Welcome to the weekly roundup of the Light and Round Project! If this is your first time hearing about it and you want to know more, visit this post for a full explanation or click on "Light and Round Project" under my header.
If you would like to recommend books for teenagers that you think the average person would consider not too violent, dark, or edgy, please email me at fromthemixedupfiles(at)gmail(dot)com with your suggestions and links to reviews if you have them.
Here is this week's list of recommendations:
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine, recommended by Tammy Flanders of Apples With Many Seeds. “Rowan is handed a negative that she supposedly dropped, by a stranger. She knows it’s not hers but takes it anyways. The negative is of her brother who died two years prior. How can this be? The grief from her brother's death has unravelled her family. She's coping and juggling the pieces of her life while bit-by-bit the mystery of her brother comes to light. Though Jenny Valentine touches on death, grief, and teen issues none of it comes across as heavy. Great dialogue, humor, and a touch of mystery keep it real without melodrama.”
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar. (My recommendation.) I never thought I’d be recommending a book about playing bridge to teens, but I absolutely loved this book and think many young readers would too. It’s funny, poignant, has a dash of romance, lots of family intrigue and drama. The game of bridge comes alive as the highly strategic, competitive game that it is. For teens interested in playing poker or other card games, I think this novel will perk some interest in bridge too.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, recommended by Rebecca of The Reading List. “My entire experience with Dealing with Dragons can be summed up with that word: fun. The plot was suitably thick, the wit was quick, new and unexpected characters were delightful, and I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series.”
Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby, reviewed by Kelsey of The Book Scout. “This was my second novel by Amanda Ashby (the first was Zombie Queen of Newbury High) and I can't wait to see what's next for her. Her novels are always full of fun action, sweet romance, and unique paranormal creatures. Fairy Bad Day did not disappoint in that regard and I had a hard time putting it down.”
Finding Violet Parks by Jenny Valentine, recommended by Tammy Flanders of Apples With Many Seeds. “Lucas comes across a funerary urn for a woman named Violet Parks in the office of a taxi cab company in London. He feels an immediate connection and can’t stop thinking about who Violet was and why no one has claimed her ashes. Lucas decides to investigate her story and along the way we step inside his life with a missing father, preoccupied mother, rebellious sister, ailing grandfather and perhaps, guidance from Violet herself. Great build up and resolution. This British import was reissued in the U.S. as Me, the Missing and the Dead.”
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, reviewed by Kelsey of The Book Scout. “Forgive My Fins was a sweet and enjoyable read, that definitely left me wanting to read more of Tera Lynn Child's novels.”
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, recommended by Rebecca of The Reading List. “Kady Cross vividly describes the London of her imagination. With automatons performing household tasks and tiny portable telegraph machines that are basically the Victorian version of texting (clever!), as well as potent descriptions of odors and atmospheres, it was easy to fall into the story.”
The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Scheinmel, reviewed by Liz of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy. “And here is one of the reasons I adore this book, and Sheinmel’s writing and choices. This is not 'and then the disillusioned teen drugged, drank, and violently acted out in all sorts of gritty ways.' No! This is much more true to life, much more real.”
Mistress of the Storm by M. L. Welsh, reviewed by Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library. “An immensely satisfying adventure, of the sort that has tons of appeal both for the young reader and for those of us adults who still turn to children's books for our own reading pleasure!”
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Levitt, recommended by Katherine. “When Payton needs to focus on something other than her father's life-changing diagnosis of M.S. she tries to focus on. . . Sean Griswold's head. And then she finds that focusing on Sean helps her focus on a lot of other things too, like bike riding, family, and maybe even love.”
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce. (My recommendation.) A high-fantasy adventure about Digger, a female thief on the run who escapes by joining a group of young nobility sailing out of her town. She takes on the role of ladies’ maid, thinking it will temporarily serve her fugitive purposes, only to find herself trapped in a snowbound castle and blackmailed into spywork and thievery against the people she is reluctantly beginning to consider friends. Digger's world is ruled by an intolerant monarchy that is persecuting people for differing religious beliefs, so there is some violence and serious themes are addressed. But it's not what I would personally consider a dark or edgy novel. Everything was handled in a way that upped the tension, fleshed out the world in a realistic way, and made it the action-packed, suspenseful read that it is.
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter, reviewed by Emily of Emily’s Reading Room. “This book has just the right amounts of so many things that I love in fiction: travel, suspense, witty dialogue, interesting characters, and romance. The whole plot just blends together so nicely, and suddenly you are sucked into this world that you so much wish could be real. Because, how much fun would it be to re-steal some of the world's most valuable art?”