Zombie Fiction, Bone-Chilling Horror, and Genre-Defying Dystopians | YA Series Update

YA librarian and Library Journal Mover and Shaker Lindsey Tomsu curates a roundup of the latest installments of popular YA series. Among the highlighted choices are romance, sci-fi, dystopian, mystery, horror, and fantasy selections that teens won’t want to miss.


The following are some of the latest installments in popular YA series. Among the highlighted choices are romance, sci-fi, dystopian, mystery, horror, and fantasy selections that teens won’t want to miss.

BOONE, Martina. Persuasion. 464p. (Heirs of Watson Island: Bk. 2). ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481411257.

Gr 9 UpCompulsion (S. & S., 2014) found Barrie Watson traveling to her Aunt Pru’s house on Watson Island in South Carolina to live after her disfigured mother’s death and her guardian’s entrance into hospice care. Once there, Barrie uncovers her mother’s mysterious past, one that includes a three-way feud among the founding families of the island and a possible family curse. In Persuasion, Barrie returns to Watson Island to discover it under the siege of reporters and ghost hunters looking into its weird history. Added to this, she has to deal with a new stranger who claims to know the secret to breaking the curse and demands her help in exchange for a favor. If she refuses, he threatens to take away her special ability to find things. Boone’s series is an interesting take on the Southern Gothic and is recommended for fans of romance and mystery, with a bit of paranormal thrown in.

BOORMAN, Kate A. Darkthaw. 336p. (Winterkill: Bk. 2). ebook available. Abrams. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419716638.

Gr 7 Up–In Winterkill (Abrams, 2014), Emmeline lived in an isolated settlement where her people were lead to believe they were the last of their kind and were told to never venture into the woods outside their compound. At the beginning of this sequel, the Council has fallen and Em is given a chance to leave her home and explore the new world around her. Matisa, a member of the First Peoples, offers to act as her guide through the wilderness. What Em does not expect to find is a world full of people at war, natural disasters, deadly disease, and more that will threaten the safety of her people. Will Em ever fully trust Matisa and the unusual dreams that seem to bind the two girls together? Give this one to fans of secret-filled dystopian stories.

BROCKMANN, Suzanne & Melanie Brockmann. Wild Sky . 448p. (Night Sky: Bk. 2). ebook available. Sourcebooks Fire. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492604846.

Gr 9 Up–In Night Sky (Sourcebooks, 2014), 17-year-old Skylar unwittingly discovers that she is a “Greater-Than” when a young girl she babysits is kidnapped. Greater-Thans are humans with a variety of superpowers and are being hunted for a hormone they carry because it can be used to manufacture a dangerous new drug called Destiny. As Wild Sky begins, Dana is continuing to help Skylar learn how to handle her new powers when the group is approached by Garrett, a fellow classmate, who wants their help locating Jilly, another young girl who has gone missing. In the process of finding her, Calvin, Skylar’s best friend who is in a wheelchair, gets infected with Destiny. Can Skylar and her friends discover a way to save Calvin’s life? Brockmann and her daughter continue with their YA prequel series to Brockmann’s adult novel, Born to Darkness (Ballantine, 2012).

ENGEL, Amy. The Revolution of Ivy. 400p. (Bk. 2). ebook available. Entangled Teen. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781633751156.

Gr 9 Up–In The Book of Ivy (Entangled Teen, 2014), readers were introduced to Ivy Westfall and the dictatorial world she grew up in, ruled by her family’s rival—the Lattimers. When she is named to marry Bishop Lattimer, the president’s son, her family encourages her to assassinate him as a power play to return the Westfalls to power. Unfortunately, Ivy ends up falling in love instead. The Revolution of Ivy opens with the girl now branded as a traitor and forced to survive outside the fence of her former home in a barren wasteland. Luckily, she meets up with Caleb and Ash, two new allies who help her learn how to survive. When Ivy is reunited with Bishop, she has to face the consequences of her actions and prepare for the Westfalls to summit to the Lattimers. Ivy is a strong female lead, while Bishop is a well-developed character who is more than just eye candy. Hand this underrated duology to fans of dystopias.

