MY BEST BOOKS 2019 PART THREE: THE TEEN YEARS ( AND YOUNG ADULT)


Now we come to the best books published in 2019 for teens and young adults. So let's get stuck in...

At number one; probably the very best book I've read this year.
PERFECTLY PREVENTABLE DEATHS
author: Deirdre Sullivan
Hot Key Books (9781471408236)
16-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin find themselves moving from Cork to Ballyfrann in the wilds of county Galway.  Everything has an eerie feel to it; the castle they live in and its' resident 'wise-woman', Mamó, the town residents, the surrounding hills which conceal the bones of generations of missing girls along with hidden truths; and Lon, the unsettling young man that quickly wins Catlins' heart. As Madelines' latent witchiness emerges, she finds Ballyfrann is a place of dark secrets and predators. And her sister is primed to become the next victim...
This is the stuff of dreams and nightmares! Compelling, obsessive, foreboding and completely consuming; the writing is lyrical and moves through the eerie landscape, both internal and external of such an personal quality the reader will feel it as much as read it.Magic is the soul of this book, its' power and its' possibilities (much like being on the brink of adulthood); and it is deep and intimate and so very expressive. I got completely lost in this book. (definitely 14+)

At an extremely close number two...
A STRANGE KIND OF BRAVE
author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Orion Childrens Books (9781510104129)
Jake McCormack has held the town of  Clanfedden in his vice-like grip of fear for years, turning it into a destitute, joyless place. But when the town council finally stands against him and a face from the past, Ariana Spinelli and her son Luca arrive, she is determined to inject new life and vibrancy into Clanfedden, And Jake swears there will be hell to pay. Allie Redmond knows better than most how much pleasure Jake McCormack gets from watching people suffer as he destroys their lives. She needs to warn Ariana and Luca...she needs to try. Befriending Luca and Ariana, Allie begins to forget her sorrow, finding that love and friendship have the ultimate power. But disaster strikes, bringing shock and betrayal with it. Allie has to find a strange kind of brave simmering deep inside. From the very first line, this book wraps the reader in a grasp that will not let go. It hypnotises with words that speak to the heart of us all; and there is a twist in the end that is incredibly jaw-dropping. Filled with suspense, it is powerful, heartfelt, shocking and liberating. A magnificent book! 

A very close number three...
MOTHER TONGUE
author: Patricia Forde
Little Island Books (9781912417278)
In the companion book to (please read this book) The Wordsmith,we return to Ark a year later; now in the grip of a new dictator even more ruthless, more extreme than John Noa. Amelia is determined to carry out the wishes of Noa and now the schools are closed, language even more restricted (and soon to be eliminated) and babies are disappearing from their families. Letta is part of the resistance movement and she must discover where the babies are being hidden and why. This task places her in more peril than she could have imagined as she uncovers a heart-breaking, sinister plot and comes face to face with a woman presumed dead. 
Mother Tongue is a glorious, chilling, powerful work of speculative fiction that takes the reader on a journey of heart and mind, of the effects of environmental disaster and the dangers of absolute power. But it is also a book filled with hope, the urgency of self-expression, response and responsibility and in possession of a tender, compassionate quality. Thought-provoking, emotion-stirring, purposeful, Mother Tongue will live long in your heart. 


DEEPLIGHT
author: Frances Hardinge
Macmillan Childrens Books (9781509836956)
For centuries, the sea gods held  ultimate sway on the Myriad; demanding sacrifices lest they destroy the islands and all the people completely. And then, they turned on each other. The gods are dead and the people make a living by salvaging their remains, seeking 'god ware' under the waves for the money and strange power it brings. Young orphans Hark and Jelt make an unexpected discovery. That extraordinary bit of godware begins to take over the mind and body of Harks' oldest friend and the Myriad is at risk of destruction once again.
With an incredible feat of world-building and a deep, rich mythology weaving in into a fantastic tale of self-determination and coming-of-age, this is a completely immersive read. Gripping, haunting, at times truly frightening, complex and wonderful. 


THE PAPER AND HEARTS SOCIETY
author: Lucy Powrie
Hodder Childrens Books (9781444949230)
Tabitha Brown would much rather curl up with a good book than go to parties and trying to 'fit in.'  She's really hoping that the move to a new town will give her a second chance. If she can just keep herself to herself and not get involved, then maybe her past will leave her alone. A chance encounter at the local library lands her right in the middle of The Paper and Hearts Society; a book club with a difference. But the past just won't go away and an online bully threatens to destroy her new-found friendships. If only she could find the courage to trust her friends and face her fears....
A book that calls upon you to be who you really are, regardless of how weird that looks, this is a real feel-good gift. Warm, witty, fun and full of heart, this is a debut novel that nailed it on every single page.  It will make you laugh and cry....and feel better about yourself. 


HEARTSTREAM
author: Tom Pollock
Walker Books (9781406378184)
Cat has fallen in love. She can't believe it! She has always been so sensible, and now she is dating a star! But no one...absolutely no one can know. If the fandom discovers their secret, they will destroy her. But things don't quite go to plan...
Amy has been using Heartstream; an app that actually allows others to feel your emotions; to chronicle every minute of her mothers' degenerative illness, and now, the grief over her death. It is very real, packed with the power raw emotion, with absolutely nothing left private... and leaves a lot of room for obsessed followers to creep in.
This is a heart-stopping psychological thriller that invites the reader into an intense examination of the role social media and technology now plays in society. A gripping, tangible story that brings a lot of self-scrutiny, and societal scrutiny, with it. Powerful, realistic, shattering. (14+) 


THE CANTANKEROUS MOLLY DARLING
author: Alvy Carragher
Chicken House Books (97819141490548)
Molly Darling just wants her life to be normal. This is, apparently, a big ask. Dad has run off, leaving a PowerPoint presentation by way of explanation; Mum can usually be found in the attic working on her latest artistic creation; her older sister is about to marry the most boring man in the entire world. And now, all of Mollys' chickens have gone missing...including Lady MacBeth, a rooster who doesn't identify with his/her gender. It's up to Molly to bring some sanity back into the family (and to rescue the chickens), but with the meanest girl in school turning her life into a social media circus...well, it's enough to make anyone cantankerous.
This is a book that really captures the essence of a girl growing up in rural Ireland with a gasp and laugh-out-loud humour. Clever, funny and with a fine eye for observation and a strong sense of the ridiculousness of her situation as all the family and social dramas that have been simmering under the surface erupt one after another. Funny, well-written and very insightful, I enjoyed every page.

That's my round-up...the best I've read this year. I'm sure you'll find a few books here to entertain, enlighten and enthrall. And I can assure you, as we creep ever closer to 2020, there are even more great books coming. I know...because I've already seen quite a few.

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