DIESEL's Young Adult Newsletter for February 2018!

Dear Reader,

Deep in the midst of winter, which in California feels more metaphorical than actual, we are offering up some romance (it is the month of Valentine's Day after all) and some uprising.  The whole world seems interested in freedom, and the barriers to freedom -- whether that's threats of tyranny, loss of civil rights, structural inequalities, or historical injustices.  

The predatory state capitalism of the kingdom of Sempera; the challenges to freely expressed love in Mormon Utah; and the cultural hate-mongering in the Bonelands -- all of these have direct parallels throughout the world just now.  

The romantic storylines running through these fictional worlds bring the characters alive and highlight the human costs of these distortions of power.  Fantasy and romance in YA novels are excellent ways to clarify and experience these real-world dangers and begin to imagine ways to counteract them.  Here are just three examples from our YA section, reviewed by our passionate and able Bookoholic reviewers!

Happy Reading!
John & all DIESELfolk

New Books We Love This Month
by Sara Holland

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is literally money. It’s taken from the blood of the people, bound in iron, and can then be consumed to add time to one’s lifespan. The rich of Sempera, such as the Gerlings, tax the poor at high rates to expand their lifespans by centuries. Jules hates the Gerlings more than anyone. She and her father were once servants at Everless, the Gerling estate, till an accident forced them to flee. When Jules discovers her father is dying, she takes a job at Everless to earn more time for him. but going back to Everless turns out to be more dangerous than Jules could have imagined. Soon, Jules is caught up in the secrets of the palace and the history of Sempera. Danger lurks around every corner, and Jules has the power to change not only her fate, but the fate of time itself. 

Everless is Sara Holland’s debut novel, and it was absolutely incredible. The characters are interesting and full of life, and the world of Sempera is beautifully immersive. There is a little bit of romance in this book, but it’s by no means the main focus of the book. --Lindsey

by Cristina Lauren

This is a story of a teenage boy named Tanner and his journey of temporarily going back in the closet. Having lived in California, he was free to be outwardly bisexual, however, moving into a Mormon community in Utah, not so much. His best friend, Autumn, dares him to join this program to write a book in four months. Previously being tentative about whether or not it was possible, he finally agrees -- if only to prove Autumn wrong. During this semester-long seminar, he soon falls for Sebastian Brother, a Mormon prodigy who had previously published novels in past seminars.

Truthfully, I expected a cute little romance story. I never expected this book to make me tear up. This book was phenomenally written with an emotional storyline about an adorable relationship. As a person who doesn’t normally read or enjoy romance often, this book seriously broke down that wall. This book left me an emotional wreck, watching this love story unfold.--Carolyn

Reign the Earth
by A.C. Gaughen

Shalia loves her desert homeland and is willing to do whatever it takes to secure peace between her land and the Bonelands. Shalia agrees to marry the king of the Bonelands, trading her freedom for the safety of her people. Unfortunately, her husband is motivated only by his hatred of Elementae, people with elemental powers, and his desire to wipe them out. Shalia begins to suspect that she is an earth Elementae and she must do whatever it takes to hide her powers from her husband. Even more unfamiliar than her newfound powers are her growing feelings for her husband’s brother. When rumors of a rebellion from Elementae grow stronger, Shalia is forced to decide what matters more to her: peace, or freedom?

This book really had it all.  There was an intriguing plot, immersive world-building, dimensional characters, well-written romance, a terrifyingly real villain, and a strong heroine to stop him. I loved every second of this book, and I can’t wait to see how Shalia further develops in the rest of the series. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of Sarah J. Maas.  --Lindsey