I’ve read many amazing young adult books this year, but for me there were three that stood out as the best young adult action books of 2015.
Here they are in no particular order (and no spoilers) 🙂
NAMELESS by Jennifer Jenkins
Wow. Just wow. This book gave me the same tingles in my fingertips that I felt when I read The Hunger Games and Divergent for the first time. That’s not because Nameless is dystopian: it’s fantasy fiction set in a world where there are four clans, dominated by the ruthless Ram clan. The main character, Zo, is a Wolf and a Healer who infiltrates the Ram as a spy for the Allied Clans.
This book has everything I want in a young adult book: action, a developing romance, loyalty, danger, compassion in surprising places, and complex characters I fell in love with.
Oh boy. This one. EARTH is the seventh and final book in the Walker Saga. The series follows Abigail Swish, a half-walker, in her quest to locate and unite the seven half-walker girls from across the universe to defeat the deadly Seventine – original powers who are determined to destroy worlds.
This series has a powerful love story, strong heroines who define their own futures (while never taking themselves too seriously – seriously, the humor in these books is perfect), and incredible action scenes. There aren’t too many books that can make me cry, but EARTH did. I’ve followed this series from start to finish and I’ve fallen in love with each and every book over and over.
I was hooked on TRACKED from the very first page and couldn’t put it down even when it turned dark outside. Phoebe Van Zant is a street racer in a futuristic universe where corporations are the ultimate power, who gets caught up in corporate espionage – the kind with effects that ripple out across worlds.
I was blown away by the world-building, imagination, character development, and the strong writing. The car-racing scenes sent my heart into my throat and I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected plot twists. The second book can’t release soon enough.
$300 in Paypal Cash or a $300 Amazon.com eGift Card
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Each and every day, I have many things to be grateful for. This week, I wanted to share seven days of gratitude.
On Saturday I was grateful for… my husband. I had a whole bunch of proofreading to do last weekend and he basically told me to take all the time I needed to get it done. He looked after the kids and the meals and kept everything sane around me.
On Sunday I was grateful for… my editor, who asked me to elaborate on a scene that made me see something in another scene, which I changed, just in time.
On Monday I was grateful for… my beta readers, since I was cleaning out my inbox and came across a couple of really nice, encouraging emails that reminded me how much I appreciate what they do.
On Tuesday I was grateful for… my laptop, which lets me get writing done on the train to work, without which I would never find the time.
On Wednesday I was grateful for… my family, who have been so patient with me about responding to all sorts of things lately.
On Thursday I was grateful for… quiet moments, the kind where I can stop and take a moment to assess my priorities.
On Friday I was grateful for… my children and all their enthusiasm and joy that reminds me to appreciate the little things and to wonder at the beauty in the world.
In the world of FEAR MY MORTALITY, human beings are invincible. If they’re hurt, they heal. If they die, they regenerate within an hour – many even faster than that. The fast ones are called fast healers, and the slow ones, well, you don’t want to be one of those in a world that values regenerative strength.
The science behind the book isn’t as far fetched as you might think (well, sort of). Some of the weirdest research I did was into jellyfish, like the immortal jellyfish that transforms itself back into a polyp if injured. And I researched magnets. I didn’t know before that heat and sound are a bit magnetic. I also looked into the genetic differences between boys and girls. The male Y chromosome is fascinating, but you’ll find out why that’s important when you read the book *winks*
I also did a bunch of research into drones, since drone technology is commonplace in the world of FEAR MY MORTALITY, like this groovy little camera drone here. Not so far from our own reality.
And then there were the searches on those royalty-free stock image/footage websites. Wow. For the most part they were okay, but plug in “mortality” or “death” in footage, and some of the images had me running for the hills.
The biggest thing I wanted to achieve was to create a world that isn’t so far from our own, and what I discovered when I went looking is that some of this science isn’t that far away.
The title of my book has changed and I’m having a giveaway to celebrate!
They will fear her mortality …
She will defy her destiny.
In a world where humans can’t be killed, one girl watches her brother do the impossible – fail to regenerate after death – after which she suspects that she too may be mortal.
FEAR MY MORTALITY is Book #1 in the Mortal Eternity series, releasing March 2016.
To celebrate the new title, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. Please enter using the form below. (To enter, you’ll need to have an email address that can accept an Amazon email gift card). This is my first ever giveaway, so I’m learning as I go!
Update: Congratulations Tricia T for winning the $10 Amazon gift card and thank you so much everyone who entered!
I am so excited to have on my blog Jenny Martin who is the author of the awesome YA science fiction novel TRACKED (recently released from Dial/Penguin).
Jenny Martin is a librarian, a book monster, and a certified Beatle-maniac. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son, where she hoards books and regularly blisses out over all kinds of live and recorded rock.
Everly: There is so much to love about TRACKED. For me, the fast pace and action were perfect. What’s your process for writing action scenes?
Jenny: Wow, thank you so much, Everly! True confession: Believe it or not, the action scenes are actually the easiest for me to write. And the most enjoyable! I think a lot of it boils down to voice. In every scene, I’m always trying to tap into that character’s voice. I’m trying to get under the skin and filter everything through that unique perspective. Usually, I’m not even focusing on what’s actually happening, blow by blow. Instead, I’m interpreting the experience of it. I think that’s the key. I’m always chasing that sense of really being there, and trying to conjure what it would be like for the character. And when that character is strapped in, and blasting off at top speeds…it can be pretty fun!
