By Jan Pease
Four new novels show me that young adult literature continues to make money for the publishers, and that romance, with zombies, spirits and humans, is still alive and well in 2016.
Darren Shan’s last book in his “Zom-B” series, “Zom-B Goddess” has just been published in the United States. His real name is Darren O'Shaughnessy, he lives in Ireland, and his series include “Cirque du Freak,” the “Demonata” series, the “Saga of Larten Crepsley,” and many other books. His website darrenshan.com includes the words “master of horror,” and he is an extremely popular writer for young adults. His series have covered vampires, demons, and now zombies. “Zom-B Goddess” concludes the story of B Smith, who has already been through more than a human can, or should, endure. Oh wait. B is a zombie, so who knows what she could endure, or how long she could live. Mr. Shan ties up some loose ends, kills off a lot of characters, and somehow leaves the story on a positive note. What paranormal group will he write about next? Witches? Ghosts? Shapeshifters? His website gives no clues.
Fascination with death and dying runs through “All the Bright Places,” by Jennifer Niven. This is Ms. Niven’s first novel for young adults and it will be loved by fans of John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars.” The novel begins with both protagonists stuck six stories up on a ledge; they save each other and begin a heart-breaking friendship. My concern about this book is that young people might emulate Finch. As the dust jacket says, Finch’s world begins to shrink even as Violet’s world begins to grow. Do young people who take their own lives understand the awful finality of it and the desperation they leave behind?
“Sisters of Blood and Spirit” is a ghost story written by Kady Cross, a Canadian-born author who also writes under the names of Kate Locke, Kate Cross, and Kathryn Smith. Her (or their) website is www.alterkate.com and each name has its own voice and genre. Kady Cross writes steam punk. The sisters in “Sisters of Blood and Spirit” are twins, one living and one dead, giving a new twist on the paranormal romance novel. A second book in the series, “Sisters of Salt and Iron” was just published March 29.
Harlequin has begun releasing books under its Harlequin Teen label. We are trying them at Litchfield Library and have just received our first book, “Nowhere But Here,” by Katie McGarry. This book is part of the “Thunder Road” novels. According to Good Reads, this series is pitched as “West Side Story” meets “Sons of Anarchy.” For some interesting reading, read customer reviews at both goodreads.com and amazon.com. The characters and plot are pretty one-dimensional, but 52% of the reviews at Amazon gave “Nowhere but Here” 5 stars.
Stop at the library and find a creepy, scary or robustly cheerful sort of book to enjoy during the spring rainy season.