Scream All Night by Derek Milman (★★★★☆½)
On the outside, Scream All Night looks like a horror novel, but twist: it’s actually a coming of age story. The YA debut follows emancipated teen Dario, who is forced back into the family business (which just so happens to be his father’s B-horror movie film studio). Full of an eccentric cast of characters and some tough subject matter, Milman’s novel explores what happens when the monsters are found behind the camera. [Read our creator Q&A with author Derek Milman.]
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (★★★★★)
I loved this super fast-paced science fiction story more than I ever could have imagined. Full of complex characters and shocking twists and turns, Nyxia features a definitely evil corporation who are taking young people to another planet to mine a mysterious material know as Nyxia. What could go wrong? Since this is the first book in the series, it’s focused solely on the kid’s training before arriving on Eden, a second earth-like planet inhabited by humanoid creatures known as Adamites.
The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty (★★★☆☆½)
The Traitor’s Kiss started off super promising, but unfortunately, things got real dumb real fast, and the story completely lost me toward the end. Set during an indistinguishable time period where everyone has to be paired by a matchmaker, this book definitely should have been a standalone novel. While things start off great with the matchmaking stuff, this far superior/way more interesting section was mostly glossed over to make way for a time jump and some nonsensical plot about spies and secret princes for no reason.
LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff (★★★★☆½)
Allow me to describe the insanity that is LIFEL1K3. It’s Old Man Logan meets Mad Max meets Romeo and Juliet meets Anastasia meets Pinnochio meets iRobot meets Real Steel meets Humans meets Paradise Lost meets insert your own pop culture reference here. It’s a lot, but in the best way possible. Essentially, the first book in Kristoff’s newest YA series is a super fun science fiction romp full of androids, robots, amazing female friendships, and all the twists. Prepare yourself. I don’t think you’re ready for this ending.
Suicide Club by Rachel Heng (★★★★☆)
Welcome to the world of the Suicide Club, where a genetic lottery determines how long you will live, and if you will become a lifer, a person with the potential to live forever. With immortality on the horizon, lifer Lea, like the majority of humanity is super health-obsessed, only doing low-impact workouts and forsaking all meat and alcohol. But in a world where the cake is a lie, who wants to live forever? Enter the Suicide Club, a group taking life, and death, into their own hands.
Learn About Loss by Cassandra Clare and Kelly Link (★★★☆☆½)
The fourth Ghosts of the Shadow Market tale features a surprising co-author: short story aficionado Kelly Link. While this definitely means it’s the most beautifully written short in the bunch, it also happens to be the least fun. There are definitely some nice, heartfelt moments, but I’m starting to wonder: what is the point of these stories? To fill in missing gaps between the various Shadowhunter series? To set up important plot points in the upcoming Queen of Air and Darkness? Just for funsies?
The Quotable Negan by Robert Kirkman (★★★☆☆½)
This Walking Dead quote collection is a fun look back at the wildest and weirdest quotes from the series most notable villain: Negan. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all it is, just a random collection of quotes divided into chapters, meaning each and every one is super out of context. There’s also a few other tidbits scattered throughout the collection, including a kill count and a look back at every curse word ever uttered by the villain everyone loves to hate/hates to love.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig (★★★★☆½)
The sort-of follow up to Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive is not exactly a self-help book, but more an exploration about how the human mind is negatively affected by the modern world, from technology to the 24-hour news cycle. Not super preachy and full of moments of lightness and brevity (like a chapter called “Five Reasons to Be Happy You Are a Human and Not a Sentient Robot”), Notes on a Nervous Planet has some great tips for staying sane in a world designed to make us unhappy.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (★★★★☆½)
I finally got around to reading Uprooted, and while I was sad that the story wasn’t about a real dragon (because part of me was convinced this was definitely a dragon/princess love story), I still really enjoyed this beautifully written novel. Initially, I got so many Howl’s Moving Castle feels, but the story went in so many different directions that I was not expecting. Props to Novik for her lyrical prose, exceptional world building, spunky heroine, and bonus sexy times.