Colleen Mondor Reviews The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

The Merciful Crow, Margaret Owen (Henry Holt 978-1-250-19192-2, $18.99, 369pp, hc) July 2019.

In The Merciful Crow, the first book of her new series, Margaret Owen introduces a world that is both familiar (distracted king ignoring his duties, ambitious second queen who wants her young son to rule, crown prince who is the target of his murderous stepmother, faithful best friend determined to save prince, many many ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

The Night Tiger, Yangsze Choo (Flatiron Books 978-1-250-17545-8, $26.99, 384pp, hc) February 2019.

Author Yangsze Choo takes readers on an immersive ride into the past with her entertaining mystery-fantasy ad­venture, The Night Tiger. Set in 1931 Malaya, the novel combines one young boy’s quest to fulfill the deathbed wish of a revered elder with a young woman’s attempt to return a souvenir dismembered finger to the lecherous creep ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney

A Dream So Dark, L.L. McKinney (Imprint 978-1-250-15392-0, $18.99, 416pp, hc) Sep­tember 2019.

L.L. McKinney picks up the action right where she left off with her new “all hands on deck” sequel to A Blade So Black, A Dream So Dark. After losing one of her closest friends and discovering a major se­cret about her mentor in the closing pages of A Blade So Black, McKinney’s ...Read More

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2019 by Colleen Mondor

I read a lot of great young adult SF/F books in 2019 and was most struck by the diversity of subjects that came across my desk. There continues (thank­fully) to be no dominant theme in YA fantasy, a welcome departure from the past. With the excep­tion of a cluster of titles set in Paris (which is fine; what’s not to like about Paris?), it’s really impossible to point in any ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Minor Prophets by Jimmy Cajoleas

Minor Prophets, Jimmy Cajoleas (Amulet 978-1-4197-3904-0, $18.99, 368pp, hc) September 2019.

Minor Prophets by Jimmy Cajoleas is presented as a thriller with slight supernatural elements. In the opening pages, teen Lee recounts how he has long suffered from prophetic visions, many of which have come true. One of those visions strikes hard after his mother and stepfather have a loud fight and she roars off in her car, declaring, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil

All of Us With Wings, Michelle Ruiz Keil (Soho Teen 978-1-64129-034-0, $18.99, 360pp, hc) June 2019.

All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil is a love letter to San Francisco in the late 1980s that includes a combustible love affair, a forthright coming-of-age tale (for multiple characters), and a vengeance-fueled subplot that incorporates elements of magic realism. The plot is largely straightforward, but the emotional conflicts are ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Ghosts of the Shadow Market, Edited by Cassandra Clare

Ghosts of the Shadow Market, Cassandra Clare, ed. (McElderry Books 978-1-5344-3362-5, $24.99, 607pp, hc) June 2019.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market is a mammoth anthology of stories written to accompany Cassandra Clare’s immersive Shadow Market world. Clare has brought an impressive group of co-writers along with her – Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasser­man – and indulges all manner of fan obsessions and questions in ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All, Laura Ruby (Balzer & Bray 978-0-06-231764-3, $17.99, 384pp, hc) October 2019.

Stop whatever you are reading right now and get your hands on a copy of Laura Ruby’s Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All. If litera­ture exists to make us think, to broaden our minds, to make a difference, then there can be no better a book to read right now. That ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

The Tenth Girl, Sara Faring (Imprint 978-1-250-30450-6, $18.99, 464pp, hc) September 2019.

Sara Faring’s The Tenth Girl is a 1970s Gothic thriller filled with horrifying ghosts in an isolated Argentinian boarding school during the “Dirty War” when 30,000 civilians were disappeared at the hands of the US-backed military government. Eighteen-year old Mavi never knew her father, her rebel mother was recently arrested and hauled away with no hope of ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

Missing, Presumed Dead, Emma Berquist (Greenwillow 978-0-06-264281-3, $17.99, 369pp, hc) May 2019.

In the opening pages of Emma Berquist’s sus­penseful mystery Missing, Presumed Dead, readers learn that there is a growing epidemic of young adults vanishing in Los Angeles. The most recent one works with Lexi at a nightclub named Elysium. Lexi is concerned about Marcus, but she has bigger things to worry about than what might have ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig (Delacorte 978-1-9848-3192-7, $18.99, 416pp, hc) August 2019.

