- Rebecca Purdy
Some recent R&R with too many cold and rainy days left me plenty of time for pleasure reading. No, unlike most of America, I wasn’t reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but much tamer pursuits and with young adult appeal.
Author Melina Marchetta is a master of making even the most unlikeable characters endearing and “Froi of the Exiles” is no exception. Before he attacked the woman who is his Queen, Froi only knew the horrors and abuse of the streets. Now, as her most trusted and loyal servant, and most lethal weapon, Froi is the obvious choice when she needs an assassin. His disguise puts him in close proximity to a seemingly mad princess burdened with the hope of her kingdom, who sometimes calls herself Quintana and at others, Reginita. Froi admires her ability to provide much needed emotional self-preservation and decides to teach her the skills she needs for physical protection as well. When she puts her new talents to use, she, Froi and the ragtag group of misfits he’s collected, including an embattled architect and a drunken monk, flee the palace seeking refuge. I recommend this for older teens because of the frequently dark subject matter, but there is a dry humor and banter that made me laugh out loud despite its seriousness. Deliciously complex, its biggest fault is that at over 600 pages it’s heavy!
A loose retelling of the Persephone myth, “Everneath” by Brodi Ashton, is a brooding love story with gothic elements and a twist. Unable to cope with her mother’s death, arguments with her father and her boyfriend Jack’s seeming betrayal, Nikki accepts handsome Cole’s offer to escape her feelings and retreat with him to the Everneath. Six long months later she’s allowed home with one caveat: 6 months from now, she must return below. She’s desperate to make up for some of the hurt she’s caused her loved ones, but instead opens healing wounds. Jack is the hardest to face, he refuses to leave her alone, forcing opportunities for them to be together and demanding answers. Finally, she confides her unbelievable story, convincing him it’s true, but not that he shouldn’t have hope. He’s desperate to save her and she’s desperate to stay. Cole insists there’s nothing either of them can do, but is he just blinded by ambition and his new found feeling of love or deliberately deceiving them?
In “The Future of Us” by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, until recently Josh and Emma have been best friends. When Emma gets her first computer, Josh’s mom sends him over with an America Online CD and Emma excitedly loads it onto her computer. Logging on for the first time, she sees an icon for Facebook, something she’s never heard of in 1996. There she sees her name, but with an additional last name as if she was married. Attached is a picture of someone she recognizes as her future self; she seems happy and mentions a husband’s fishing trip. Convinced, Josh is playing a joke as revenge, she clicks out and calls him over. Looking at it again, the page has now changed. There’s a different picture, Emma’s “husband” hasn’t come home for three days and she’s clearly miserable. Josh professes ignorance and Emma believes him. Especially, when they look at Josh’s page and discover he’s married to their most popular classmate. This fun novel with a light romance, explores the impact of look ing 15 years into your future and how what you do today impacts your tomorrow.
Originally published in the 5/12/12 Free Lance-Star.