Coming back from the holidays is always hard. Getting back into the routine of waking up, getting your morning coffee, heading to work, and dragging through the day. This is fairly universal. I have to say, though, this routine becomes a lot easier if you have just read a good book you cannot wait to tell everyone about.
Becky Albertali and Adam Silvera work together well on What If It’s Us. I am extremely passionate about this particular series. With only two books, I was on the edge of my seat deep into the romance and relatable topics. The characters are lovable, and the writing is fantastic. To make it all just that much sweeter, the icing on the cake, the Libby audiobook readers are absolutely fantastic and exactly how I imagined the characters sounding like. They do the story a huge justice and bring the characters to life in a way that took me even deeper into the story.
What If It’s Us is a romantic comedy for young adult readers told from the perspective of both main characters, who are fully experiencing the age when teenagers are angsty and looking for companionship. The characters come from different worlds and their chance encounter has them floating on the idea of fate and love at first sight. The story follows Ben and Arthur through the life trials of dates, long distance, and college in the heart of New York City.
It’s not everyday that a chance encounter leads to more, and sometimes fighting for it is the best decision. Follow these two teens and their friends and family through the trials of life. Their story continues in Here’s to Us where Arthur and Ben have gone through a lot of changes in the past two or so years. The 16 year olds are now 19 and have new perspectives on life, work, relationships, and where they want their lives to go. Follow them as they navigate adulthood and the struggles that come with being in New York together again.
Kelley Armstrong, a Canadian writer born in 2001, completed a wonderful children’s series in June 2022. Originally an author for teens and adults, her Royal Guide to Monster Slaying series, illustrated by Xavière Daumarie, comes as a nice refreshment for children. The first book, A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (followed by sequels The Gryphon’s Lair and The Serpent’s Fury) was a Black Eyed Susan 2021-2022 nominee. Despite its enticing and interactive story, it did not win the award. The series follows the story of a princess and her journey to become the Royal Monster Slayer of her Kingdom.
Rowan, a 13-year-old girl, is adamant to fight alongside her aunt in the battle to understand and drive the monsters of the kingdom back to the mountains. Her journey towards this encompasses loss, friendship, family, and excitement beyond belief. Rowan’s bloodline, that of clan Dacre, gives her a gift many cannot fathom and allows her to find friends in unusual places.
Many see Rowan as a young, incapable princess. Over time, they see the error of their ways as she fights to increase her knowledge and strength. Her journey takes her out of the kingdom and past the mountains, where many have not traveled before, where she encounters rare and extinct monsters and develops relationships with bordering clans.
This series is full of unexpected twists and turns. The characters are silly and relatable and the monsters are fascinating and frightening. As someone who is deeply in love with fantasy stories, I could not put these books down. I placed a hold on the fourth book, The Final Trial, as soon as it was on order here at the library.
I highly recommend this inclusive fantasy quick read.
Monae is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at HCLS East Columbia Branch.
Turtle in Paradise, originally a children’s book, was published as a lovely graphic novel last year. This story by Jennifer L. Holm works wonderfully for children and teens who may be having trouble reading fiction but find graphic novels and pictures easier to comprehend and follow.
The story follows an 11-year-old girl named Turtle who suddenly has to move to Key West, Florida to live with her aunt. All is going smoothly until she reaches the residence and realizes she is not welcomed with open arms. Although she adjusts to the next few weeks there with her cousins, their weird friends, and jobs, and becomes accustomed to the strange nicknames for everything in the area, Turtle still cannot wait to go home.
If you like a quick read that grabs your heart strings and keeps you immersed, this delightful story has the words and visuals to do just that. Find out how Turtle learns to grow and get along with her aunt and cousins. Take a look at her mother’s love interest and how that affects Turtle and the family. Discover the story behind a pirate and his lost treasure… and what does that have to do with Turtle?
Answer all these questions and more with this riveting tale. For those who would prefer the fiction copy, it might be fun to contrast the differences between the formats. Graphic novels are a good way to incorporate reading and learning with your children, families, or even on your own.