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New Young Adult books for February 2018

Written by · Published Jan 29, 2018

Scythe, Sunflowers in February, The Wren Hunt

Scythe, by Neal Shusterman

“In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to try out as scythes’ apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

“Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to kill the loser.”

Sunflowers in February, by Phillida Shrimpton

“Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful, and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact dead. But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family - her parents and her twin brother - start falling apart.

“And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity - to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time.”

This has been described as a less-dark The Lovely Bones.

Hero at the Fall, by Alwyn Hamilton

“Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir. The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself. Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero.

“In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?”

The Taste of Blue Light, by Lydia Ruffles

“These are the things Lux knows: she is an artist. She is lucky. She is broken. These are the things she doesn’t know: what happened over the summer. Why she ended up in hospital. Why her memories are etched in red. Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear. If her dreams don’t swallow her first.”

Goodbye, Perfect, by Sara Barnard

“Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.

“Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents, and her own growing doubts. As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend, and herself.”

The new book from the author of Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind of Thunder is described by publisher Macmillan as ‘a beautiful and emotional contemporary YA novel, with a powerful friendship at its heart.’

The Wren Hunt, by Mary Watson

“Every year on St Stephen’s Day, Wren Silke is chased through the forest in a warped version of a childhood game. Her pursuers are judges - a group of powerful and frightening boys who know nothing of her true identity. If they knew she was an augur - their sworn enemy - the game would be up.

“This year, the tension between judges and augurs is at breaking point. Wren’s survival, and that of her family, depends on her becoming a spy in the midst of these boys she fears most and using her talent, her magic, to steal from them the only thing that can restore her family’s former power for good.

“But Wren’s talent comes with a price. The more she uses it, the more she loses her grip on reality and soon she’s questioning everything she’s ever known about her family, about augurs and judges, and about the dangerous tattooed stranger who most definitely is not on her side.”

Deception, by Teri Terry

In the sequel to Contagion:

“As the epidemic spreads, survivors are being hunted like witches, for the authorities fear their strange new powers.

“Kai is desperate to trace Shay, who tricked him and disappeared. Meanwhile, Shay is searching for the truth behind the origins of the epidemic … but danger finds them wherever they go. Can they outrun the fire?”

Outwalkers, by Fiona Shaw

“No one can get into Scotland, just like no one can cross the channel. England is under control of an authoritarian regime. They can track anyone, anywhere from a chip implanted in their skin.

“But Jake, who breaks out of the Academy dorm he’s been housed in, has decided to escape. To go off-grid. To join a small group of independent spirits determined to keep out of the government’s prying eyes. The Outwalkers. Only with them will he be able to reach Scotland - and safety.”

Things I’m Seeing Without You, by Peter Bognanni

“Seventeen-year-old Tess talks to Jonah every day; through texts, tweets and emails. When she discovers Jonah has died, her world implodes and she finds herself at her father’s house, wondering how well she really knew Jonah. Now, struggling with questions about life and loss, Tess and her father come together to try and find the answers.”

Far from the Tree, by Robin Benway

“When 16-year-old Grace gives up her baby for adoption, she decides that the time has come to find out more about her own biological mother. Although her biological mum proves elusive, her search leads her to two half-siblings she never knew existed.

“Maya, 15, has been adopted by wealthy parents and seems to have the picture-perfect family - that is, if you look past her alcoholic mother and the fact that Maya stands out like a sore thumb. Older brother Joaquin hasn’t been so lucky. At 18, he’s shuffled between foster home after foster home, always careful never to get attached to anyone or anything, because it always gets taken away.

“When these three siblings come together, they find in themselves the place they can belong, while the secrets they guard threaten to explode.”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.