#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, May 25 Edition

A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publisher
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
ISBN: 978-0062644213 

Over forty years after evacuating Earth and finding themselves marooned on Faloiv, the elite Whitecoat scientists still discover new wonders in the world outside their colony of N’Terra. Octavia dreams of the day she joins her scientist parents, and the early internships offer her and her classmates the chance to study Faloiv’s extraordinary natural world with the Whitecoats. However, Octavia finds herself strangely empathetic to the animals they study, and she and her friends discover some of the scientists’ experiments have sinister motives. Eventually, Octavia questions everything she knows of N’Terra’s history and its tenuous relationship with their hosts, the Faloii.

Lush and vivid descriptions of the flora, fauna, and people of Faloiv bring the world to life. The sensory laden language of the sights, sounds, and smells add to the immersive quality of the intricate world-building. A slowly developed plot leads the diverse group of well-drawn teen characters to the suspenseful discovery of the dark secrets of their seemingly idyllic world. In addition, thought-provoking questions about imperialism and ethics are raised.

Hand this to your science fiction fans. Fans of the immersive world of the movie, Avatar, will enjoy this.

–Carol Maples


Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
ISBN: 978-1335692290 

Enne Salta was raised as a proper lady, trained as a dancer according to her family’s Talent. But when Enne’s mother goes missing, she leaves her life behind and heads to the City of Sin, New Reynes, determined to track her down. New Reynes is not like any place Enne has ever known, it’s filled with drinking, gambling, street gangs, and corrupt politicians.

Enne’s only clue leads her to the Iron Lord, Levi Glaisyer, the leader of a local street gang. Meanwhile, Levi is in over his head on an investment scam, and Enne might just be the answer to paying off his debt. Together, their search takes them on an adventure through New Reynes and a dark game with the highest stakes. In order to find the truth, they must play with their lives.

This book is a wonderful, fast-paced adventure that is gripping from the first page. Both Enne and Levi are multi-layered characters, and readers will easily find themselves rooting for both of them. The City of Sin is home to a whole cast of interesting characters, intrigue, and a entirely unique magic system. Amanda Foody has managed to create an amazing world filled with magic, mystery, and questionable morals. Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows Duology will feel right at home in New Reynes.

–Shelbie Marks