#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, October 26 Edition

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
ISBN: 9781338111033 

After briefly dying, Cassidy can see ghosts, including her friend Jacob. When her parents receive a ghost hunting television job, the family go to Edinburgh, Scotland. There, Cassidy meets Lara, another person who can see ghosts. While learning about her abilities, Cassidy also runs into a ghost that eats souls.

This is a quiet, but chilling story about ghosts, learning about one’s abilities, and how one can help the world. This works well for more timid children as the story is more spooky than straight horror. Edinburgh comes alive through Schwab’s writing. Readers will be intrigued by the real and legendary characters connected with the city. Though aimed at middle grade readers, all readers will be entranced by the sense of place that permeates the entire novel. The relationships among Cassidy, Lara, and Jacob and some of the adult characters are realistic and endearing. The book does not end on a cliff hanger, but hints at more adventures to come.

This book will work well for fans of: Nightbooks  by J.A. White, The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt, The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie, and Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn.

Mary Gensel


Dance of Thieves by Mary Pearson
Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
ISBN: 978-1250159014 

After the sudden death of his father, Jase becomes the new Patriarch of the Ballenger family, a notorious family of outlaws. All Jase wants to do in his new role as Patrei is secure the Ballenger Dynasty’s place as the leaders of Hell’s Mouth, and help his family mourn the loss of their father. But when members of the Queen’s Guard come to town he finds his job to be more difficult than he imagined.

Kazimyrah of Brightmist, notorious ex-thief and member of the Queen’s Guard, has a mission: to retrieve a traitor from Hell’s Mouth and return him to the Queen. When she and two other members of the Guard arrive in town, she quickly realizes that there’s more to Jase and the Ballengers than she thought. When unexpected events force Kazi and Jase together they find themselves locked in a game of lies each with their own mission.

Mary Pearson brings readers back to the beloved Remnant Chronicles universe, with a new tale of survival, deceit, and betrayal. With its lush world-building and compelling and complex characters, this story highlights the high stakes conflict between duty and the heart. Fans of Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles will relish the chance to jump back into this addictive story.

Shelbie Marks and Carol Maples


Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie
Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
ISBN: 978-1524770198 

Desperately in need of funds to care for her two younger siblings, Aisha Un-Haad volunteers for the operation that will make her a Scela, a cyborg soldier who is one of the many who protect the Fleet as it travels in search of a new planetary home. Key Tanaka, once an upper-class resident of the Fleet, awakes as a Scela with no memory of having made that choice. Key and Aisha are new recruits competing for high ranking Scela positions but find they need to work together if their training team is to succeed. As the team rises in the recruit rankings the girls discover the existence of a rebellion, one that the government is determined to crush at any cost. Each girl has unexpected ties to the rebellion that affect their ability to work together and complete their training – ties that might just cost them their lives.

Skrutskie has created a world on a spaceship filled with political intrigue and science fiction wonders. Chapters alternate between the voices of Aisha and Key, with each commenting on and questioning the behavior of the other. Each of the girls comes to a gradual recognition of her own values and place in the world, with an emphasis on the meaning of family in a larger sense. The nonstop action and taut suspense make this a compelling read.

Share this book with readers who enjoyed Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and any fan of space opera.

Cathy Rettberg and Dana Hutchins