ON THE SHELF: Young Adult titles for all to enjoy

Published 8:00 am Sunday, April 2, 2023

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

This week we are featuring new titles in our Young Adult collection. And remember, YA novels are not just for teens. Adults can enjoy them, too.

Holly Black’s latest novel is called “The Stolen Heir.” In the eight years since the Battle of the Serpent, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. She is using ancient magic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and strike at her enemies. The one person who has power over her mother is Suren, the child queen of the Court of Teeth, but she has fled to the human world. She lives feral in the woods, haunted by her time in the Court and releasing foolish mortals from the unwise bargains they have made. Suren thinks herself forgotten, but one day a storm hag named Bogdana chases her through the night streets. She is rescued by Prince Oak, heir to Elfhame who Suren was promised to and has resented for years. Oak is now 17 and charming, beautiful, and manipulative. He wants her help to go to the north and confront her mother. This journey with a boy she once knew and a prince she does not trust will put her back into the horrors that Suren thought she left behind.

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“Spice Road” is a novel by Maiya Ibrahim. Sixteen-year-old Imani was raised to fight the monsters lurking in the sands surrounding her nation, but now she must find her brother who has betrayed her and their country. The hidden desert city of Qalia holds secret spice magic that will bring out and amplify one’s abilities. Imani has an affinity for iron and is able to wield a dagger like no other warrior. She has been lauded as the next great Shield for battling djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that have spread across the sands. Her brother tarnished the family’s name after it was revealed that he was stealing his nation’s coveted spice which is a telltale sign of magical addiction. Soon after, he disappeared and is believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes. When Imani discovers clues that her brother may be alive and spreading their nation’s magic to outsiders, she bargains with the Council that she will find him and bring him back to Qalia where he will face punishment. Accompanied by other Shields, including a powerful beast seer named Taha, Imani will find many secrets beyond the Forbidden Wastes, but will she find her brother?

“Rust in the Root” is by Justina Ireland. The 1937 America that Laura Ann Langston lives in is divided between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust — a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called Dynamism and threw America into disarray — the country has been rebuilding for a better future. Most people believe the future is industry and technology (Mechomancy) not the traditional mystical arts. Laura, a talented young mage from Pennsylvania, agrees. On her 17th birthday, she hopped the first portal to New York City and is working on earning her mage’s license and becoming something more than a rootworker. After four months and nothing to show for her hard work, Laura applies to the Bureau of Arcane’s Conservation Corps which is a branch of the government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. She becomes the apprentice of a powerful mage named Skylark. Upon setting out on their first mission, the two mages come across the work of mages that harkens back to ta dark period in America’s past when certain mages were killed for their power. Laura and Skylark must work together to protect themselves and the future of the mystical arts.

The “Weight of Blood” by Tiffany D. Jackson conjures images from Stephen King’s “Carrie.” When the residents from Springville, Georgia are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all give the same answer: Maddy did it. Madison Washington has always been a target for bullies, and she has accepted that as her fate because she has more pressing problems to manage. The morning of a surprise rainstorm, it is revealed that Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington. When a viral bullying video shows Springville’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a symbol of unity. The popular white class president convinces her black quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date. Maddy is happy because she now feels it’s possible to live a normal life. Some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet, but they will soon see that Maddy has one more powerful secret to unveil.

“Iron Wolf” by Siri Pettersen is part fantasy, part mystery. Juva knows all about blood readers because she was born into their lineage but has vowed to never become one of them. Blood readers are praised for their Sight, but they are nothing but con men, preying on people’s fears for power and profit. When her family is threatened by the vardari — also known as the eerie lasting ones who never age — Juva becomes a part of the desperate hunt for the blood readers’ legacy. The legacy is a dark secret that once changed the world and may do so again. In order to survive, she will have to face a traumatic childhood memory she has fought hard to forget.

The latest by Cassandra Clare is called “Chain of Thorns.” Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything that she held dear. In only a few short weeks, she saw her father murdered, her plans to become parabatai with her best friend Lucie destroyed, and her marriage to James Herondale crumble. Worse still, she is bound to an ancient demon named Lilith which strips her of her power as a Shadowhunter. She flees to Paris with Matthew Fairchild hoping to forget her sorrows. Reality comes crashing in when she and Matthew learn that London is under a new threat from the Prince of Hell, Belial. Turns out that James and Lucie are Belial’s grandchildren. While Cordelia wants to protect her love and her best friend, she must gather her remaining friends and wage a war with Belial that could cost them everything — even their souls.