Every ten years a wizard known as the Dragon chooses a girl from the villages around his castle to serve him. The villagers have never refused him because they depend on his magic to keep back the Woods, a dark, corrupted place that destroys everything and everyone in its path.
Agnieszka knows that her best friend, Kasia, is going to be chosen and that there is nothing she can do about it. However, she is shocked when the Dragon chooses her. Agnieszka doesn't understand why she was chosen, until she finds out that she has a gift that the Woods would love to corrupt and take advantage of.
Uprooted is an amazing, heartbreaking story. I loved the fact that it isn't the typical, predicable folk tale and had plenty of unexpected twists and turns. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.
It seems like the news is always reporting on a new type of disease that people fear could become an epidemic, but what would happen if one of those diseases did turn out to be fatal to the world as we know it? Author Emily St. John Mandel explores this in her novel, Station Eleven.
The story follows several characters, all of whom are connected through their relationships with actor Arthur Leander. Clark and Arthur have been friends since meeting at college, Jeevan is a paparazzi turned paramedic who used to follow Arthur around to get pictures of him for magazines, and is present the night that Arthur has a heart attack in the middle of a performance of King Lear, and Kirsten was a child actress in King Lear and witnessed Arthur's death.
After the flu strain kills 99% of the world's population, the remaining humans mostly settle in small towns where they try to survive in the new world. Jeevan, Clark, and Kirsten work to create new lives for themselves in this world.
Station Eleven switches between the past and present, and is set mostly in Michigan. I thought the book was intriguing, and an interesting look at modern society and the things we care about.
Lilliana Young starts her spring break thinking that her most difficult challenge is going to be choosing where she is going to go to college in the fall. Heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to consider her future, Lilliana is shocked that instead of peace and quiet, she finds a reawakened Egyptian prince, Amon, with the power of the Egyptian gods. Amon needs Lilliana to survive, and bonds himself to her.
This bond means that Lilliana must accompany Amon to Egypt, where he needs to raise his two brothers and perform a sacred ceremony to prevent the evil god, Seth, from taking over the world.
Reawakened is the start of a new series by author Colleen Houck. It has a good mix of romance and adventure, so I would recommend this book to teenage girls.
Ana of California is a interesting, modern retelling of Anne of Green Gables. Ana Cortez has been in the foster system since her family was killed by a gang. Her smart mouth often gets her into trouble, and she's never at one place too long. After getting kicked out of her latest home she's given a choice, she can go to a group home or intern at a farm and work there until she is old enough to file for emancipation. Ana chooses to travel to the small town of Hadley to work for the Garber siblings.
Emmett and Abbie Garber have worked their parent's farm for years, but times have been tough for them. Abbie thinks that Ana is just what they need to breathe some fresh air into their lives, but Emmett is counting down the days until she leaves.
Even though there's a sharper edge to the story, Ana of California still captures the heartwarming aspects that fans of Anne of Green Gables love. It's a nice nod to the classic tale with a contemporary feel for a modern audience .
Ollie has epileptic seizures when exposed to electricity, so he and his mother live in the middle of the woods in Northern Michigan. Moritz lives in Germany, and has a weak heart and was born with no eyes. The two boys have never met, but they begin a unexpected friendship when they become pen pals.
The connection that Ollie and Moritz form gives them the hope and encouragement that both desperately need, and with that encouragement they each start to really live their lives.
Told all in letters, Because You'll Never Meet Me is a captivating book by new Michigan author Leah Thomas.
When this book came into Saturn, I had to look at it just because of the title. Before reading the story, I already had lots of ideas about why it would be a bad idea to bring an alligator to school, but the girl in the story, Magnolia, had several examples that I wouldn't have thought of such as the alligator will throw paper airplanes and twirl gum. All of this causes Magnolia to get into trouble with her teacher, and she regrets bringing in the alligator for show-and-tell.
Magnolia's narration really makes this story because her reactions to the alligator's antics are perfect. The illustrations are wonderful too, making this a fun and hilarious book that children and adults alike will love.
During WWII, German POWs were put to work on farms in the United States to help replace the workers that were fighting in Europe or the Pacific. Charlotte Chrisiansen knows that the farmers in her small Wisconsin town need the extra help in order to get the cherries harvested to make a profit and support their families, and convinces her town council of this. With her son, Ben, in Italy fighting the Nazis, Charlotte welcomes the help that will bring their harvest in.
However, Charlotte doesn't plan on falling in love with one of the German prisoners, Karl. When Ben returns home from the war wounded and suffering from PTSD, Charlotte's secret relationship threatens the fragile peace in her home.
The Cherry Harvest is a very emotional and engaging novel. I know there's a lot of historical fiction novels about WWII, but this is definitely one that you should read if you are a fan of fictional books about that era.
Reeve LeClaire was held captive for four years by Daryl Wayne Flint, but was rescued after they were involved in a car accident. In the seven years since then, Reeve has worked hard to put her life back together, while Daryl has been in a mental hospital.
However, Flint has been hard at work planning his next move, and manages to make a clean escape from the hospital. Even though Reeve would rather forget all about Flint, she understands him better than anyone and he is still obsessed with her, making Reeve the perfect person to help in the efforts to recapture him.
What Doesn't Kill Her is exciting and suspenseful, with plenty of surprises that will prevent you from putting it down until the end.
Emmy and Oliver were best friends in second grade, until one day when Oliver’s father kidnapped him and disappeared. Ten years later, Emmy is still dealing with the effects of Oliver’s disappearance; mostly in the fact that her parents wouldn’t give her the freedom she wants as a high school senior.
Then, Oliver is discovered in New York City and is returned home to his mother. When he comes back to town, nobody knows how to react, especially Emmy, who has wondered for most of her life what it would be like to have Oliver back home.
This is a cute romance and coming-of-age story that I would recommend for young adults who love Sarah Dessen or John Green.
An interesting and unique tale, The Glass Sentence describes a world that has been torn into different time zones. The surviving civilizations call this the Great Disruption, and have tried to adapt to this new life the best they can.
Many people became mapmakers, mapping the various corners of the globe and assisting in stabilizing this new world. Sophia’s parents and her Uncle Shadrack did this, but her uncle stopped traveling to care for his niece when Sophia’s parents disappear during a trip.
Years later, when Sophia is a teenager, changes start coming to the land, and Shadrack decides it is time for him and Sophia to go and try to find her parents. However, before they can begin their venture, Shadrack is kidnapped. Sophia, with the help of a boy named Theo, travel the different lands in an attempt to find her uncle, and by doing so Sophia learns more about the world around her. She also discovers many dangers that she never could have imagined, and finds out that there is one danger that may be close to destroying the world.
A historical fiction, What the Lady Wants is based on the story of Marshall Fields and his mistress, Delia. They first met on the night of the Great Chicago Fire, and Fields impresses Delia as she watches him lead the way in rebuilding the city. Throughout the years their friendship and mutual attraction eventually turned into a relationship, even though both were married. However, both of their marriages were unhappy for various reasons, and so they turned to each other. Their relationship was a huge scandal, but it didn't stop them.
What the Lady Wants also gives insight into America's "Gilded Age" and how Marshall Fields and other business owners helped shape the modern business world.
I thought this was a fascinating book, with great information about Chicago, the time period, and the socialites who lived there.