Family, love and loss are the dominant themes of new young adult novels.
Tech-savvy Millenials will enjoy the “Boomerang” series (William Morrow, $13.99 each title) by Noelle August. In “Bounce” the key characters are introduced. Adam Blackwood is the owner of Boomerang, a hookup site for Millenials. His 19-year-old brother Grey is a musician with little money or career prospects. To impress Skyler Canby, who tries out for a part in a Blackwood Entertainment film, he throws a party and almost destroys Adam’s home. In “Rebound” a wealthy businessman wants to invest in Adam’s company, but sends his daughter Alison Quick to find out if any scandals are lurking at Blackwood. In “Boomerang” the startup is on the rise and Mia and Ethan are hired to steer its path. Will love or business triumph?
“What We Saw” (HarperCollins, $17.99) by Aaron Hartzler is based on the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. Kate Weston has a wild night at John Doone’s, a small town bar. She wakes up to find a picture of her friend Stacey Stallard passed out on Deacon Mill’s shoulder on an online site. Then Stallard charges four popular basketball stars with rape. What really happened?
“Skyscraping” (Philomel, $17.99) by Cordelia Jensen is about how the AIDS epidemic in 1990s New York City became personal for Mira when her father told her he was HIV positive. The book is based on Jensen’s own life and is written in verse.
“Positive” (HarperCollins, $18.99) by Paige Rawl is a memoir about a young woman who learned she was HIV positive at age 11. She was bullied at schools and attempted suicide, but now at age 19 she counsels other young people with the disease.
“I’ll Give You the Sun” (Penguin Random House, $17.99) by Jandy Nelson is being made into a major feature film. Noah and Jude are twins who grow apart as they enter their teen years. Noah, an artist who loves the boy next door and who lives in isolation , tells the first part of the story. Jude, who wears lipstick, talks constantly and is afraid of nothing, tells the second part. The whole story cannot be told until the brothers reconcile.
“Falling into Place” (Greenwillow Books, $17.99) by Amy Zhang is about Liz Emerson, a bully who is popular but doesn’t like herself. She decides to drive her car off an icy road and make it look like an accident. As she lies in the hospital after the crash, the book follows through the eyes of a childhood friend how Liz became such a bully.
“Invisible Ellen” (Putnam) by Shari Shattuck is about 24-year-old Ellen Holmes who became a foster child at age five. Reclusive and quiet, Ellen goes unnoticed until she makes friends with Temerity, a 23-year-old blind violinist.
“Closed Doors” (Harper, $26.99) by Lisa O’Donnell sees the world through the voice of 11-year-old Michael Murray. He knows a family secret which has had a devastating impact on the small Scottish island where they live.
“The Last Time We Say Goodbye” (HarperCollins, $17.99) by Cynthia Hand takes on the problem of suicide. Lee’s brother Tyler commits suicide and she must cope with the loss. She thinks she might have saved him and keeps silent about her deep emotions.
“Royal Wedding” (William Morrow) by Meg Cabot is the final book in the “Princess Diaries” series, popularized by Anne Hathaway in films and told over 15 years in 18 books. This one is about the wedding of HRH Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genova and her marriage to Michael Moscovitz.
“Poisoned Apples” (Greenwillow Books, $17.99) by Christine Heppermann takes on the subject of how popular culture affects young women’s image of themselves. The seemingly innocent poems based on fairy tales challenge major popular perceptions.