Our sixth edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides the special excitement of Winter Institute and takes it even further with samples of the best in forthcoming young adult novels months ahead of their actual publication. Publishing insiders— librarians, booksellers, bloggers and reviewers—rely on Buzz Books to survey breakout titles on the horizon.
These substantial pre-publication excerpts reflect a broad spectrum of today’s young adult writing, from fantasy and romance to suspense and humor. You will discover debut writers to put on your radar, while enjoying early samples from some of the biggest authors in the field and even a memoir for younger readers.
Three New York Times bestselling authors share new work: Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger); Cora Carmack (the Losing It series); and Joelle Charbonneau (the Testing trilogy). Ahdieh and Charbonneau are previous Buzz Books authors, so we’re delighted to have them back.
Beyond the boundaries of YA, we also feature two middle grade titles from JIMMY Patterson, the children’s imprint that James Patterson founded to encourage every child to love reading.
Rating: 2.6 Stars (Average of the stories together)
Buzz Books is a fun collection to look forward to because it gives us the chance to get a look at forthcoming titles that may or may not have full ARCs available yet. This collection had 18 different samples, some longer than others, some more enjoyable than others. I’ve done a brief review of each. Please keep in mind that these reviews are based upon limited samples and not the full works.
5 Stars – The Flame in the Mist: Having read one of Renee Ahdieh’s books before (The Wrath & the Dawn), I was pleased her writing style & quality continued in this novel. I tend to get nervous with authors when I’ve read one book and loved it. I get worried that I won’t like their future works as much. The Flame in the Mist sample introduces some intrigue & questions I look forward to having answered.
2 Stars – The One Memory of Flora Banks: the premise didn’t sound very good to me and the sample we got wasn’t really enough to convince me to pick it up. The writing is fine, it’s the story that feels lacking. There are so many holes I feel that are going to rip open due to Flora’s short term memory loss & traveling across the world. I don’t think I want to continue this book, at least not as a purchase I make.
1 Star – Dream Me: I am so glad that I don’t have to read the rest of this book. Zat’s chapter wasn’t thrilling, but the sudden shift from third to first person in Babe’s chapter was jarring and she wasn’t an interesting character. She felt silly, dim, and boring. The writing didn’t even save it.
3 Stars – Future Threat (Book #2 of Future Shock trilogy): even though I didn’t read the 1st book in this trilogy, there was a decent recap so I knew enough to get by for this sample (I didn’t know beforehand this was a sequel). It’s not bad, kind of interesting plot. The writing was good, not spectacular. It didn’t make me want to start from the 1st book, so did it succeed? If the 1st book feels superfluous, I’d say something’s wrong.
2 Stars – Piper Perish: Piper seemed like a very whiny character, much younger than she’s supposed to be. I’m curious about why her sister Marli is such a bitch, but honestly, not enough to read the whole book. The diary format felt forced and I didn’t understand why we needed each entry to be time-stamped.
3 Stars – Roar: interesting premise. I want to hear more about these storm gems that they steal from the heart of a storm. I didn’t like the abrupt change of point of view; it happened in the middle of a paragraph. Hopefully that’s fixed before but publication.
3 Stars – This Is Really Happening: the excerpt we were giving was tough because, as Erin says, it’s about one of the worst/weirdest experiences of her life. I’m not sure if I’d say her voice is the “freshest” I’ve ever read, but I would like to hear more about her experience with cancer, facing the future, and more.
4 Stars – Dividing Eden: another interesting concept. There’s a lot of action that still needs to happen and I want to know what happens!
1 Star – Spirit Quest: the writing style bored me to tears. It felt too simplistic and dull to pull together the story.
2 Stars – The Black Witch: maybe it’s because the excerpt didn’t start from page one, but Elloren sounds like an idiot. There wasn’t a set up for the scenario we were in, so I’m not sure if this is a one off moment for her or her normal personality.
How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry
4 Stars – How to Be a Supervillain: in the style of How to Be a Wimpy Kid, this book looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. Victor’s a good kid, which in this case is bad. His parents are super(ish) villains, but he’s a goody-goody. The excerpt leaves off as he’s apprenticed to another semi-villlain and I need to see where that goes.
3 Stars – The End of Our Story: there’s nothing too distinct about this story yet, but the synopsis has some promise and I liked the author’s previous novel, Paperweight, so the writing is solid enough to make me want to read more.
Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson
1 Star – Laugh Out Loud: I miss the good old days of James Patterson novels, when they had real quality. Any book he writes with a co-author suffers from a distinct lack of cohesion. This was, sadly, no exception. It sounded like an autobiography of a pretentious child.
5 Stars – Aftercare Instructions: this is the single most powerful & interesting sample I’ve read so far. It’s about a tough subject, but the author doesn’t let that hold her writing back. She’s writing full strength and I anticipate this being a heartfelt, intense work that will resonate with readers.
2 Stars – Geekerella: Elle’s kind of a bitch, which I was surprised by for the main character right out of the gate. She’s the kind of person who hates on a person/fan of “her” fandom because she doesn’t seem them worthy because a) they’re too famous for being a pretty boy actor or b) can’t answer one trivia question about the fandom. You don’t have to know everything about a fandom to be a fan, just saying.
2 Stars – Rebels Like Us: the plot sounds like it’s got potential, particularly the race split proms, but the writing style seems really rough so it’s not going to be high on my list to read in the future.
3 Stars – Definitions of Indefinable Things: there wasn’t quite enough in this sample to get a feel for how the story is, the voice of it or the pacing. There are some hints of a sarcastic sense of humor that I appreciate, which is a good start.
2 Stars – Gem & Dixie: the writing was decent if a bit flat. Gem and her sister Dixie need more time to flesh out. I couldn’t get a clear picture of who they were, other than the front that’s presented to the world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.