The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Synopsis: Plucked from Brooklyn to attend an elite college for magicians, Quentin hopes that his life will be an adventure like those he read about as a kid, but the drama of real life and his own penchant for melancholia keep getting in the way. Review: The Magicians was almost crazy-making thanks to Lev Grossman’s unmatched talent for letting emotional suspense simmer behind the already awesome plot. I was so caught up in the drama of Quentin’s love life and friendships that I wanted as…

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Synopsis: A coming of age story about a girl growing up in Williamsburg in the first half of the 20th Century. Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of the most wonderful books of all time. It’s almost too perfect in its humor, poignancy, and wisdom. I’ve read it countless times since I was a bookish kid like Francie Nolan, wishing I could buy penny candy and sleep in the front room on a cool fall night. My heart broke for her all over…

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The Space Between by Alexandra Sokoloff

Synopsis: A girl fears that her dreams of a brutal school shooting may come true, and an outcast dwarf and the most popular boy in school seem to hold the key. Review: Alexandra Sokoloff is the Lois Duncan of the new milennium. I love her brand of paranormal thrillers, which feel fresh and familiar at the same time. Her heroines are intriguing, with many hidden depths, and Anna in The Space Between is no exception. I tore through this novella, which reminded me of both…

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Enchanted, Inc by Shanna Swendson (Katie Chandler, Book 1)

Synopsis: An ordinary New York City girl gets recruited by a magical agency precisely because she is immune to magic. Review: Cute, light, and fun, Enchanted, Inc. was exactly the palate cleanser I needed after gorging on A Dance With Dragons. I especially loved that Shanna Swendson didn’t feel the need to make Katie klutzy or ditsy. She wasn’t afraid to have Katie be outspoken and assertive. She was my kind of girl and I really enjoyed spending time in her head. Share on Facebook

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Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Synopsis: In a dystopia under a sealed dome where inbreeding has left everyone looking very similar, one girl looks for the truth about the world outside. Review: Dark Parties has a decent enough concept, and is executed well enough, but Neva’s plight didn’t strike a chord with me. Perhaps it was the world-building which felt thin and undercooked. I love dystopian YA, but am growing fearful that the genre has played out. It’s not enough to have an idea and be able to write. When…

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