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Review: Two ‘teen’ books that actually appeal to adults

By Staff | Aug 29, 2013

Books that are marketed as “teen” books can have broader appeal. Look at the “Hunger Games” series or even “Twilight” or “Harry Potter.” Two recently released young adult novels have plenty to appeal to adults as well.

A woman with special abilities fights to survive in a post-apocalyptic world of ice in New York Times bestselling author Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston’s “Frozen.”

Nat lives in New Vegas, one of the few places not swept away by chemical waters or frozen up under sheets of ice. With little food, clean water and little heat, every day is a struggle to survive, but people still come to Vegas to get away from it all. Even Nat. No longer remembering her real name, she is an escapee from a military hospital due to her special nature – she is one of the Marked, people who are born with blue or green eyes who have some sort of psychic ability. Hated and feared, Nat now wears special lenses to escape her past. But working the blackjack tables and keeping an eye over her shoulder is taking its toll, and Nat wants out – to the mythical Blue, a land beyond the ocean where clean water and no ice supposedly exists. When she crosses paths with a mercenary and his team, she hires them to take her as a passenger across the waters.

Ryan Wesson is the leader of the group, and while at first he thinks she is one of the other crazy “pilgrims” chasing a dream, money is money. But the more he gets to know Nat, he starts to believe she may be the one who can actually get to the Blue. And the two just might be falling for each other as well. As his crew begins to mutiny, Wes and Nat must face slavers, pirates, shambing creatures known as thrillers, and challenge everything they thought they knew about the world. For what they find out about themselves and at the end of their journey will change everything.

This is a page-turning dystopian sci-fi adventure that has plenty of action, double-crosses, fantasy and two likable heroes.

“Frozen” is published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. It is $17.99 and 325 pages long. Look for a sequel coming soon.

An alien setting gives the classic Beauty and the Beast story a twist in “Of Beast and Beauty” by Stacey Jay.

Many years ago, people settled on a new planet. A force that was already there came to visit them and knowing they could not survive on the world as-is, began to change them. Some resisted and some praised it, and the force split into two, the Pure Heart and the Dark Heart. And the people became two peoples as well, the Smooth Skins who live in domed cities of safety, like Yuan, and the Monsterous, the changed people who live out in the wilderness. When the force took a human form to walk among the people to try to reunite them, it was cast out from both and cursed the land, unless a Monsterous and a Smooth Skin could learn to love each other.

Many years later, Isra, the princess of Yuan, who is blind and trying to cover up her curse, is struggling with her place in the world. For as a princess, one day Isra will be called to make the ultimate sacrifice for her people – her life. And there is so much of it she hasn’t lived yet. When her father is killed in a fight with the Monsterous, she knows her time is coming soon, and the people around her are setting up her short life as they want it – a chosen husband who will one day become king. But what about what Isra wants?

Gem is the son of the Desert People’s leader. He believes a way to save his people lies with the Smooth Skin’s roses and joins a team to break into their cities and into their garden. There he meets Isra and soon is taken capture. Both Isra and Gem are tricking the other, trying to get something out of each other, even as Gem is sent to work as a slave. But the longer they are around each other, they begin to see something in each other and begin to understand the other’s people. Can their blossoming love be anything but doomed?

The science-fiction setting gives a new take on the classic tale and both Gem and Isra are likable in their own ways. Readers will enjoy this romantic fantasy.

“Of Beast and Beauty” is published by Delacorte Press. It is $17.99 and 389 pages long.