New releases: April 2018 – young adult

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Welcome to Young Adult week on Owlish Books! As per usual, on Wednesdays, I look at the newest releases and give my opinion on Goodreads’ top 5. I’m seeing a lot of dark covers this week. I have no idea what the first one is about, but I’m guessing it’s rather dark! The second one is, again, a touch on the dark side, but more hopeful and with a lot of love. The third cover seems to suggest a coming-of-age story. The fourth looks very Game of Thrones like, but a female-powered version. And I believe I’ve seen the fifth cover already, it’s part of a trilogy with fantasy elements if I’m not mistaken. Other new releases of April 2018 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.

  1. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Dread Nation #1)
    Publication date: April 3rd, 2018
    Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations. But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
  2. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
    Publication date: April 3rd, 2018
    Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong? With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely. And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?
  3. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (Creekwood #2)
    Publication date: April 24th, 2018
    Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst. When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended. 
  4. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)
    Publication date: April 24th, 2018
    Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner. For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside. Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.
  5. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game #1)
    Publication date: April 10th, 2018
    Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted. Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city… And she’ll need to play.

Huh, the American Civil War meets zombies? That’s unexpected! Don’t really know what to think of book number one… Just like I didn’t really know what to think of that cover. I also got the second book a little wrong, it’s a high school frenemy thing. And it reminds me so much of a crappy daytime movie that I saw recently but can’t remember… A class trip, two kids that fall of a boat and end up on a deserted island. The bad boy and the prom queen, they fall in love and hook up, but when they are rescued, will their feelings last? So cheesy! Not my cup of tea! Also: really, Romeo and Juliet? Puh-lease! Three: teenagers, angst, love, … Yup! A teenage coming-of-age story as predicted. The musical element makes it more interesting for me though, and there’s a connection to the Love, Simon movie. Haven’t seen it yet, so don’t know if that’s good or not. The fourth book is definitely Game of Thrones-style but then with teenagers. Especially that last sentence “that all ends here.” Dum-dum-duuuum. One point for me! And for the final book, I had another trilogy in mind. Don’t know what this is going to be like. It takes place in a Las Vegas-style setting but I can’t really see why the names are so weird. Is it set in the past, the future, another galaxy? How many fantasy elements are in there? Hard to tell from the cover and blurb!

No books to be added to my to-read list this week either, I’m afraid!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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