FRANKEL, Jordana. The Isle. 384p. (Bk. 2). ebook available. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062095374.

Gr 9 Up–The long-awaited sequel to The Ward (HarperCollins, 2013). In the previous volume, readers met Ren, a 16-year-old girl who works two jobs—as a drag car racer and as a scout for the “Blues,” a secret organization hunting for fresh water since the Wash-Out flooded New York and contaminated the water supply. The Isle picks up right where the previous volume ended, with Ren finding a potential new source of water that has miraculous healing properties, which she uses to save her sister, Aven, from the Blight, a virus killing many people in the Ward. While Ren wants to keep the source of water a secret and use it to save the disease-infected people, she faces two foes who want access to the water for very different agendas. One is Governor Voss, the very man who hired Ren to search for freshwater, while the second is the Tètai, an ancient secret order that has been protecting the water for generations. Purchase where dystopians are still popular.

GREEN, S.E. Killer Within. 304p. (Killer Instinct: Bk. 2). ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481402880.

Gr 9 Up–Three months have passed since Lane had to take down the infamous serial killer, the Decapitator, who just happened to be her own mother. As she struggles with her conflicting grief, she decides to relieve some pressure by taking up the mantle of the Masked Savior once more. The Masked Savior provides vigilante justice to bad guys the police seem unable to stop. Everything changes, however, when Lane discovers someone has been following her and has started a copycat Savior who punishes the innocent and the guilty indiscriminately. Can Lane clear the Masked Savior’s name? Recommend this series to teens who enjoy mysteries that also work as connected stand-alone novels.

MABERRY, Jonathan. Bits & Pieces. 592p. (Rot & Ruin: Bk. 5). ebook available. S. & S. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481444187.

Gr 8 Up–Just when fans thought the adventures of Benny Imura were over, Maberry returns with a hefty volume of short stories—11 previously released and 11 original—featuring new and favorite characters in the “Rot & Ruin” world. Some stories tell about the world before First Night, while some fill in the gaps of time during Benny’s various adventures in the previous four books. A highlight is “Rags & Bones,” which details the survival of a little girl all on her own while also introducing Joe Ledger, which provides an excellent segue for older teens to be introduced to the main character of Maberry’s zombie series for adults. Purchase where the series and zombie horror is popular.

1601-YASeries-CVs2MCGANN, Oisin. The Wisdom of Dead Men. 408p. (Wildenstern Saga: Bk. 2). ebook available. Open Road. 2015. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781497665897.

Gr 9 Up–In Ancient Appetites (Open Road, 2015), the European world is ruled by the Wildensterns, a ruthless family of seemingly invincible assassins. In that entry, Nate returns to his family from a hunting trip in Africa only to discover his older brother, Marcus, has been murdered and the family claims Nate is the culprit. Can he prove his innocence? This installment picks up with the new Wildenstern heir, Berto, wanting to change the barbaric nature of his family’s past. Nate, now the disabled Berto’s bodyguard, joins with Daisy, Berto’s wife, to investigate a number of mysterious deaths that result in the burned bodies of women.They end up finding intriguing family secrets and a possible tie to the enigmals, machines with the brains of living animals. Give this Victorian series, originally published in the United Kingdom, to teens looking for a unique steampunk angle (a Dublin setting instead of London) with a hint of horror, à la H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau.

MCKENZIE, Sophie. Every Second Counts. 416p. (Bk. 2). ebook available. S. & S. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481439268.

Gr 7 Up–For those who enjoy their political thrillers with a dash of romance, this companion to In a Split Second (S. & S., 2015) fits the bill. The first book followed the dual perspectives of Charlie and Nat, two teens whose lives are forever changed by a bombing in a busy London marketplace.The teens join together to try and determine the identity of the person or persons responsible for the attack. This entry opens with Charlie and Nat on the run since the evil Roman Riley, who might win the election for the next prime minister, has framed them for terrorism. Can they prove their innocence while stopping Riley from obtaining even more power?

