Samantha may be falling for the beloved of the princess she is sent to save in this start to a hilarious, adventurous, and sweetly romantic trilogy.
When Samantha is summoned to the royal court of Nova for a secret mission, it’s her chance to put her training to the test: Princess Evelyn has taken an illegal love potion with disastrous effects, and Samantha, like her ancestors before her, is great at mixing potions. She may not be one of the naturally Talented—those who can heal or transform at the wave of their hands—but she is skilled nonetheless, and determined to find an antidote and cure Princess Evelyn.
The problem? Princess Evelyn took the love potion to make her best friend Zain fall for her—and it’s Zain who Samantha keeps encountering on her hunt for antidote ingredients. As forbidden sparks between them fly, Samantha is forced to wonder: will curing Princess Evelyn doom her own chance at love?
Janet: Gorgeous cover! I like how clean and subtle it looks with those smooth lines and shading. The synopsis is amusing. I would read the first few pages for sure (with that cover, how could I resist?) to assess the writing – better yet, find someone who can reassure me that there is more to this than romance – but mostly I’d just smile at the cover.
Nafiza: I really like the cover. It’s simple but pleasing to the eye. I really love how the smoke comes together to form the title. It’s genius. As for the synopsis, it’s amusing and like Janet, I’d be interested in reading it once some reviews convince me it’s not all mush.
Yash: Haha, I love “forbidden sparks fly”. I don’t know if they meant it to be hilarious, but it certainly is! Anyway, I like the cover and title. I like that it ties in neatly with the whole love potion ordeal. And even if it is going to be mainly romance, I think I’m in.
In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?
Janet: Interesting cover. I can’t help but notice that the dress form is (surprise!) white. Which may be normal for dress forms, which says obvious things about our culture. I’m still impressed to see one on a cover, though. Although the synopsis is a bit heavy-handed and obvious for my taste, it also has a distinct target audience and a reasonably effective appeal to that audience. I’m well over the “teenagers-alone-are-special” theme that keeps cropping up, though.
Nafiza: I like the title and how many layers of meaning it has. I also like the cover though I’m not the greatest fan of the green. I do really like the synopsis and this seems to be well thought out and relevant to contemporary issues. I would definitely be interested in reading this.
Yash: I agree with Nafiza. The green is not my favourite. I do like the rest of it. I’m not sure I’m completely bought over by the synopsis, but I have to admit, it’s quite different from the stuff we usually see. May need some reviews to convince me. Perhaps Steph? Also, I get where Janet is coming from but since teenagers (especially teenage girls) are the target demographic for a lot of products (especially fashion), the teens are special trope works quite well here, I think.
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.
Janet: Cool title and ship. Old-fashioned sailing vessels are perennially appealing. The skull in the sky is a bit much. The premise of this tale is intriguing, but I’ve seen a lot a lot a lot of Peter Pan re-creations, and I haven’t cared for any of them so far, so unless someone can assure me and pledge, I don’t know, a batch of cookies if they are wrong, that this one is so uniquely extraordinary that I really will care…?
Nafiza: I don’t mind the skull in the sky but for some reason that red feather on the title bugs the heck out of me. I don’t know why but it’s driving me to distraction. *glares at feather* As for the synopsis, I don’t know. I’m reading Alias Hook for next month and we’ll see. There are only so many Peter Pan retellings a girl can take.
Yash: I don’t like Peter Pan and there’s only one retelling I’ve truly loved. This will have to blow lots of people’s minds in order to pique my interest. I do have to admit that the title is quite lovely (the green works so well here!) and the cover works very well. I can see it appealing to loads of people.
Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.
Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.
But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.
Janet: Nafiza’s going to love this papercut, I just know it. And I’m pretty impressed with the delicacy and detail of the shapes inside. (They are silhouettes, true, but this format is different.) I have a feeling that this is going to be a tear-jerker, but I could probably be persuaded to look at the first chapter. Oh – one quibble – aren’t the papercut figures each missing a leg? They each have one leg visible, but they don’t align.
Nafiza: Bwahaha, I DO love the papercut! The leg is there, Janet, see it’s a shadow. But honestly, I am really intrigued by this cover and the novel. I’ve never read anything where the protagonists are conjoined twins so I’d give this one a try.
Yash: OMG THAT PAPERCUT COVER! SO GOOD! I am a little wary of having this book accurately portray what it is to be conjoined twins and yes, there is some pressure to “get it right” because there aren’t many (or do I mean, any?) protagonists like these two? I’d read some reviews before investing all my emotions in this one, but I am definitely intrigued.
London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.
Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.
But leading a double life isn’t easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London’s slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city’s criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.
Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?
Janet: The lace design on the cover moves it to the kinda cool bracket, although the cover is awfully lurid. But the synopsis? Bwa ha ha! It’s like someone took a fistful of hot topics (blackmail! historical fiction! abuse! a secret life! a terrifying lady! a girl passing as a boy!attempted murder! a powerful possible-enemy-sometime-ally! a rich potential suitor! foreign travel to exotic lands!) and threw them together into a pot with a few swirls from a wooden spoon for good measure. Arista (*snort* what an aristocratic name) sounds so unfortunately passive that this cannot be anything but a melodramatic romance in the manner of Twilight (or is that Fifty Shades of Grey?).
Nafiza: I like the bold colour and detail of the lace. I find it eyecatching and that’s what you want a bookcover to do in a bookshop (unless it makes you laugh in which case no, just…no). Anyway, the cover is fine but I’m going to agree with Janet and say that the synopsis is…well. I have questions. The first two sentences give Lady A (Arista *snerk*) all the power and then the third paragraph takes it all away. She seems to be defined by the men in her life. Bones, the Thief, Graden…and what does Graden seeing the “exotic” (I dislike that word) lands have anything to do with Arista? I mean, she hasn’t seen it…so wouldn’t that make him an object of envy rather than love? I feel like this book is the kind that will make the feminist in me roar. (How does she travel in the elite circles. The British nobility weren’t exactly known for their altruism. Yes, she can be disguised but even disguised people need invitations before being allowed inside…right?) Anyway, pass.
Yash: I. LOVE. THIS. COVER. I think it does so well with the title, the lace-y style, the colour– everything grabs at my attention. Thing is, I loved the synopsis … until “Thief Taker General” happened. Even then, I actually don’t mind a bit of romance, so I read on and … oh no. “Exotic” lands. Ew. Nope. This is why I don’t read so many classics and so many books set in Europe. If someone can please tell me truthfully that the synopsis is off and the book is quite good and subversive, I would love to pick it up.