On The Shelf: This week’s must reads are Young Adult Fiction but great for all ages

Published 6:58 pm Sunday, February 4, 2024

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

This week we are featuring fiction titles from our New Young Adult collection. (but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t check them out and enjoy them too!)

The fourth book in Renee Ahdieh’s Beautiful series is titled, “The Ruined.” The tenuous truce between the Sylvan Vale and the Sylvan Wyld has been broken and they are now at war. Bastien must rally as many of his allies and friends in New Orleans as he can to protect the Winter Court. Meanwhile, Celine and her injured mother are under protection in the Summer Court, and she is finding it difficult to know who she can trust. She has been unable to get a message to Bastien and she doesn’t understand why he has not returned for her. Celine realizes that war between the fey courts is heating up and so, she and Ali go in search of the time-traveling mirror so they might change their fate. When Celine’s enemies realize that Bastien has gathered his allies in the mortal world, they decide to take the fight to him.

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“Check and Mate,” is by Ali Hazelwood. Mallory Greenleaf has been done with chess ever since the sport led to the collapse of her family four years ago. Now her focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job of keeping the lights on. But she has agreed to play in one last charity tournament against the notorious “Kingskiller” Nolan Sawyer, who holds the current world champion title. Unfortunately, Mallory wipes the board with Nolan, and everyone is shocked that a rookie could bring him down. She is confused, however, when Nolan jumps at a chance for a rematch. What kind of game is he playing? She could just walk away, but Mallory’s victory opens the door to much-needed cash prizes. She finds herself growing more attracted to Nolan as she shoots up in the ranks. She also struggles to separate her family from the game that wrecked it in the first place. Mallory finds herself loving the game again, but chess isn’t the only thing she is falling for.

The final entry in Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series about a girl who will travel beyond the stars to save the world she loves from destruction is titled, “Defiant.” Spensa made it out of the Nowhere, but the things she saw in the space between the stars changed her forever. Though she finally got answers to the questions she had about her strange gifts, she came face to face with the Delvers. And while she was gone, the Superiority didn’t stop in its fight for galactic dominance. Her Skyward Flight team did manage to hold off Winzik and gain allies in their fight, but it seems only a matter of time before humanity and the rest of the galaxy fall. The team will need all of the knowledge Spensa gathered in the Nowhere, but mastering her gifts is more complicated than she imagined. How far is she willing to go for victory, especially if it
means losing her friends and herself in the process?

The first three books in Shannon Messenger’s Sky Fall series are. Let the Sky Fall, Let the Storm Break, and Let the Wind Rise.

“In Let the Sky Fall,” we meet seventeen-year-old Vane Weston who is trying to come to terms with the fact he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. He is also beginning to think that the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s popped up in his dreams every night since the storm is real. Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph—an air elemental—who walks on the wind and can coax it into a weapon and translate its alluring songs. She is also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn to protect him at all costs. When a hasty mistake reveals their position to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra is forced to help Vane remember who he is and that he has a power to claim. Unlocking Vane’s power will also mean unlocking the memory that Audra needs him to forget. Their greatest danger may not be the enemy baring down on them, but the forbidden romance that is growing between them.

“In Let the Storm Break,” Vane Weston is now haunted by the pull of his bond with Audra, by the lies he’s told to cover her disappearance, and by the treacherous winds that seep into his mind, trying to imprison him in his worst nightmares. He doesn’t know how much longer he can last on his own, but Audra is still running. She’s running from her past, from the Gales, and even from Vane, who she doesn’t believe she deserves. The farther she flees, the more danger she finds as the secret power she possesses draws her enemies closer. Protecting it may become more than she can handle, especially when she discovers Raiden’s newest weapon. Audra and Vane may be forced to turn to the people who’ve betrayed them before, but even if they survive the storms sent to destroy them, will they have anything left to hold on to?

In “Let the Wind Rise,” Vane Weston is ready for battle against Raiden’s army, against the slowly corrupting Gale Force, even against his own peaceful nature as a Westerly. He’s ready to do whatever it takes to bring Audra home safely, even if he must storm Raiden’s icy fortress with the three people Vane trusts the least. Audra isn’t waiting around to be rescued. She has Gus—the guardian she was captured with—and she has the strange “guide” left behind by the one prisoner who managed to escape. The wind is also rising on Audra’s side, rallying against their common enemy. When the forces align, Audra makes her play, but Raiden is ready, and there will be an impossible price to be paid. But Vane and Audra started this fight together and they are determined to end it the same way.