Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza - but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance.
Harmless spoiler alert: yes it is! Obsidio is the third and final book in Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's groundbreaking YA sci-fi series, The Illuminae Files. Presented as a dossier of evidence submitted during a trial, the series takes the jury (and the listener) through the story of a planetary invasion gone wrong, ultimately making a case against a greedy corporate entity. As such, the print versions of these books are highly graphic: complete with redactions, transcripts, maps, charts, and drawings. In translating this to audio, the producers faced a huge challenge in communicating not just the story but also the drama and emotion inherent on the pages. Through a vast multi-cast of more than 40 actors, rich sound design, commissioned music, as well as original content devised by the authors specifically for the audiobook, the series becomes a completely transporting, immersive, and not-to-be-missed experience.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie's Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
There’s a specific delicious satisfaction to finding that a much-hyped book is everything it’s touted to be and more. After listening to all 18 hours of Tomi Adeyemi’s incredible debut sci-fi YA novel, I am beyond well satisfied. Building on a uniquely West African mythology, Adeyemi conjures up a vibrant, amazing fantasy world, in which magic once thrived, a segment of the population is grievously oppressed, and a young woman becomes the leader she was meant to be. Feisty teenager Zélie Adebola, who has seen her mother killed and her people crushed under the heel of a villainous king, knows that bringing back magic is the key to freeing them—all but she has no idea she’ll have to be the one to do it or the epic adventure that awaits. Bahni Turpin’s mastery of the accents expertly brings the wide array of characters to life, carrying you with Zélie and her crew across the physical and emotional landscapes that make this book so special.
Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm's most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a gift with unlimited potential for greatness - and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the "leftover prince" with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms.
This first book in a new series from Tamora Pierce centers on Arram, a precocious 10-year-old with unusually strong magic who later grows up to be the mage Numair Salmalín from The Immortals series. Arram, the youngest student at the Imperial University of Carthak, causes trouble because he can’t control his magic, but eventually finds professors and friends who help him to fit in. This prequel will satisfy longtime fans, and those new to the fantasy world of Tortall will feel just as welcome.
Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His dad just died, the share crops are dry, and Cap'n Buck - the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, South Carolina - has come to collect a debt. Fearing for his life, Charlie strikes a deal with Cap'n Buck and agrees to track down some thieves. It's not too bad of a bargain for Charlie...until he comes face to face with the fugitives and discovers that they escaped slavery years ago and have been living free in Detroit. Torn between his guilty conscience and his survival instinct, Charlie needs to figure out his next move - and soon.
One of my all-time favorites, Christopher Paul Curtis, can make me laugh and cry in the same sentence. Twelve-year-old Charlie, son of a white sharecropper, gets swindled into joining an evil plantation overseer on a journey to capture escaped slaves. Charlie is a product of his environment, yet bravely struggles to do right in the face of the evil he sees. Based on an actual incident, this story is sometimes brutal, but redemptive and even funny in a way that only Curtis can manage. It begs to be listened to so kids can hear Charlie’s dialect as it was meant to sound.
Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including: Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother.
When I chose this book, I was mainly drawn in by the idea of listening to a YA novel narrated by one of my favorites: Julia Whelan, who performs young voices so well. And then it won the National Book Award, and I knew for sure I’d be in for a good listen. Far From the Tree is the story of three biological siblings getting to know one another for the first time. But it’s ultimately about finding your own sense of family and home, in whatever form that may take. This is a gorgeous listen all around, made all the more powerful by Whelan’s warm, authentic performance.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League - but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Nic Stone’s debut novel grips you right from the start. Despite being at the top of his class, Justyce McAllister doesn’t feel like he fits in at his predominantly white high school. Without giving too much away, Justyce experiences run-ins with law enforcement, and taking in the injustice he sees in his life and in the news, he begins to write to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the hopes that the one-sided letters will help him both process his feelings and decide if and in what form to take action. I loved Justyce’s letters and his internal monologues – they show such vulnerability that is beautifully captured in Dion Graham’s performance. This was a fresh and eye-opening book that I’d recommend to teens and adults alike.
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
In the midst of some huge life changes, this is the story that finally grabbed my focus and gave me that I’m-in-love-with-this-book feeling again. It has such a great hook: after Julia’s "perfect" older sister dies, she discovers Olga was leading a secret double life. But what I loved most is how it presents a day in the life of a very relatable, fully realized teenage girl. Julia fights with her parents, adores her English teacher, navigates social dramas, and is very opinionated about books and music. And the narrator is amazing – she uses the PERFECT inflections for a cynical teenage girl, as well as an impressive roster of supporting characters.
On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not - their gifts make them vulnerable to others' control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives and reset the balance of power in this world?
After such a mega-hit as the Divergent series, it’s always fascinating (and , yes, a little nerve-wracking) to see what an author will come up with next. The first in a planned duology, Carve the Mark jumps right into the action with intriguing characters and sophisticated world-building. It’s got more elements of sci-fi and fantasy than Divergent, with political and family drama reminiscent of books like Red Rising and Dune. This new series brings new voices as well. Emily Rankin, much like Emma Galvin, brilliantly captures that mix of youthfulness and jaded maturity that’s crucial for characters like Roth’s. Joining her is newcomer Austin Butler, who I’m excited to get to know through this series. Though I haven’t yet finished, I think I’m already enjoying this story even more than I did Divergent.