Spotlight on YA Fiction

by Sara Wecht, Librarian

Looking for your next book to read? You can’t go wrong with either or these Young Adult Books.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee
Book|Audiobook|Compact Disc

This book is told from the perspective of an Earl’s son, Henry Montague Jr. But he goes by Monty. He and his best friend, Percy, with whom he’s in love, are going on a grand tour of Europe: a last chance for them to enjoy their youth before taking on unwanted responsibilities. His sister, Felicity, accompanies them if only to be dropped off at a finishing school- not the kind of school she wanted to attend.

On the first leg of their trip, Monty ends up in the rooms of a Duke at Versailles. To get revenge for the Duke’s rudeness toward him, Monty steals something. This item is not a trinket, as Monty thought, but a powerful form of alchemy. The chase and adventure that follow challenge their relationships and change them forever. Percy isn’t going where Monty thought, and suffers from an incurable illness. Monty struggles with his sexuality alongside his PTSD and alcoholism. Felicity fights against female norms in her pursuit of scientific knowledge. 

This is a light fantasy novel against the backdrop of 18th century Europe. It has an epic plot with twists and turns along the way, and characters that you might not like at first, but grow to love.

One of Us Is Next
by Karen McManus

This is a sort of sequel to McManus’ book One of Us Is Lying. This sequel takes place in the same community as the first book, with a lot of characters that were side characters in the first book. You still see the characters from the original, though. This is nice because you can still keep tabs on them. 

In the wake of Simon’s blog and death (in the original book), the community is still on edge. Several copycats have tried to perpetuate the same drama that Simon did, to no avail. That is until someone texts everyone about a game where you pick truth or dare. The dares are semi-extreme and the truths are secrets that shouldn’t have been known. It boils up until a boy dies. The main characters try to figure out who’s behind the texts while uncovering the mysteries around his death. 

This book was a thrill-ride. I was left in the dark for most of the book, which is saying something for me! I enjoyed this one better than One of Us Is Lying partly because I guessed the ending. The truth or dare aspect plus all of the tiny secrets uncovered, which turn out to be connected, make for a more fascinating story. McManus makes us question the trustworthiness of characters and the accuracy of the information they uncover. That being said, I found myself wanting to skip certain chapters because I didn’t care as much about that character. Still, the end was a jaw dropper for me- I was not expecting it at all. 

Pick up this book if you’re looking for a dark high school thriller that keeps you reading to the last page!