Everly: I fell in love with Phee’s voice right from the start. I’d love to hear about her evolution from an idea into the fearless character that she is.
Jenny: Great question, and one of my favorites! I’ve written about this quite a bit, but Phee’s voice was really strong, from the beginning. I’d gotten the idea for Tracked, after watching Death Race: 2000 with Jason Statham, and a documentary on out of control corporations, and Phee popped into my head soon after, pretty much fully formed. From the get go, on the page, she was impatient and reckless and headstrong. And above all, fearless—a Han Solo girl with smart mouth and a stubborn, loyal heart. Basically, she was everything I’m not! And I think that’s no accident. Phee came to me during a really tough time in my journey. Writing her was almost therapeutic. She was so good for my spirit, and she helped me face a lot of my own fears, and move past them.
Everly: I also really loved the world of TRACKED and how you brought it alive with culturally diverse characters like Cashoman Dradha, Grace Yamada, and Auguste de Chevalier. What part of the TRACKED world did you most enjoy writing about?
Jenny: Thank you! I really enjoyed writing each of these characters, especially Cash. It was also a lot of fun to dream up the histories of these two planets—his and Phee’s. While Cash’s planet is lush and unyielding, corporations from Earth colonized Phee’s world, and I borrowed a little bit of my home state’s history in writing it. I grew up in dusty, windswept Oklahoma, which was settled in a series of wild, claim-staking land runs. And naturally, I made sure that Phee’s planet was settled that way, too…through breakneck races. Then everything fell into place. I knew why rally racing had to be the most popular interplanetary sport. Suddenly, that history became important to Phee and Cash’s story.
Everly: Please tell me there’s going to be a sequel? (Because I kind of want to read it, like, now!) If so, when can we look forward to seeing it on shelves?
Jenny: Hurray! Thanks for asking. So glad you enjoyed! Yes, there is a sequel under contract, and I’m actually finishing up edits on it right now. It will be out next year, and I can’t wait for readers to see what happens next. Phee has been through so much, but oh boy, she has a long road ahead of her. All I can say is…these characters have become so dear to me, and it’s going to be thrilling to see the finish line at last.
Everly: In the spirit of fast and furious, some quick questions:
Red car or black car?
Black car! Just like Phee’s Talon, of course.
Hero or villain?
Hero, all the way. (I’m Jedi and House Gryffindor, through and through.)
Muffins or cupcakes?
Cupcakes. Especially if they’re frosted with salted caramel!
As the weather cools down here in Australia, it’s summer overseas. This season I want to fill my bookshelf, both real and virtual, with debut novels that will keep the winter chills at bay and remind that somewhere the warm sun is shining.
I’ve kicked the season off with two amazing 2015 debuts:
TRACKED by Jenny Martin, described as “Star Wars meets Speed Racer, in which a daring, street-racing girl transforms from rebel to revolutionary”. Yep. And it was AWESOME!
IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT by Jen Brooks, which I’m halfway through and loving: A boy who creates alternative worlds gets his worlds mixed up and tries to kiss the real version of the girl he loves, after which his worlds begin to collide.
Currently on my MUST-READ list (not all debuts, but authors I’ve never read before):
LIFER by Beck Nicholas: The Bourne Identity meets Under the Never Sky? I want it. Now!
THE BODY INSTITUTE by Carol Riggs: not releasing until September, but I can’t wait: A girl “Reducer” takes over other girl’s bodies to get them into shape–until her own identity is threatened.
NOBODY’S GODDESS by Amy McNulty: A village of masked men, a magic that compels them to love only one woman, and one girl’s search for freedom and true happiness. Bring on the good chills!
DON’T FALL by Rachel Schieffelbein: A retelling of Rapunzel. Ah, happiness!
THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner: A luxury spaceliner crashes from hyperspace, leaving only two survivors. My first space story in a long time and I’m hoping for a fabulous read.
CROWN OF ICE by Vicki L. Weavil: The young Snow Queen kidnaps a boy to help her reassemble the shattered enchanted mirror that is the difference between life or eternity as a wraith.
ZEROBOXER by Fonda Lee: Weightless combat sport, romance, action. This one had me at the title!
It’s my birthday soon and there are a few things I’d really like:
1. A machine that creates an extra hour a day at the push of a button. And keeps me awake long enough to use it.
2. A sequel that will write itself. The plot is planned – I just need the words to appear on the page as fast as I can think them.
3. A perfect delete so that if I make a social media boo-boo, I can erase it out of existence.
4. (My grandmother taught me that a “few” means “three”, but I have a fourth): A robot to do all the housework.
5. And on behalf of my seven-year-old daughter: Clothes that grow with you, so you never grow out of your most-favoritest, most-beautifulest dress.
I know that none of those things is going to happen any time soon, so here are the things I’m grateful for:
1. The time I do have. To spend it with my husband, my kids and my family.
2. The chance to write a sequel and a wonderful publisher who has given me that chance.
3. That I will make mistakes and learn from them and try again tomorrow.
4. Um … no, I still want a robot to do the housework.
5. That my daughter is growing into a lovely young girl and even if she has to put aside her clothes as she grows out of them, that we are fortunate enough, unlike some who struggle to afford even the basic necessities, to be able to buy her a new, beautifulest dress.