Teens’ Top Ten: Nominee Wrap-up

All week we’ve been highlighting the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominees and we’re down to the final five on the list. Which of the 25 make YOUR top ten?  

Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

Synopsis:

In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they’re trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it.

Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.James Patterson’s web site

 Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

We’ve all heard the story of Little Red Riding Hood, who skipped through the woods to her grandmother’s house and was ignorantly fooled by the big bad wolf, who swallowed her up, and who was only rescued by a woodsman and his ax.

But you’ve never seen Red Riding Hood quite like this.

Jackson Pearce’s new novel Sisters Red is a delightful, modern twist on the classic fairy tale, and this time, Red Riding Hood takes matters into her own hands.

In short, this is what would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer found herself in Little Red Riding Hood’s shoes. She wouldn’t let the wolf eat her; she’d kick its ass. And then make a snarky comment about it.

Sisters Red shows us the grimmer side of this Grimm Brothers fairy tale. It begins when young sisters Scarlett and Rosie March are attacked in their home by a Fenris (a werewolf, for all intents and purposes). They survive — barely — thanks to the lethal skills of Scarlett, who loses her eye in the fight and is left covered in scars. Fast forward seven years, as teenage Scarlett and Rosie spend their evenings hunting the Fenris, along with the help of their friend, Silas, a woodsman. But the bond between the sisters comes into question, when the relationship between Silas and Rosie tests her commitment to the fight that has become Scarlett’s quest in life. What’s a girl to choose … your sister, or your true love?

Sisters Red delves into the dilemma full throttle — all while the trio kick some serious butt fighting the Fenris and trying to keep them from turning a new Potential into a soulless monster, and protecting ignorant girls from falling prey to their deceptive charms.

The action in Sisters Red is really what drives the story forward at an engaging and cinematic pace — but readers will anxiously be turning the pages just as quickly to watch the relationship develop between Rosie and Silas. Kudos, also, to Pearce for not shying away from addressing the age difference between these romantic leads — or the past between Silas and Rosie’s older sister, Scarlett.

The book is riddled with surprising moments — all leading up to the big twist at the end (which I predicted early on, then was fooled into disregarding by Pearce’s cleverness. Double twist!). And while I happily rode the emotional roller coaster of Sisters Red, after finishing the book I can safely point out five specific moments that evoked strong, vocal and/or physical reactions from me, as I read alone late at night (I’ll only list page numbers, so as not to give away spoilers):

* I giggled & clapped on page 202

* I gasped on page 243

* I fist-pumped on page 301

* I chanted, “No, no, no, no, no …” on page 208

* I sighed (in relief) on page 314

Sisters Red is the kind of book you won’t be able to put down once you start. It’s high-energy and captivating. It has all the charm and appeal of a traditional fairy tale, with the ass-whooping and action that modern audiences will adore. Sisters Red is in stores now!

Here is the official synopsis:

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for. - Sara Gundell, Novel Novice

Check out more great Novel Novice posts on Sisters Red:

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Quincie Morris, orphaned owner of Austin’s famous Sanguini’s Restaurant, is in a terrible fix. It turns out that Bradley, the restaurant’s chef, is a wily vampire who has harnessed the evil power of Count Dracula. Bradley wants Quincie for himself and has gradually made her a vampire by serving her wine spiked with his blood. And to make matters much worse, before he fled Austin, Bradley offered a tainted dessert of chilled baby squirrels to a packed restaurant. In a matter of weeks, all who tried it will become vampires of the most virulent sort. Quincie, her werewolf boyfriend, Kieren; her guardian angel, Zachary; and a loosely knit group of acquaintances both dead and alive must find a way to diffuse the vampire magic before those who ate Bradley’s dessert become part of Dracula’s deadly legion. At the same time, Quincie must fight her craving for human blood in order to protect her undefiled friends. After several extremely close calls, Bradley and Dracula are defeated and Quincie emerges with her soul intact. In Blessed, Smith brings together characters from her novels Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007/VOYA June 2007) and Eternal (Candlewick, 2009/VOYA April 2009), creating an edgy alternate reality in which angels, vampires, shape shifters, and humans are not only aware of each other but also intermingle socially. In spite of a convoluted plot, this novel is a tasty addition to supernatural fiction. Smith’s writing style is sometimes dramatic, often humorous, and always energetic. Fans of the first two books in the series will be on the lookout for this one.-Dotsy Harland. A satisfying blend of excitement and intrigue, Blessed provides a fun and entertaining read. Appealing to high schoolers with a flair for fantasy, this book provides a twist on life as an “eternal.” Fresh and full of modern allusions and lingo, Blessed will be enjoyable even for someone new to Smith’s series.-Alex Coyle, Teen Reviewer. February 01, 2011Voice of Youth Advocates

