Read any great books lately? Here are a few of my recent finds:
Continuing in my recent lucky trend of finding wonderfully written stories that go in unexpected directions is THE WALLS AROUND US, by Nova Ren Suma. This time, a superb literary text brings with it an eerie ghost story. Amber tells the moving story of life inside Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, and what happens when Orianna appears. Violet is a dancer on the outside, about to leave for her dream school (Juilliard) yet she’s got a rotten secret involving Ori. A rich, rewarding YA.
ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK, by Leslie Connor is, coincidentally, also set in a prison, but this time we’ve got Perry, whose mom has been serving time at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility for nonviolent offenders in Surprise, Nebraska, since before he was born. Though Perry goes to a regular school in town, the warden has always allowed him to make his home at Blue River. Along with his caring mom, many of the inmates are his friends and family, and things go well for all concerned until an ambitious DA decides that he knows what’s best for Perry. This is a warm, loving story with plenty of heart and kid-appeal. (MG)
REBEL OF THE SANDS, by Alwyn Hamilton, is an engaging fantasy, set in a fictional desert where magic still lives, though it’s mostly in hiding. Amani lives in Dustwalk, a town every bit as forlorn as it sounds. Her only hope is to pass for a boy and somehow escape to the city, where life must surely be better. When she meets Jin, they form an uneasy alliance, and her plans take a detour into forbidden magic and full-scale rebellion. (YA)