The Rose Society, the sequel to Marie Lu’s The Young Elites hit the shelves on October 13th and has spent four weeks on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List. In The Rose Society readers revisit Adelina Amouteru, one of the survivors of the blood plague that made her and many others into “young elites” gifted with strange powers. The book opens with Teren Santoro, lead inquisitor set on ridding the kingdom of Adelina’s kind. Fans of the courtly intrigue, fast paced plot, and atmospheric setting in the first book will not be disappointed by the second. If your library’s copy is checked out consider recommending some of these backlist titles to tide over your eager patrons while they wait.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Fans of the unique and complex world building in The Young Elites will appreciate Bardugo’s “czar punk” setting. Likewise, readers will see many of Adelina’s strong points in Bardugo’s Alina.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (2003 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Turner’s Queen’s Thief series is an older one, making it more likely to be on the shelf, and more likely to be one that your patrons have not yet read. Readers who loved the element of spying and espionage in The Young Elites will be hooked by Turner’s plot twists.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2012 Teens’ Top Ten)
Riggs’s “peculiars”, children born with strange abilities or deformities, resemble Lu’s “elites”. Give this one to fans of the the very subtle way magic works in The Young Elites or to fans of Lu’s varied ensemble cast.
Without revealing any spoilers, fans of The Young Elites can tell you that The Rose Society will open with Adelina vengeful and spurred on to action. Readers who appreciate her relentless drive for justice will enjoy Robin LaFevers His Fair Assassins series about the daughters of the god of death who do his work of killing those marked to die. Fans of the courtly intrigue in The Young Elites will love watching LaFevers’s assassins weave webs of deception in the high courts of medieval Brittany.
Allies and Assassins by Justin Somper
Somper’s Allies and Assassins is a fast pace murder mystery in fantastical court setting. Like Lu, his plot moves quickly and keeps readers guessing. Like The Young Elites, the story is told from multiple perspectives thus bringing the reader a delicious flavor of dramatic irony.
Huntress by Malinda Lo (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Readers who loved Lu’s Italian inspired sense of place and atmospheric setting will appreciate Lo’s Chinese inspired fantasy world. Fans of the romance that builds in the midst of action between Adelina and Enzo will enjoy watching love blossom between the two huntresses Kaede and Taisin.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (2015 Alex Award Nominee)
While technically an adult fiction title, The Queen of the Tearling was nominated for an Alex Award (“books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults”) and has a similar high fantasy feel to the The Young Elites. It is in development as a movie set to star Emma Watson, which may be a selling point for some readers.
Pantomime by Laura Lam (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)
Lam’s young intersex protagonist Gene finds herself in a similar predicament as Adelina, having to flee home and leave everything she’s ever known for a strange new life, all the while dealing with strange powers that have long lain dormant.
This, it could be argued, modern fantasy classic may not have crossed your young patron’s radar when it was first published, but its appeal holds. Readers will see a lot of Adlina’s bravery and daring in Nix’s protagonist Ancelstierre. This books is also on the thicker side so readers will have plenty to keep them occupied while the wait for The Rose Society to come in.
Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen (2004 Best Books for Young Adults)
Fans of Lu’s plot twists will enjoy Yolen’s Arthurian retelling that breathes new life into old characters and keeps readers guessing.
Like Adelina in the beginning of The Young Elites, Seraphina is an outsider and has a secret. She is half dragon and, like Adelina, discovers that she might not be the only one who possesses this distinction. Harman’s extremely complex world building and hints of romance will satisfy Lu’s fans. If they get hooked they will be happy to know that Shadow Scale, the sequel to Seraphina came out in March.
Watching Adelina balance the blessing and curse of her strange power is an element of The Rose Society mirrored in Cashore’s Graceling in which Katsa has the “grace” of being an extremely talented fighter, but is forced to use her power in service to her uncle the king. Readers are treated to another secret society and more romance. Graceling is the first book in a trilogy.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, the first in Carson’s trilogy begins with Elisa secretly married off as a political ploy and moves quickly from there. Lots of action, intrigue and a bit of romance.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (2015 Popular Paperbacks)
Hodge’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast begins with Nyx fulfilling a bargain made by her father and marrying the evil creature that has long oppressed the kingdom. While Hodge sets up the story as a typical kill or be killed predicament, it amounts to a layered romance. In the vein of The Young Elites, readers will find it agonizingly delightful trying to figure out who the main character should trust.
This is a good start for fans of The Young Elites, but there are plenty more. Please leave your suggestions in the comments!
-Emily Childress-Campbell, Currently reading It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini