With the Fire on High easily is one of my favourite books that I read this year. Emoni loves to cook and dreams of becoming a chef. That’s all I needed to know in order to borrow the audiobook. With the Fire on High offers so much more than a trope I can’t get enough of, though. It brings to light complicated relationships, the difficulty of balancing responsibilities and ambitions, and a huge dash of heart.
BURN by Patrick Ness
When I first started out reading Burn, I was intrigued. Historical fiction isn’t all too common in young adult publishing compared to contemporary fiction, fantasy and science fiction. History and fantasy crossing paths? Even less so. But Patrick Ness has an excellent track record of meshing various genres and even defying them, so I expected this one to be a hit as well. It wasn’t but I was still glad that he brought his signature postmodern outlook with a touch of whimsy.
SUICIDE CLUB by Rachel Heng
If you could live for hundreds of years, if not, forever, would you want to? In Suicide Club, those who deserve it are given immortality. In exchange, they have to take good care of their health — eat well, exercise and all that jazz. What I liked about this premise was that it plays on our contemporary obsession with health and wellness. Food diet movements abound from “clean eating” to keto to paleo, claiming to detox, strengthen the immune system, etc. Rachel Heng pushed these ideal to the extreme in her futuristic science fiction novel set in New York City.
THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD by Lauren Gibaldi
I should be upfront that I have a soft spot for YA contemporary books involving drama and theatre. These books invoke such nostalgia because I spent two years acting and studying theatre for A Levels. That’s precisely why I was drawn to This Tiny Perfect World. A summer theatre camp sounded like a full immersion that I was bound to enjoy. In that regard, I was pretty pleased. A good chunk of This Tiny Perfect World is indeed dedicated to Penny’s curriculum time and rehearsals.
EVERLESS by Sara Holland
Premise-wise, Everless was one of the most original books I’ve read in a long time. It was very intriguing, to say the least. It presented a world where life and blood are currency. I loved this idea and really enjoyed how it was integrated into the story. It was ruthless. I think the details were very well thought-out, especially when it came to how the rich exploited the poor. I also liked the legends that were incorporated and how they pulsed through the lives of the characters.