Five YA/Teen Book Samples – My Thoughts

Thanks to NetGalley, I managed to get my hands on the Penguin Teen Preview Sampler for Spring 2016 – a sample collection of Young Adult/Teen books being released in spring this year. There were five samples included and here is what I thought of each of them:


SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys –  4.5

A historical fiction novel which follows four teenagers as they battle to escape the terrors of WW2.

The first book preview in the selection, I could not get it out of my head by the time I got to the end of the last one. I loved pretty much everything about what I saw of this book – the eclectic cast of characters, the writing style, how each POV character is introduced. You really feel like you are there with the characters and can feel the weight of their plight as they’re caught in the midst of war.

REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton – 4

Sharpshooter Amani wants to escape her dead-end home and soon becomes embroiled with a handsome foreigner, the sultan, and the djinn.

received a separate sample of this book to review separately, which you can find here. I quite enjoyed this sneak peek – it had a unique feel to it and an interesting premise, along with the promise of magic later in the book. The cover is gorgeous too!

THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman – 4.5/5

Lady Helen is forced to put on a front of normalcy but ends up caught up in a the mysterious, magical side of London 1812 when one of her housemaids disappears.

Of the five book samples in this collection, The Dark Days Club was probably my favourite (although it was very closely tied with Salt to the Sea). I loved Lady Helen’s characterisation and how the who premise of the story and the various secrets to be revealed are hinted at but not revealed within the first few pages. The world on the page seemed very real and the writing was fascinating – definitely a book I want to continue reading

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke – 2/5

2 Girls, One Boy. A Hero, a Villain and a Liar – who’s who?

After reading this sample a couple of times, I’m still not entirely sure what this book is about, beyond perhaps a romance. However, the tag line of there being a hero, a villain and a liar confused me. While the writing of this book was quite poetically done and was a delight to read, I was not sold on the story, as there did not seem to be much in the first few pages. The fact that the two POV characters I did read were called Poppy and Midnight, with the third being called Wink, neither of whom where particularly likeable, made it very difficult for me to get into this story sadly.

THE PASSION OF DOLSSA by Julie Berry – 3.5/5

Two girls, a branded heretic and a match-maker, get caught up in the crusades of medieval Europe.

The rating for this book was decided after a long period of self-debate, and I’m still not completely sure. This is partly because this book is nothing like anything I have read. The writing style is beautiful, but takes a while to get used to. The setting also demands quite an overtly religious tone to be taken which was a surprise when I first started – indeed, I had to start this book twice. It was difficult to work out who was who at the beginning, but I loved the two main characters by the time I got to the end. I imagine the book in full is a very captivating read and I’m curious to read it, however, I doubt it is a book for the tired or weary as it does require some concentration. I am also not entirely sure how well it fits with Young Adult/Teen books as it feels a lot more adult than the other four books.


Those are the five books I got to read a sample of, and I was not too disappointed. There are certainly a few here which I would love to continue now that I’ve got a taste of them. If you have read any of these, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments. I’m curious to hear what you think.



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