Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mini-Reviews: Three YA Thrillers

Are thrillers the next big thing in YA? I know I can't get enough of them! Here are a few I've read lately.


Pitched as THE DA VINCI CODE for teens, this novel features Nora, a normal girl who gets caught up in a centuries old battle between rival religious factions who all want to get their hands on a device said to allow one to communicate directly with God. Because of their superior Latin skills, Nora and her friend Chris are asked to help with a translation project. Nora is given the less important task of translating a pack of letters from the daughter of the subject of interest, but soon uncovers some startling secrets that set in motion a chain of events that result in Chris's death and the disappearance of her boyfriend Max.

Nora is one of those unlikely book heroines who is a whiz at cracking puzzles and putting together the most obscure of clues - but is also terrible at reading people and their intentions. Nora's nature is what drives the plot and many of the twists and turns of the narrative, an interesting thing to ponder since one of the themes is guilt and taking responsibility for your actions.  In any case, THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW was an exciting read - one of those few that I stayed up late to finish because I HAD to know how it all played out.

FTC disclosure: Bought

ADAPTATION by Malinda Lo

ADAPTATION has a legit creepy opening: Reece, her debate partner (and longtime crush) David and their teacher are waiting for their plane when they get the news that all air travel is grounded because of a rash of bird strikes that have caused crashes around the nation. They end up renting a car and after a bird strike drives them off the road, Reece wakes up in a locked-down military hospital - one month later.

Once she gets home, the world has changed in subtle ways, but most alarming are the vivid dreams Reece is having.  She confesses these both to David and to the manic-pixie-dreamgirl (Amber) she crashes into on the street one day. The middle section of the book concentrates on Reece's growing alienation to her ho-hum life and attraction to all things Amber. And then ... things get really weird, really fast culminating in a jaw-dropping climax that opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the next book.

FTC disclosure: NetGalley

PERCEPTION by Kim Harrington

The sequel to CLARITY, PERCEPTION brings back psychic teen Clarity in a new mystery.  Clarity is getting secret admirer letters - are they from her ex-boyfriend Justin, from estranged crush Gabriel or are they of a more sinister nature altogether? When a girl from Clarity's school disappears, Clarity starts to suspect it must be the latter.

One thing that surprised me in CLARITY was Clarity's lack of female friends (see my review). Well, in this installment, Clarity is not only courted by the popular girls (who hope to exploit her psychic ability) but also gains a (slightly creepy/unhinged) new BFF.  Her sassy voice continues to shine here, the new mystery is properly compelling, and the on-again/off-again romance with Gabriel provides some great swoon.

FTC disclosure: Unsolicited review copy

What others thrillers should I move to the top of my reading pile? Any suggestions?


Lilian said...

I never knew Perception was even a thriller, it seemed more like a sparkly, romance to me (but of course, I'm judging solely on the cover.) I might have to give the series a go (I love a sassy best friend for comic relief.)

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

bermudaonion said...

I love thrillers and will have to look into these!

Tez Miller said...

Have you read Laurie Faria Stolarz's books? They're addictive! The series can be a bit formulaic, but they're still page-turners. My favourite is her stand-alone, PROJECT 17 :-)

Christina said...

I LOVED The Book of Blood and Shadow, but haven't read the other two. I just read April Henry's Girl, Stolen and that was an awesome thriller. :)

Zibilee said...

Not so sure about the third one, but the first two look like things that I would be crazy excited to read! I love the idea behind the first book, and the second sounds kind of bizarrely creepy. These have just made it on to my audible wish list!!

Rachel said...

The Book Of Blood And Shadow sounds fabulous! Love a good thriller! The Diviners by Libba Bray is great if you're a fan of a god murder mystery and/or Cassandra Clare :)

Mariana said...

I really shouldn't be buying any books, considering I've even started up a blog to read more and buy less, but these look so good!!! I guess I'll add them up to my wishlist to make my friends aware that I wouldn't mind being given a couple of them as presents haha