about the “true love” trope. When the idea first came to me, Twilight was the hottest thing in YA fiction, and there were loads of stories about Fated Love, or other scenarios where two people simply have to be together because destiny says. It really got me thinking, because if a stranger showed up and told me he was my true love and we were destined to be together and save the world, I’d be more than a little freaked out. And I don’t think that sort of pressure is exactly conducive to romance, or at least to a healthy relationship.

And Sleeping Beauty ends so weirdly. Disney made it so that the prince and the princess had at least met before the kiss of true love, but most of the versions have them as total strangers. So what would really happy after the true love’s kiss? The question really bugged me, and it ultimately became A Wicked Thing.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

I’m going to give one of my favorite quotes from another book, which is “Kiss me, Hardy, kiss me quick!” from Code Name Verity. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what an amazing moment that is, and I dream of being able to pull different parts of a story together in a punch-in-the-gut moment like that one.

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

It took about a year to write A Wicked Thing to the point that I thought it was finished. Then it took another three months of editing it with my agent, and two months more editing it with my editor, before it was officially done.

The ending was definitely easier than the beginning. In fact, I think the ending is one of the few things that survived from my very first draft. The words came out right the first time, whereas I rewrote the first chapter more times than I’d like to remember.

5) Can you tell us how you became a published author?

After I graduated from university, I was pretty lost in a sea of “what do I do with my life now??”, and since I’d always wanted to be an author, I decided I would try and write a novel while I was figuring things out. Then I got pretty darn lucky. I queried agents with the novel starting August 2012, and about a month later, I got an offer of representation from my amazing agent, Kristin Nelson. After that, we revised the book together, and then she sent it on submission to publishers. HarperTeen liked it enough to publish it, so that was that! I stopped trying to figure out what sensible career I should be trying to pursue, and started putting all my energy into writing instead.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Aurora? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

Hmm, I think my letter to Aurora would be full of cheesy sentiments, like that she should Believe In Herself, and that she shouldn’t sacrifice herself to make others happy. It would probably turn into a feminist pep-talk about how girls are expected to never be “selfish” or put themselves before others, and how that’s totally wrong and she should be able to do what makes her happy.

Also, I’d tell her that you should never trust cute guys in bars. Because seriously.


It was a lot of fun! Thank you so much, Rhiannon 🙂


About the author

Rhiannon Thomas is an English lit grad from Princeton University. She currently lives in York, England, in the shadow of a thirteenth-century Gothic cathedral. When she isn’t lost in YA fantasy, she writes about feminism and the media on her blog, http://www.feministfiction.com.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Heroines

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‘Top Ten Tuesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. Thank you for this.

Favorite Book Heroines

1) Aysel from MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga

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Yes, I am truly in love with Aysel. She is a wonderful character. I adore her black humor, her vision of the world, her love for physics. She is the type of person with whom I would like to be friends. She is amazing and I’m so glad that I know her.


2) Adelina Amouteru from THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu

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(Оn this picture the girl has two eyes, but you understand me)
Yes, you get that right, I’m a wild fan of the dark characters with psychological problems that can kick your ass. My favorite type of characters.


3) Mare Barrow from RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

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The heroine who can be selfish? I needed it.
I also needed her wit and talent for theft. It’s awesome.


4) Cress and 5) Cinder from THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer

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I just love these girls. The first is a hacker, the second is a mechanic. Marissa is managed to create a stunning and strong heroines, from which I will always take an example.


6) Alex from MADE YOU UP by Francesca Zappia 

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Lobsters, schizophrenia and knowledge of history.
This girl is wonderful and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her. You should too!


7) Nastya Kashnikov from THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

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Oh, my dear Nastya.
I feel you.


8) Grace from HELLO, I LOVE YOU by Katie M. Stout

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She is beautiful, and I couldn’t stop admiring her thoughts. She acted like any teenage girl, and this is what is sometimes so severely lacking in the YA literature.


9) Blue from THE RAVEN CYCLE by Maggie Stiefvater

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The way she takes care of the four great guys make any person to understand that she is amazing.


10) Lilac LaRoux from THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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Can I just say that I want to marry her?!

Interview: Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn

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I’m so happy today. Guess why?
Yes, yes, I finally was able to post wonderfully interview with the author of the book, for which I’m prepared to kill (just kidding. Almost).

HERE WE GO!!!

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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on The Wrath and the Dawn? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

The Wrath and the Dawn was originally called One Thousand One, but my agent thought it sounded a bit too much like sci-fic novel. And as for funny stories, I think it’s impossible to write a book without having at least a few amusing incidents along the way! Probably some of the most memorable ones involve asking my husband and my in-laws to help me with some Persian translations. Let’s just say that the phrase “lost in translation” was absolutely applicable on more than one occasion.

2) What inspired you to write The Wrath and the Dawn?

I was actually inspired to write it by a tapestry hanging on the wall of my in-law’s home. At a distance, it looked like a hundred different vignettes strung together, but it was actually tales from A Thousand and One Nights.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book?

