YA Friday: December 2018 Monthly Wrap-Up
OMG you guys! 2018 is over already but that hasn't stopped the powerhouse of YA publishing to release some of the most anticipated books of the year this month. M. K. England's space adventure debut, the second of the Everless series was released in THE SAME YEAR AS THE FIRST! WHAT! and finally Cassandra Clare has released the highly anticipated next installment in The Dark Artifices series.
It has been such a great year for YA books and these December releases certainly end 2018 on a high note and has me looking forward to all new stories in 2019.
When hotshot pilot Nasir Alexander Hall (Nax) is rejected from Ellis Station Academy, he meets three other rejects while waiting for a shuttle home: British would-be politician Rion, genius navigator Case, and Russian-Kazakhstani soccer star and med student Zinaida. A sudden massacre of station personnel inspires the four to flee the station in a stolen shuttle. Crash-landing on a nearby colony, they are rescued by Asra Haque, who has her own reasons for wanting to leave the colony and have access to an amazingly fast ship. So begins a wild journey to save Earth from a nefarious plot and secure their own freedom and futures.
Life could hardly be bleaker for Elle on her sixteenth birthday. Living in foster care since her mother’s imprisonment for drug charges, she’s lost everything she cared about. All of this changes when an old family friend swoops in to take Elle away—to Japan! While Elle has always known that her father is Japanese, she’s never met the man. Now he wants to be united with her, offering her an überprivileged life in Tokyo. Faster than you can say “Hello Kitty,” Elle is attending a prestigious international school and living in a forty-ninth-floor penthouse apartment of her own. She’s taken in by one of the most popular girls in the school, who introduces her to the magic of the city. Perfect, right? Except that Elle’s long-absent family is remote and way more interested in their business than in emotional connections. And, wait, new Dad might be a criminal?
Sky’s family is obsessed with gold—hoarding it and stealing it. It makes sense; they’re wyverns, humans descended from dragons. Ever since her high-status mother vanished, seemingly abandoning them, Sky and her family have been outcasts, and she’s lost her boyfriend and all of her friends. But when she hears of a jewel that could restore her family’s status, she starts gathering a crew and planning a heist of her own. Planning such a scheme is a rite of passage in the wyvern community, but in attempting to steal this jewel, Sky stumbles upon a secret that could change her family, and her people, forever.
High school senior MacKenzie Rivers has been avoiding twins Jaden and Danielle Hunter ever since their parents died in a car crash the August before junior year. Four years ago, Kenzie and her parents lost her baby sister, Grace, and her parents were irrevocably changed by their grief. She could not imagine that Jaden and Danielle—her crush and former friend, respectively—would be the same after their loss and could not bear to see them broken. Unable to cope and unsure how to behave around them, she managed to avoid them for a year—but after Kenzie runs into Dani in a Dairy Queen, the three begin to hang out again. Kenzie and Jaden start dating, and Dani finally seems to be on the road to healing. But Kenzie learns a terrible secret about the night the Hunters died, and she has to decide what she's going to do next.
Six interwoven stories, each set farther out in time, envision the human future: fantastic but recognizable—maybe inevitable. In the near future, Evan, 15, a semi-identical twin, struggles to accept that his life depends on organs harvested from his beloved sister's failing body. A few years later, Milla, 16, conceals the extent to which her body was rebuilt after a car accident, acutely aware of prejudice against those who've undergone such procedures, until a disastrous first date with her longtime crush who's heard the Rev. Tadd's radio harangues against altering the human body, even to save lives. Years later, the charismatic religious zealot undergoes a startling change of heart. As genetic manipulation accelerates beyond cosmetic enhancements and lifesaving surgeries, animal and plant genes are modified, then used to modify human beings. Limbs can be added and the mortally ill frozen until their ailments are curable. For-profit enterprises, in the U.S. especially, compete in a laissez-faire free-for-all. Russia and countries behind the "Genetic Curtain" prohibit tampering with human DNA, instead transforming a burgeoning convict population into cyborgs who endure painfully inhumane conditions. While institutions worldwide, public and private, ignore ethical dilemmas, several vivid characters prove capable of heroism and generosity.
A 15-year-old moves into a haunted house complete with creepy neighbors. Haley is a city girl, and she hates that her family made her move from Chicago to a small town in Wisconsin. What's worse, her new house is eerie, with a moldy, spooky basement where she hears unexplained noises. Haley is a talented artist who begins to lose consciousness, coming to only to find macabre images of dead girls she's drawn. It turns out that years ago, four girls disappeared without a trace, and only Haley and the little boy who lives across the way can see their ghosts. Haley eventually meets a cute but cagey boy and some adventurous new friends who all seem willing to help her. But when séances go wrong and suspicions mount, Haley finds herself facing the dark basement alone.