Review: Penguin Teen Game-Changers Sampler


Penguin Teen has some really great titles coming out in the next few months, five of which were featured in this collection. I was thrilled to get to read this because it gave me a chance to see if I’d like some of these titles, two of which are attaining really big hype levels.


Warcross by Marie Lu

Release Date: 12 September 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

This is one of the most talked about books on Twitter right now. While I don’t have a full arc, I can see why it’s getting the hype. The introduction into the world of the MC, her difficult situation as bounty hunter struggling to keep a roof over her head, really pulls in the reader and their heart.

I love the idea of a world that has a game like this as a central unifier. I’ve seen it in Japanese manga titles like Sword Art Online and Accel World, loving it both times. There were some details about the game that is Warcross, but I was left wanting just enough that I know I’ll be picking it up when it’s released.


Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Release Date: 19 September 2017

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

I’ve heard good things about Kristen Cashore’s Graceling series and did start the first book. However, the sample of her next work, Jane, Unlimited, did not impress me. The perspective felt strange, like someone was both telling the story and we were hearing it from a 3rd person p.o.v. (Jane). It made reading it confusing.

Then, there was the plot itself. Reading about Jane and Kiran, there wasn’t anything to pull me in, nothing interesting that made me want to keep reading.

I won’t be picking this book up, as cool as the summary had sounded on Goodreads.


There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: 26 September 2017

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

All I’ve read from Stephanie Perkins has been light contemporary stories. This feels like a real departure from her Anna and the French Kiss books, which I enjoyed, but now this, this horror movie-esque tale is a real treat.

You get immersed in a not completely safe world from chapter one and instantly you’re on guard. Anyone could be the bad guy. Everyone has a secret. Don’t get attached to the p.o.v. you’re reading from because that person might be the next victim.

This was my favorite entry in the sampler, even more so than Warcross. While I want to read that book, I really want to read this one.


Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

Release Date: 3 October 2017

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back.

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

This book certainly doesn’t start out on a cheery note.

“The morning after I dropped out of high school, I woke up before dawn in my father’s empty house thinking about the slow death of the universe.”

I wasn’t sure I’d like it because that is a rather heavy statement to begin with, but the more I did read, the more questions I found myself having about Tess’s story. She’s just lost a very important someone, someone she’d only met once IRL, and that kind of relationship has a lot of power, despite what people say. I’m now curious to see how she’ll deal with her grief, what her process will be for moving on, can she move on, that sort of thing.

This is going on my to-buy list.


Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Release Date: 10 October 2017

A Fall 2017 Junior Library Guild Selection!

“A richly developed fantasy world coupled with an ambitious anti-heroine of complex agency, this story shines and surprises at every turn.” Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

I am not sure what to feel about Xifeng at this point. In such a short amount of time, three or four chapters, she went from someone I felt I could sympathize with to someone that annoyed me, someone that was downtrodden to someone that was privileged and didn’t care.

The writing style and the hints at a darker future intrigue me. I want to find out more about this Serpent God that got brought up and whether Xifeng will be a heroine or an anti-heroine.



Have you read the samplers for any of the above novels? Or, better yet, have you read the full arcs for them? What do you think so far? Let me know in the comment section down below.




I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

17 thoughts on “Review: Penguin Teen Game-Changers Sampler

  1. Get hype for Warcross because it’s A M A Z I N G. I’m probably going to pick up There’s Someone in your House after I finish my current read so I’m hoping it’s good 🙂
    I hope you’re able to get your hands on TSIYH soon! Fabulous mini-reviews ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Warcross hype is definitely HUGE. I almost wish there was some kind of app/video game coming out alongside it. The 39 Clues series had some kind of game and the idea sounds like fun.

      I associate Perkins with contemporary, light and fluffy, so this YA horror should be interesting.


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