No time to track down full reviews of YA books? Seashell Reviews offers bite-size thoughts to let you know which books you shouldn’t pass up, and which ones you can hold off for another day. Original titled blog feature by Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books.
Can the best thing happen at the worst time? Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother.(Goodreads)
When you’re an older sibling, it’s hard to shake off the gravity that pulls you towards protecting and caring for your younger siblings. For Lucille, taking care of her sister isn’t just an obligation–it’s the only thing keeping her sister alive. Her teenage years aren’t exactly a high school dream, as she takes their absent mother’s place and tries to make sure that no one knows just how much they’re struggling. Estelle Laure’s prose is equal parts sympathetic and measured in Lucille’s story, hinting at the character’s potential but never forgetting that she’s still a kid, being forced to grow up before her time. The romance between Lucille and Digby is the least compelling aspect of this novel, however, and I finished the book having felt more for Lucille’s desire for real independence and a support system that will catch her when she needs it.
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed. (Goodreads)
I didn’t know much about The Impostor Queen before it was pitched to me, and even as I began reading it, I struggled with figuring out the world that Sarah Fine was describing. It’s an interesting and engaging novel, to be sure, but I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was missing some vital information before chapter 1 began. Elli is a character that commands the narrative, despite her lack of knowledge about her true identity. Fine gives her room to grow, and for her fears and insecurities to be addressed–we learn about life outside the palace along with Elli, and it makes her journey worth following. The hints of bisexual romance were also lovely and a welcome avenue in YA fiction. The Impostor Queen sets up for an intense fantasy series that will likely delight fans of Rae Carson and Sarah J. Maas.
When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier. (Goodreads)
Sometimes you just want a trope-tastic romance to lighten your TBR pile, and Rebecca Serle answers the call with the first book in her Famous in Love series. Paige is a quintessential eager ingénue, and her trip down to Hawaii is her first real adventure. It’s easy to see why she might be swept away by Rainer’s effortless charm, and intrigued by Jordan’s mysterious personality. While I wasn’t surprised by the plot, or by Paige’s choices, the novel did give me exactly what I was looking for: a will-they-won’t-they love triangle paced well enough to keep me turning the pages.