Emily Booth Masters

Seventeen-year-old Grace has held a morbid fascination with the wolves that reside behind her Minnesota home since she was dragged from her tire swing by the pack as a young child, only to be rescued and returned to safety by one particular wolf. For years she has watched and followed this yellow-eyed wolf when the weather is cold, only to feel the pangs of longing when he disappears each summer.

Eighteen-year-old Sam has lived a double life—wolf in the winter, boy in the summer—since he was attacked and bitten by a wolf as a young child. His werewolf pack is his family, but he longs to know Grace, the beautiful young woman who has watched him from her house since the day he saved her from an attack by his fellow wolves. 

When a local boy is attacked and presumably killed by the wolves, people from the town take matters into their own hands and go into the woods to hunt down the wolves. Grace is worried about her wolf and tracks the hunters into the woods, only to find that her own wolf has been shot, and, as a result, he has changed into his human form. She rescues him, and she and Sam learn that their love for one another is mutual. They then resolve to find a way to keep Sam human.

Maggie Stiefvater is not a newcomer to the popular genre of supernatural romance for teens. Her debut, Lament, introduced readers to the world of soulless faerie assassins, so the reach to werewolves was not a long one for her. She melds the worlds of fantasy and reality quite convincingly, making it easy to overlook the unlikeliness of a girl loving a wolf (or a faerie being sent to assassinate a 16-year-old).

In a market where the search for the next Twilight is in high gear, Stiefvater delivers a solid contender in Shiver. However, Shiver stands out for reasons beyond its place within the ever-growing genre of choice. Twilight lovers will appreciate a new take on the supernatural love story, but all readers will be able to enjoy Stiefvater’s fast-paced storytelling and dedication to the old-fashioned art of creating a believable and enduring romance. Shiver is beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages.   

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville.
 

Seventeen-year-old Grace has held a morbid fascination with the wolves that reside behind her Minnesota home since she was dragged from her tire swing by the pack as a young child, only to be rescued and returned to safety by one particular wolf. For years she has watched and followed this yellow-eyed wolf when the […]

Reena Montero has always loved Sawyer LeGrande. She and her best friend, Allie, watch his every move and examine every word he says. He is a veritable hobby for the two girls. When Sawyer and Allie begin dating, Reena holds her feelings in and tries to accept their relationship, but she just can’t bear to see her best friend and the boy she thinks may be her one true love grow closer and closer, so her friendship with Allie comes to an abrupt halt.

Just when Reena’s dream of a relationship with Sawyer begins to seem like a real possibility, tragedy strikes. She is left to cope with more guilt and pain than she ever could have imagined. Against the odds, she and Sawyer manage to come together at last, but his problems may be too much for Reena to bear. When she’s close to giving up, she finds out she’s pregnant, and shortly after, she watches Sawyer drive away.

Three years later, Reena has managed to piece together a life for herself and her daughter Hannah when Sawyer reappears and turns her world upside-down again. Their connection is real and convincing, but it’s difficult to imagine how they could possibly build a life together.

Katie Cotugno’s debut novel takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Reena is a believable young protagonist who evokes empathy in the reader, and it would be tough not to root for her, even as she makes one bad decision after another.

How to Love is a story of first love, true love and the quick decisions that can change lives forever. The romance is provocative, and the storytelling is both compelling and gripping. Readers may find themselves taken back to their own first loves and wondering what might have been.

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

Reena Montero has always loved Sawyer LeGrande. She and her best friend, Allie, watch his every move and examine every word he says. He is a veritable hobby for the two girls. When Sawyer and Allie begin dating, Reena holds her feelings in and tries to accept their relationship, but she just can’t bear to […]

Jude is the youngest of the four Hernandez sisters. She has lived her life in the shadows of her older sisters, but she has also learned a lot of important and wonderful lessons from them. One lesson they won’t let her forget is to never get involved with a Vargas brother. Two of her sisters were left heartbroken by Vargas boys, so the girls don’t want Jude to fall victim to a boy from that family.

Jude tries to keep her promise, but when her beloved father becomes ill, she wants to refurbish his vintage motorcycle as a way to show him how much she loves him and to help him capture some memories. To accomplish this, she has to enlist the help of Emilio Vargas, the youngest brother of the two young men who broke her sisters’ hearts. 

