Fiery Reads! Reigniting Teens’ Love of Paranormal

BookendsLynn: I’ve always liked stories about paranormal powers but lately I’ve read a LOT of them that haven’t worked very well. Still, I keep searching, and fortunately good ones can be found among the trendy throngs. Here are two really fun ones that will reignite your love of stories about characters with that little something extra.

FirebugThe first is from Lish McBride, author of one of my all-time favorite paranormal series, Necromancer. While I am still yearning for book three (hint hint), I really enjoyed Firebug (2014) which is the start of a new series. Ava is a firebug: she can generate sparks or all-out flames with her mind. With her teammates, the handsome werefox Ezra and the drool-worthy dryad Lock, Ava serves out an enforced contract to Venus, the feared leader of the “Coterie” that controls the Boston area. All three are enforcers for the Coterie, a responsibility that’s difficult for Ava to juggle with high school classes and her relationship with a gorgeous boyfriend. To make matters worse, Venus is responsible for Ava’s mother’s death. Still, Ava is coping until Venus assigns Ava’s team to kill a much-loved friend of Ava’s family. When Ava refuses, things start to heat up!

Fast-paced and packed with breathless suspense, Firebug features the same smart, snarky dialog that I love so much in the Necromancer books. The world-building is a nice blend of supernatural and modern reality and the characters are completely engaging. A intriguing parade of characters with a wild variety of paranormal abilities adds to the fun along with a simmering romance. The only downside? Now I’m impatiently waiting on sequels to TWO McBride series!

devil's coverFiring up next is The Devil’s Intern (2014) by Donna Hosie. Seventeen-when-he-died Mitchell works as an intern in Hell’s accounting department. (That certainly would be MY idea of Hell.) It’s actually a pretty good gig, but lately the Devil has been on a rampage due to budgeting issues. There are just way too many souls coming to Hell and the budget overruns are getting out of hand! Mitchell’s boss decides to address the issue by using an incredibly valuable device called the Viciseometer that allows the user to go back in time. Mitchell and his 3 BFFs decide to try to steal the device and alter the moments of their deaths. But can a Viking warrior, a girl who died in the Great London Fire of 1666, and the enthralling Melissa (who fell off the Golden Gate Bridge by accident) actually regain their lives? And do they WANT to?

Great snarky humor and clever commentary are the sparks in this clever book and the four bumbling teens are completely endearing. Add Hosie’s excellent handling of time-travel paradoxes and you’ve got a book that will light up your reading!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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