Y.A.R.C. (yark), n. 1. Young Adult Review Committee. 2. A select group of local teens and young adults reading and writing reviews of brand-spanking-new books. 3. Awesome.
Established in September of 2014, this program offers teens and young adults ages 13 and up the opportunity to read yet-to-be-published books, also known as ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). In exchange for this privilege, they write reviews for Village Books to use in print and social media, as well as for recommendations to our customers. What better way to find out what teens are reading than to go straight to the source? If you are a teen, or know a teen who might be interested in participating in the Y.A.R.C., please send inquiries to Claire McElroy-Chesson, our Events Coordinator, at email@example.com
Recent Y.A.R.C. Recommendations
Even If We Break is a thrilling mystery that is very relevant to challenges teens face today. It tells a story of five unlikely friends united by a roll playing game that has become their escape, and their horrifying reality. They must face their demons, and remove their masks if they are to survive. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I found it to be a raw representation of the multitude of ways one can hide a secret, and why one must. I implore you to read this book if you’re up for a good scare and a well written cast of characters. ~Abby S. age 15
When San Francisco native Chuck Wilson learns that Bigmouth's, the bowling alley her family owns, is in danger of eviction, she will do anything in order to keep herself in the city she loves. Enter Beckett Porter, Chuck's ex-best friend. When he comes up with a plan to make money in bowling's underground gambing scene, Chuck must go to incredible lengths to save the family business. The budding romance between Chuck and Beckett is adorable, but what really makes this book stand out from the rest is its mental illness representation. This book is sweet, but Coombs doesn't shy away from representing the realities of mental illness.
~Aria S. age 19
Former lovers and mortal enemies, Roma and Juliette are forced to work together to unravel the mystery behind the deadly contagion sweeping their home. It’s Shanghai, 1926, and the city is steeped in debauchery as tensions rise between rival gangs, foreigners, and the communist party, but something even more sinister is lurking in the Huangpu river, threatening them all. In These Violent Delights, Chloe Gong vividly reimagines Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This debut novel is gorgeously written, fierce and romantic, and will leave you wanting more. ~Emma W. age 24
A truly dark and bloody fantasy, Beyond the Ruby Veil is perfect for lovers of unlikeable female characters (truly, Emanuela is terrible and I love her so much). After Emanuela kills the sole person capable of making water in their city (is it really her fault she didn’t want to be drained of all her blood to be turned into water?), she and her platonic fiancé (they’re both gay!) have to find a way to save their city before the water runs out. (Did I mention there’s also a slowburn enemies-to-lovers romance?) Read it! ~Gretal M. age 21
by Patrick Ness
Quill Tree Books
I’ll be honest, I’ve always liked stories about dragons, and Burn is no exception. This book doesn’t fall into traps that predictable fantasy novels often do, and I think it has something to do with it being set in America during the Cold War. This setting fits really well with the character design and plot which are both so well written. The world that Ness creates is just so immersive and this is definitely a book I’d recommend for people that don’t usually read fantasy. ~Claire V. age 16
How to Pack for the End of the World is truly a book for our times. The story follows a group of students at Gardner Academy, joined by their desire to be prepared for the end of the world, as they create an underground club with just that purpose. I really enjoyed this book; it was relatable, fun, and perfectly toed the line between lightly adventurous and suspenseful. It’s a welcome escape, but also an eye-opener—when the world’s problems feel overwhelming, sometimes all we can do is show up for the people we love.
~Isabel F. age 16
by Alexandra Bracken
If you’re a fan of twists on greek mythology, some good, old-fashioned fights, and blood and gore, this book is for you. Lore Perseous is the last of her bloodline - the Persides. Houses of heroes have been chosen to fight the Olympians after betraying Zeus, and one fateful night has Athena on the doorstep of Lore’s house seeking medical help after being attacked by Artemis. Athena promises Lore revenge for those who killed her family and binds her life to Lore’s. This was a page turning read and I loved the unique storyline. ~Stephanie K. age 20
This is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes is about a girl named Daffodil who arrives in the town of Scarlett Mills, Pennsylvania the summer before her freshman year of college. She takes a job caring for an old house that belongs to a eccentric professor while he is away for the summer. As soon as Daffodil is alone in the house she begins hearing strange noises, and has the feeling that not everything is as it seems. This is a spooky, atmospheric read perfect for the fall season. ~Sarah K. age 19
Punching the Air is a story written in verse about an African-American teenager who is wrongfully incarcerated. Because apparently, "boys will be boys" only applies if you're white. Amal is an artist, a poet, a singer. But he doesn't fit into the stereotypes of the quirky artist so he's disgarded at school. When a white boy is put in a coma by someone Amal is with, he's arrested and found guilty. In juvie, he finds himself trapped in a system that kills any creativity. A great story that highlights the horrors of our modern justice system. ~Kamden I. age 17
They Went Left
by Monica Hesse
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Monica Hesse’s They Went Left tells the story of a young Polish girl and her journey to find her lost brother amidst the chaos of Europe just after the end of the second world war. The author brilliantly blends the child's memories from her time in concentration camps with scenery from the present to create a surreal and gripping experience. This is a must read! ~Noah G. age 18
Gelya’s always lived at her monastery, where she sings sacred texts and stories about her God. But when a peaceful meeting goes wrong and Gelya finds herself on the run from the people she trusted most, she must reckon her entire worldview against the new world she sees. Soulswift, by Megan Bannen is a masterful piece of work, a soaring fantasy grounded in humanity. Through its captivating worldbuilding and beautiful prose, not to mention its powerful characters, it explores themes of religion, gender roles, and the dangers of unchanging belief.
~Ella T. age 15