In Jude’s attempts to connect with her father, who is fading away by the day, she finds herself drawn to Emilio. Her sisters were right about Vargas boys being irresistible, but were they right about them all being heartbreakers? While Jude’s focus may be on doing something wonderful for her father, her attention is also drawn—quite magnetically—to Emilio.

With grippingly realistic portrayals of family relationships, Sarah Ockler manages to create vivid characters that jump off of the page and move in with the reader. The love between Jude and her father, as he succumbs to the dementia of Alzheimer’s, is moving and painful. Her relationship with her sisters is sweet, but their control over her is frustrating.

The Book of Broken Hearts is a story of loves: between father and daughter, between sisters, between a young woman and man finding true love. This poignant story will stay with readers long after the book is finished.

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

Jude is the youngest of the four Hernandez sisters. She has lived her life in the shadows of her older sisters, but she has also learned a lot of important and wonderful lessons from them. One lesson they won’t let her forget is to never get involved with a Vargas brother. Two of her sisters […]

Nikki Dougherty is blinded by her love for Dee. Her friends caution her that he is no good, but she just can’t see it. She is so in love with him that she simply can’t imagine him doing anything truly wrong—even when he involves her in a crime and asks her to lie to the police. She is convinced that she has a future with him, so she is willing to do anything he asks.

Dee is clearly unfaithful, violent and dangerous, but Nikki is determined to see only the good in him and remain faithful to him. She loses the trust of her own friends and family, but still she hangs onto her relationship with Dee. Even after she is arrested for being party to a murder and experiences the humiliating process of being booked, she can’t quite bring herself to face up to the truth.

In this troublesome, gritty portrayal of misplaced love, Terra Elan McVoy paints a jarringly realistic picture of a young woman who confronts very real consequences for her loyalty to the wrong young man. The images of life inside prison are particularly devastating, and Nikki’s genuine agony as she fights to come to terms with the reality surrounding the man she loves is quite tangible.

Readers will feel sympathy for and anger toward Nikki. She is so pitifully delusional that the only possible relief is for her to wake up and see her beloved Dee for what he really is. Readers won’t be disappointed, and the story along the way is absolutely riveting.

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

Nikki Dougherty is blinded by her love for Dee. Her friends caution her that he is no good, but she just can’t see it. She is so in love with him that she simply can’t imagine him doing anything truly wrong—even when he involves her in a crime and asks her to lie to the […]

June Costa is an artist in the post-apocalyptic city of Palmares Tres, in what was once Brazil. She is a “waka,” a citizen younger than the age of 30, in a matriarchal society ruled by a Queen and “Aunties” (powerful older women). The matriarchy came into power following a horrific plague that killed many of the males and was largely attributed to the negligence of the male rulers.

Although the Queen manages the city, a Summer Prince (a waka) is chosen to rule alongside her as the Summer King for one year, after which time he will be sacrificed. A romance blossoms between June and Enki, the new Summer King, as they develop a relationship based upon their mutual love for artistic expression. As a result, June is forced to question the rules of her society and the wisdom of the ruling class.

In her debut novel for young adults, Alaya Dawn Johnson creates a society where homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality are equally accepted. Women are the accepted leaders, and elders command respect and obedience. However, corruption among the powerful is still very much in existence, and race and culture are still obstacles for those with ambition.

The Summer Prince is a complicated story that weaves together elements of romance, art, moral dilemmas and dystopian themes. The heroine is deeply flawed but still intriguing, and readers of all ages will find themselves craving more from this fresh new voice in young adult fiction.

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

June Costa is an artist in the post-apocalyptic city of Palmares Tres, in what was once Brazil. She is a “waka,” a citizen younger than the age of 30, in a matriarchal society ruled by a Queen and “Aunties” (powerful older women). The matriarchy came into power following a horrific plague that killed many of […]

Ruby awakens on her 10th birthday to an entirely different life. Her parents are so scared of her that they lock her in the garage and then allow the government to send her to a “rehabilitation camp.” The root of her problem is a horrible disease that is killing most of America’s children, and those who survive, like Ruby, are doomed to live their lives tormented by horrific and dangerous abilities.

