The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Among modern children’s classics, few books ring as true or hit as hard as Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. In leu of Bridge of Clay’s release (his first children’s novel since The Book Thief) I thought it would be a good idea to have his first book as our Throwback Thursday review. The Book Thief is a gem in the world of historical fiction, and a timeless tale that will entrance generations to come.
When Liesel picks up a bedraggled book left by accident on her brothers grave, she has no idea what will happen. She has no idea that her mother— a communist in Nazi Germany— is taking her to live in safety with a foster family. She has no idea she will make friends with a boy with yellow hair and learn to read with her father, no idea she will steal books from a bonfire and a mayor’s library. She has no idea what she will learn and love and lose in the brief span of her fleeting childhood.

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

Megan Bannen’s debut novel, The Bird and the Blade is a rich and poignant story of love, loss, and the bloody struggle for power within a fractured Mongol Empire during the 13th century.
Jinghua lost everything on the day the Mongols invaded her home and slaughtered her people. Now she’s a slave in the house of one of the most powerful warlords of their time: Timur Khan, lord of the Kipchak. But when the Kipchak Khanate is invaded and its army destroyed Jinghua must follow Timur and his son Khalaf as they escape their conquered kingdom if she is to have any chance of returning to her own home.
But when Khalaf enters a deadly game to win the hand of a powerful princess, everything changes. Turandokht is treacherous, beautiful, and heir to the Mongol Empire. The man who weds her will be the next Great Khan, the catch? He must first solve three impossible riddles, or die trying. Soon Jinghua is forced to make an impossible choice: betray the boy she has grown to love, or give him up to the princess who would rather be his death than his bride.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

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, and 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.

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