Literally Dead

Making the choice to kill off characters has traditionally been hard for authors in the Young Adult community. Some characters fake their deaths, other’s come back to life, other’s have clones, and other’s still survive impossible situations. The moral of the story here is that killing characters is hard. Somehow these authors found it in themselves to kill off characters and I would like to applaud them for it. 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

So it might not be obvious from that mysterious title, but the two main characters in this novel die at the end. In a future society, people are informed 24 hours before they are going to die via call. Different corporations and apps have capitalized on this forewarning by creating items for the dying. Using one such app, two teens come together and live their last day side-by-side. There is no loophole, they both die at the end, but the journey they take in their day together is an exquisite thing to witness. 

Wax by Gina Damico

In the candle-making town Paraffin, Vermont, people are dying to make new candles. One teen girl uses the power of her theatre outgroup, an incredibly detailed list, and a wax boy to get to the bottom of the weird things unfolding in her town. It should also be noted that lovers of NPR, small New England tourist towns, and musical theatre will not be disappointed. Damico is never one to downplay the dangers of supernatural adventures and this book is no exception. 

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Armentrout tackles the real effects of drinking and driving on the lives of American teenagers in her latest contemporary novel. With it, the limits of companionship, therapy, and trust are tested. Unlike other novels approaching the subject, the book is not heavy-handed in it’s messaging. This is not a novel of easy cures, one time fixes, and instant victories. For that reason, the stakes and consequences of character actions are felt by the reader. 

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Teens are dying gruesomely insider their homes and no one knows why. A teen girl new to town needs to get to the bottom of this mystery before her own past can be revealed to the town. One would not expect Perkins, a traditionally contemporary novelist, to so thoroughly succeed in writing a horrifying thriller. One would be incorrect in their expectations. Perkins continues to show her understanding of human relationships with a wide range of victims, motivations, and connections. I would not recommend reading the novel at night home alone. 

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