While many of the children in the camp are exterminated if their powers are deemed too strong, Ruby manages to hide the fact that she has one of the highest levels of ability: She can alter people’s thoughts simply by touching them. She survives to the age of 16, and she is then “rescued” by a rebel group that wants to use her powers against the government. She flees from her rescuers, joins another group of escapees and sets out to find East River, a place where kids like her are rumored to find refuge.

In the midst of this superb dystopian tale, Alexandra Bracken manages to create a fantastic male love interest for her strong-willed and independent female protagonist. Ruby connects with Liam, the leader of the escapees, who falls deeply in love with her. He is flawed but sweet—and completely convincing as Ruby’s perfect match. Readers will root for him as he is enveloped with affection for the very focused and brave Ruby.

Dystopia, romance, a fast-paced story and scenes that will invoke absolute fear in pretty much anyone will keep readers turning the pages of Bracken’s second novel. Two more installments are to follow, and the ending of The Darkest Minds will leave readers dumbstruck and salivating for more.

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

Ruby awakens on her 10th birthday to an entirely different life. Her parents are so scared of her that they lock her in the garage and then allow the government to send her to a “rehabilitation camp.” The root of her problem is a horrible disease that is killing most of America’s children, and those […]

Fifteen-year-old orphan Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians. Unfortunately, the worldwide demand for magic is dwindling, and Jennifer struggles to keep the agency going.

Legend has it that there is one remaining dragon—and one remaining dragonslayer. Many would like to get their hands on the pristine and desirable acreage where the final dragon resides, so it is exciting news when magician Kevin Zipp begins to experience visions of the last dragon dying at the hands of the Last Dragonslayer. Things may be about to change for Kazam. “Big Magic” is coming, and Jennifer may play a larger role than she ever could have anticipated. 

Jasper Fforde’s fantasy world is vivid, exciting and unique. In Jennifer he has created a spunky heroine who is easy to root for. She finds herself in the position of being the fabled “Last Dragonslayer,” but she also discovers that she doesn’t particularly want to kill the dragon, who actually turns out to be quite intelligent and interesting.

Moral dilemmas and hilariously sarcastic humor reign supreme in Fforde’s first novel for young adults—book one in a series of three fantastical novels that promise to deliver more than just thrills. Readers will be forced to consider the price of greed and the motivations of those who claim to pursue “progress.”

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

Fifteen-year-old orphan Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians. Unfortunately, the worldwide demand for magic is dwindling, and Jennifer struggles to keep the agency going. Legend has it that there is one remaining dragon—and one remaining dragonslayer. Many would like to get their hands on the pristine and desirable acreage where the final […]

“A” awakens in a different person’s body each day. One day, A might inhabit the body of a suicidal girl; the next, maybe an athletic boy. All A knows is that he/she must never get attached and never interfere with a body’s life—and the body will never know.

The rules change when A wakes up as Justin. When A meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, their connection is instantaneous . . . and seemingly impossible to pursue. As A attempts to form a relationship with Rhiannon from within multiple bodies, A must convince her that the story of his/her life is real—and that he/she is a person she can love.

With Every Day, author David Levithan has given readers a genderless, faceless and virtually nameless protagonist who still manages to be endearing and emotionally resonant. And while the core question—can a love between a bodiless soul and a real human possibly work—captivates on its own, the novel’s greatest strength lies in its ability to capture many different experiences of young adults. From stress to depression, from obesity to loneliness, the daily struggles of A’s bodies transform this love story into a brilliant mediation on teen life.

Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) is not timid about taking on unique storylines, but in Every Day he has created something totally new.

“A” awakens in a different person’s body each day. One day, A might inhabit the body of a suicidal girl; the next, maybe an athletic boy. All A knows is that he/she must never get attached and never interfere with a body’s life—and the body will never know. The rules change when A wakes up […]

Callie LeRoux has lived in the small town of Slow Run, Kansas for her entire life. Even though the constant dust that chokes her town threatens Callie’s health, her mother refuses to leave. She awaits the return of Callie’s father, who disappeared years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.

