I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of this book a few months ago, and guys, it is freakin’ amazing. Debut author Sabaa Tahir is an immensely talented writer with fantastic world-building skills. I absolutely loved the story and characters she created. Also, the male protagonist, Elias, is most definitely swoon-worthy.
I’m a massive fan of retellings so I’m always on the eye out for the latest one. Rook is a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy and takes place in Paris during a revolution. I’ve only read the first chapter of this book, but I can already tell that it’s going to be awesome because it has a kick-butt female heroine. If you like retellings with fierce female characters, I recommend that you pick this one up.
A YA contemporary actually made my list! I’m usually not a contemporary fan, but this book by debut author Becky Albertalli blew me away. Simon is a snarky teenage boy dealing with blackmail related to his sexual identity. His character is so incredibly realistic and hilarious — I was immediately able to connect with him. Also, Simon is a massive Harry Potter fan and frequently makes references related to the series; Simon threatens to disown his sister for not knowing with a Dementor is. How can you not fall in love with him?!
The summary of Magonia describes the book as “Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars,” which isn’t entirely accurate. This book definitely has Neil Gaiman vibes, but its only link to The Fault in Our Stars is that it follows the story of a dying girl. Regardless of the comparison, Magonia is a beautiful and heart-wrenching novel with lyrical prose. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it to those looking for a unique story.
Fans of urban fantasy will really enjoy this book — it takes place in modern-day cities (such as NYC and Prague) but weaves in an ancient rivalry between two races of creatures, the Avicen and the Drakharin. The main character, Echo, is so incredibly snarky and sarcastic; she’s definitely a character you can engage with. This book reminded me of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, especially because it has a poetic writing style.
If you’re a historical fiction fan, I highly recommend the Prisoner of Night and Fog series, which looks into the story of Hitler and takes place pre-WWII. This book picks up where the first one left off, and in an effort to not give away any spoilers, all I’ll say is that I’m expecting a ton more action in this book.