Magan: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Pages: 375
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: dystopia, sci-fi, exile island, corrupt government, orphan
Format read: ARC from Simon & Schuster at ALA.

Summary: Alenna undergoes a government test to analyze her compliance and is sent to The Wheel, an island where other teenagers are sent upon receiving negative test results, where she must fight to survive.


From the first chapter, I like to be drawn into the world – I want to feel so connected that it seems impossible to put the book down. When a book makes my heart pound and my pulse race, that can only mean I’m feeling intensely invested.

The Forsaken immediately caught my attention and I was full of anticipation for what was to come.

Alenna lost her parents to a government invasion of her home when she was ten years old, leaving her orphaned. At sixteen, she undergoes a government mandated test to make sure she’s compliant and won’t cause any trouble. Anyone found troublesome is sent to The Wheel — an island where the average life span is 18 years old. Alenna is put under for the test, and the next thing she knows, she’s waking up on The Wheel.

She finds herself with one other person, David, and they’re quickly surrounded by the drones. The Wheel is divided into sectors ruled by the drones (scary teens who wear capes, paint their faces, and blindly follow a masked man called the Monk) and the villagers (a “normal-ish” group who tries to make the best of their bad situation). Alenna is rescued by a villager while David is overtaken by drones. This is as far as I’m going to get into the story because I don’t want to risk spoiling any of the surprises.

Alenna, as a character, was initially very weak. Pre-exile, she tried to fly under-the-radar, hoping to avoid standing out. She never quite felt like she belonged anywhere and was kind of a loner. The island is the first place where she connects with other people her age. Coincidentally, people who also felt the very same thing. As she learns to navigate the island, she forms friendships with a few characters that give her more reason than her survival to fight for a way off the island. And she maybe (just maybe…) falls in love for the first time.

One of the most fascinating aspects of The Forsaken was the comparison between the drones and the villagers. It was like a comparative study on the effects of what can happen when you’re thrown into a life or death situation. Do you seek survival and civilization or do you become corrupt and lose all sense or normalcy since you’re going to die anyway? The drones cling to the hope of the Monk and the villagers attempt to build an equal(ish) community where everyone has their role.

The Forsaken was a surprising mix of a lot of my favorite things — sci-fi, a dystopian setting, and elements that made me reminisce other favorite books (The Host by Stephanie Meyer and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). Please don’t misinterpret my comparison to insinuate that Stasse’s book is a replication of either of those books; it stands on its own and her ideas constantly caught me off guard. I do believe that if you are fans of The Host or The Hunger Games you should definitely pick up The Forsaken.

Stasse’s writing is gripping from the very beginning. There’s always, always a task or a next phase. Always something to learn. The story is constantly progressing, always moving forward. Stasse’s writing was strong and intelligent, and the dialogue always very intentional. Definitely, definitely check out The Forsaken as soon as you can. I shall patiently wait for the story to continue.

Goodreads | Amazon

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

Shelve It: July 15, 2012

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

Happy, happy Sunday, friends! I hope you’ve had an awesome weekend so far. Saturday was one of THE BEST Saturday’s we have had – it was a complete day off full of relaxing, meeting up with friends, going to our neighborhood pool, and planning for a new project we want to do on a wall in our bedroom (Pinterest will be the death of me!).

I’m spotlighting a few books that I purchased this week at Half Price Books and a few that I’m really looking forward to reading in the coming weeks.

Half Price Books Purchases

  • Perfect Chemistry by Simon Elkeles (Goodreads | Amazon) — I’m a newbie to this series, but have heard nothing but rave reviews about it. It’s contemporary, but a bit darker, and after reading Pushing the Limits (Goodreads) I’m aching to fill the void with some beautifully broken characters.
  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Goodreads | Amazon) — I’ve heard really great things about this series. I always check ratings and reviews for books quickly when I’m at bookstores or the library and almost everyone of my friends on Goodreads rated this a 4 or 5 star book.
  • Party by Tom Leveen (Goodreads | Amazon) — Highly recommended to me by Karen at For What It’s Worth after she saw how much I enjoyed Zero (review), Leveen’s new book.

