Three Mini-Reviews

By Casey Wilson

In the interest of expediency, let’s take a quick look at three books that have come out in recent weeks that are worthy of attention:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Taylor’s novel follows Karou, a girl raised by ‘monsters’ who encounters an angel with whom she feels a surprising connection. Don’t look away just because of my summary — this is a great book, full of humor and resistant to the confines of strictly linear storytelling. As Karou unravels her past, the story really comes to life.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Inspired by an idea from the late Siobhan Dowd, Ness produced a wonderful, emotional story about dealing with impending loss. The illustrations (by Jim Kay) are heavy, full of texture, and completely beautiful. It’s not as bleak as Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy, but it still packs a punch.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: When her old neighbors move back in, budding fashion designer Lola has to deal with the feelings she still harbors for Cricket, despite their hurtful history. Just like Anna and the French Kiss, Lola is witty and winsome, with smart, sympathetic, and fully realized characters. If Perkins is to be the new face of YA contemporary romance — as many fans would have it — Lola is a fine example of what the genre can be, at its best.

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