Unnatural | young adult fantasy

November "Ember" Edwards is not a witch. She can't successfully perform a single spell, which would be a total non-issue except that everybody else can. Ember is what The Ravendale Finishing School for Young Sorcerers labels a "dud", a weak link in the gene pool, and survival is the name of the game when she and a group of fellow non-graduating students are abandoned in the woods with limited supplies to face a series of trials that will force them to either summon their latent magical abilities or die trying.

Thankfully, Ember is not alone. Her boyfriend Ren Hargrove is also a dud, and Ember thinks they have a good shot at surviving the culling if they stick together. But that's easier said than done when she meets Caden Rowley, an outsider who curiously turns up in the woods. Ember's not sure if she can trust him, but she also can't seem to get him out of her mind, especially after he causes her to feel the first sparks of magic she's ever known—something she's learning she can't live without.

Skin Deep| young adult fantasy

With only weeks to go before graduation, Lucy Girard appears to have it all—a comfortable spot on the social food chain, a summer of freedom in wait, and a stellar GPA that’s earned her early acceptance to her college of choice. But things start to unravel when Lucy wakes from a wild night of partying to find an entirely uncool and oh-so-permanent tattoo on her shoulder—a crude sketch of a beast straight out of a fantasy role playing game. Chocking it up to exceptionally poor judgment, Lucy is blindsided when a real live version of the monster tears the door down at best friend Monica’s birthday bash, and Lucy is cornered before somehow summoning the skill to fend the monster off. 

Clearly Lucy’s ink was no drunken mistake. She’s been marked as the descendant of Agrona, the Celtic goddess of slaughter, abruptly called to duty as the fabric that separates our world from the banished realm begins to tear. Lucy has zero interest in some ancestral calling, especially as more unwanted tattoos begin to take shape across her body, marring her perfect skin with forerunners of battles she’s destined to fight. But as much as she didn’t ask for this, Lucy finds she can’t turn her back on the people she’s been charged to protect, even as she’s branded a freak by her so-called circle of friends. Beauty may be skin deep, but these markings run much deeper and if Lucy wants to live to see graduation day, she’ll have to accept that growing up sometimes means standing on your own.

The Broken Season| young adult contemporary

Louise Dunn hasn't recognized the world around her since the morning after her brother Neil's senior prom, when she discovered his drowned body on the front lawn, with no explanation for how it got there. Buried beneath a grief she can't seem to surface from, she stumbles through the ensuing summer, seeking solace in anything that can't get inside her head. Then she discovers a hidden journal in Neil's room, along with a stack of unfamiliar comic books, and everything changes. 

It was no secret that Neil was gay. He'd come out the year before his death. But as Louise delves deeper into his pastimes and relationships, she discovers that maybe she didn't know him as well as she thought, and what's worse—things might've been different if she had. Between a series of unsettling encounters with Neil's ex, and a sudden, unexpected connection with Matt, the fanboy clerk at the local comic shop, Louise finds she's increasingly unable to ignore the tragedy that's slowly suffocating her, and the walls she'll have to tear down before she can start to live again. 


This Hideous Heartyoung adult contemporary

Virginia (Ginny) Walters is completely in love with her boyfriend, Malcolm. Unfortunately for her, so is her best friend, Alden. But Ginny realizes it a little too late—the pair have already fallen for each other, leaving Ginny a heartbroken wreck just as school lets out for the summer.

She finds ways to cope; immersing herself in her part-time job, and indulging a surprise summer fling with Seth, the hot boy next door. She even makes an effort to resuscitate her friendship with Alden, but it’s not without its challenges. Malcolm had been her world before he abruptly ended things to get with her BFF. There’s a lot of damage to repair. But then the situation deteriorates further when Malcolm suddenly goes missing, and Alden’s behavior suggests she might’ve had something to do with it. 

Despite her deepening relationship with Seth, Ginny becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to Malcolm, spying on Alden only to discover she doesn’t know the girl she grew up with nearly as well as she thought. And what’s worse, Alden now seems to have her sights set on Seth, inciting Ginny to do whatever it takes to prove her increasingly disturbing suspicions—even if that means stopping her former best friend for good.