YALSA, the Young Adult Library Service Association, a Division of the American Library Association, has announced the 2020 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. The list includes titles published for young adults in the last 14 months for ages 12-18. The current list includes a Top Ten, shown below:
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
Lovely War by Julie Berry
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
The Stars and the Blackness between Them by Junauda Petrus
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (9781681195117)
This second book in the Cursebreakers series follows A Curse So Dark and Lonely. With the curse broken and Lilith killed, everything is still difficult in Emberfall. Now there are rumors of the legitimate heir, one who should replace Prince Rhen as monarch. Harper is still at Rhen’s side, but Grey has disappeared. Grey is working as a stablehand in a far-off town, trying to keep from being noticed. By the time he is discovered, he has made two life-long friends, one who is captured with him. When Grey refuses to speak the name of the heir, Rhen has him and his friend flogged, which brings Grey’s latent magic bursting forth. On the run for his life, he is joined by Lia Mara, the daughter of the queen of a neighboring land which promises him shelter if he will stand against Rhen.
I am ever so delighted that this book features Grey prominently rather than Rhen. Even better, Lia Mara is a complex and dark heroine to put at Grey’s side, a woman who has physical strength, moral fortitude, and her own skills at weapons. She is more than a match for him. The characters are deep and interesting, including the secondary characters who will surprise readers by being far more than they may seem.
This novel moves away from the first’s ties to Beauty and the Beast, making Emberfall and its neighboring lands into a rich tapestry for the fantasy novel. While some contact is made with Harper’s modern world, the vast majority of the book stays in Emberfell and Syhl Shallow, hinting at an even larger world to explore as well.
Vibrant, rich and marvelously romantic with a slow burn, this novel is a grand sequel to the first. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from copy provided by Bloomsbury.