Drawing from the classic fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, Erin Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows is a heavily at­mospheric novel set in a world that historically echoes our own and brings all the mystery, drama, and horror that readers could want. Sis­ters are dying, a strange and secretive passage to distant and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

Last Bus to Everland, Sophie Cameron (Mac­millan Children’s Books 978-1-509-85318-2, £9.99, 288pp, tp) May 2019. (Roaring Brook Press 978-1-250-14993-0, $17.99, 327pp, hc) June 2019.

After last year’s thoughtful Out of the Blue, author Sophie Cameron returns again to her native Scotland with Last Bus to Everland. In this “magical doorway” fantasy (that title was chosen for a reason), teenager Brody Fair finds the place he has al­ways ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

The Saturday Night Ghost Club, Craig Davidson (Knopf Canada 978-0-735-27482-2, C$27.00, 272pp, hc) August 2018. (Penguin 978-0-14-313393-3, $16.00, 206pp, tp) July 2019.

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is only the slightest wisp of a ghost story. It is far more a memory of childhood, a winsome look back by a narrator who now works in a dif­ficult profession (as a surgeon) and is remembering the most significant summer of ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Five Midnights, Ann Dávila Cardinal (Tor Teen 978-1-250-29607-8, $17.99, 288pp, hc) June 2019.

Welcome to the seedy side of Puerto Rico, where at an early age teens are roped into gangs and drug dealing, the economy is under perpetual attack by greedy US business interests, and a terrifying murderer is on the prowl. It looks like a couple of young men walking on the wrong side of the law ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

The Weight of the Stars, K. Ancrum (Imprint 978-1-250-10163-1, $18.99, 375pp, hc) March 2019.

It is impossible for me to review K. Ancrum’s The Weight of the Stars without first mentioning Seanan McGuire’s stunner of a blurb. She wrote: “This book is starlight on broken concrete, it’s flowers on a broken rooftop, and it’s a masterpiece.” If you are a fan of McGuire (and good God, why wouldn’t you ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Trace by Pat Cummings

Trace, Pat Cummings (HarperCollins 978-0-06-269884-1, $16.99, 320pp, hc) April 2019.

Sometimes, readers want a gentle story with big-hearted characters that manages to convey powerful drama in a subtle plot. Trace by Pat Cummings is exactly that, a ghost story that combines an unfolding historical mystery with a heartfelt coming-of-age tale. It is a muted novel, as much about the struggle of adapting to a new family situation as it ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War, Julie Berry (Greenwillow 978-0-451-46993-9, $18.99, 468pp, hc) March 2019.

From the cover, Lovely War by Julie Berry appears to be the historical novel that it is. You have a young woman in period dress, a photo of WWI soldiers in the background, and a statue of the Eiffel Tower encircled with biplanes in the woman’s hands. There is nothing to suggest fantasy from the cover, but rest ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Grif­fin

Other Words for Smoke, Sarah Maria Grif­fin (Greenwillow 978-0-06-240891-4, $17.99, 331pp, hc) March 2019.

Let’s talk about a very creepy book, shall we? Other Words for Smoke by Irish au­thor Sarah Maria Griffin is about witches, a haunted house, a mysterious “other” world, Ireland’s history of abusing unwed mothers, and the seductive allure of power. It’s also about a cat and an owl who are most certainly not just ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

When the Sky Fell on Splendor, Emily Henry (Razorbill 978-0-451-48071-2, $17.99, 340pp, hc) March 2019.

The publisher makes a direct comparison to Stranger Things in the dust jacket copy for Em­ily Henry’s latest, When the Sky Fell on Splendor. While I can see some similarities – teens on bicycles in a sleepy midwestern town who encounter some­thing otherworldly with very negative results – I find that the novel ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always, Justin A. Reynolds (Katherine Tegen 978-0-06-274837-9, $17.99, 464pp, hc) March 2019.

It is not a spoiler to state that Opposite of Always is a novel about time travel; specifically, the story of Jack traveling back over the same period of months again and again (and again and again) to save the life of his girlfriend, Kate. All of this is revealed on the book’s cover, which ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley

An Affair of Poisons, Addie Thorley (Page Street 978-1-62414-713-5, $18.99, 383pp, hc) February 2019.

In 1679 there was a documented plot to assassinate King Louis XIV of France. Instigated by his discarded mistress, Madame de Montespan, a poisoned petition was prepared, and on three separate occasions there were attempts to present it to the king; all of them failed. The plot was uncovered and over 30 people were arrested ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

Do You Dream of Terra-Two?, Temi Oh (Saga 978-1-53443-7401 $16.99, 528pp, tp) March 2019.

