In her debut novel Love, Hate, and Other Filters; Samira Ahmed weaves a story that is bittersweet and beautiful. In Ahmed’s tale we can easily see the similarities and differences that both create and bridge the gaps between us. The story follows Maya Aziz, an Indian Muslim girl growing up in modern day America and the challenges she faces at home and at school after a terrorist attack whose main suspect is a Muslim.
After the attack Maya faces bullying and prejudice at school and work. As the only Muslim family in town- one with the same last name as the suspect, Maya’s family receives threats and hate from the people around them. As their fear grows, Maya’s parents begin to tighten their grip on Maya’s life, making her dreams harder to follow, and her future seem more full of fear than hope. As Maya does her best to walk the line between her parents wishes and expectations for her, and her own dreams, she encounters a wide cast of characters, both friend and foe.
These will help her find her way as Maya navigates the treacherous waters of high school and college. Love, Hate, and Other Filters is a timely novel that many people would benefit from reading. Not only does the story address racism and prejudice, but also manages to capture the essence of what it is to be a teenager.
The city of Kos is a place of divisions. From the dust of the city commons, the Forum, to the gold and marble halls of the royal palace, the line between the lives of the rich and poor is clear and unbroken. But perhaps even more pronounced is the line between the normal people, and those with gifts: the mages, and the Aki.
Mages have the power to draw a person’s sins from their hearts, forcing them to take the form of great beasts made of shadow, the inisisa. Taj is an Aki, a sin-eater. He and his kind kill and absorb the insisa that the mages conjure. But despite what they do for them, Aki are despised by the people of Kos, shunned for the “sin spots” that mar their skin. But Taj is special, his sin spots don’t fade like others do, and more importantly, he can command the insisa. But as Taj’s gift grants him privilege and prestige in the palace, Taj is drawn into a web of conspiracy and deception. With traitors in their midst and rebellions on the rise, Taj must find a way to keep himself– and the beautiful princess Karima– safe, and the city of Kos standing.
Christina Masika doesn’t exist. For four years she’s been a ghost, a shadow. It’s been four years since she’s been a girl with a family and a home. Four years since her mother was found dead in her employer’s office. Now living with the Goondas (Sangui City’s local gang), Tina is out for revenge. It is with the Goondas that she finally finds a way to strike back at the man who murdered her mother and destroyed her life.
But with the reappearance of a familiar face everything Tina thought she knew is called into question. With the help of Michael (her childhood playmate), and Boyboy (a tech genius from her time with the Goondas), she travels to her birthplace for answers. But some secrets are better forgotten and the more Tina uncovers about her mother’s past– and her own– the deeper she is pulled into a world of corruption, violence and danger.
Over a decade and a half after the release of The Amber Spyglass, the last book in his groundbreaking His Dark Materials trilogy, Phillip Pullman returns to the world of Lyra Belacqua. In this debut novel La Belle Savauge, first, of a new trilogy titled The Book of Dust, Pullman introduces new characters, while at the same time giving us a closer look at the pasts of some old ones. Set in a time when the church has nearly every scrap of power, Pullman manages to perfectly demonstrate both the good and bad sides of religion.
Nearly a decade before the events of The Golden Compass, a boy named Malcolm roams the streets and canals of Oxford with his daemon Asta at his side. As the son of an innkeeper and the holder of a dozen odd jobs, Malcolm is the kind of boy who hears a little too much for his own good. When he finds a message meant for an agent of an organization known as Oakley Street, dedicated to fighting the church’s chokehold on politics and science, he is drawn into a world of secrets and spies. However, when he meets Lyra, the baby girl the nuns in the local priory are taking care of, his entire world is flipped upside down. Since Malcolm has no siblings, he begins to think of Lyra as his little sister, one he would do anything to protect. And Lyra needs protection.
Malcolm finds himself caught between the opposing sides of the Magisterium and Oakley Street. In a web of secrets and conspiracies Malcolm and Asta struggle to keep themselves and Lyra safe, but as the forces of the church close in, together with mysterious strangers and dark rumors, that is not an easy task. With the help of a peculiar and unlikely cast of characters, Malcolm and Asta navigate their way through this surprising and wonderful tale.
