Everneath by Brodi Ashton
For a century, Nikki Beckett was asleep. Trapped in limbo as a Forfeit in the Everneath, she was used as sustenance for the immortal Cole, an Everliving who lured her to the underworld when she was at her most vulnerable. When Nikki wakes from the Feed, she has no recollection of who she is or where she came from – the only thing she has held on to is the memory of a boy’s face. Wanting nothing more than to see this boy again, Nikki Returns to the surface and the life she left behind.
For six months, on the surface, Nikki Beckett was missing – her family, friends, and boyfriend, Jack, had nearly given up on ever seeing her again when she turns up, malnourished and confused, on the floor of a convenience store. Slowly, Nikki tries to readjust to life on the surface despite knowing her time is running out – she has six months to find redemption before the Tunnels of Everneath claim her forever – that is, if Cole doesn’t get to her first.
Alternate World Fantasy
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
On the cusp of manhood, Finnikin reluctantly joins forces with an enigmatic young novice and fellow-exile, who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne of Lumatere.
Why we love it: Complex characters, world building, good old-fashioned young-man-on-a-quest fantasy, surprises.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Accompanied by her shape-shifting daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.
Why we love it: Allegory, the importance of truth, friendship, talking polar bears, witches, parallel worlds, adventure and suspense, physical manifestation of the soul.
Beastly by Alex Flinn
A modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” from the point of view of a vain Manhattan private school student who is turned into a monster and must find true love before he can return to his human form.
Why we love it: Old story reborn, showcases the importance of morality and the power of love, excellent characterization (with both physical and emotional metamorphosis).
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
In a small South Carolina town, 16-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.
Why we love it: Poetry, Southern Gothic atmosphere, Civil War history, complex mythology, boy’s point of view, strong descriptions, cool librarian, small town feel.
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Sixteen-year-old Bianca, a new girl at the sinister Evernight boarding school, finds herself drawn to another outsider, Lucas, but dark forces threaten to tear them apart and destroy Bianca’s entire world.
Why we love it: Not just one but two huge plot twists, quick read, fresh take on the themes of “coming of age” and dealing with the undead,” exciting, Bianca’s sexy friend Balthazar.
Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is Marked as a fledgling vampyre and joins the House of Night where she will train to become an adult vampyre.
Why we love it: New twists, great characters (friends, family, and enemies), clique drama, Native American element, realistically fun and witty dialogue, cool tattoos, vampyres have their own religion (worship of the goddess Nyx), Zoey’s one-of-a-kind kitty Nala.