Tor.com content by

Kat Kennedy

Dangerously Awkward: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger is the cheerful story of Edith, a girl torturously bullied to the brink of suicide by her classmates. Her life is saved by a handsome boy with a Faustian deal granting her the power to get revenge, in exchange for a later, undisclosed, repayment. With taglines like, “Revenge is a dish best served cold!” and the focus of the summary on Edith’s quest for retribution, one could be forgiven for tackling this book with the expectation that they’re reading a modern Carrie-style revenge fantasy.

It seems base to complain about a book for being responsibly complex on the issue of bullying. I bet it’s rare that people are annoyed with an author for creating a detailed, thoughtful narrative which was more evolved than Bad-Guy-Go-Boom. Or characters who are too relateable, so that each one gives you a tinge of pain when they go. The problem is, when you empathise with all the bad guys, there’s no enjoyment in their ultimate demise, which robs the book of its promising draw.

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A Stunning Conclusion: Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods and Monsters

The third and final installment in Laini Taylor’s critically acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is out, and it is stunning. I didn’t really expect anything else from Taylor.

An angel and a demon fell in love. It ended badly. That’s the tagline for the series, and it’s true to how the series plays out. Karou is a free and artistic spirit with an unusual homelife. She collects teeth for a demon, Chimera, who grants wishes. Then she meets an angel, Akiva, and her real past starts to unravel just as the war between the Chimera and the Angels hits a critical turning point.

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Try Not to Cry: Half Bad by Sally Green

Sally Green’s Half Bad is the perfect novel for inspiring one to despise all of humanity or fall onto the ground and weep pathetically. Needless to say, it is an excellent book.

In a world of covert witches, there are the white witches and the black witches. Then there’s Nathan, half white and half black, struggling to figure out whether he’s good, bad or somewhere in between under the increasingly observant White council scrutiny. As Nathan grows, he starts to learn that maybe the world is a little less white and black than the council would like everyone to believe.

Nathan, the protagonist and narrator, has a deadpan, muted voice. It is almost entirely void of drama and emotion as he states events bluntly and without ceremony as if they can’t truly touch him. This works perfectly for the novel, because it shields the reader from feeling too much of the horrors that occur in the story.

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Trapped in a Hurricane: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Every avid reader adopts a short list of books, authors and series that they hold above the rest. There are many great books out there, and then there are treasured books. Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series is treasured by me. It seems to me, to be a smorgasbord of science fiction, fantasy, character driven relationships and thrilling action.

As far as science fiction for teens go, this is always a strong recommendation for me. Familiar themes such as a Romeo & Juliet romance, a dying world and two teenagers who can save it, make it a comforting, seemingly easy read. On paper, summarised as such, it seems rather recycled. However, Rossi never seems content with a simple story.

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