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Friday, December 9, 2016

Gotta Read them All!

By Jan Pease

This cold snap means it’s time to settle in with a hot cup of coffee and a book.  These young adult novels might be enjoyed by anyone of any age. 

First, Dean Hughes, who is well-known for writing action-filled books about young men during the Second World War, has published a new book, Four-Four-Two, about Japanese Americans who fought with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.  Mr. Hughes is straight forward when writing about the racial attitudes of the time.  He also writes honestly about how these brave young men lived and died. 

A Thousand Nights was written by E.K. Johnston, a prolific writer of young adult novels who is known for writing contemporary fantasy and re-imagining fairy tales.  Kate is becoming even more famous for her book set in the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: Ahsoka.   A Thousand Nights is a re-telling of the story of  Scheherazade and the 1001 Tales of The Arabian Nights.  The storyteller is not named and there are rich details added here and there.  The descriptions of the desert and desert-dwellers seem especially real.

Weregirl by C.D.Bell is the story of a high school junior who is bitten by a wolf and becomes, of course, a werewolf.  The cover of the book caught my eye, showing a white wolf with startling bright blue eyes.  Some romance, a little werewolf lore, and a main character who is a runner make this an unusual werewolf story. 

Greg Hurwitz is another well-known writer.  He wrote the best-selling book, Orphan X.  He has written a science fiction book full of alien/zombie/teen problems, titled, The Rains.  I don’t know where to start; this is a violent, gory page-turner.  I’ve mentioned that I don’t get zombie literature.  In this case, the zombie behavior is triggered by an alien invasion by sinister plants.   

Neal Schusterman is another writer who is no stranger to strange.  In his new book, Scythe, Mr. Schusterman develops a world so perfect that even death has been defeated.  This makes population control vitally important, so enter the Scythes, professional killers who learn their trade as teenagers.  This is the first book in the series, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.  

Finally, fans of the Ranger’s Apprentice series have waited for The Battle of Hackham Heath.  John Flanagan has written 13 “Ranger’s Apprentice” books, and six “Brotherband” books.  Now he is writing prequels to his first series.  The first “Ranger’s Apprentice: the Early Years” was The Tournament at Gorlan, the prequel to The Ruins of Gorlan.  This new “early years” book, The Battle of Hackham Heath, is the second prequel to The Ruins of Gorlan. Is this confusing?  Mr. Flanagan seems so fond of the universe he created that he doesn’t want to leave it.   As I read reviews of fans at, I realized that Mr. Flanagan’s fans don’t want to leave the Ranger’s Apprentice universe any more than he does.  Read them all!

 Snuggle up with a good book and enjoy some winter reading!