When her mother goes missing in a dust storm, Callie heads west to find her. She meets Baya, a mysterious Indian Man who helps her and then disappears. As her search continues, she befriends Jack Hollander, a young hobo who is happy to keep her company even as they encounter danger at every turn.

Callie is biracial, the daughter of a white mother and a black father—a dangerous situation in 1930s America. However, that isn’t the most unique thing about Callie; she also happens to be part fairy. In Dust Girl, book one of The American Fairy Trilogy, Sarah Zettel lays the groundwork for a complex fairy mythology. There are light and dark factions of fairies, animal-spirit guides and creatures who hide in human skins.

Dust Girl is also a complex novel of historical fiction. The Dust Bowl period—or the “Dirty Thirties”—is depicted with vivid imagery and complex detail. Whether readers are interested in the historical aspects, the magical elements or simply the well-woven tapestry of a story, Dust Girl is a mysterious and engrossing page-turner of a novel.

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Read an interview with Sarah Zettel for Dust Girl.

Callie LeRoux has lived in the small town of Slow Run, Kansas for her entire life. Even though the constant dust that chokes her town threatens Callie’s health, her mother refuses to leave. She awaits the return of Callie’s father, who disappeared years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. When her mother goes missing […]

Jamie is a typical 17-year-old girl, except for the fact that she’s been kicked out of her home for refusing to join a cult. To make matters worse, she is the one who introduced her father to the cult in the first place. She was so taken with Josh, the son of one of the Church of the Right and the Real’s disciples and the most good-looking guy in school, that she ignored the signs that something isn’t quite right about the church.

Jamie struggles to find a place to live, get a job and stay in school. In the midst of all this, she maintains her relationship with Josh and tries to figure out a way to reconnect with her dad. Readers will wonder, “Would I be so strong in such a difficult situation?” However, they may also grow frustrated with Jamie as she succumbs to Josh’s dubious charms and neglects to seek help from the most likely sources.

Finally, in her new co-worker Trent, Jamie finds a true friend and confidant—not to mention a great guy who thinks she’s truly amazing. Even as Jamie starts to get her life back on track, she finds that her dad really needs her help, and she has to decide how to move forward (and whether or not she’s ready to forgive him for abandoning her in the first place). The climax of The Right and the Real will leave readers thrilled, satisfied and eager for more from novelist Joëlle Anthony.

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville, Tennessee.

Jamie is a typical 17-year-old girl, except for the fact that she’s been kicked out of her home for refusing to join a cult. To make matters worse, she is the one who introduced her father to the cult in the first place. She was so taken with Josh, the son of one of the […]

It’s a longstanding tradition at Mount Washington High School—on the last Monday in September “The List” is posted all over school. It names the prettiest girl, and the ugliest girl, from each grade. Who writes The List? No one seems to know. It’s apparently an honor secretly passed down from one student to another, and it’s gone on for as long as anyone can remember. To add a touch of legitimacy, each copy of The List is emblazoned with a line drawing of Mount Washington High, from an embossing stamp stolen decades ago from the principal’s desk.

When beautiful Candace is named “ugliest” in the sophomore class, with an annotation that “beauty isn’t just skin-deep,” she is devastated and wonders what could have gone wrong. When lovely Bridget is named “prettiest” in the junior class, along with a note about “what a difference a summer can make,” she resolves to continue her zealous diet and maintain the thin physique she managed to starve herself into over the summer. The stories go on, in alternating chapters that reveal the humiliations and triumphs of each of the eight girls on The List.

Siobhan Vivian’s latest novel for young adults tackles the beauty myth head on. Readers will find themselves relating to each character’s struggles—and The List does bring challenges to all who appear on it, “pretty” and “ugly” alike. Labels can be damaging, even when they may appear to be positive.

Half cautionary tale and half whodunit, The List will keep readers turning pages in the hopes of finding out who is behind The List, and what will become of the girls it singles out.

It’s a longstanding tradition at Mount Washington High School—on the last Monday in September “The List” is posted all over school. It names the prettiest girl, and the ugliest girl, from each grade. Who writes The List? No one seems to know. It’s apparently an honor secretly passed down from one student to another, and […]

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