ON THE SHELF: Young Adult titles to bring out the angst in all of us

Published 8:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2023

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week, the library is featuring new fiction titles from our Young Adult collection.

Kiera Cass has penned an enemies-to-lovers romance with her latest, “A Thousand Heartbeats.” Princess Annika’s life has been one of safety and comfort, but the fact that she has no real control over her own life is not lost on her. Her father the king was once a warm and loving father who has grown cold and distant. He has decided that Annika will be married to another — not for love — but for political gain. Miles away from the palace, Lennox knows nothing of the comfort of the princess. He has devoted himself to the Dahrainian army in hopes of one day regaining the throne that was stolen from his family. Love is a fancy that Lennox cannot afford, but when he and Annika find one another, they are bound by love’s call. 

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The latest from author P.C. Cast is called “Omens Bite.” Twin sisters Mercy and Hunter are witches directly descended from the Goode family, the founders of their town. Since the murder of their mother by a demon, they have become the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds. These are ancient portals between their world and mythological realms that contain the darkest of creatures. The grief from the loss of their mother has torn them apart, driving Mercy to attempt to save the crumbling Gates without her twin and sending Hunter into the arms of a dangerous goddess. While Mercy looks for help from Khenti, Guardian of the Egyptian Underworld, Hunter comes to the realization that the goddess she has allied herself with is more a monster than a deity. Hunter needs her sister’s help, but Mercy is beyond her reach on an adventure that could cost them everything, including their world.

“Whiteout” is a wintery romance by Dhonielle Clayton. Just before Christmas, Atlanta, Georgia is blanketed with snow. As the city comes to a screeching halt, 12 teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. They don’t know if they’ll be able to make it happen with the storm blowing into town, but you can’t always plan for those miracle moments in life. Each of these teens experiences their own relationship as unique and effervescent as a flurry of Southern snowflakes.

Holly Jackson pens a road trip-turned-deadly in her latest, titled “Five Survive.” Red Kenny is on a road trip with five friends for spring break: her best friend, the older brother, his perfect girlfriend, a secret crush, a classmate and a killer. The RV they are in breaks down in the middle of nowhere and there is no cell reception. Soon they realize that this was by design. They have become trapped by someone out in the dark who clearly wants one of them dead. They have eight hours until dawn and the six friends must either escape or find out which one of them is the target. As the night wears on, the friends must figure out if there is a liar among them. To do that, they will need to force long-buried secrets and uncomfortable truths to the surface. Not all of them are going to survive the night.

“Nine Liars” is a heart-pounding and laugh-out-loud mystery by Maureen Johnson. Stevie Bell isn’t doing so well in her senior year at Ellingham Academy. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London and her friends are obsessed with college applications. Stevie, on the other hand, feels adrift since solving the cold case of the century. She no longer has a distraction for the myriad of questions bouncing around in her brain — questions about college, love and life in general. Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends along for his study abroad. His new friend Izzy introduces her to a double murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house to play a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed, murdered with an ax. The case was assumed to be a robbery gone awry, but one of the remaining friends saw something she can’t explain. Someone is lying about what happened in that woodshed.

Karen McManus delivers a murder mystery with her latest “Nothing More to Tell.” Four years ago, Brynn’s favorite teacher was murdered and found by three students in the woods behind their school. Brynn left Saint Ambrose School and the case was never solved. Now, Brynn is moving home and starting her dream job as an intern on a true-crime show. She is determined to find out what happened to Mr. Larkin. The kids who found his body are Brynn’s way in, and her ex-best friend, Tripp, was one of them. Without Tripp’s account of what happened, the other two could have easily gone down for the murder, but they are now at the top of the Saint Ambrose social pyramid. Tripp’s friends have not forgotten what he did for them that day, and neither has he. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie. When Brynn starts investigating what happened in the woods that day, she will uncover secrets that might change everything.

Neal Shusterman — along with collaborators David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofia Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden and Joelle Shusterman — returns to the world and timeline of his Arc of Scythe series with “Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of Scythe.” For years humans lived in a world without hunger, disease or death with Scythes as the living instruments of population control. In this book, the series continues with thrilling stories that span the timeline, continuations of storylines, origin stories revealed and new Scythes emerge. Discover the secrets and histories of characters from the three volumes of the series and meet new heroes, foes and some figures that fall between. This is world-building at its best.