Wolf by Wolf is a harsh and beautiful book, vivid and brutal and haunting from the from the first page. Wolf by Wolf is set in 1956 Germany, with one twist– the Nazi’s won the war, and Adolf Hitler rules most of the world. The protagonist, Yael, is a girl with the ability to alter her appearance at will, due to experiments conducted on her in the prison camp before she escaped. Now Yael is an agent of the resistance, an agent with the most important mission of all upon her shoulders—assassinate Hitler. Yael is one of the strongest female characters I have ever encountered in YA literature, strong and smart and fearless. Wolf by Wolf provides a hauntingly plausible look into an alternate past that is powerful and engaging. The book is brutal and beautiful at the same time, making for an amazing story as Ryan Graudin blends historical fiction with science fiction, and adventure in this brilliant YA novel.
In a tale as delightfully confusing as the mismatched halls of Tu Reviens, Kristin Cashore brings to life a world of art and mystery. The story winds through five alternate universes that take place if Jane had made a different choice in the first half of the book. Each retelling solves a separate mystery that takes place at the same time and place but is never really revealed in the others. Each choice spins the tale into a new direction and genre, be it sci-fi, mystery, adventure, fantasy or romance. With its colorful setting, dark secrets, and unique and quirky characters Jane, Unlimited more than lives up to Cashore’s previous books.
All the Crooked Saints is a heartwarming tale of family and friendship. The whole book is filled with magic and miracles, darkness and redemption, Saints and Pilgrims, romance and friendship- and of course the odd illegal radio station. As you read you will find complex and unique characters, Beatriz (The Girl with No Feelings), Daniel (The Saint), Joaquin (The rogue radio DJ Diablo Diablo), Peter (the boy with a hole in his heart), Marisita (the girl who blames herself) and a whole bevy of others. In this amazing novel, Steifvater explores the complicated relationship between science and religion in some of the most beautiful and profound words possible: “By relegating the things we fear and don’t understand to religion, and the things we do understand and control to science, we rob science of its artistry and religion of its mutability.” It is a powerful and timely novel for young adults at the moment, and many teens could benefit from reading it.
Maggie Stiefvater is coming to bookshop Thursday, Oct. 12 at 7 pm.
The Sea of Shadows is a story shrouded in mystery and darkness. With a beginning filled with monsters and magic in a forest of death, the plot calms after the first few chapters. While still an adventure full of mishaps and dark magic; this allows for a wider range of readers. Well suited for people who are into the whole zombie apocalypse, and people who aren’t. The diversity of the cast of characters paired with the dark and compelling story line will draw in all types of readers and keep them engaged and eager for book two.- Claire C.
In the first book of the Prisoners of Peace duology, Erin Bow introduces us to a new type of future dystopia. A dark sci-fi set in a terrifyingly plausible future, The Scorpion Rules is a true masterpiece. Complete with a captivating storyline, sprinkled with wry humor and gems of wisdom, The Scorpion Rules is one of those rare books that demands your attention and is impossible to put down. In The Scorpion Rules, Bow demonstrates a unique writing style that defies every cliché and expectation. With complex characters who think and act like real people, and plot twists you won’t see coming, as Bow explores the very meaning of friendship- and love. The Scorpion Rules, in conclusion, is a true gem in the world of Young Adult literature.-Claire C
In this fast-paced time-travel novel, Ryan Graudin blends everything from sci-fi and fantasy to historical fiction, romance, and humor. With a compelling and action-packed storyline, and a vibrant and unique cast of characters; Invictus is perfect for a wide range of readers. Graudin brings a new take to the idea of time-travel, weaving in themes of friendship, romance, mystery- and the odd red panda. Whether or not time-travel or sci-fi is your usual genre, Invictus is a book that will grab you from the first chapter and not let go until you reach the last page. In the space of five minutes you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. And you will definitely fall in love with Imogen’s rainbow hair, Priya’s patience, Farway’s ego, Gram’s cluelessness, and Eliot’s mysterious mission. Hop aboard the Invictus, and sit back to enjoy this wonderful, quirky, mysterious, beautiful book.-Claire C