Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Mila is a teenage witch with a mission. When her best friend Riley dies by drowning, it is assumed that her death is linked with the suicides of two other highschool students and that they must have formed a suicide pact. Mila doesn’t buy this and decides to use a spell to bring Riley back to find out who killed her. Unfortunately she doesn’t just bring back Riley, but the other two girls, June and Dayton, as well. Now saddled with three undead teenagers who can’t remember how they died and who have the attention span of toddlers, Mila is determined to find out who killed them and why before the girls return their graves at the end of seven days.
Although the premise may sound bleak, the book is funny and sometimes poignant. The murder mystery is central to the story and has several twists that keep the plot moving. Teens will also relate the main character Riley as she is a fiercely unique individual who puts on a brave exterior, but faces many of the same insecurities as a typical teen. Teens would also enjoy the friendship between Mila and Riley, as well as with her love interest, who also happens to be Riley’s brother.
Teens who enjoy the silliness and quirkiness of “My Lady Jane” by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows would be a great fit for this book. Also teens who are into books about witchcraft such as the “Hex Hall” series by Rachel Hawkins would enjoy the magical aspects of this book. This would also be great for those who like the 1996 classic movie “The Craft” and the T.V. show “Supernatural.”
Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong
Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Skye Gilchrist returns to her hometown three years after a tragic school shooting. She finds that she is villainized and harassed…and she knows why. Skye’s brother, Luka, was one of the shooters.
The cover image of a dimly lit school hallway with blood spattered lockers sets the tone for the grim setting that shattered so many lives. This ripped from the headlines topic certainly seizes attention, with a plot that intensifies in pace and keeps readers speculating as Skye attempts to uncover the series of events that lead to that fateful day. Readers will find themselves rooting for the sympathetic main character as she seeks to rebuild her friendship with Jesse, and to reflect upon and reconcile the brother she knew and loved with the person who committed this heinous act.
This thought-provoking book has broad appeal for teens and includes diverse, compelling characters. The alternate perspective from the sister of the shooter is fodder for productive classroom or book club discussions. Readalikes include This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp and Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau.
Royals by Rachel Hawkins
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Daisy is not royal. Her sister’s fiancé however is the Crown Prince of Scotland. When the press catches wind of Daisy’s existence she is forced to spend her summer in Scotland learning how to not embarrass her sister’s future in-laws, AKA the Queen and King. Thrust together with the troublemaker Prince Sebastian and Miles, the Sebastian’s attractive friend assigned to teach Daisy the ropes of all things royal, Daisy is in for a summer unlike anything she has experienced before in her home state of Florida.
This book is fun, with a quick hook of Daisy’s life being turned upside down very quickly and whisked away to a Scottish royal adventure full of paparazzi, snobby aristocrats, and clumsy mishaps. While having a sister engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland is not a reality that teens can relate to, they will relate to Daisy’s geeky and charming personality and would love to relate to the love triangle of between Daisy and the bad boy Prince Sebastian and the always loyal Miles.
“Royals” is a must recommend to teens obsessed with the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Fans of “The Princess Diaries” series by Meg Cabot, as well as the movies would find “Royals” just as charming and funny as those books and movies. This title would also be great for those who enjoyed the romance and cheesy goodness of the Netflix original movie “A Christmas Prince.”