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Summer teen and young adult fiction

“And I Darken”

by Kiersten White

“And I Darken” took its place as one of my favorite novels within the first 20 pages. This amazing historical fiction reimagines Vlad Dracula as Lada Dracul, and explores what might have been had this legendary figure been born as woman. Don’t expect to find any vampires here though, as Kiersten White explores the already fascinating history between the Hungarians, the Ottomans and Wallachia, the traditional kingdom of the Draculesti family that was always caught between those two warring empires.

Taken as a political hostage with her younger brother as a child, Lada rallies against the expectations of her captors and her family, to become as powerful and brutal as her historical inspiration.

White’s writing is powerful and evocative, and takes you back to the misty wilderness of southeastern Europe, and the spicy, colorful courts of the Ottoman capital. The first of a triligy, the sequel is equally thrilling, and I eagerly await the final installment that is due in July. “Bright We Burn,” the final book in this trilogy, will be available July 10.

“The Raven Boys: The Raven Cycle Book 1”

by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent has been told by psychics her entire life that if she kisses her true love, she will die. Up until this point, that hasn’t really been a problem for her. She stays away from boys as a rule, especially Aglionby boys, known as Raven Boys. The boys of Aglionby are rich, pompous and exclusive. Mostly rich though, and Blue tolerates them as needed.

At least until she meets Gansy and his merry band of misfits and they start hunting all over rural Virginia for a dead Welsh king. For reasons unknown to Blue, these Raven Boys become her closest friends and the hunt for their king becomes everything else. I can’t describe how much I love this series. It is the perfect mix of deep south mysticism, Welsh legend and school antics with just a hint of romance and danger.

Everless

by Sara Holland

Set in a world where coins are extracted from your blood and the wealthy drink a few extra years in their afternoon tea, Jules Ember and her father are among the poorest citizens. Driven away from their middle class existence as servants in Everless by a cruel twist of fate, Jules risks returning as a maid for pay that will save her father from bleeding out his last drop. But, returning to a life you’ve already left never turns out the way you expect it to. When punishments include having a year drained at will, Jules finds she must be careful in this world of intrigue and danger, where your friends are not your friends and your enemies are even worse. Secrets come to life in the shadows, and with every step Jules gets pulled deeper into the dark history of Everless. I love the darker turn this novel takes and the concept of time as currency. It’s perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Sarah J. Maas.

These titles are available at Off the Beaten Path bookstore and Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Jenna Meier-Bilbo is the receiver at Off the Beaten Path bookstore.


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