“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are being eagerly anticipated.
Salvation by Anne Osterlund
Contemp YA – January 10th 2013 by Penguin Young Readers Group – Goodreads
A smart, unexpected romance from an award-winning author.
Salvador Resendez–Salva to his friends–appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He’s student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.
Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she’s also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.
Popular guy and bookish girl–the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever–because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.
Then tragedy strikes–and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth’s love be enough to save him?
Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential.
Anne’s description of this book is pretty brilliant, take a look:
If I wanted to be cheesy, I could pitch it as “Perfect Chemistry meets Romeo & Juliet;” but then you’d assume you know the end. And you don’t.
Seeing as how I loved the Perfect Chemistry
trilogy and I LOVED Anne’s Academy 7
, I am pretty sure that Salvation
is going to be a treat.
I’ll be honest, 2011 wasn’t the best year for me book-wise. For starters, I only managed to get through 63 books this year. While that looks like a lot, it means there a loads of books that I didn’t manage to get through – mostly ARCS, sorry publishers! Out of those 63 books, I only gave five a 5 star review. In other words, only 8% of the books I read this year did I consider excellent. Now compare that to 2010, where I gave nine books 5 stars. Five vs. nine! Isn’t that just depressing?
That said, there have been some truly standout novels this year. Some of them had been on my TBR pile for years while some were from brand-new authors. Here’s how they break down genre-wise: 3 Dystopian YA, 2 Adult Fantasy, 2 YA Urban Fantasy, 1 Adult Urban Fantasy, 1 Literary Fiction, and 1 YA Science Fiction. They’re a diverse bunch of books, but they are all worth a read! (Click on the titles to read my reviews.)
Top Ten Books of 2011
A Game of Thrones should really count as 3 books, considering it is big enough to double as a weapon! If you’ve somehow missed all the buzz about the HBO series based on this book, you’ve obviously been hiding under a rock. It is fantastic. Read the book, watch the show, go to a convention!
Patricia Briggs writes amazing books and Cry Wolf was no exception. I absolutely loved how the novel jumped between different characters, and wow what a plot. A-MA-ZING.
Yep, The Hunger Games. It took me forever to get to this book but it was ludicrously amazing. I even got my mother to read it (she adored it, btw!). Catching Fire and Mokingjay were just good and OK, but they did not detract from the brilliance of this book.
Moloka’i is unlike all the other books on this list – it’s historical literary fiction! But wow, is it ever extraordinary. Even if you don’t usually read this type of book, I would give it a shot.
Do not be fooled by the cover of Academy 7, this is YA science fiction at its very best. The only, only issue I had with this book? It was too bloody short! Moooore, Anne Osterlund. More!
Pure is kinda a cheat for this list. The book doesn’t come out until 2012 but I couldn’t help but add it to my list. While it isn’t perfect, it was one of the most terrifying YA novels I have ever read.
Temeraire! What a fantastic book! Dragons and Napoleon and magical magical writing. Read it!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was probably one of the most unique YA books I’ve ever read. I am so very, very glad that it has gotten the praise it deserves. Oh, and Laini? Awesome awesome pink-haired lady.
I was afraid to read The Gathering, as I adored Kelley’s Darkest Powers trilogy and everyone knows that sequels never live up to the original! The only exceptions being The Godfather II and… The Gathering! This book was every bit amazing.
Ann Aguirre’s Enclave lived up to everything I expected from it. And I expected a hell of a lot. Her Sirantha Jax series is a fantastic read, so I hoped and prayed that her venture into YA would be just as great . It was – it really was!
Booking through Thursday: If you could get a sequel for any book, what would it be?
I love this question because – usually – I complain bitterly about the quantity of sequels out there. My fellow YA and UF fans know exactly what I mean when I say that most books never die. They recycle the same material over and over and over again until you’ve forgotten why you ever liked the book in the first place.
