It is no secret that we care deeply about teen and YA books at Dubray, and love to talk about our favourites. Our Teen Book of the Month highlights many great titles, but that’s only one book per month — what about all the others that deserve some love? In this series of posts, I’ll be giving shout outs to some fantastic books from 2019 that may not be on your radar yet.
Opposite of Always — Justin A. Reynolds
When Jack meets Kate at a party, he’s ready to move on from a previous unrequited crush. Falling in love, he pictures a future revolving around Kate. He is devastated when a medical condition causes her death. This seems like the end, but instead Jack finds himself transported back to their first meeting, to relive their friendship and fight for a chance to save Kate’s life. This book has so many dimensions, from the lightness of crushes and first love, to darker existential themes exploring loss and grief, to the quirks of time-travel. I defy anyone to resist the drama surrounding the characters in the book, not only protagonists Jack and Kate but also the group of friends around them. This well-crafted debut unquestionably establishes Justin A. Reynolds as a writer to watch out for.
Enchantée — Gita Trelease
There’s nothing like some good historical fiction and Gita Trelease’s Enchantée is one of my newfound favourites. Versailles in the Belle Epoque might sound like a glamorous setting, but Trelease shines a light on the dark secrets hiding in plain sight in the alluring world of the aristocracy. Camille is an orphan, with only an alcoholic and abusive older brother to protect her and their younger sister. With no other choices, Camille must use the magie ordinaire she learned from her mother to manipulate appearances and cheat her way into Versailles to survive. This is a powerful exploration of class and the position of outsiders in an aristocratic society, with vivid descriptions of eighteenth century Paris. This strong debut is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series.