MANCUSI, Mari. Smoked. 384p. (Scorched: Bk. 3). ebook available. Sourcebooks Fire. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781402284649.

Gr 9 Up–In the conclusion to Scorched (2013) and Shattered (2014, both Sourcebooks), the future of the world continues to be held in Trinity’s hands. In the previous volumes of this time-travel fantasy series, her grandfather purchased a dragon’s egg, which caused two twin brothers from the future to show up. Connor tries to convince her that the dragon will destroy the world; Caleb tries to convince her that the dragon will save the world. In Smoked, Trinity, her new love Connor, and Caleb have saved Emmy, the last living dragon, from an evil government lab. However, a secret Emmy has been keeping is revealed, which forces Connor, the duty-bound dragon hunter, to choose between saving the future he has traveled back in time to change and his love for Trinity and his brother. A great conclusion to an interesting time-travel dragon-filled fantasy series.

ROUX, Madeleine. Catacomb. 336p. (Asylum: Bk. 3). ebook available. HarperCollins. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062364050.

Gr 9 Up–After surviving horrifying experiences at a former psychiatric hospital in Asylum (2013) and a creepy carnival in Sanctum (2014, both HarperCollins), Dan, Abby, and Jordan are now seniors planning a final road trip together before going their separate ways. However, their fun attempt at forgetting the past soon goes awry as they clearly are being followed, and Dan starts receiving messages from an old friend who died. Roux’s latest is interspersed with creepy black-and-white photographs. Give this to fans of the series or those who enjoy horror while they eagerly wait for next year’s Asylum Novellas (a collection of three short stories about the bad guys of previous volumes) and Escape from Asylum (both HarperCollins) (a prequel story diving into Brookline’s horrid past).

RUSSELL, Romina. Wandering Star. 320p. (A Zodiac Novel: Bk. 2). ebook available. Penguin/Razorbill. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781595147431.

Gr 9 Up–This series takes place in a fantastical future world in which Earth has been destroyed and the human descendants moved to a galaxy that consists of 12 worlds based on the signs of the Zodiac. The first volume found 16-year-old Rho being named the new Guardian of her House (Cancer) as numerous houses began experiencing harmful weather-related natural disasters. Rho believed it was all part of a revenge plot from Ophiuchus, the exiled Guardian of the fabled 13th House. The second novel follows Rho’s new adjustment to life post-Guardian on the House of Capricorn. (Needless to say she made some disastrous decisions that have led to her exile.) Her peace is interrupted when a new terrorist group, the Marad, begin to threaten the Zodiac Houses, and Rho is approached to help stop them. Will Rho be able to get the citizens of the Zodiac to trust her once again despite her tarnished reputation as a failed Guardian? Give this to teens looking for an interesting futuristic world that incorporates an astrology twist into the mix.

STOLARZ, Laurie Faria. Return to the Dark House. 368p. (Dark House: Bk. 2). ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423181736.

Gr 7 Up Two months have passed since Ivy Jensen escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grasp. She is frustrated with the police who seem to be doing nothing to find her missing friends, including her potential love interest, Parker, who sacrificed himself in order for Ivy to make it to freedom. She is certain the Nightmare Elf is holding them captive. When she receives a cryptic homemade video in her email—a video that appears to be a message from Natalie—she turns to the one person she never thought she would see again—Taylor, the girl who abandoned the other teens to save herself before the Nightmare Elf could begin his twisted game. Taylor and Ivy follow the clues to an old abandoned private school to face their fears a second time and possibly save their friends. A second installment in a terrifying horror series for younger teens.

Tomsu-Lindsey_Contrib_WebLindsey Tomsu is the teen librarian at the La Vista (NE) Public Library.

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