Furious, by Jill Wolfson is set in Santa Cruz and is about three girls who all have terrible lives. Meg is a foster child living with an abusive and neglectful foster mom and her school life isn’t any better either. She’s picked on and shunned by everyone except for her best friend. Alex is a poor surfer girl with a deadbeat father and no friends. All of the surfer guys harass and bully her. Stephanie is a nature activist with parents that are the leading real estate owners in the area. Stephanie is made fun of at school for loving the environment while her parents’ real estate company goes around destroying it. These three teens wind up meeting Ambrosia who shows them how to fix their lives and the people that they should be.
My favorite part of Furious is Meg’s romance with her crush, Brendon. It starts out nice and romantic but turns horribly wrong when Ambrosia secretly sets them up for failure. Wolfson did an amazing job portraying their emotions and feelings so accurately that it was like I was looking into their heads.
If you’re a fan of The Percy Jackson series and other mythological thrillers, Furious is the book to find!
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
High school can be awful. But it’s slightly less awful when you have a team of sarcastic ants who trash-talk your bullies and provide you with sardonic encouragement at your most difficult moments. If that sounds weird, that’s because it is—but trust me, by the end of this book you’ll be wishing for an ant entourage of your very own. Odd, but very heartfelt, and unexpectedly vivid and real. –Kat, Bookshop Santa Cruz
With a murdered royal family and a country on the brink of civil war, Connor, regent of the crown, has a treasonous plot to train one of four orphans in order to pass him off as the long-lost prince. From the start, it’s impossible not to become attached to the orphan, Sage. Embroiled in deceit and duplicity, the cocky street-thief may or may not survive his bid to become the false prince. A heart-racing fantasy full of twists and turns for the audience of Megan Whalen Turner and Suzanne Collins. —Kids Department
LaFevers is an artful storyteller who has created a strong lead character. Even though the protagonist is female, she is an interesting and powerful heroine that both genders can relate to. Ismae is an assassin; she is passionate and violent at times, but also intelligent and quirky, making readers feel at ease with her and drawn to her, creating a champion for whom to root, even when she is dispensing with her next target. The tale is one of scheming nobles, political subterfuge, murder, and romance—all of the best aspects of a good read. —Voice of Youth Advocates