First, this book is a doorstop. I am not kid­ding, it’s a book about a deep space mission that doesn’t even leave the ground until more than 100 pages in. It has a big cast of char­acters (six living teens, one dead one, four adults, plus mentions of various parents and assorted other living and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Spectacle, Jodie Lynn Zdrok (Tor Teen 978-0-7653-9968-7, $17.99, 359pp, hc) February 2019.

Author Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Paris initially reads as quite familiar to fans of historical fiction. It’s 1887 and the Eiffel Tower is under construction, the Cata­combs are open for tours, and every morning bodies “found in the public domain” are displayed at the morgue. Anyone and everyone lines up for a brief glimpse of the dead. The ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Station Zero by Philip Reeve

Station Zero, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press 978-0-19-275915-3, 7.99, 288pp, tp) Janu­ary 2018. (Capstone 978-1684460540, $17.95, 313pp, hc) February 2019.

Having now finished reading Station Zero, the final book in Philip Reeve’s fabulous Railhead trilogy, I remain confused about why this science fiction series is not far more popular. It has politi­cal intrigue, smart and gutsy teens of all shapes, sizes, races, and genders, more than one battle ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

The Things She’s Seen, Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (Knopf 978-1-9848-4937-3, $17.99, 208pp, hc) May 2019.

First, a non-spoiler plot point about The Things She’s Seen: the primary narrator, 16-year-old Beth, is dead. Readers learn this in the first pages, and the reality of Beth’s deadness grounds the narrative. Beth can see (and hear) things because she is a ghost, while the fact that her father can clearly see ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Blanca & Roja, Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel & Friends 978-1-250-16271-7, $17.99, 367pp, hc) October 2018.

Anna-Marie McLemore follows up her gorgeous­ly crafted novel Wild Beauty with an equally lush and luminous take on the fairy tale of “Snow White and Rose Red”. Blanca & Roja is the story of two sisters who labor under a generational curse. One is light and the other is dark. One is agreeable, the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi (Wednes­day Books 978-1-250-14454-6, $18.99, 388pp, tp) January 2019.

In this glittering journey through a fantastical late 19th-century Paris, author Roshani Chokshi gifts readers with adventure wrapped in mystery wrapped in (unorthodox) family drama that in­corporates aspects of crime thrillers, caper flicks, and a fair bit of James Bond-esque espionage. The descriptions of the 1889 Paris Exposition are exquisite, and the history that Chokshi weaves ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Pérez

The Tesla Legacy, K.K. Pérez (Tor Teen 978-1-250-08489-7, $17.99, 368pp, tp) March 2019.

K.K. Pérez’s The Tesla Legacy presents a familiar but always compelling premise: what if you are not the person you think you are? In this case, high school senior Lucy thinks she knows herself very well. She’s a former homeschooler now happily ensconced in public school, living just outside New York City, where she pursues an ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion 978-136801335-2, $16.99, 310pp, tp) January 2019. Cover by Vivienne To.

In the latest title from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, Korean-American author Yoon Ha Lee transports traditional Korean animal folklore to space in an interplanetary adventure with all the thrills, spills, and surprises that younger teens could want. Dragon Pearl is a bit like the vintage “Perils of Pauline” serials (without the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Deceit, Alison Goodman (Viking 978-0-670-78549-0, $19.99, 527pp, tp) November 2018.

The final book in the Lady Helen tril­ogy was released in November and it brought this regency romance/fantasy to a dramatic climax just as all of its fans (includ­ing me) were hoping. The Dark Days Deceit picks right up where the second book, The Dark Days Pact, left off. It is December 1812, Lady Helen ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand (Katherine Tegan Books 978-0-06-269660-1, $17.99, 447pp, tp) October 2018.

Let’s talk about how to write a creepy book really, really well, shall we?

Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls utilizes an almost dream-like writing style to tell the converging stories of three teenage girls: Marion, Zoey, and Val. The girls live on the island of Sawkill Rock, a place of rolling horse farms, “houses like palaces,” and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Wicked King by Holly Black and The Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Sphinx’s Secret by Gwenda Bond & Christopher Rowe

The Wicked King, Holly Black (Little, Brown 978-0-316-31035-2, $18.99, 324pp, hc) January 2019.

Holly Black’s highly anticipated sequel to her outstanding The Cruel Prince has arrived and somehow, she manages to put even more intrigue and tension into this second volume. The Wicked King picks up a few months after the first book’s stunner of an ending, (and get ready – she packs that same cliffhanger punch with this ...Read More

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