This month, Bookworm’s Truong and some of Bookworm’s avid young adult readers look at four new releases that will probably be hot property in 2015

 

Isla and the Happily Ever After

 

This is the third book in the series Anna and the French Kiss, a title that must have had a few parents on tenterhooks but which, after borrowing the first installment just to make sure, probably had them swooning like love-smitten teenagers. In which case they’ll be fighting their older offspring for possession to find out how Isla and Josh are getting along with a love affair that their elders considered having begun far too early.

 

The French in the ‘kiss’ is in reference to the two characters meeting at boarding school in Paris. Fans will be pleased to know that their French friends all have bit parts in this final tale. Author Stephanie Perkins has a successful recipe that incorporates two of the essential ingredients in a lot of modern teenage books and movies, romance and the essence of fairy tale. It has the added bonus of having really believable characters.

 

It’s probably best to begin with book one if you’re the type who appreciates the marshmallow swoon factor in your life.

 

The Queen of the Tearling

 

For readers who hate to read book series out of sequence, this is the first of its series, released last year. It stirs in two other tried and tested ingredients to the young adult mixture: future fantasy and a medieval setting.

 

Erika Johansen has successfully mixed the flavours of Game of Thrones with the dark and dangerous twists and smouldering but almost requited sex of recent screen adaptations of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

 

The heroine is 19-year-old Kelsea, who finds herself fighting for a kingdom that is rightfully hers. She is given magic necklaces to help her circumvent the wicked intent of the evil red queen who has grabbed the throne. In the midst of all this, she has to come to terms about the truth of whom and what her mother was.

 

The movie rights were snapped up before the book was off the presses, which means that it could be a really hot read.

 

Emma Watson is set to play the Red Queen. Sound familiar?

 

The Young Elites

 

Popular author Marie Lu of the Legend series has recently had the first book in her new series published. She adds three more extremely popular spices to the bubbling YA pot: science fiction, dystopia and a group of mixed-gender, misfit young characters.

 

It’s set in a time of plague, and young people who survive have acquired abnormal physical features such as facial discolouring, having only one eye, unnaturally tinged hair and other ‘deformities’ that cause their communities to shun them. To make these ‘freaks’ even more different and dangerously scary, they have acquired mysterious and powerful mental gifts.

 

Most non-callow readers will make the intellectual jump and recognise bigotry extant in their own, real world.

 

It’s not only immensely entertaining, but is also incredibly well-written.

 

Love Letters to the Dead

 

This a book for everyone, adults included, who loved the drama and angst offered up by super successful YA novelist John Green in The Fault in Our Stars.

 

Protagonist Laurel is given a school assignment to write a love letter to a dead person. She starts with a letter to Kurt Cobain. This becomes a private obsession and she writes loads of letters to famous people who died young, like Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Heath Ledger.
Through these we learn secrets about her friends and family and the abuses she went through when she was in the protective care of a now dead sister, who she wants to mourn but can’t forgive.

 

The author, like a lot of present day YA lit novelists, is female. Could this indicate that teenage females are more avid readers than their male counterparts? Luckily, it definitely means that a lot of strong, sensitive characters in teenage books are now young women — and as many of these books are bound for cineplexes, younger, positive female role models may become the norm rather than the exception.

 

The main advice given by young critics on book review blogs is, just read it!

 

For more information on Bookworm go to bookwormhanoi.com

Truong Bookworm

Truong comes from a family of fisher folk and has been the owner manager of the Bookworm since 2006. Apart from being a book-o-phile he loves to explore Vietnam by bicycle and motorbike. His latest travel passion is tracing the contours of the Vietnamese coastline on foot. He’s also a sustainability fan and has a green home with a rooftop garden near the Duong River.

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