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September 22, 2020 | Lea Wentworth

What to Read: YA Edition

What are your fall reads? Teen volunteer Caroline has volunteered some reviews of YA books available in the library and through the Libby and Hoopla Apps. If you are looking for some great fall YA reads, these Young Adult and  New Adult books might be just the cozy escape you need!

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks


Pumpkinheads is a standalone graphic novel about seniors Deja and Josiah going on adventures around the pumpkin patch one last time before they head off to college. This book was the perfect fall read. The art style was very appealing; the autumn tones and cartoonish drawings made the story very atmospheric. The plot, though basic, was well-paced and maintained through the course of the novel. Deja and Josiah’s friendship dynamic was organic and believable. Overall, this is one of the best graphic novels I have read thus far, and I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a cute and quick read just in time for fall.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu


The Kingdom of Back is a standalone fantasy novel detailing the embellished story of Wolfgang Mozart’s equally talented sister, Nannerl. While living in the shadow of her younger brother and dealing with the restrictions placed on women at the time, Nannerl longs to be remembered. What she doesn’t expect to get an answer from Hyacinth, a creature from the mythical Kingdom of Back, a magical world created through Nannerl and Wolfgang’s imaginations. This book was surprisingly creepy; the language and tone of this novel added an unexpected eerie feeling to the tale. My main issue with this book was the pace. In the very beginning and very end, the story was very fast-paced, however, a large chunk in the middle was very slow-moving. I would have been more satisfied if the novel maintained the same speed. I liked this novel fine; I would recommend for those who want a story told like a classic fairy tale.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


An Enchantment of Ravens is a Young Adult fantasy standalone novel following Isobel, an incredibly talented human painter that serves fae clients. When Isobel paints human sorrow in the eyes of the Autumn Prince , she is whisked away to the fae courts to be tried for her crimes. However, the journey takes a different turn as their feelings for each other grow. I would say that this book is more of a contemporary in a fantasy setting than a true fantasy story. The relationship between Isobel and Rook, the Autumn Prince, was the main focus of the story, making it compelling to read about. I found the actual plot to be dull and underdeveloped. However, the explanations of the world’s creatures and their attributes was very expansive and evolved. I would recommend this book, but don’t go into it expecting an epic high fantasy story or else you will be disappointed. 

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman


Radio Silence is a Young Adult contemporary novel following Frances, a high-achieving student who is certain her future lies with academia. After meeting and becoming friends with the creator of her favorite podcast, she realizes that college is not her only option. This book was an excellent representation of the anxiety surrounding what your future will look like. Frances and her friend Aled both believed that because they were intelligent, they would go to university and study in a career they knew they could excel at, without taking into account what career would make them happiest. This novel also has great representation for friendship, mental health, and rocky parental relationships. Frances and Aled’s friendship felt very genuine and relatable. They both also suffer from the extreme pressures to maintain high marks, with Aled dealing with an overbearing and controlling mother as well. The podcast element of this book was also a pleasant addition to the plot, as it allowed for further development of Frances’ and Aled’s character. I would highly recommend this book!

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 


The Unhoneymooners is a New Adult romance following Olive and Ethan, sworn enemies that end up going on a honeymoon vacation to Hawaii. I thought this book was great! There was enough build-up to the relationship to be believable, and there was also enough banter to keep the story entertaining. The characters were well developed and the pacing was steady throughout most of the novel. The background plot surrounding Olive’s sister, Ami, and her husband’s suspicious past also kept me very interested. My only critique is that I would’ve liked even more interaction between Olive and Ethan. After they got together, I felt their relationship was rushed. I wanted more conversations and more meaningful communication between the two near the end of the story.