I’ve read many amazing young adult books this year, but for me there were three that stood out as the best young adult action books of 2015.
Here they are in no particular order (and no spoilers) 🙂
NAMELESS by Jennifer Jenkins
Wow. Just wow. This book gave me the same tingles in my fingertips that I felt when I read The Hunger Games and Divergent for the first time. That’s not because Nameless is dystopian: it’s fantasy fiction set in a world where there are four clans, dominated by the ruthless Ram clan. The main character, Zo, is a Wolf and a Healer who infiltrates the Ram as a spy for the Allied Clans.
This book has everything I want in a young adult book: action, a developing romance, loyalty, danger, compassion in surprising places, and complex characters I fell in love with.
Oh boy. This one. EARTH is the seventh and final book in the Walker Saga. The series follows Abigail Swish, a half-walker, in her quest to locate and unite the seven half-walker girls from across the universe to defeat the deadly Seventine – original powers who are determined to destroy worlds.
This series has a powerful love story, strong heroines who define their own futures (while never taking themselves too seriously – seriously, the humor in these books is perfect), and incredible action scenes. There aren’t too many books that can make me cry, but EARTH did. I’ve followed this series from start to finish and I’ve fallen in love with each and every book over and over.
I was hooked on TRACKED from the very first page and couldn’t put it down even when it turned dark outside. Phoebe Van Zant is a street racer in a futuristic universe where corporations are the ultimate power, who gets caught up in corporate espionage – the kind with effects that ripple out across worlds.
I was blown away by the world-building, imagination, character development, and the strong writing. The car-racing scenes sent my heart into my throat and I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected plot twists. The second book can’t release soon enough.
In the world of FEAR MY MORTALITY, human beings are invincible. If they’re hurt, they heal. If they die, they regenerate within an hour – many even faster than that. The fast ones are called fast healers, and the slow ones, well, you don’t want to be one of those in a world that values regenerative strength.
The science behind the book isn’t as far fetched as you might think (well, sort of). Some of the weirdest research I did was into jellyfish, like the immortal jellyfish that transforms itself back into a polyp if injured. And I researched magnets. I didn’t know before that heat and sound are a bit magnetic. I also looked into the genetic differences between boys and girls. The male Y chromosome is fascinating, but you’ll find out why that’s important when you read the book *winks*
I also did a bunch of research into drones, since drone technology is commonplace in the world of FEAR MY MORTALITY, like this groovy little camera drone here. Not so far from our own reality.
And then there were the searches on those royalty-free stock image/footage websites. Wow. For the most part they were okay, but plug in “mortality” or “death” in footage, and some of the images had me running for the hills.
The biggest thing I wanted to achieve was to create a world that isn’t so far from our own, and what I discovered when I went looking is that some of this science isn’t that far away.
The title of my book has changed and I’m having a giveaway to celebrate!
They will fear her mortality …
She will defy her destiny.
In a world where humans can’t be killed, one girl watches her brother do the impossible – fail to regenerate after death – after which she suspects that she too may be mortal.
FEAR MY MORTALITY is Book #1 in the Mortal Eternity series, releasing March 2016.
To celebrate the new title, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. Please enter using the form below. (To enter, you’ll need to have an email address that can accept an Amazon email gift card). This is my first ever giveaway, so I’m learning as I go!
Update: Congratulations Tricia T for winning the $10 Amazon gift card and thank you so much everyone who entered!
I am so excited to have on my blog Jenny Martin who is the author of the awesome YA science fiction novel TRACKED (recently released from Dial/Penguin).
Jenny Martin is a librarian, a book monster, and a certified Beatle-maniac. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son, where she hoards books and regularly blisses out over all kinds of live and recorded rock.
Everly: There is so much to love about TRACKED. For me, the fast pace and action were perfect. What’s your process for writing action scenes?
Jenny: Wow, thank you so much, Everly! True confession: Believe it or not, the action scenes are actually the easiest for me to write. And the most enjoyable! I think a lot of it boils down to voice. In every scene, I’m always trying to tap into that character’s voice. I’m trying to get under the skin and filter everything through that unique perspective. Usually, I’m not even focusing on what’s actually happening, blow by blow. Instead, I’m interpreting the experience of it. I think that’s the key. I’m always chasing that sense of really being there, and trying to conjure what it would be like for the character. And when that character is strapped in, and blasting off at top speeds…it can be pretty fun!
Everly: I fell in love with Phee’s voice right from the start. I’d love to hear about her evolution from an idea into the fearless character that she is.
Jenny: Great question, and one of my favorites! I’ve written about this quite a bit, but Phee’s voice was really strong, from the beginning. I’d gotten the idea for Tracked, after watching Death Race: 2000 with Jason Statham, and a documentary on out of control corporations, and Phee popped into my head soon after, pretty much fully formed. From the get go, on the page, she was impatient and reckless and headstrong. And above all, fearless—a Han Solo girl with smart mouth and a stubborn, loyal heart. Basically, she was everything I’m not! And I think that’s no accident. Phee came to me during a really tough time in my journey. Writing her was almost therapeutic. She was so good for my spirit, and she helped me face a lot of my own fears, and move past them.
