YA Fantasy – Sipho and the Star Pearl

Sipho and the Star PearlSipho and the Star Pearl
By Laura Oneale
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 978-1466442368
Published: June 2012
Pages: 256
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

In the world of Sipho and the Star Pearl, there is a sister planet to Earth called Anglur. It is the same environment as Earth, and its inhabitants live much the same as humans do, but there are many key differences.,The Anglurians are spiritual beings who can communicate with their God Most High. There is no war, illness, or crime on Anglur. Food is free and in abundance. Death is not looked at as a bad thing; rather, it is viewed as an adventure to what comes next. The Anglurians wish to end evil on Earth, and create a more idyllic environment like theirs as that is their only mission. To that end, they have decided to recruit the Zulu inhabitants of Africa to assist them.

Several chapters into this creative book, a Zulu child named Sipho is born. He is a human-alien hybrid who has been chosen to accomplish the Anglurians’ mission. He is inexplicably linked with two English children, Emma and Erma. Together, these three extraordinary young ones embark on a journey from serenity, straight into the depths of hell. Their terrifying mission is to retrieve objects called Star Pearls from Satan himself. Satan has stolen these objects, and by retrieving them, the children will preserve goodness, and eliminate evil on Earth. Guided by the Anglurians, they embark on one frightening and awe-inspiring adventure after another, which they must continue to do until all evil is eliminated. They battle demons that are beyond comprehension.

Sipho and the Star Pearl is a unique story that stands apart from the rest, due to the fact that the author has chosen children as the heroes in a situation where most others certainly would have chosen adults. It speaks to a greater theme of trusting young generations to be the heroes of our future, and that children have a unique ability to combat evil. It is a fast-moving, exciting story that is sure to entertain all ages.

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Mature Young Adult – YA Romance – Sweetest Taboo

Sweetest TabooSweetest Taboo
By Eva Márquez
Publisher: Terra-Mía Press
ISBN: 978-1478136811
Published: October 2012
Pages: 296
Genre: Mature Young-Adult, Contemporary Fiction, YA Romance

Isabel Cruz was fifteen years old when she met Tom Stevens. She was 15 when they started dating, and 16 when she lost her virginity to him. By the time she turned 18 and went to college, everything had fallen apart. This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends, or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student, but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship.

Join Isabel as she makes her way through this dark love story, hiding from teachers, lying to her parents, and defying the authorities to make a life with the man she loves. Watch as she discovers the wonders of love and romance, and the terrible betrayal of jealous friends. And cry with her when she learns the hard truth about life and the people in her world. Sweetest Taboo is inspired by the true and tragic stories of students who fall in love with their teachers, and live with the hard truths of forbidden romances. In a world full of after-school specials on sexual predators, this touching book seeks a different path, casting both student and teacher in a gentle light, and showing that true love may lie at the base of even the most illicit romance.

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YA Science Fiction – Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction

Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science FictionFuturedaze
Editors: Hannah Strom Martin and Erin Underwood
Publisher: Underwords Press
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Price: $14.95
ISBN: 978-0-9858934-0-8
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction includes 33 original short stories and poems that spark the imagination, twist the heart, and make us yearn for the possibilities of a world yet to come. Reflecting many of the ideals first set forth by science fiction icons such as Isaac Asimov, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury, Futuredaze challenges the imagination with young adult fiction that includes far-flung futures, dystopian alternate worlds, life among the stars, and a host of startling stories that embrace the idea of “What if?” that has driven the science fiction genre forward for more then a century. Now, it’s time to give voice to the next generation of science fiction readers and to those of us still young at heart.

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Middle Grade/YA Fantasy – Jack Templar Monster Hunter

Jack Templar Monster HunterJack Templar
By Jeff Gunhus
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
ISBN: 978-0988425903
Published: October 2012
Pages: 196
Genre: Middle Grade/YA Fantasy

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren’t enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the “One?” Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

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YA Fantasy – Shapeshifter

Shapeshifter
By Diana Bastine
Publisher: Helm Publishing
ISBN: 978-0983010944
Published: January 2012
Pages: 222
Genre: YA Fantasy

As if Caitlin Flynn doesn’t have enough on her mind – with the impending decision of where to attend college and her budding romance with Fortescue – she finds herself involved in paying an old debt to the Tuatha de Danann, the Fairy Folk. Fairies are disappearing at an alarming rate, and when Caitlin’s cat turns out to be a shape-shifting Tuathat investigating the trouble, she, her father Niall, and their Hamelyn friends Fortescue and Mortimer quickly become embroiled in another fantastical adventure.

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Young Adult – The 89th Temple

The 89th Temple
Author: Charlie Canning
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 978-1478717638
Published: November 2012
Pages: 212
Genre: Young Adult

For more than fifty years now, William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies has been the default book on bullying for the language arts classroom. While that is unlikely to change in the near future, The 89TH Temple, set on a Buddhist pilgrimage in Japan, is an updated multicultural look on the subject of bullying complete with school sports and field trips, cell phones and blogs, reform schools and electronic surveillance. Whether readers are working in an office or studying in a classroom, they will find plenty to identify with here.

On the island of Shikoku in Japan, there is a pilgrimage of 88 temples. Once an ascetic rite of passage for monks, it has become a more generalized ritual of penance and spiritual rejuvenation for troubled souls. Seven juvenile offenders on leave from various reform schools are doing the 1,300-kilometer pilgrimage on foot with a counselor and some assigned wardens from the state. The youths are under strict observation with at least one of the supervisors with them at all times. Once the seven finish the pilgrimage, they will be released. Will they rejoin society or leave it behind?

The Seven Samurai meets The Fugitive for young adults.

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