Summer's really the best time for books. Life is a little slower, a little lazier, and we all seem to have more time for reading and relaxing (especially if it's by the pool!). It seems like publishers have noticed this as well because some of the best books of the year come out during the summertime, and with the recent glut of YA, you can bet there are some great sci-fi and fantasy teen novels coming out this summer. Here are four that have caught our attention.
Shadow and Bone
June 5, 2012
Shadow and Bone is a fantasy novel that everyone's been talking about. Alina is a teen living in a country called Ravka, but it isn't great like it used to be. Monsters have taken over an area of the country called the Shadow Fold, splitting Ravka in two. When her friend is injured in the Shadow Fold, Alina draws on all her resources and unleashes a crazy power she had no idea she even possessed. The royals, of course, notice this and want to control her. They tear Alina away from everything she knows. The descriptions and reviews make it sound like some sort of weird Harry Potter-meets-czarist Russia, but it looks to be absolutely fascinating.
July 10, 2012
If you're looking for some pure fantasy goodness, Seraphina is a book you definitely shouldn't miss. It's set in a world where humans coexist with dragons (dragons!!) and they've lived peacefully for years. But of course, tensions are rising. When Seraphina Dombegh joins the royal court as a musician, a member of the royal family is murdered. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation and discovers a plot to shatter the fragile balance between human and dragon, which would lead to a war with high costs on both sides. But Seraphina's also hiding a more personal secret, one that could have huge consequences if it's discovered.
August 7, 2012
If the name Amanda Hocking sounds familiar, there's a good reason. Hocking is one of the few authors who's become famous through self-publishing—her paranormal YA Trylle trilogy hit all kinds of bestseller lists. Now, she's being published through the more traditional route, and Wake, the start to another trilogy, is a book fans of her work and newcomers alike are looking forward to. The description is sketchy—a teenage girl named Gemma falls in with a crowd of beautiful girls who seem to have it all, but finds that they have a dark secret—but because it's Hocking, you can bet it will be a fantastic fantasy/paranormal experience.
The Kill Order
August 14, 2012
James Dashner hit the YA dystopian jackpot with his Maze Runner trilogy. They starred Thomas, a teenage boy with no memory and so many more questions than answers. As he slowly figures out what's going on around him, he learns, more than anything, that he can't trust the government, WICKED, and works to bring them down. But what happened before Thomas, before WICKED? That's the subject of Dashner's upcoming book, a prequel to the Maze Runner series that will hopefully give us answers to all those lingering questions.
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous
August 21, 2012
So it's not sci-fi or fantasy, but Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous promises to be a fun, exciting read for the summer. Also, it's from one of our very own SparkLife contributors, Kathryn Williams! Sophie Nicolaides is sixteen years old and has a love for all things cooking-related. When she hears about a new reality show called Teen Test Kitchen, she isn't really interested in auditioning—after all, reality TV isn't her thing. But with the encouragement of her best friend and the knowledge that the prize is a scholarship to a great culinary school, Sophie decides to go for it—after all, it can't hurt. Right?
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
July 5, 2012
Some of you may know Kat Rosenfeld by a different name. Auntie SparkNotes ring any bells? She's left her online persona behind and written an absorbing mystery that would be perfect for any summer evening. Becca has always known there's something bigger and better for her out there, away from the small town she has lived in her whole life. But when the body of a young girl—Amelia Anne Richardson—is found, the town is horrified. After all, things like that just don't happen there. Becca is disturbed by the body and begins to question everything she thought she's wanted—after all, if there's such violence outside her little world, does she really want to seek it out?
What are you looking forward to reading this summer?