And the Nominees are…
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (sequel to Hush, Hush)
Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.
The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father’s death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn’t answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?
Just when you thought things in Hush, Hush couldn’t get any hotter, Becca Fitzpatrick teases readers with a steamfest in the first pages of its sequel, Crescendo. But hold onto your hormones, because all is not love and roses for Patch and Nora.
Speaking of hormones, the likable Nora from Hush, Hush seems to be having trouble handling her hormonal mood swings in Crescendo. This girl is a certifiable mess. All that angelic mind-warping has rendered her incapable of making up her mind about anything or anyone — Patch, recently-returned childhood playmate Scott, Marcie Millar, her a-bit-more-present mother and recently dead father. Fitzpatrick expertly captures the moodiness and dramatic voice of teen angst. Readers may be tempted to yell out loud at Nora for her back-and-forth, but this reader remembers acting an awful lot like that … and worse.
A page-turner from start to finish, Fitzpatrick is also the queen of action sequences with perfectly timed clue-dropping, chilling descriptions and a long list of possible suspects, including Nora’s childhood playmate, Scott, who had a tendancy toward cruelty that left a bad taste in Nora’s mouth (literally). He’s also slippery as a worm and you can’t quite pin down if he’s a good guy or a bad guy.
Kind of like Patch. He’s just so bad. Sure, Nora pushes him away, but does he really have to take up company with the reviled Marcie Millar? And why does she hate Nora so much anyway? Her antics are the stuff of high school nightmares. Nora’s best friend, Vee, continues to be her sidekick, but I often found myself questioning her motivations, as well. She’s not exactly the voice of reason.
All of this combines to give Hush, Hush fans exactly what they want: passion, mystery, action, danger, angst and enough betrayal to leave readers wondering, “Who can I trust?”
That, my friends, is the million-dollar question. – Stephanie Lawton, Novel Novice
More Novel Novice posts on Crescendo:
- Book Review: Crescendoby Becca Fitzpatrick (Sara’s Review)
- Nov. Book of the Month: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
- Exclusive Q&A w/Crescendo author Becca Fitzpatrick: Part 1
- Exclusive Q&A w/Crescendo author Becca Fitzpatrick: Part 2
Lies by Michael Grant
Shortly after the world-changing events of Gone (2008) and Hunger (2009), the young residents of the FAYZ face ominous new threats, including a death-obsessed cult leader and the resurrection of a buried girl. And remember Drake the Whip Hand? Yeah, he might be back, too. Grant continues to hurtle through an endlessly fascinating (and increasingly grim) story line; his chief achievement, though, is how the X-Men-style powers of his cast never overwhelm the mournful realization that their world is slowly degenerating into brutality. The vast array of characters will challenge newcomers; fans, though, will go bonkers. -Daniel Kraus, Copyright 2010 Booklist February 15, 2010
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Last year, Sophie Mercer was sent to Hecate Hall, a place for troubled and troublesome young Prodigium (or magical beings), in hopes that she could get control of her powers before someone got hurt, including herself. Hex Hall also turned out to be the place where the L’Occhio di Dio, aka The Eye, was literally able to take a stab at killing her. Summer vacation is going to be different. Sophie is headed for England where she is going to be living under the protective guardianship of the Prodigium’s Head of the Council, a gentleman who happens to be a powerful demon and who also happens to be the father she had never met. Bringing her best friend, Jenna, and her betrothed, Cal, Sophie is feeling optimistic about getting to know her dad, learning how to use her powers, and maybe running into her forbidden crush, Archer Cross, fellow Hex Hall student and perpetrator of the attempted stabbing. Or maybe a complicated and dangerous situation is about to spiral out of control? Sophie’s well-crafted banter, her conflicted feelings over the two stellar boys claiming her attention, and her struggles to understand the history, politics, and social maneuvering of the magical world, merge into one engaging, entertaining story. Once readers turn the first page, it is nearly impossible to put the book down because they will be looking for the next swoony feeling or because they will be desperate to know what happens next or because it just cannot end that way. This reader is now firmly planted on the edge of her seat, waiting for the third Hex Hall book. -Stacey Hayman. Voice of Youth Advocates December 01, 2010
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
The first sign that Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins would be a good book was when I stayed up too late reading. And then repeated the process three nights in a row, until I was finished.
The book’s strongest selling point is narrator Sophie, whose sarcastic sense of humor is the driving force behind the narrative and helps liven up what could have been an otherwise humdrum novel. Instead, what Hawkins presents to us is a fresh, funny and charming story about a reform school for the magically-inclined. It’s a little bit Gossip Girl, a little bit Hogwarts and a whole lot of original.
Mixed in with all the drama of being the new girl in a reform school full of witches, shape-shifters and faeries is the added mystery of having a potential murderer on the loose. Plus, you’ve got Sophie’s not-so-easy friendship with the school’s only vampire and her crush on Archer Cross, who may or may not turn out to be the ultimate bad boy. (Either way, he’s got just the perfect balance of charm and danger about him to keep you engaged. And crushing on him a bit yourself, too.)
I’m a sucker for a good YA fantasy/supernatural thriller — and Hex Hall has that in aces and spades. But what really charmed me was the sense of humor woven throughout the entire book. Even amidst some of the most tense scenes, Hawkins deftly adds a turn of phrase or a quick one-liner that lets you laugh, before the tension sets in again.
And while there are so many books in this genre available right now, Hawkins still manages to keep it fresh and unpredictable. I am certainly looking forward to further adventures at Hex Hall. (UPDATE: Just heard from Hawkins that Hex Hall #2 will be out March 1, 2011.)
Here is the official synopsis:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her. – Sara Gundell, Novel Novice
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Rather than her anticipated coming-of-age ritual of getting her driver’s permit, Meghan Chase’s sixteenth birthday brings the discovery that her four-year-old brother Ethan has been replaced by a vicious changeling, propelling her into a heretofore-unimagined world. When Robbie Goodfell, Meghan’s best friend since sandbox, shows her that Ethan’s closet is a doorway to Nevernever and he is Robin Goodfellow, commonly known as Puck, her real coming-of-age journey begins in earnest. From her first ill-considered promise to the cat Grimalkin to her pact with Ash, prince of the Winter Court, Meghan must learn the ways of faerie quickly if she is to survive and rescue her brother from the newly rising Iron King, who has been created from humankind’s obsession with technology. Not only must she learn quickly, but she must also grow into the powers and prophecy that are hers by birthright, by virtue of being the half human daughter of Oberon, king of the Summer Court. This first book of an epic quest layers the passage into adulthood with the oft-told theme of belief as the life-blood for all things magical. An American Gods (William Morrow, 2001/VOYA February 2002) for younger readers, the book’s scope is the sweep of faerie lore and legend, with a young romance triangle thrown in for good measure. The characters, plot, and constant action will appeal to young fantasy readers, but an early off-color joke and occasional sophisticated cursing are jarring, making the intended age of the audience unclear.–Kim Carter. Voice of Youth Advocates April 01, 2010
Have you decided on your top ten? VOTE! If you’re not sure yet, check back tomorrow for five more nominees.
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