Daniel Pratzer is a newbie on the freshman chess team at his private school. He has made modest progress, but as a patzer (beginner), Daniel is shocked when his super-achieving co-captains ask him to participate in a special tournament. The Manhattan tournament is comprised of three father-son teams. The captains admit it’s not Daniel’s skill they’re after - it’s Daniel’s dad they want on their team. With Mr. Pratzer’s skill as a Grandmaster, they are sure they’ll win the $10,000 prize.
In the magical, artsy Pacific Northwest two teen girls live a wild, carefree life with nothing tying them down- except their devotion to each other. Beautiful, reckless Aurora is the daughter of an ex-piano prodigy and a deceased rock star, while the more cautious, introspective narrator is the daughter of a hippie witch. At one time, their mothers were best friends and the girls were raised as sisters. Now, however, Aurora’s mother spends most days in bed, suffocated by grief and heroin addiction. The girls live for the beach, music shows, sci-fi movies, and coffe
In her second novel, Valentine blends fairy tale with historical fiction by retelling Grimm’s “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” setting it in the Roaring Twenties. During the day, the Hamilton sisters are shut up in the top story of their father’s house. Ashamed of having twelve daughters and no sons, their father hides them while he waits to marry them off to advantageous matches. Some nights the girls sneak out to dance at various speakeasies around Manhattan.
Tarver Merendsen is a young decorated war hero from a normal - but not rich - family. Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the richest and most powerful man in the universe. They meet by chance on board the mega-spaceship Icarus, but Lilac quickly puts a stop to any intentions, as her father is known for making interested men disappear. One afternoon, the Icarus is suddenly yanked out of hyperspace, forcing Lilac and Tarver to eject in an escape pod. They land on a terraformed but seemingly uninhabited planet.
In the thrilling conclusion to the Grisha trilogy, Leigh Bardugo has outdone herself again. We left Alina, the Sun Summoner, in a dark underworld ruled by the Apparats where there is no way she can summon the sun to give herself and those around her the sun’s power. Yet her people still worship her in her weakened state as a Saint, renowned for her ability to capture the sun’s energy as a holy force. Her best friend Mal concocts a plan to free Alina from her dark prison and strategizes how to free Ravka from the grip of the Darkling.
Raised by a band of con-artists and outsiders, Tooly Zylberberg has always led an unconventional life. Taking solace in her isolated existence, she is currently running a failing bookstore in a small village in Wales when an old boyfriend from New York sends her an urgent message about a man from her past he mistakenly believes is her father. Against her better judgment, Tooly flies to New York City and finds that the message was about Humphrey - a self-proclaimed grumpy intellectual from Russia who helped raise her.
Fourteen-year-old Viola lives in Juba, Sudan with her loving grandmother, strong-willed mother, and adoring little brother. Although danger is constantly present in the form of land mines, armed soldiers, and starvation, Viola loves her family and community, and remembers the days when Juba was a lush paradise. When she is raped by a soldier when walking home one evening, however, her family decides to make the treacherous journey from Sudan to Egypt to the United States. Tragedy occurs along the way, and Viola finds herself torn between the luxuries found in America, and
Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an incredibly privileged East Coast family, in which every member is blonde, beautiful, and wealthy. The Sinclairs own a private island, where all convene every summer. Cady, along with the other family “Liars,” have spent carefree, idyllic summers on the island…until the summer Cady turns fifteen. Summer 15 is filled with fun and first love, until the horrible night Cady is found alone on the beach.
This gritty and excellently written fantasy novel follows three siblings of the recently slain emperor of Annur. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. This is fantasy at its best, with great character development, plot, and world building. After the twist at the end of this book, I can't wait for the next one!
SF/F STAVELEY, B.
Rebecca Blue does not fit in at Del Ray high school. Raised by her professional photographer mother, Rebecca (aka Rebel), she grew up on the road chasing the perfect photographic happenings throughout Central and South America. When her mother is tragically killed, however, Rebel moves in with her aunt, uncle, and Cousin Pen… all of whom seem impossibly straight-laced and perfect. The one constant in Rebel’s life is now detention, where one afternoon she connects with perky, passionate, civic-minded Kennedy Green. For their detention assignments, the two