Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know I went on an Out of the Easy New Orleans tour back in July (here’s the link: http://bookreviewsbyava.tumblr.com/post/124327243159/out-of-the-easy-by-ruta-sepetys-french-quarter ) and that was when I officially discovered my love for Ruta Sepetys’s books. She’s the whole package- a great writer who chooses words wisely and creates you’re not soon to forget. So when I got the chance to review her new book, Salt to the Sea, I was thrilled. I didn’t think it could live up to Between Shades of Gray however. Boy was I wrong.

Salt to the Sea is about four teens. Joana, who you might recognize from Sepetys’s debut, is a Lithuanian deserter and nurse. Florian is a Prussian who restores art, and is Emilia the Polish girl he finds in the woods, who’s hiding a big secret. Finally, there’s Alfred, a Nazi ship worker. Throughout their journey through Eastern Europe and its seas, these four young people fight for their country, their family, and, most importantly, their sanity.

Ruta Sepetys’s third novel is a doozy, packed with love, loss, and history, not to be missed this winter. You can pick it up in stores February 2016.

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

It’s no secret that I love Marie Lu. Her debut Legend trilogy, was amazing, and the first book in the Young Elites series blew Legend out of the water. It was, admittedly, a very hard act to follow. But, per usual, Marie Lu somehow managed to do it, with the second book in her dark-fantasy series, The Rose Society .

As you may know, The Young Elites left off on quite a cliffhanger with Adelina and Violetta on the run from, well, everyone. The Rose Society starts off almost immediately after, where Adelina and Violetta are searching Merroutas, the city-state between Kenettra and the Tamouran Empire, for another rumored elite, Magiano. I can’t really tell you more than that, but let me assure you, this sequel is one not to be missed. Adelina Amoutero is a (anti)heroine you won’t want to miss out on. And if she’s not your thing- there are four other character perspectives to fall in love with!

Lu’s character development combined with her intricate plot lines make The Rose Society a must read for any fantasy fan.

Fall Favorites

Now that it’s almost (almost!) safe to say all of Fall’s YA books have been released, I’ve decided it’s more than a good time to tell you which books are most worth your money and which aren’t. Enjoy!

SPLURGE

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (here’s my review)

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (my review here)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (my review here)

SAVE

George by Alex Gino (my review here)

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen is its own kind of powerful. It centers around an abusive relationship, a drug addiction, and a runaway sibling. As you can see, this book isn’t something to be taken lightly, nor is it something you can just read in one sitting (even though it’s really short). You’ll leave Dreamland in a sort of daze, reconsidering your feelings on love and human nature.

What I love most about Dreamland is the main character, Caitlin. Caitlin is not a hero. She’s not an outspoken yet genius, weapon wielding, take-no-prisoners type of girl. She’s quiet, shy, obedient, normal teenager. She doesn’t have a moment where she jumps into the spotlight and saves the world/prince(ss)/kingdom/family/etc. She’s not your average YA character. In being completely and utterly average in everything, Caitlin defies her genre’s stereotypes, and becomes a unique and shockingly realistic main character.

Dreamland is a very character driven story. It begins at one of the most classic places a coming-of-age story can, Caitlin’s 16th birthday. Also known as the day her outspoken, Yale-bound older sister, Cass, runs away to New York to live with her boyfriend. Caitlin’s entire world is immediately, completely thrown out of balance. Her mother spirals into depression, while her father barely notices her. And her sister? Well, she’s gone. While she’s struggling with her feelings, she meets perfect-boyfriend-material Rogerson Biscoe. He’s funny, genius, knows her McDonald’s order by heart, and has really cool friends. He’s perfect. But when she discovers something about Rogerson she doesn’t necessarily want to know, she’ll have to decide; what is the price of her love?

I would absolutely recommend Dreamland to anyone who wants a great read, that will leave them thinking about it after the book is over.