Monday, January 11, 2016

Best of 2015: Young Adult

A couple of the many items [old and new] enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2015, recommended for your consideration:

Reviewed by Carey V.,
Reference Supervisor

There Will Be Lies, by Nick Lane, was fascinating, thrilling, and left me emotionally raw for days. It’s one of those books that, once you finish, you put it down, walk away, and can’t talk to anyone for some time while you recover.

To summarize the story would give away key plot points, and really, there is no way to describe this novel. It touches on mother-daughter relationships, growing up, living with lies (and there are many), finding the strength to move forward, and what it means to forgive someone utterly and completely. The main character, Shelby Jane Cooper, is a teen girl with more courage and depth than I have seen recently in other YA books. There are some moments of the book that feel slightly strained, but overall, Shelby’s journey is unique and empowering. It makes you reconsider you own past mistakes and view the world with a new set of eyes.

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, is another emotional rollercoaster of a book, but this one at least sticks to a more familiar structure.

A teen girl, Lydia Lee, is found dead, and the book skips back and forth through time as we build to the truth of what really happened. Ng has each chapter told by various members of the dead girl’s family, showing how her death is impacting each. We also go back in time to see how her parents, a Chinese professor and a White housewife living in 1970s Ohio, build their family as they face racism from their neighbors as well as from their own families. You grow to love and care about this family, so that Lydia’s tragic death becomes even more heartbreaking as you slowly move closer to the truth. Ng has built a mystery within this moving family drama that reminded me of The Lovely Bones or even Gone Girl. I highly recommend it!

Editor's note: Both of these books are available in hardcover and also as e-books from Burbank Public Library.

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