In a surprising twist, I found a YA amnesia book that was for me, an adult fantasy that I found to be a bit of a mix and YA contemporary that, while too fluffy and sweet for me, could be a great fit for another reader.
The Half-Life of Molly Pierce
by Katrina Leno
Published by Harper Teen
on July 8, 2014
Source: ARC giveaway at ALA
Mini-synopsis adapted from Goodreads: For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.My mini-take: Amnesia stories in YA are about as overdone as insta-love and love triangles. That said, if amnesia is used as a way to explore identity issues and not just as a convenient plot device, I can get on board. The Half Life of Molly Pearce was a little spare, but that was partly because of its length -- only 240 pages. But I don't think the story that was being told needed more any more pages. It started dramatically and kept my interest throughout. It was a unusual sort of "finding yourself" story, compellingly told. If you have enjoyed other twisty books of summer 2014, books like We Were Liars or Complicit, definitely give this one a try!
by Erika Johansen
Published by Harper
on July 8, 2014
Source: e-galley from the publisher via Edelweiss
This is an adult book. The reading level is appropriate for YA but there is adult content.
Mini-synopsis adapted from Goodreads: On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.
My mini-take: I had seriously mixed feelings about Queen of the Tearling. The retro-futuristic-sci-fi-medieval mash-up of a story world was pretty intriguing but also in need of much more explanation. The main character also annoyed me to no end. The synopsis claims that Kelsea isn't vain, but I found her appearance-obsessed internal monologue hard to take -- she didn't let up, even when she was running for her life, There are some scenes that felt strongly reminiscent of other blockbuster books, like The Hunger Games (the lottery) and Game of Thrones (the scene where Kelsea insists on executing a guy because it's her duty). Many of the book's characters feel one-dimensionally good or evil, though there are a few interestingly shifty ones and a female villain with a lot of potential. Curious to see what develops in the next book and hope that Kelsea will be start focusing on saving her kingdom instead of worrying about what everyone looks like.
by Alecia Whitaker
Published on July 1, 2014
Source: e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley
Mini-synopsis adapted from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own. Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?My mini-take: Wildflower is the first installment in a squeaky-clean YA Cinderella trilogy about a sixteen year-old who, in the blink of an eye, goes from traveling around in an RV with her musical family, Partridge-style, to being a bona fide country star. While I have nothing against nice or sweet, especially in real life, Wildflower was like cotton candy topped with marshmallow fluff and sprinkles. As I read, I kept hoping for some -- any!!-- hint of conflict to arise. I love Cinderella stories as much as the next girl, but Cinderella have plenty of tension and I was feeling the need for some of that in this modern day fairy tale. While Wildflower wasn't a perfect fit for me as a reader, it would make a great choice for tweens or any reader who is feeling the need for a book that's 100% sweet and upbeat.
Do you have any favorite July YA books to share? Tell me in comments!