Book reviews: Page-turning teen reads | SteamboatToday.com

Book reviews: Page-turning teen reads

Chris Erickson/For Steamboat Today

I love reading young adult books. The style and quality of writing has come a long way since I was a teenager. There are many up-and-coming young adult authors with books coming out this year … sometimes, it's hard to choose what to read. I highly recommend “Caraval” and “The Sun is Also a Star.” Both explore what it means to be human and to want something you can't have.

‘Caraval,’ by Stephanie Garber
Flatiron Books

Caraval is a mysterious and elaborate performance in which the audience participates. It is a game and only a game. … Participants must remember this at the risk of losing their minds.

Legend, the organizer of Caraval, has a dark and twisted sense of fun. Every turn of the game leads participants to their innermost fears and yet propels them to seek their innermost desires, with the promise of one wish granted at the end of the game. But that wish must be made with care, for there are alway consequences.

Growing up, Scarlet and Donatella were told stories about Caraval by their grandmother. They learned about Legend and also the costumes and magic. For Scarlet, her dream of viewing Caraval was the one thing that kept her going. She wrote many letters to Legend seeking an invitation to Caraval, with no response.

Now, she is betrothed to the Count, and her engagement is all she can think about, because it will be the escape she and her sister need from their overbearing and violent father.

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Finally, she receives a response from Legend, along with yhree tickets to Caraval: for Scarlet; her sister, Donatella; and Scarlet's fiance, the Count.

Julian, a mysterious sailor, promises to take Scarlet and Tella to the private island where they will experience the magic of Caraval. Due to events beyond their control, they are forced to split up and find entrance on their own.

Scarlet must find her own way without revealing too many of her own secrets. At Caraval, knowledge is currency, and the only way to get answers is to share. This is a fine line to walk in a world so full of mystery and darkness. But remember: It's only a game.

‘The Sun is also a Star,’ by Nicola Yoon Delacorte Press

Natasha and Daniel are two very different people, but they have so much in common that, when they meet one fated day, both of their views of the world change.

Natasha is Jamaican and an illegal immigrant in the U.S. She is scheduled to be deported that day. She has been all over New York to see what she can do to keep her family in the U.S. She understands the world through facts and science and doesn't believe in fate, destiny or anything that cannot be proven with data.

Daniel is Korean-American and is the first generation of his family to be born in the U.S. He wants nothing more than to be able to make his own choices. He has always been a good son, unlike his brotherm who is a troublemaker. But he doesn't want to be the doctor his family expects him to be; instead, he aspires to write poetry.

When the two meet over a misunderstanding in a music store, they suddenly see only each other. Is this fate? Is this love?

Chris Erickson is manager of Off the Beaten Path.