Everly: I also really loved the world of TRACKED and how you brought it alive with culturally diverse characters like Cashoman Dradha, Grace Yamada, and Auguste de Chevalier. What part of the TRACKED world did you most enjoy writing about?
Jenny: Thank you! I really enjoyed writing each of these characters, especially Cash. It was also a lot of fun to dream up the histories of these two planets—his and Phee’s. While Cash’s planet is lush and unyielding, corporations from Earth colonized Phee’s world, and I borrowed a little bit of my home state’s history in writing it. I grew up in dusty, windswept Oklahoma, which was settled in a series of wild, claim-staking land runs. And naturally, I made sure that Phee’s planet was settled that way, too…through breakneck races. Then everything fell into place. I knew why rally racing had to be the most popular interplanetary sport. Suddenly, that history became important to Phee and Cash’s story.
Everly: Please tell me there’s going to be a sequel? (Because I kind of want to read it, like, now!) If so, when can we look forward to seeing it on shelves?
Jenny: Hurray! Thanks for asking. So glad you enjoyed! Yes, there is a sequel under contract, and I’m actually finishing up edits on it right now. It will be out next year, and I can’t wait for readers to see what happens next. Phee has been through so much, but oh boy, she has a long road ahead of her. All I can say is…these characters have become so dear to me, and it’s going to be thrilling to see the finish line at last.
Everly: In the spirit of fast and furious, some quick questions:
Red car or black car?
Black car! Just like Phee’s Talon, of course.
Hero or villain?
Hero, all the way. (I’m Jedi and House Gryffindor, through and through.)
Muffins or cupcakes?
Cupcakes. Especially if they’re frosted with salted caramel!
EF: Hi Jaymin! I want to start with the Walker Saga and can I just say that Abby is the definition of a kick-butt YA heroine, but what really sets her apart for me is her personality. How much fun have you had writing this series?
JE: Hi! I love Abby too, she is the heart of the Walker Saga and it has been so much fun to write in her ‘voice’.I love a heroine who has no problems with taking risks, is kick-butt, has a smart mouth and yet can be vulnerable. Abigail is as flawed as she is perfect and that in my opinion is what makes her so multi-dimensional. She makes mistakes, she owns them and then tries her best to fix what she has created. This series is full of girl-power and the true bonds of friendship and love.
As a whole the Walker Saga is a big story and world. There are layers upon layers, seven different worlds, different creatures, different landscapes. All so vastly alien to anything humans know of. The series incorporates facets of the various genres I love: fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, romance, drama, action. It really has it all, and in that way it has been more fun than I ever imagined to write. Never boring that is for sure.
EF: I love all your covers, but particularly the cover for your latest Walker book, Nephilius. Can you give us a sneak peak into the next book in the series, Dronish?
JE: Dronish is a world full of vampiric creatures that have razed their world to the ground. Their need for energy has drained the once vibrant world to a shell of itself. They are a dying race, and their half-Walker female is hunted for the masses of energy which resides inside of her. It is a dark and cold world, almost the exact opposite of Crais. One world has too much heat and sun, the other not enough.
EF: I can’t wait to read it! And the final book, Earth. What’s in store for Abby and Brace? I am dying to see how the Walker Saga ends!
JE: Wow! Well Earth is the final chapter of this epic saga, we will discover the Earth half-Walker and try and race the clock to imprison the free members of the Seventine. The date for the convergence will draw closer and they know that if all seven of these power hungry creatures are released, then the entire star-system will be destroyed. I foresee plenty of drama in this final chapter. Fingers crossed Abby and her girls come out on top.
EF: Now to your new series, Supernatural Prison, and the first book: Dragon Marked. I didn’t think I could ever love a male lead more than Brace, but the Compass brothers in Dragon Marked are serious competition. Tell us a bit about the story.
JE: I have a special place in my heart for all of my leading men and Brace and Braxton are at the top of that list. Everything you want in the man in your life, tall, protective, alpha-as-all-heck but still vulnerable when it comes to their loves.
Dragon Marked is our first venture into the Supernatural Prison world. There are jails hidden across the globe and contained within these fortresses are some of the deadliest criminals from the five supernatural races: vampire, shifter, fey, magic users and demi-fey. Bordering the prisons are communities filled with supernatural creatures that protect the borders.
We follow Jessa, her sister Mischa and the delectable Compass quadruplets as they navigate the secrets of their world. Plenty of supernatural creatures, lots of drama, sexual tension and crazy love abounds. There are plenty of humorous moments woven throughout also.
Thank you so much Everly for chatting with me today, I have had a blast 🙂
EF: Me too! Thanks Jaymin!
UPDATE: As at 16 February 2015, Dragon Marked is sitting at No. 7 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Congratulations, Jaymin! 🙂