But there are some fabulous books out there that I would totally read the sequel to… if only they existed. Most recently, Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund. I just finished it a few weeks ago and was heartbroken to hear it had no sequel. It’s a fantastic YA Science Fiction novel (read my review here). Hell, I could read a companion novel set in this verse, and I’d be in love.
I would also read absolutely anything set in the Darkest Powers verse by Kelley Armstrong. While I realise that I have been rather blessed in this respect (the series are 3 novels, 4 short stories, and an entire spin-off trilogy), I would love love love to read another Chloe Saunders book. Now, if possible. *waits*
And on a literary fiction note, I would love a sequel to Run by Ann Patchett. It was one of my favourite reads back in 2009 and lately I’ve been thinking about the characters. What are they up to now, I wonder…
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
Published by Speak
Genres: Science Fiction YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
Add to Goodreads
With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin - son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance - consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship - and romance - begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined...
Thoughts: There is only one thing I hate about this book: it’s too damn short! I could have kept on reading Academy 7 for another 500 pages – it was just that good.
Don’t be fooled by the cover: Academy 7 is Science Fiction YA. But like all good Science Fiction it is about so much more than space, it’s about character. And even while it is all about character, it’s also about politics, and intelligence, and standing up and thinking for yourself. Academy 7 managed to weave a complex world behind the main narrative – a world both believable and intriguing that would have kept me hooked even if I hadn’t liked the main story. It’s part what makes any book great, but in Academy 7 it is what made it brilliant.
While there was a romance between the two main characters – Aerin and Dane – Academy 7 wasn’t about them getting together… it was about them getting over the misery that had been their lives. Both Aerin and Dane reminded me, in a way, of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Neither one of them wanted to open up to each other, but life brought them together to do just that. I love it when characters need to overcome real emotional obstacles… when their bond with another character develops out of the mistrust that everyone feels for strangers. Aerin and Dane were complex individuals, and watching them grow together was just beautiful…
I also loved how intellectual this book was. Academy 7 is an institute that brings together the brightest minds in the galaxy, and it shows. Aerin and Dane are there because of their extraordinary intelligence, and Anne Osterlund lets it shine through the pages. Here’s what I mean:
Aerin was reminded frequently over the next two months that Dane was still exasperating: the way he drilled her on the small points of an argument, then turned and argued the flip side against her in class; the way he refused to use certain openings in combat, claiming that to do so went against his sense of moral conduct; the way he managed to let others’ snide remarks slide past him as if they meant nothing. If Aerin had been asked at the end of their second term to describe Dane, the first word she would have used would have been maddening. She would also have added stubborn, intelligent, and, to her surprise, funny. His sense of humor, couched in irony, took her a while to appreciate, but it was also bluntly honest; and, by the start of Academia’s damp season, she found herself looking forward to his unvarnished opinions on every topic from flight paths to Ausyan philosophy.
There were no pedestals in Dane’s world. No crystal vases to be treated with supreme care. No heroes. But there was a constant willingness to take out a topic, test it, shake it apart, mix up the pieces, and test them again.
Perhaps that’s why he spends time with me, Aerin found herself thinking one afternoon as she negotiated the Great Hall’s uneven stairs on her way to report for work. Because I haven’t made up my mind about this part of the universe.
– Chapter 14, Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
In case you hadn’t gathered, I just loved this book. There were a few flaws, mainly due to the short length of the novel. I think Anne Osterlund had enough plot to fill at least 100 more pages and it was a shame to see some pretty key scenes rushed into a few pages. But the somewhat-uneven pacing is not enough to distract from the sheer brilliance of this novel.
Bottom line? Academy 7 is a stunning, emotional, and realistic novel. I adored the characters, the verse, and – hell – even the villains. When I say YA fiction can be astounding, this is the type of novel I’m talking about!
Note: Academy 7 reads as a standalone novel and will likely remain a standalone. Although Anne Osterlund envisioned the book as the first in a trilogy, there aren’t any plans to publish any more in this series (although, please, someone tell me I’m wrong about this!). It’s depressing when I think about it…