Bray, Libba. The Diviners. Little, Brown and Company. Sept. 2012. p. 578.
Evie has a gift: when she holds an object, it tells her the secrets of the person to whom it belongs. This gift makes for a fun party trick, but after she tells the scandalous truth about the wrong golden boy, Evie finds herself sent from Ohio to Manhattan to live with her uncle. But even the fact that her uncle curates the "Museum of the Creepy Crawlies" cannot detract from Evie's excitement at living in prohibition-era Manhattan. She's determined to thoroughly enjoy herself--and who cares that a series of horrible murders is taking place? Evie eventually finds herself caught up in the strange case, however, and things only get stranger as spiritualism, a religious cult, and a terrible prophecy intersect to wreak havoc on the city, Evie, and other people with gifts like hers. As expected of Bray, the story is well crafted and captivating. It is simply stunning how many readers this book will appeal to: it's got mystery, horror, suspense, the paranormal, great twenties historical details and lingo, strong yet flawed characters, multiple storylines, rebellion, romance... in short, there's something for almost everyone. If readers can get past the heft--and they should, it's totally worth it!--they're sure to be pleased.
Astrid spends a lot of time on the picnic table in her backyard, looking up into the sky and sending the passengers on airplanes her love. She feels her love is useful to these strangers--but not useful to herself and her life as it stands. Astrid hates her small town, feels criticized and unloved by her mother, and resents her sister's decision to act like the perfect small-town girl her mother wants them to be, all while fighting against the small-town minds that force her to keep her best friend's secret. The thing is, this secret might be Astrid's, too; she just isn't sure yet. When everyone suddenly becomes interested in categorizing and labeling her, Astrid starts to feel like she's had enough. Only then, when she begins to understand and stand up for herself, does Astrid start to see that love is about more than just giving away. A.S. King tells a beautifully written and amazingly heartfelt story of a teenage girl who is frustrated with the world's attempts to put her in a neat little box, especially since she isn't quite sure how she would even define herself. Ask the Passengers is a story of acceptance, self-awareness, trust, love, and questioning--all themes familiar to any young adult, and which they will surely recognize in Astrid's strong voice. King also has a talent for showing just how complicated real teenagers' relationships--with friends, family, and significant others--can be. I cannot say enough good things about this novel. It's a coming of age story not to be missed.
Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven Boys. Scholastic. Sept. 2012. p. 416.
Blue has always lived with the paranormal--her mother and their housemates are all psychics, and Blue can amplify the psychic energy they use. And while her mother was never one for giving her rules, she's had one rule for herself for as long as she can remember: stay away from "raven boys," her term for the privileged prep school boys who spend their school year in her town. One group of raven boys may be different, though. Sure, Gansey and Ronan have tons of money; but with their less stereotypically prep-school friends Adam and Noah, they are on a quest involving ley lines and a legendary Welsh king. When Blue sees Gansey's spirit as one marked for death, she feels somehow connected to him; and as she gets to know him and his friends better, it looks as though their fates may all be entwined. With fantastic multi-character narration, a deep and intriguing premise, and several whopper realizations, Maggie Stiefvater once again tells a thoroughly engrossing tale that the reader cannot help but become totally caught up in. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that we'll have to wait for three more in the series to be able to have the story in full.
All books reviewed were advanced reader copies from the publishers; the final print versions may be different than the review copies.