The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
Imprint / Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Winter’s family has been sworn to protect the Wood for generations. The Wood holds secrets, including portals to other time periods that people accidentally fall through sometimes. There are only three rules to protect the Wood: Do not travel from the paths. Do not linger after dark. Do not ignore the calling. A few years ago Winter’s father strayed from the path and was lost to the wood. Now a strange boy named Henry has fallen through one of the portals. Unlike other travelers, he knows about the Wood and Winter’s father. She must work with this boy to solve the mystery of what happened to her father, and why it appears the Wood is dying.
The simple, yet bold cover with the leaf dripping blood is only the start of this fast-paced novel that hooks the reader from the beginning. As the slightly brooding Winter tries to solve the mystery of her father, things become emotionally intense as the enigmatic Henry shows up. The story is also riddled with some mystical elements that keep the reader wondering about what will happen next. While there is a bit of forbidden romance involved, mixed in with some humorous witty banter at times, the story is more plot driven and is full of action until the very end.
The strong female lead in tune with the Wood is great if you liked Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerhill. The mysterious fantasy realm that this book brings the reader into is also perfect for fans of Holly Black.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Jane McKeene, the biracial daughter of a white Southern belle, is a talented fighter in the post-Civil-War-era rise of the undead. Almost finished with her training at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Maryland, Jane dreams of returning to her home in Kentucky rather than becoming an Attendant like the other Black and Native girls she’s trained alongside. When people she knows begin disappearing from Baltimore, however, she finds herself caught up in a fight for her life against enemies even more frightening than the recently reanimated corpses at the fence.
At turns action-packed and introspective, Dread Nation is a zombie-killing thrill ride brimming with social commentary about life in America that is no less applicable to today’s society than to a more immediately post-Civil War United States. Jane is a fierce, spitfire heroine who will be beloved by teens who know they are stronger and smarter than the world gives them credit for. A fast-paced plot with changing landscapes, a set of well-defined, intriguing secondary characters, and an Old West atmosphere provide the framework for a story that is at once a mirror, a window, and a raucously good time.
The readership for this title will be wide, including fans of horror books and movies, teens who enjoy American history media such as Hamilton, and readers of books like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Nic Stone’s Dear Martin.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Simon Pulse/ Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Grace Salter: the new girl in town.
Rosina Suarez: the queer Mexican punk.
Erin Delillo: the socially awkward nerd.
These three very different girls band together when Grace discovers that her room used to belong to Lucy Moynihan, a high school rape victim who moved away after no one believed her story. While seeking justice for Lucy, the girls begin to reveal the high school’s rape culture and recruit other woman to create the resistance.
Told in multiple points of view, The Nowhere Girls takes an honest look at rape culture and the objectification of women. This book shows young women who, like those in the #timesup movement, stand up to sexual abuse, inequality, and victim blaming. The large cast of characters are diverse and have believable teen language including a raw sex positive discussion. Author’s note included.
This book is meant to be talked about and itching to be in the hands of young women needing to feel empowered. Pair with Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie, Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species and the upcoming novel Tradition by Brendan Kiely.