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May 1, 2021

New & Notable in Young Adult Fiction

by MK French


If you enjoy young adult fiction, then here are two books coming out this month that you don't want to miss.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

The Rose Kiss by Esme Rome

The Rose Kiss
May 2021; Parako Press; 978-1732836099
ebook, print (232 pages); fairytale
In 1700, Lana Moreau is the beautiful daughter of a bankrupt French nobleman. Every attempt to find a suitor fails, so her father brings her to the local soothsayer. Unfortunately, Lana is named the Belmorta, a beautiful woman doomed to marry a beast, bringing on famine and death. Hoping to escape that fate, she runs to hide in an abandoned castle. It's enchanted,  and staying there just might fulfill the curse.

The Rose Kiss is the first YA novel in the Fairy Tale Love Stories fantasy series. This one is based on Beauty and the Beast, and even includes a fairy tale that resembles it that the people talk about. Scattered throughout the text are stories and songs, plays and mentions of alternative history.

We start with Lana and her hilariously disastrous meeting with her thirteenth potential suitor in the beginning; she's more learned than the men wanting her for her beauty, and her father has been bleeding goods to the local nobleman that claims to be a soothsayer. As with the tale, Beauty has to meet the Beast in the enchanted castle, empty save for whatever she needs and asks for. They get to know each other and their histories, as well as the source of the curse. It goes exactly how you think it will, because it's following the fairy tale. It's a cute retelling and a fast read.

Buy The Rose Kiss at Amazon
(The ebook is free to read for Kindle Unlimited members. Subscribe today!)

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

Hurricane Summer
May 2021; Wednesday Books; 978-1250622235
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); multicultural
Tilla's father leaves every few months to return to Jamaica. When her mother tells her that she'll spend a summer there, she dreads it. While there, she will have to face the upcoming hurricane, as well the underbelly of paradise and the ties that keep her father going back.

My heart went out to Tilla from the start. Her father didn't follow through with any promises to visit that he made, and gets treated like royalty by family and neighbors in the Jamaican countryside because he gives out money and has farmland to feed them. He doesn't even consistently visit Tilla and her sister, so Tilla is out of place with cousins and other teens who call her Princess, make fun of the fact she doesn't know the Patois, and make snide comments about her behavior and clothes. The aunt who was displaced to take over family affairs in her father's absence doesn't enjoy her presence. I wanted to reach through the pages to throttle her because as much as they all say they're God-fearing and Tilla is the heathen, their own prejudices, colorism, and classism are full in force.

I was crying in the final fourth of the book. Tilla's struggle grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go. I felt for her and for the jumbled emotions she went through. At the same time, she had incredible grace and fortitude, more than she thought herself capable of. I was so proud of her and cheered when she defended her truth and realized she could stand on her own without leaning on others for strength. 

Buy Hurricane Summer at Amazon


Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.



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