Books I’ll Be Reading Soon (Received at ALA or TLA)

  • Through to You by Emily Hainsworth (Goodreads | Amazon) — It’s about an apparition, secrets, and death. Sounds intriguing!
  • Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler (Goodreads | Amazon) — Samantha tries to make someone jealous by kissing another boy… who happens to have a peanut allergy. He dies in her arms. How will she forgive herself?
  • Adaptation by Malinda Lo (Goodreads | Amazon) — Hello, gorgeous cover! There’s an accident, memory loss, and lives unraveling. Boy, do I love me some mystery and suspense…
  • Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Goodreads | Amazon) — Highly, HIGHLY recommended to me by the fabulous trio — April at Good Books and Good Wine, Anna at Anna Reads, and Sash at Sash & Em. Pretty sure if I didn’t read this one, it would be like committing a mortal sin. And, Anna might ALL CAPS me (again).

Currently Reading

  • The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse (Goodreads | Amazon) — It’s caught my attention so far; things are happening quickly and Stasse is wasting no time throwing me into the midst of the drama (even though I’m only 26 pages in).

Standout Awesome Posts This Week…

  • Mandee did an AH-MAZING RECAP of the author signing she attended with Melina Marchetta [insert major envy here]. I’ve never read as thorough a recap as this one! (Thanks so much, Mandee, for kicking ass and doing such an amazing job!)
  • Our friend Tara’s blog turned TWO this week and she’s doing a fantastic giveaway to celebrate her blogoversary!
  • Have you seen the new series our friends Sash & Em are doing? Clothing InspirYAtion — books paired with freakin’ adorable outfits created by these lovely ladies! (GENIUS, I tell ya.)
  • Check out our girl Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner and how stinkin’ adorable she is in her engagement photos (and wedding dress)!

What We Were Up to Around the Blog…

  • I felt a little sad and depressed after I finished The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.
  • Estelle said Intentions by Deborah Heiligman was a great representation of your teenage years when things are coming at you from all angles.
  • ONE OF MY FAVORITE non-book review posts by Estelle – Tune in Tuesday with music to depict a high school relationship of hers.
  • We wrote a list of books that y’all need to read ASAP — books that are excellent but not given nearly as much attention as they deserve.
  • I fell in love with Cindy C. Bennett’s writing in Geek Girl – a story about a goth girl trying to turn a geeky boy bad.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday! Thanks so much for stopping by for this week’s Shelve It! What are you excited to be reading this weekend?

July 2012 Young Adult Book Releases




Hello, hello! Welcome back for another month of book releases. June just slipped away – quickly. So many great books to look forward to in July! What are you most excited about? There are so, so many books Estelle and I are looking out for. Check out our most anticipated July 2012 young adult book releases…





july 03.

book cover for Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Goodreads | Amazon


Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.

july 10.

book cover for Perfect Escape by Jennifer BrownPerfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
Goodreads | Amazon


Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But even in the midst of the road trip’s flat tires, gas-station food stops, and detours to quirky roadside attractions, eventually Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.

With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.


book cover for The Thing About the Truth by Lauren BarnholdtThe Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
Goodreads | Amazon


In this humorous love story from the author of Two-Way Street, an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything. Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before…But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.


book cover by Don't You Wish by Roxanne St ClaireDon’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
Goodreads | Amazon
Magan’s Review


When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad’s whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she’s Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she’s the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she’s got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she’s ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she’s offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn’t as simple as you think.


book cover for Such a Rush by Jennifer EcholsSuch a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Goodreads | Amazon
Estelle’s Review


A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.



book cover for The Forsaken by Lisa Stasse

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Goodreads | Amazon


As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.


book cover for Never Enough by Denise JadenNever Enough by Denise Jaden
Goodreads | Amazon


From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?



book cover for Starring Me by Krista McGee

Starring Me by Krista McGee
Goodreads | Amazon


Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do-like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all-in a story so big only He could write it.


book cover for used to be by eileen cookUsed to Be by Eileen Cook
Goodreads | Amazon


Just in time for summer reading! Two great books bundled as one- Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood and The Education of Hailey Kendrick.

Hailey is tired of always doing exactly what’s expected of her. She’s going to prove she’s not perfect by breaking a very big rule in a very public way…with a very unexpected partner in crime. When Hailey gets caught, she loses everything–her best friend, her boyfriend, her popularity, her reputation. Now Hailey is up for anything . . . maybe even the boy she never noticed before. But even with her new bad-girl image, she still has to ask herself: How far is too far?

