Review: All Samples in Buzz Books 2017: YA Spring/Summer

Thanks to Publishers Lunch for grouping samples for readers and NetGalley for allowing me to read this. I had a wonderful experience reading the one from Fall/Winter 2016 and I was so thrilled to get a glimpse of these 18 new YA books coming in Spring/Summer 2017.

There are a few stories which capture my attention. No doubt Flame in the Mist is on the list because the writing is the best out of the 18. The second best, for me, is Future Threat as it’s a story you can easily get into. I also like Dream Me, Roar, This Is Really Happening, How to Be a Supervillain and Definition of Indefinable Things. To explain it better, I will give the 18 samples a mini review each and by clicking the title, you can add them to your Goodreads.

Fantasy

1. Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renée Ahdieh

Renée Ahdieh gives this book an intense and heartbreaking opening scene with her brilliant writing. Hands down the best sample in the group. Unfortunately, I’m not interested in Samurai or Japanese fantasy so I’m not going to put this on my TBR.

2. Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack

A YA fantasy book with a pretty cover and an interesting premise. It’s gonna attract an amount of readers. The opening scene reminds me of that of Three Dark Crowns, in which Katharine is revealed to have no gift of poisoning. Aurora, our protagonist in Roar, doesn’t have the storm magic either. Did I mention Cassius, the prince, is a man to be swooned over? Then I found out Cora Carmack has published new adult novels. Hmm…sounds delicious.

3. Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Twins fighting for one throne…another Three Dark Crowns? I’ve read good reviews of this book on Goodreads, but I couldn’t get into the story and I couldn’t care less. The plot is too intense for my taste. It just didn’t work for me.

4. The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest

The excerpt has a dark atmosphere and everything feels dreamy. I actually like it, but I think the descriptive writing is so much better than the dialogues. The dialogues sound silly, so I’m not sure if I will read this book or not.

5. Spirit Quest (The Legend of Skyco #1) by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, illustrations by Lorna Murphy

A boy must learn from the great chief before he can take his place in the tribe. I don’t know where to put this book and I guess it falls under fantasy? Sigh. The sample is dull. The writing is boring. I lost interest after a few pages.

Sci-Fi

1. Dream Me by Kathryn Berla

This is a time-travel standalone about a girl dreaming about a boy. I have already received an ARC from NetGalley before I read the sample. Readers will be confused reading the excerpt because it has cut out chapter one and a blog post of the girl’s, but I’m definitely going to finish this book.

2. Future Threat (Future Shock #2) by Elizabeth Briggs

A time-travel series about a bunch of teens going to the future to collect information. I have a lot to say about this book. First of all, just looking at the cover, I wanted to skip it. I’m glad I didn’t because Elizabeth Briggs’s writing can suck you into the story fast. It was an easy read. I was a bit confused about how old the main characters are but later when I check it out on Goodreads I realize it is the second book to the series. So, yes, I was spoiled, but I still want to read the first book (and find out how old they are).
There’s something which bugs me though. Our heroine has brown skin, and I didn’t see it from the cover of this book. However, when I look at the first book’s cover, the model does have brown skin. I have no idea if Future Threat‘s cover inaccuracy was an effect of the lighting or photo-retouching gone wrong, it just bugs me.

Contemporary

1. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

A girl who has no short-term memory remembers a boy’s kiss. Ugh, I cannot stand this book. Honestly, I find the excerpt pretty cringy. I don’t know if people with no short-term memory behaves like that but Flora Banks’s voice irritates me so much that I become impatient. Also, I don’t find Drake charming at all. Everything is messy.

2. Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan

Another contemporary I don’t bother to add to my TBR. I love art but it didn’t work for me. The constant mention of Andy Warhol makes it worse. I think Piper as well as her sister Marli are annoying. But if it had worked for me, I would have been happy to read it because the chapters are short and you can fly through it quickly.

3. The End of Our Story by Meg Haston

Girl loses Boy. Boy comes back and they have to deal with a loss. This one is not bad, but it doesn’t stand out.

4. Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin

I’m not so interested in the plot, but the flashbacks are written as a play. I think this method’s fresh.

5. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

A contemporary retelling of Cinderella. I like it because I’m a sucker for retellings. It does have a promising premise and the sample was fun, but I can see it’s the kind of story that is extremely predictable. Anyway, if you love contemporary, you should totally give it a try!

6. Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt

It’s a book with POC as protagonist and I think it’s one of the selling point given that many readers are requesting more diverse book. For me, I can’t get into it, but I think it’s because I don’t love reading contemporary that much.

7. Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

A girl falls for a guy whose ex-girlfriend is 7 months pregnant. I enjoyed it so much! No doubt the best sample in this genre. I love the dynamic between our main characters and I really want to know their backstory to see why they both need to take pills. I highly recommend this book to readers who love YA romance!

8. Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

A story about two sisters. After a few lines, I stopped. This is not interesting for me.

Children’s Books

1. How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry

This excerpt was so much fun! I love the concept of this supervillains’ kid incapable of being bad. The story is hilarious and I predict this book will be popular among kids once it’s released.

2. Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrations by Jeff Ebeler

This is a book with a lot of bookish references. It does have its funny moments, like when Jimmy meets a bunch of sci-fi characters such as Mrs. Whatsit and Yoda. But, compared to How to Be a Supervillain, the story is less compelling. I like the illustrations though.

Non-fiction

1. This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack

It’s a bunch of essays from a BuzzFeed senior writer. The writing is easy and fun to read. The excerpt is touching and strong. If you are used to reading essays, this may be your next read.

Once again, thanks to Publishers Lunch and NetGalley for doing this amazing thing for readers. I can’t wait for the Fall/Winter edition. Also, I hope it helps whoever reading this review get an idea of what the upcoming YA books are like.

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