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Picking up directly after the close of Leviathan (Simon Pulse, 2009/VOYA October 2009), Behemoth finds fifteen-year-old Prince Aleksandar, heir to the throne of Austro-Hungary (at least according to the Pope), and Midshipman Dylan Sharp, a girl masquerading as a boy, racing toward Istanbul in hopes of keeping the Ottoman Empire out of the conflict between the steampunk-machinist Germans and the biopunk-Darwinist British empire. Neither teen knows all of the other’s secrets, but they have become friends. Their friendship is tested as Alek and part of his contingent escape the airship Leviathan and become caught up in the rising rebellion against the Ottoman sultan. In addition, Dylan (Deryn) struggles with her desire to tell Alek her true gender as she begins hoping he will see her as more than a friend. Daring escapes, secret missions, and new friends and allies abound in Westerfeld’s energetic and smartly imagined alternate history. While the first book in the trilogy centers on page-turning battles between the machines of the Clankers and the beasties of the Darwinists, volume two shifts slightly to focus on equally suspenseful espionage. Characters develop nicely, and the plot is full of good, twisty science fiction thrills. Thompson’s detailed Victorian Manga spot and full-page illustrations return to bolster the enjoyment factor. Fans will be well satisfied and likely even more impatient for the next installment, Goliath. -Timothy Capehart. December 01, 2010 Voice of Youth Advocates

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Sixteen-year-old Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) as a neutralizer, mostly of vampires, werewolves, and the occasional hag. Although she finds the work somewhat boring-usually just tazing and banding with ankle bracelets-Evie knows she is an irreplaceable employee since she is the only human able to see through a paranormal’s glamour, or outward bodily disguise, to its true identity. Consequently, when her supervisor is attacked by Water Boy, aka Lend, a being who can assume any likeness and is himself transparent, Evie is intrigued. Curiosity becomes stronger when she discovers that prisoner Lend, in normal life, is a high school senior. Their growing friendship is regularly interrupted by visits from Reth, a possessive faerie, and a mysterious series of mass paranormal deaths. Lonely Evie struggles with uncertainty as she and Lend are forced to escape headquarters and seek refuge. This first novel borrows heavily from Rowling and Meyer, with a touch of Grimm, to create a fantasy world for Evie, a thoroughly adolescent heroine. Perky, insolent, fearless, and insecure, Evie rushes from one crisis to another while worrying about her clothes, her hair, and her first kiss. Teenage girls will recognize themselves and perhaps be less concerned with abrupt changes in plot and sudden introductions of supernatural characters and situations requiring distracting explanations, since they have the consistency of Evie to carry them along. Although Paranormalcy does not belong on the best fantasy shelf, it is likely to be a popular read.-Laura Woodruff. October 01, 2010 Voice of Youth Advocates

Paranormalcy made both Steph and Taylor‘s Best YA Books of 2010 lists.

That wraps up the last of YALSA‘s 25 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees for this year. Make sure you stop by their page and VOTE for your favorites! You can vote for three titles and voting will remain open through September 15th. The Top Ten for 2011 will be announced during Teen Read Week, October 16-22. We’ll be sure to update you on Novel Novice as well.

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