Title: Defending Taylor
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Summary: Kicked out of her ritzy private school, Taylor sees her mistakes splashed all over the front page just as her dad is running for re-election. Now she has to try to make her way in a new school, and try not to fall for her brother's friend Ezra, who has himself mysteriously dropped out of college.
First Impressions: While this was a valuable story about mistakes and working through them, I just kept thinking of how tremendously privileged these kids were. While they got a lot of flak from family for their screw-ups, they also kept getting second chances rarely provided to lower-class kids.
Title: The Scourge
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Summary: Ani and her best friend Weevil have been captured, tested positive for the dreaded Scourge, and sent to an island hospital colony. Even there, they're scorned for being River People, and given all the worst jobs.
But Ani is smart and savvy, and she knows something's not right. She's going to get herself and Weevil off this island and back home if it's the last thing she does.
First Impressions: So I saw (most) of the twists coming from a mile away, but that's because I know tropes. I think kids might get a little more shock out of it. And Ani was pretty awesome.
Title: And I Darken
Author: Kierstan White
Summary: In 15th century Transylvania, Lada and Radu are the scorned children of a brutal king - Lada for her gender, Radu for his gentleness. Sent away to the Ottoman Empire as hostages to their father's good behavior, they grow up alongside the captivating Mehmed, the crown prince. As they do, they both find their way into their own identities.
But they'll never stop trying to prove themselves - to their father, to each other, and to themselves.
First Impressions: Very sprawling and epic in scope but it slowed down hard toward the end. Although this is the first in a series, I don't think I'll keep reading it.