“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

It took me about four months to write The Wrath and the Dawn. For me, it’s usually easier to write the beginning of a novel.

5) What are your favorite books?

Oh, gosh, this is an almost impossible question for me! I love a lot of classics. Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, The Lord of the Rings, and A Moveable Feast come to mind. I’m also a big fan of anything by Isabelle Allende or Kahlil Gibran. For YA, I love Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy and Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. In truth, this list could go on forever.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Shahrzad? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

I don’t know that I’d write her a letter for reasons I can’t divulge at the moment 😉 But I do think letters are wonderful to give and receive!


Thank you so much, Renee! It was so fun! So glad I was able to chat with you 😉


About the author

Renee Ahdieh lives in North Carolina with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, Renee like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at Breaking The Spine. Thank you for this.

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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pagean—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.


About this author

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Her debut contemporary young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and has been well-received by Kirkus, School Library Journal, VOYA, Booklist, Seventeen Magazine, and Teen Vogue. Dumplin’, Julie’s follow-up novel is due out in 2015.

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Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.


My rating: All the stars.

“Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole–it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.”

How can I properly write a review for this book? This is unreal because I cry all the time, when I think about it.
This book is very deep into my heart. 

“You’re like a grey sky. You’re beautiful, even though you don’t want to be.”

Same thing with this book. It shouldn’t be beautiful, because it is about teenagers who conceived suicide.
But it is. Beautiful in every sense, because it made me think about life and all the things that I used to ignore.

I so much want to thank Jasmine for this book.
Because I understand it.
Because I’m in love with Aysel and Roman. They are broken, but at the same time, strong characters. Even if you have a black hole instead of a heart, you still love them.

I so adore Aysel that I can say with confidence that she is my favorite character. With her black humor, which is sometimes similar to mine and love of physics she has taken a special place in my heart.

I just want to make every person in the world to read this book, so they finally realized that it is impossible to ignore teenage problems. That they are just as serious as any other. And if you notice signs of depression in your child, you can’t ignored them.
Depression is a serious illness such as cancer. Because of this, people die.

Please do everything you can to these people ended their story as well as Aysel and Roman.

And read this book. You fall in love with it, I promise.


Here is my fan-art for this book:

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Waiting on Wednesday: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at Breaking The Spine. Thank you for this.

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


About this author

Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender-nonconforming children in Washington, DC. Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda is her first novel. 

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Cover Reveal: Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Today on TSOfYABks I am showing the cover to the fourth part of The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins!

Are you ready?

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Sweet Temptation release date: September 8, 2015 (available in ebook and paperback)


 Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it. 

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve. 

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.


 Also Wendy doing an international bookmark giveaway. Feel free to enter!
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Interview: Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes

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I volunteered to interview this wonderful author for the Russian publishing house which is going to publish An Ember in the Ashes.
But I thought it would be interesting for everyone who excited to read this book, so here we go.

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Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.


1) What inspired you to write An Ember in the Ashes?

As a child growing up in the desert, I was picked on and often felt like an outsider in my isolated home town. This made me feel both voiceless and powerless. My primary solace was reading, and my favorite books to read were fantasy novels.

Eventually, I found my voice through writing. When I decided to write a novel, my childhood inspired me: I knew that the book would be a fantasy because I’d always loved fantasy novels. And I knew that the characters would be people who, like my younger self, felt uniquely voiceless. But unlike my younger self, these characters would speak out and fight back.

2) Can you tell us how you became a published author?

Lots of hard work! I began writing my book in 2007 and spent 6 years on it. During this time, I built the world for my book, researched a ton and revised like crazy. When the book was done, I queried agents, and picked the one who I connected to best. She sold the book shortly after.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

I like this quote and I don’t think it’s too spoilery: “Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.”

4) Could you say something to the future readers of your book from another countries?

First of all, I will be deeply honored if you take the time to read my book. Second, I hope it resonates with you. I hope you find that though EMBER was originally written in English, the themes of hope, courage, family and love, are universal.


Thank you so much, Sabaa!

If you want, you can follow her via

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at Breaking The Spine. Thank you for this.

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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch… she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


About the author

Renee Ahdieh lives in North Carolina with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, Renee like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

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List of books that I most excited to read in 2015 (Part 3)

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More and more lists. 2015 promises to be a golden year for new delightful books.


1) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

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2) Mosquitoland by David Arnold

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“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

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3) Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

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“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

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4) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

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5) The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

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Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

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6) The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

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7) Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

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Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn… and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

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8) All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

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9) 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

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In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

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10) The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

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When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

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11) Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

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New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

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12) The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

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When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

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13) Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

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BEFORE: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

AFTER: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

THEN: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

NOW: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

ALWAYS: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

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14) Paperweight by Meg Haston

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Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

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15) Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

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Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

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16) Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

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The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

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17) The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

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Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

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18) Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

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Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

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19) Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

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A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness

Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.
Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.

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20) Duplicity by N.K. Traver

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A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, stubborn girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something—washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Then it tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and no one will even know he’s gone.

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21) Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

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22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . .

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22) The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

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It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

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Please write whatever you think about it in the comments. I’ll be glad to see any feedback 🙂