Wednesday, August 17

Young Adult Book Summary: Review | Young adult

For long winter nights, the exuberant and folkloric debut of Joanna Ruth Meyer eco north (Pushkin, £ 8.99) is sure to love it. In a Russian-inspired fantasy world, Echo makes a pact with a strange talking wolf: she will live for a year in his house, and in return, the wolf will save her father’s life. There he finds secrets, dangers, a magical library and the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment to unravel. Immersive and romantic, it’s a unique twist on fairy tales like East of the Sun and West of the Moon Y Beauty and the Beast.

There are more fairy tales in Natasha Bowen’s epic debut sea ​​skin (Penguin, £ 7.99), which merges The little Mermaid with West African mythology. Simi, a young black mermaid, is one of the Mami Wata, forced to collect the souls of those who die in the sea. When a living child is thrown from a slave ship, Simi defies the decree to save her life and must travel to the supreme creator to make amends. Fantastic creatures and vengeful gods form a vivid backdrop to this rich and original tale of a girl’s journey to find herself.

Also challenging the stereotypical representations of enslaved people in fiction is the work of Alex Wheatle. Kemosha of the Caribbean (Andersen Press, £ 7.99, February), which puts a young black woman center stage in an exciting adventure on the high seas set in 1650 Jamaica. Born as a slave and sold to work in the colonial outpost of Port Royal, Kemosha escapes aboard the famous pirate Captain Morgan’s ship, eager to earn enough to buy her brother’s freedom. Kemosha’s indomitable spirit, determination and resourcefulness make her an unforgettable heroine.

Joanna Ruth Meyer, whose Echo North
Joanna Ruth Meyer, whose Echo North “will certainly delight.” Photography: Gary Smith

In Running blue by Lori Ann Stephens (Moonflower, £ 16.99), the near future has spawned the violent and corrupt Republic of Texas, where gun ownership is mandatory, abortion is illegal and the country is isolated from the US by a wall and an internet blackout. When a gunshot accident kills Bluebonnet’s best friend, she runs away and joins Jet, a pregnant Latin American migrant. His race to the border is exciting.

Can you trust everything you read in a newspaper? In contemporary fiction, the work of Muhammad Khan Mark my words (Macmillan, £ 7.99, February) explores the impact of two very different schools merging into one. Frustrated by elite student cliques and the school’s glossy official newspaper, Dua lays out an alternative to highlight the social inequalities exposed by the merger, along with controversies the school would rather keep secret. A bold and timely book on protest and how to find your voice.

Finally, Kate Weston Diary of a Confused Feminist, one of the funniest young adult books of recent years, continues in a sequel, must do better (Hodder, £ 7.99, February). It’s a new term and Kat is determined to spread the word about her feminist society and support her friends through tough times. And there is a study trip to France that awaits. These astutely observed misadventures are echoed by the much-missed teenage writer Louise Rennison in a candid and contemporary take on sex, relationships, and mental health.

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