Remember back when there weren’t enough young adult novels for them to warrant their own official Young Adult or Middle Grade book category? No? I guess we’ve just given away our age! Well, we sure are glad times have changed, because over here at The Savvy Reader, we are swimming in this season’s new YA and MG books. With March Break just around the corner, we’ve taken the liberty of planning your week for you…or planning your reading list, at least!
Through intensive research, shameless obsessing, and countless heated debates, we’ve come up with an official top ten list just for you. Enjoy!
10. Also Known As by Robin Benway
Maggie Silver is not your average 16 year old; she is the daughter of international spies. Of course there are perks to this lifestyle: she gets to travel the world and live wherever her parents are placed, and she doesn’t have to go to high school like every other teenager. However, Maggie doesn’t get the chance to stay in one place long enough to make friends or have a boyfriend. That is, until Maggie is sent to New York City for her first solo assignment. In order to gain the information she needs to crack her case, she attends a private school and must adjust to the daily life of a high school student and befriend the cute Jesse Oliver. Talk about a stressful day on the job… and at school! Not to mention, she has to do all of that without blowing her cover. This book has just the right amount of teen drama, romance and espionage!
9. Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
To satisfy your angsty, teen romance craving this March Break, check out Nobody But Us. After years of being bounced around the foster system and a few run-ins with the law, Will is eighteen and finally free. His girlfriend Zoe—fifteen years old and alone in her house with an abusive father—isn’t so lucky. Desperate to protect her, Will steals Zoe away and together they run away, breaking all ties and leaving their unpleasant histories behind. Turns out, it’s not as easy as that. This novel explores the inherent problems of growing up too young, the burden of carrying the type of baggage you can never be rid of, and the heart wrenching reality that love can’t always fix what’s broken. If you’re in need of a good cry—this is the book for you!
8. The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale
Loosely based on the author’s real-life sixth grade experience, this (formerly self-published) debut novel is part mystery, part tragedy, part comedy. Eric Haskins is the new target of the bullies. This new take on the bully story doesn’t talk down to kids and isn’t dramatic for the sake of it. It really is a must-read for every tween, tween parent, tween educator, and basically everyone else who was once a tween forced to heed to the laws of the sixth grade playground. Oh, and if you’re a fan of Team Starkid then move this book to the top of your list…the author is a member!
7. Big Nate Flips Out by Lincoln Pierce
Have you met Big Nate, yet? If you haven’t, then you’re definitely missing out! Originally a comic strip, Big Nate has morphed into a best-selling book series for middle grade readers. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid, meets comic books, meets confidence! Nate is anything but wimpy—he’s loud and brash and the King of Detention. He is always getting himself into sticky situations, and in the newest installment of Nate’s adventures, Big Nate Flips Out, his sloppiness gets way out of hand. Can Nate clean up his act, or will he flip out first? This series is hilarious, and a hit with tweens everywhere! Make sure to check out the previous four installments while you’re at it!
6. Pivot Point by Kasie West
Reading this book should be one of the easiest decisions you’ll make this March Break! Pivot Point is the debut novel for author Kasie West. Meet Addison Coleman… a girl struggling to make the biggest decision of her life. However, Addison has one advantage that the rest of us don’t. Addison is a Searcher, who lives on a paranormal compound with her parents. Whenever she has a big choice to make, she can look into the future to see the potential outcomes of her decision. So, when Addison’s parents tell her they are getting a divorce, her choice of who to live with should be simple; she can look to the future to see which outcome she likes best. Both futures seem pleasant; she adjusts to life accordingly and even finds herself with romantic love interests. However, when her dad is asked to investigate a murder that took place on the compound, Addison is drawn into a dangerous game that threatens the lives of those she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, she is faced with an impossible decision. What will be her choice?
5. Days That End in Y by Vikki Vansickle
Days That End in Y is the third book by this Canadian author, of whom we are big, big fans! Days That End in Y is the clever follow-up to Love Is a Four-Letter Word, and follows Clarissa as she tries to make sense of the world that is falling apart around her. Not only was Clarissa abandoned by her friends for the summer, her mother announces that she is getting married. This spurs Clarissa into thinking about her absentee father, and her search for answers leads her to information about her mother’s teenage life that could change Clarissa’s opinion of her mother forever. A great read that is perfect for girls in the middle grades. Start this enjoyable series by Vikki VanSickle with Words That Start With B today!
4. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Well, Delirium fans, the wait is finally over! In Requiem, the final book of the Delirium trilogy, prepare yourself for twists, turns, surprises, and MORE unanswered questions! Lena has finally escaped to the Wilds with Julian, a place where she is free to love and free to make her own choices; she has risen to an active member of the resistance against a society that has labeled love a disease. The end of the last book saw the return of Alex—Lena’s first true love, Alex—who was supposed to be dead, who died for Lena, who encouraged her to rebel and who has now returned to find her in the arms of Julian. Turns out, Alex isn’t the same person Lena fell in love with. But then again, Lena has changed, too. Add a dash of epic revolution to this love triangle and it sounds like just the right recipe of drama to spice up your March Break!
3. City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Vivid, richly detailed and original, City of a Thousand Dolls paints a vibrant world of mythology and mystery. Sixteen-year-old Nisha has never belonged to anyone or anything—instead, she took refuge long ago in an isolated estate that trains young girls in the arts. Orphaned as an infant, Nisha has always dreamed of finding her place in the world, and after a forbidden flirtation with a handsome courier, she starts to wonder if that place may be outside the city walls. Just as she dares to dream of escape, one by one the girls around her are found dead, and a scared Nisha is swept into the chaos. Could she be next? City of a Thousand Dolls has it all—a taste of ancient South Asian culture, a murder mystery and even a girl who can talk to cats (not kidding). Seriously, check this one out!
2. Power Play by Eric Walters
By one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed young adult writers, Power Play fearlessly tackles its delicate (and previously untold) subject matter with an honesty and grace that few writers ever achieve. With little support from home and an academic career that is DOA, Cody has nothing but his dreams and his determination. He lives and breathes hockey, and for once, it seems to be paying off. With a chance at being called up to Junior A finally within reach, Cody really can’t afford to mess this up. When his relationship with his coach descends into sexual abuse, Cody has nowhere to turn, and can do nothing but helplessly allow his passion for the game—his dreams, his entire future—be used against him. Unflinchingly executed, this is a heavy read, no doubt, but also, as former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy calls it, “a gripping story and an important book”. Power Play is definitely a story that needed to be told.
1. Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis
What’s so cool about this new series of seven books by bestselling author Peter Lerangis that it deserves our coveted top spot? Well, a lot of people are comparing it to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan – giving it a lot to live up to, but also a great comparison if you want to know what you are in for! Jack McKinley is a young boy on a mission. He has discovered he is going to die within a few short months, and must find and combine seven magic loculi in order to be cured. No problem, right? Wrong. The seven magic loculi have not been seen in thousands of years, and are relics from a lost, ancient civilization. Middle grade readers (both boys and girls) will be in for an exciting, adventurous ride as Jack hurries to find the hidden loculi that will save his life.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think of the titles that we’ve suggested! Let us know your favourites by commenting below or tweeting @SavvyReader.
Students, enjoy your week at school; parents, enjoy your week with your kids; teachers, enjoy your vacation; and to all, Happy Reading!
Ashley & Erin