Of PoseidonOf Poseidon

Anna Banks

After surviving a devastating shark attack, the last person Emma wants to see haunting the halls of her high school is the mysterious boy she met on her beach vacation. But try as she might, Emma can’t seem to escape Galen, nor can she find an explanation for the powerful connection she feels when she’s around him.

When Galen finally explains his reasons for following Emma across the country, she can’t – or doesn’t want to – believe him. But neither can she deny the inexplicable gift she possesses, a gift Galen says holds the key to saving his people from war. If Emma accepts Galen’s story, it will change everything and put everything she wanted and almost had squarely out of reach.

Despite the heaviness of the opening scenes, this is a fun, often humorous story about forbidden love with a bit of a new spin on mermaid – or Syrena – myths. Emma, a pure soul with a tragic past, and Galen, a duty-bound prince of a hidden realm, make perfect star-crossed lovers. Of Poseidon has recently been nominated for the 2013 YALSA Top Ten award.

Language Content
Mild.

Sexual Content
Emma worries that her mother will assume she and Galen are having sex, though they aren’t sharing more than secrets and a few super-charged kisses.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violence
A bull shark attacks a young girl as she swims at the beach. Details are a bit gruesome. Two girls with super-strength tackle each other in a beach house, destroying furniture, but causing only minor damage to each other.

Drug Content
None.

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The Raven BoysThe Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic, Inc

Premonitions and warnings about the future have always been a part of Blue Sargent’s life in her small home shared by several psychic women. It’s why she stays away from boys: the first boy she kisses will die, according to the predictions of the clairvoyant group.

Staying away from them has never been difficult for Blue. Especially staying away from the over-privileged boys of the Aglionby school. That is, until an unexpected vision on St. Mark’s Eve and a forgotten journal pull Blue into a dangerous and mesmerizing quest led by one of Aglionby’s finest students.

Though she is at first repelled by Gansey’s flippant attitude about money, something deeper flashes beneath the carelessness and bravado, and Blue can’t help but be captivated by that Gansey.

If only she can find a way to keep him from dying.

Filled with memorable characters and fresh wit, The Raven Boys is a wild ride from start to finish. Readers familiar with Stiefvater’s Shiver will find this a much more highly developed work, though toward the end the pet phrase, “for a long moment,” reappears several times. Despite this, it’s difficult to imagine readers beginning this series and not eagerly anticipating the second book, which will release in September 2013.

Language Content
Sparse but severe.

Sexual Content
None.

Spiritual Content
Blue’s mother and her friends use psychic ability to make their living and to predict what will happen in Blue’s life and the lives of her friends. Much of the story centers around belief in these abilities and in magic, spirits and rituals. Blue and her friends befriend a ghost and help him maintain a presence. Blue is gifted with the ability to strengthen psychic energy.

Violence
Two brothers engage in a brief fist-fight. One boy suffers physical abuse at the hands of his father, and another boy defends him. The scene is brief. A man is trampled to death, but no details are given of the event. A woman plans to murder a man as part of a ritual. Characters fight over possession of a gun in two different scenes.

Drug Content
One of the boys has a tendency to drink alcohol and get into trouble. It’s not really featured in any scenes.

Scorch by Gina Damico

Scorch by Gina Damico

Going home after her sister’s death is the hardest thing Lex has ever had to do. But life in Croak isn’t getting any easier for the teenage Grim Reaper. Though her friends stick with her, the rest of the town blames Lex for Zara’s murderous rampage. After all, Zara wouldn’t be able to Damn souls if Lex hadn’t somehow transferred that ability to her. That Zara killed Lex’s sister doesn’t seem to matter either. Irrational fear and poor leadership whip the town into a frenzy of paranoia until Lex and her friends have no choice but to flee to the Grim capital, DeMyse.

Distracted by the glitz and glam of the Vegas-like town, Lex and her friends teeter between concern for the innocents Zara continues to murder and enjoying the city’s night life. Zara will only stop killing when Lex gives her the secret book that will grant terrible power to anyone who reads it. Lex is sure she is the only one who can find it, but will she find it before another innocent soul is Damned?

Readers who missed the first book in this series will find Scorch a little hard to follow. The rules of the story world are confusing and not well-explained. The plot meanders forward with frequent pit stops for parties and make-out sessions despite Zara’s promise that an innocent person will die every day until Lex gives her what she wants. While she is a bit shallow, Lex’s struggles with guilt and insecurity are very real and relatable. The appearance of Poe and other famous people of the past were a clever addition to the story.

Language Content
Moderate. Some swearing and lots of uses of various forms of “douche” insults.

Sexual Content
Heavy. Characters frequently sneak off to make out and hope to progress further.

Spiritual Content
The central characters of the story are Grim Reapers. Human characters experience an afterlife which is more or less wonderful, unless their soul has been Damned by a Grim Reaper. One rogue Grim Damns souls who are undeserving of such punishment. No real connection to Christian world-view.

Violence
Some battle violence and an explosion.

Drug Content
Grims enjoy a special drink that seems to have the same effect as beer. Young characters are depicted drinking it at bar and nightclub type settings.