Mix of magic and re­al­ity

This week’s roundup of books for young adults of­fers es­capist fan­tasy as well as con­tem­po­rary grit and heart­break.

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Be­cause Of The Sun

Jenny Tor­res Sanchez Dela­corte Press, con­tem­po­rary fic­tion HOW do you mourn a dead moth­er­whowascru­el­toy­ouwhen she was alive? Dani doesn’t know. Nei­ther does she know how to deal with the fact that her mother was killed by a bear in their back­yard, or that she now has to live with an aunt she nev­erknew­she­had.All­shecan cling to from her for­mer life is her bat­tered, beloved copy of Al­bert Camus’ The Stranger. Set adrift, she takes long, dan­ger­ous walks un­der the desert sun – un­til she meets Paulo and his wise grand­mother. Can she learn for­give­ness from them?

Blood Of Won­der­land (Queen Of Hearts Saga #2)

Colleen Oakes HarperTeen, fan­tasy IN this se­ries set in the world cre­ated by Lewis Car­roll in Alice In Won­der­land, things are a lit­tle ... dif­fer­ent. There is no Alice or funny crea­tures, and “off with her head” means just that, es­pe­cially for em­bat­tled princess Di­nah, heir ap­par­ent to the Won­der­land throne.

In the first book, Queen Of Hearts (2016), Di­nah finds her­self be­trayed and set adrift. In this sec­ond book, we find her ex­iled from Won­der­land and wanted for the bru­tal mur­der of her

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brother, thanks to her evil fa­ther. Now, alone in the mys­te­ri­ous Twisted Wood, Di­nah has to choose: leave Won­der­land for­ever, or stay and fight her fa­ther for jus­tice and the throne.

Dis­rup­tor (Seeker #3) Au­thor:

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Ar­wen Elys Day­ton Corgi Books, fan­tasy In this fi­nal book in the tril­ogy, the an­cient or­der of Seek­ers is fac­ing an­ni­hi­la­tion at the hands of the awak­ened and blood­thirsty Watch­ers – and the world is fac­ing a dark­ness that will be all con­sum­ing. Quin is des­per­ate to find al­lies but her child­hood friend Shi­nobu has been brain­washed into evil, the boy she used to love seems to have teamed up with an en­emy, and her fa­ther – well, her fa­ther is part of the gen­er­a­tions-old plot to take over the world. But Quin is a Seeker, per­haps the last one stand­ing, and she will hon­our that tra­di­tion and save her friends and the world, or die try­ing.

Black­list (Beau­ti­ful Idols #2)

Alyson Noel Kather­ine Te­gen Books, con­tem­po­rary fic­tion IN the first book, Un­ri­valed (2016), Layla, Aster, and Tommy had each been de­ter­mined to win the pres­ti­gious Un­ri­valed night­club competition, only to find them­selves get­ting all the wrong sort of at­ten­tion when be­come en­tan­gled in the dis­ap­pear­ance of mega star­let Madi­son Brooks.

In this book, Aster, who has been ar­rested for Madi­son’s mur­der, is des­per­ate to dig up all the se­crets in Madi­son’s life to prove her in­no­cence, while Layla wants to get at the truth so she can make her bones as a bona fide investigative jour­nal­ist, and Tommy de­cides to join in the hunt after hav­ing been the last per­son to see Madi­son alive. The three might have been fierce com­peti­tors be­fore, but now they be­come a for­mi­da­ble team as look for the truth.

Shad­ow­caster (Shat­tered Realms #2)

fan­tasy Cinda Wil­liams HarperTeen,

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YOUNG adult fic­tion au­thor Cinda Wil­liams Chima has writ­ten nine books across two dif­fer­ent se­ries, Seven Realms and Heir Chron­i­cles. Shat­tered Realms isa new se­ries she be­gan – with Flame­caster (2016) – that is set in the Seven Realms world, but a gen­er­a­tion later. While Shad­ow­caster is the sec­ond book in this new se­ries, it doesn’t re­turn to the same char­ac­ters fea­tured in the first book; in­stead, we are in­tro­duced to a new set of char­ac­ters con­nected to Ash and Jenna, the pro­tag­o­nists of Flame­caster, but who have their own sto­ries to tell.

There is Alyssa Ana’Raisa, the re­luc­tant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells who is more com­fort­able on a bat­tle­field than in court; fac­ing her across en­emy lines is Cap­tain Hal­ston Matelon who isn’t too sure if he should be loyal to his rather shady king. Of course, when these two meet, things hap­pen, fate-shak­ing things, like a war fu­elled by magic and an Em­press will­ing to de­stroy the world for the sake of a jewel.

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