I knew I wanted 2016 to be more about reading than writing reviews, so I’ll be posting my thoughts on each month’s YA releases throughout the year in one big post. Today I’m looking at the books released in January and February so keep reading to see what I thought of ten of the January-February 2016 YA releases.
It was technically released in 2015 but I’m going to start with the December 31st release, How Not to Disappear, by Clare Furniss, as it was one of my first reads of 2016. I had such high hopes for this one, having read nothing but rave reviews for his debut, but I didn’t fall head over heels for How Now to Disappear. I thought Gloria was a fantastic character and I’d love for her to be the star of her own novel, but I wasn’t enamoured by Hattie and it made parts of the story hard going.
One of 2016’s first releases and one of the most hyped contemporary stories of the year was This Is where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, which debuted on January 5th. I’d been eagerly awaiting this one so gobbled it up as soon as I got my hands on it. It was a solid way to begin the year and I can totally understand why it got so much praise but there just something about the narrative style that stopped me connecting with the story as much as I wanted to. That said, I’d still recommend it.
Another contemporary from the first week of the year, Laura Nowlin’s second novel, This Song Is (Not) for You is the story of Ramona and Sam: best friends, bandmates and…maybe more? That on its own might sound complicated enough but chuck Tom, the newest band member, into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster, or a solid YA contemporary, depending which way you look at it.
Catherine Doyle’s follow up to the contemporary thriller, Vendetta, was released on January 7th. Inferno was an entertaining, fast-paced read that saw Sophie’s life become even more unravelled as she tries to pick up the pieces after the events at the end of book one. While the pace was engaging, there’s something about the love story in this series that doesn’t quite grab me. I enjoyed Inferno but I’m not sure I’ll be picking up book three when it’s released next year.
I’m never sure about co-authored books but I needn’t have worried, as Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison’s contemporary corker, Never Evers (released on January 7th), was a riotous laugh from start to finish. I find that a lot of intense books are released at the beginning of the year so this fun, light-hearted breath of fresh air was exactly what I was after.
Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light marked the mid-way point of the month and I was excited to discover Lucille’s story. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t gel with this one and it was my first DNF of the year. I feel like fans of Katie McGarry will probably enjoy this and lots of my blogger friends who have fab taste loved it too, it just wasn’t happening for me.
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit is a book best enjoyed while it’s dark and frosty outside and you can snuggle up under a thick duvet and fall into Anna’s mysterious world. I was utterly entranced by this historical debut and would definitely recommend it to anybody who loves an atmospheric, moving read that has shades of magical realism woven throughout.
Hitting the shelves right at the end of the month (January 28th, to be precise) was Waiting for Callback, writing by a superstar mother/daughter team, Perdita and Honor Cargill. I warmed to this one from the moment I saw the fun, goofy cover and this is one time you won’t be scolded for judging a book by its cover, as what you see is exactly what you get. It’s funny, warm and everything contemporary YA should be.
February 2nd saw the release of arguably the biggest YA release of the year: Alwyn Hamilton’s debut novel, Rebel of the Sands. I’d been hyped about Rebel of the Sands for getting on a year at this point, which I think is why I initially held off reading it – logical, I know. But what if I was disappointed? Luckily, I wasn’t. Rebel of the Sands is an action-packed, gunslinging adventure story that will take your breath away and leave you obsessed with the rich world Hamilton has created. Roll on book two!
When Everything Feels Like the Movies (hi GGD reference) by Raziel Reid was released on the most romantic of days: February 14th. I loved the movie-making slant that the book gave to a typical high school YA novel and I ended up enjoying this one even more than I thought I would. A pleasant surprise!
Stay tuned for March-April’s YA releases, which are being reviewed this time next week!