Since she’s a blogger and Goodreader, Jillian has her finger what’s happening in the book world, so we were challenged with this one.
Adult or YA: Surprise Me
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk
Narrator/POV: First Person, Third Person, Multiple POV, Present Tense, Past Tense, Female POV, Main Character or Narrator
Swoon Factor: 4
Gross Out Factor: 4
Smut Factor: 3
Fluff Factor: 3
Favorite Books/Themes: Ella Enchanted, Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, Keturah and Lord Death. Why? I love that they take “old” ideas (fairy tales, fantasy world with conspiracies and intrigues, and folk lore, respectively) and bring fresh, engaging spins to them.
Turn Offs: Love triangles, instant love between heroine/hero and love interest, faulty and unengaging world-building
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
This is a favorite of Sandra’s and it has an unusual, magical quality that’s part fairy tale, part contemporary. It’s an unusual book and not for everyone. However, it is creative and complex and should be an interesting read, with its lyrical writing style that’s quite engrossing.
Dreamdark Series by Laini Taylor
This is another one recommended by Sandra (she’s reviewing it soon). The Dreamdark series is an entrancing take on fairy worlds, and quite different from Laini’s popular Daugher of Smoke and Bone. However, her gorgeous writing is absolutely recognizable. The artwork in the novels is also stand-out, and makes these lesser-known books (there are two of them) quite distinctive.
Tomorrow, When the War Began Series by John Marsden
Jillian mentioned that she also likes dystopias, and with so many out these days, there are a plethora from which to choose. However, we recommend she takes a look back at an oldie, but goodie in the form of John Marsden’s action-packed series about a group of Australian friends in the aftermath of a foreign invasion. There isn’t any insta-love or triangulated love; instead, you get a wonderful story about survival that spans seven books. This is a favorite series of all of us as CEFS.
The Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci & Nate Powell
Why this wonderful traditional novel-graphic novel hybrid hasn’t received more attention, I have no idea. The Year of the Beasts at first reads as a straight contemporary, but the graphic novel portion is a Medusa myth retelling. It’s quite original and compelling.
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
I’ve been meaning to write about Holly Goldberg Sloan’s novel, I’ll Be There for ages. While this is marketed as a contemporary YA, it reads as almost magical. Not as in wizards and fairies and the like, but, rather, it has an otherworldly quality that’s quite unique. This may be a bit of an outside-the-box recommendation for Jillian, but I think that it’s one that make be a bit of a genre-stretch for her.
What would you recommend for a discerning reader who loves magical tales and wants to avoid a lot of the typical traps?
All of these recommendations are young adult titles—any thoughts on adult novels that will work for Jillian?