What I’m Reading: 5 February 2013 YA Releases

But wait…it’s just the middle of January! But I managed to get through all of the January 2013 new young adult releases I planned to read, and then some. A few were a bit disappointing and some exceeded my expectations. I loved Cinders & Sapphires, which was definitely my favorite out of what I’ve read so far of the January 2013 releases. I also enjoyed Paper Valentine,  The Madman’s Daughter, and Just One Day. Though I didn’t list them in my original post I also read The Madman’s Daughter, Prophecy, and Splintered. I’m still planning on getting to The Tragedy PaperLevel 2, and The Archived. So my January reading isn’t quite over, but I’m already thinking about February. Here’s what tops my list.

Etiquette & Espionage  by Gail Carriger

etiquette&espionage

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea–and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right–but it’s a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Though I thought the books lost steam at the end, I loved the Parasol Protectorate series. It was my first steampunk and one of the few adult paranormal series that hooked me. I think Gail Carriger has great voice and structure, and I think this world is particularly well-suited to YA.

Out of the Easy  by Ruta Sepetys

outoftheeasy

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

I still haven’t gotten to Between Shades of Gray, though my mom loved it. I bought it in paperback recently. I’m even more excited to read this one, however, because I’m drawn to the New Orleans setting and the mystery this blurb promises. (Okay, confession. I’ve already read this one and it is AMAZING and the review will be up shortly.)

Dance of Shadows  by Yelena Black

dance of shadows

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister’s shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .

This is that book from “the creators” of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series. I’m not a fan of editors developing a concept for a novel then finding an author to write it. I know this is how Libba Bray came to write Beauty Queens (which was David Levithan’s idea), but even in cases where I think it worked, it still makes it somehow less creative, in my opinion. How can a writer put their heart and soul into a story that didn’t originate there? And it kind of reeks of greed on the part of publishers. Still, if I didn’t know that about this book, I’d be hooked by that synopsis and cover. I’m a big fan of ballet and like the paranomoral demon-y aspect. I’m giving it a shot (Okay, another confession. I started this and not so good for the first 5%…but I’m giving it to 25%).

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand  by Gregory Galloway

39deathsadamstrand

Adam Strand isn’t depressed. He’s just bored. Disaffected. So he kills himself—39 times. No matter the method, Adam can’t seem to stay dead; he wakes after each suicide alive and physically unharmed, more determined to succeed and undeterred by others’ concerns. But when his self-contained, self-absorbed path is diverted, Adam is struck by the reality that life is an ever-expanding web of impact and forged connections, and that nothing—not even death—can sever those bonds.

In stark, arresting prose, Gregory Galloway finds hope and understanding in the blackest humor.

The synopsis kinda reminds me of Groundhog Day, one of my favorite movies of all time. Throw in some black humor…I’m intrigued.

The Different Girl  by Gordon Dahlquist

the different girl

Four nearly identical girls on a desert island. An unexpected new arrival. A gently warped near future where nothing is quite as it seems.

Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl—the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck—suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned.

Sly and unsettling, Gordon Dahlquist’s timeless and evocative storytelling blurs the lines between contemporary and sci-fi with a story that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the final page has been turned.

I was on the fence about this one, in part because of the terrible cover. I read April’s review at Books and Wine, and while she wasn’t in love with it, her review made me think I might be the type of reader to like this one, so I’m giving it a shot.

So I’ve got a steampunk, a historical, a paranormal, a contemporary/realistic, and a sci-fi. There are few other titles coming out in February I considered (and have review copies of) but I’m making these my priority as far as new releases this month. What are you reading? What new release are you most excited about?

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14 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: 5 February 2013 YA Releases

    1. I’m finding the writing rather annoying in Dance of Shadows…but a trusted librarian said it gets better, so I’m trying to stick it out. I do love dance and demons!

  1. Interesting list. I may look into “The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand.” I am struck by how similar the covers are (apart from Adam Strand). Is it the trend in YA covers to feature young, white women either turned away or blocked? It seemed to be that it was often a young, white woman staring straight at the reader.

    1. Oh yes, that is very much the trend! I try not I let covers influence my feelings about what I read, but I often have to overlook crappy ones or am disappointed by books with beautiful ones.

  2. I’m going to have to read “Out of the Easy” now–sounds like something I’d like, especially with such great recommendations from you. I’m really looking forward to reading Benjamin Alire Saenz’s “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.” It doesn’t really count as a new release, it was published in Feb. 2012, but somehow I haven’t heard of it until recently. I absolutely loved his book “Sammy and Julianna in Hollywood,” and I’m hoping this one is just as good.

    1. Oh, OUT OF THE EASY is simply fantastic. Excellent writing. ARISTOTLE AND DANTE is one of my top 2012 reads that I missed. I also have a copy of LAST NIGHT I SANG TO THE MONSTER I’ve been meaning to read. It’s one of the Mister’s favorites.

    1. I read a lot of YA for work! This post is just a sampling–if you’re interested, under the “what to read” tab on the sidebar, you’ll find an index to my recommendations and the list of NPR’s top 100 novels, which would be a good place to start if you wanted a feel for the category!

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