From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon
Simon & Schuster / Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
By writing to female directors in her journal, an aspiring filmmaker herself, Twinkle navigates friend, boy, and family drama all while directing her first short film with Sahil Roy, a fellow film lover who also harbors an unrequited crush on her. To complicate matters further Twinkle has a secret admirer who she suspects might be Neil Roy, Sahil’s twin brother and Twinkle’s own unrequited crush.
While Twinkle has a strong teenage voice as a character, her journal-letter entries weave a more nuanced look at fading friendships, young love, and unspoken family issues, than at first glance. Menon does an excellent job of writing Twinkle with heart, humor, and flaws that are fleshed out well. The supporting characters and love interests that in a typical journal formatted story can come off as one-dimensional, their own voices and growth within Twinkle’s story. Twinkle contributes to some of the issues that she faces, and must grow-up and own up to her mistakes, modeling, in a relatable way, an essential part of the teenage experience. It also helps that a very sweet romance with a swoon-worthy boy guides her to some of these self-realizations.
Fans of Menon’s first novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, and movies directed by the very filmmakers Twinkle writes to (Nora Ephron, Sofia Coppola, and Ava DuVernay) will want to read until after the end credits of From Twinkle, with Love.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Sourcebooks / Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
For years, Rielle has been hiding her magical powers. When her abilities are exposed, she must endure trials that test each of the seven elemental powers and prove that she can use them for good. One thousand years later, Eliana also fights to keep her abilities hidden from those who would wield her as a weapon of destruction. After her mother is kidnapped, she joins with an enemy rebel leader, all the while wondering who the real enemy is. Rielle and Eliana are suspected to be prophesied queens, one of light and one of blood, who must sacrifice everything to save those they love.
Told in alternating chapters, Rielle and Eliana are strong female characters with light and dark warring inside them. They must choose which will prevail when war compels them to use their magical abilities to save their loved ones. They are both flawed, yet confident women who must make decisions that go against everything they believe. The richly detailed and original world-building will appeal to teens that love intricately constructed, action-packed fantasy. The sensuality between characters will entice those looking for steamy romance. Teens will revel in this dark and mysterious adventure of prophesied queens and the impending attack from war-like angels.
Fans of Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass will find similar action-packed moments and the strong females characters reminiscent of Celaena Sardothien. Readers that loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore will love this well-crafted world where corruption, power, magic, and royalty collide. Game of Thrones fans will enjoy the brutality and complexity woven throughout the story.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
Little Brown Books for Young Readers / Little Brown
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
With her home completely gone after a tornado rips through her hometown, Ivy must deal with the aftermath, as well as her problems before the storm hit. The worst is that Ivy’s notebook of sketches featuring her holding a girl’s hand disappears in the confusion afterwards. Shortly after, she begins receiving notes with her drawings in her locker pleading with her to tell someone about her questioning romantic feelings. Is it Ivy’s new friend, the quirky and cute June she is developing feelings for? Or is it someone else who will tell Ivy’s secret before she’s ready?
Filled with heart and all of the confusing feelings that come with first crushes, Ivy’s story is one that resonates with readers. A refreshing LGBTQ story for younger teens, Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World is a beautiful story about rebuilding relationships and building yourself up. Not only does the book cover the aftermath of such a traumatic event, Blake also does an amazing job of showing the grief Ivy goes through in figuring out her feelings and telling them her truth to her family, friends, and crush, especially after seeing her own sister treat a friend poorly after coming out.
Fans of Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee, Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender, and One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock will love Ivy’s story of crushes and figuring out who she is, surrounded by people who might not understand, but more who do.