Lauren and Helen used to be best friends…until Lauren betrayed Helen in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Now Helen is back, and she’s planning to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that’s ever been important to Lauren–starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.


book cover for Lucky Fools by Coert VoorheesLucky Fools by Coert Voorhees
Goodreads | Amazon


David Ellison dreams of acting at Juilliard, but he’s expected to attend nearby Stanford University, just like all of his classmates at hard-driving Oak Fields Prep. As if wasting his private school education weren’t enough, David is also on track to destroy his relationship with his girlfriend, Ellen, when he finds himself falling for his new co-star, Vanessa.

With David’s Juilliard audition approaching, and his relationship teetering on the brink of disaster, Oak Fields is thrown into chaos as a mysterious prankster begins attacking the school’s highest achievers, determined to sabotage their college aspirations. Anyone who excels is a potential target, and David, the star of every play, could be next.

From the author of the highly praised The Brothers Torres comes a dangerously insightful book about enduring the pressures of high school, surviving the ins and outs of love, and fighting for your dreams, no matter what.


july 17.

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
Goodreads | Amazon


Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents’ separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn’s bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be “touched” by Annaliese…or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about–not to mention her own–she can’t help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?


book cover for Before You Go by James Preller

Before You Go by James Preller
Goodreads | Amazon


The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude’s house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it’s been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.

Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.

Acclaimed author James Preller explores life, death, love, faith, and resilience in his first young adult novel that will grip readers from the book’s dramatic first few pages to its emotional end.

july 19.

book cover for Small Damages by Beth KephartSmall Damages by Beth Kephart
Goodreads | Amazon


It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.

july 20.

Last Summer by Rebecca A. Rogers


All Chloe wants to do is get through the summer with her parents. Her life has been in disarray for more than six months, and she knows the only reason her parents made one final trip to Sandy Shores is because of her. They are, after all, two seconds away from filing for divorce. When Chloe stumbles upon a boy in one of her childhood hangouts, she’s in for more than just a relaxing summer vacation.

Logan is exhausted, famished and, quite frankly, kaput. His parents kicked him out when he refused to attend a rehabilitation program for his drug addiction. Now, he wishes he would’ve listened; he’d be receiving appropriate medical care rather than living in a dingy, godforsaken shack, holing up from money-hungry drug dealers.

Logan’s godsend arrives in the form of Chloe, who can’t hold her tongue when it comes to matters of the heart. They’re both in for a rude awakening when Logan’s past catches up to them, though. Can they escape the drug dealers showing up at every twist and turn, or will things end much worse than they ever imagined?

Warning: contains strong language, drug use, and sexual situations. Mature audiences only. 17+


july 24.

book cover for Drain You by M Beth BloomDrain You by M. Beth Bloom
Goodreads | Amazon


Every night I’d lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there’d be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn’t wash off.

Quinlan Lacey’s life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There’s also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn’s whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn’s new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There’s normal, and then there’s paranormal, and neither are Quinlan’s cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn’t so easy breezy.


book cover for Guitar Notes by Mary AmatoGuitar Notes by Mary Amato
Goodreads | Amazon


On odd days, Tripp Broody uses a school practice room to let loose on a borrowed guitar. Eyes closed, strumming that beat-up instrument, Tripp escapes to a world where only the music matters.

On even days, Lyla Marks uses the same practice room. To Tripp, she’s trying to become even more perfect—she’s already a straight-A student and an award-winning cellist. But when Lyla begins leaving notes for him in between the strings of the guitar, his life intersects with hers in a way he never expected.

What starts as a series of snippy notes quickly blossoms into the sharing of interests and secrets and dreams, and the forging of a very unlikely friendship.

Challenging each other to write songs, they begin to connect, even though circumstances threaten to tear them apart.

From beloved author Mary Amato comes a YA novel of wit and wisdom, both heartfelt and heart­breaking, about the power of music and the unexpected chords that draw us together.


july 31.

book cover for Dare Me by Megan AbbottDare Me by Megan Abbott
Goodreads | Amazon


Since both girls were small, Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and right-hand lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls – until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” – both with the team and with Addy herself.

And then a suspicious suicide hits close to home, and the police investigation focuses on Coach and her squad. As Addy begins to suspect what really happened, the line between right and wrong grows blurrier, and she must decide where her loyalties truly lie-and how far is too far to go for someone you love.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.


book cover for Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarryPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Goodreads | Amazon


“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

“An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!”-Gena Showalter,  New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


So, that wraps up the July 2012 young adult book releases Estelle and I are looking forward to. Anything you think we should add to our list (to further break the bank)?