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Y.A.R.C. - Young Adult Review Committee

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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

Recent Y.A.R.C. Recommendations

Vanishing Deep 
by Astrid Scholte
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

In a flooded world people survive off of the drowned relics of the past, grasping at anything to survive. Alone with mysterious circumstances shrouding her sister’s death Tempe will do the unthinkable to get answers: bring her back to life. The Vanishing Deep is a complex story layered with conflict and engaging characters that add humor to the story. It is a mystery begging to be uncovered. ~Abby S. age 15

Thorn (DauntlessPath, #1) 
by Intisar Khanani

When Alyrra is finally given the opportunity to escape her uncaring mother and violent brother, she takes it, beginning her journey to a neighboring kingdom. Along the way, her identity is stolen by a sorceress intent on enacting revenge on Alyrra's betrothed and his family. With both her identity and status taken away from her, Alyrra starts a new life as a goose girl, but danger to the kingdom still looms. The prose in Thorn is beautiful and I'm glad that Khanani brought up topics like abuse and class inequalities.
~Aria S. age 18

The Winter Duke
Claire Eliza Bartlett  
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Ekata wants to leave her bloodthirsty family and go to university, but when her parents and twelve siblings fall under an unwakeable sleeping curse, Ekata becomes de facto duke. Suddenly she’s in the midst of political schemes, trying to balance new power with the unrest in her duchy and her new warrior bride, all while she searches for a cure to save her family. This richly written fantasy political thriller is grippingly delightful; I couldn’t put it down. Claire Eliza Barlett’s The Winter Duke combines intrigue and romance with a hint of classic fairy tales to create an exceptional novel. ~Emma W. age 23

The Last True Poets of the Sea 
by Julia Drake
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

It’s hard to believe The Last True Poets of the Sea is Julia Drake’s debut. From the writing to the characters to the plot, everything is amazing and memorable. Long after finishing this book, I find myself thinking about it and wanting to reread it. It’s loosely inspired by Twelfth Night, but with incredible queer and mental illness representation in addition to a beautiful sibling relationship that made me cry. If you’re looking for a hard hitting contemporary, pick this one up today. ~Gretal M. age 20

The Loop 
by Ben Oliver
Chicken House Publishing

I finished The Loop in one day, not because it’s short, but because it’s amazing. It’s well paced, thrilling, and so well written that I couldn’t put it down. It’s such a fresh breath of air from other dystopian books I’ve read, and with carefully crafted characters and an original plotline, this novel is perfectly set up for moments which will want you to read more. If you aren’t a fan of the predictable paths YA dystopian novels often take, I couldn't recommend this book more. ~William V. age 15

Most Likely 
by Sarah Watson
Little Brown for Young Readers

I couldn’t put this book down. Best friends Ava, CJ, Jaden, and Martha are in their senior year of high school. One of them, as the reader discovers in the prologue, will one day become the President of the United States—but Watson keeps the identity of the future president secret. I loved the concept and the characters in this book. It was fun to guess the future President’s identity, and the reveal is surprising but fitting. Though each girl fights different battles, they don’t let their struggles break their friendship.
~Isabel F. age 15

by Danielle Svetcov
Dial Books

Jeanne Anne and Cal live on opposite sides of the street, only, Cal lives in a nice house and Jeanne Anne lives in the new van on the block. JA and her mother are struggling to find a foothold in San Francisco life and, despite Jeanne Anne's resistance, Cal is determined to help. This book examines Jeanne Anne's struggle of being homeless and retaining pride, and Cal's desperate bid to be himself and make friends. ~Stephanie K. age 19

Frozen Beauty
by Lexa Hillyer

Frozen Beauty is an atmospheric, mysterious tale of murder and the power of sisterhood. Kit Malloy is keeping a secret from everyone, even her two sisters. That secret gets her killed. The blame immediately falls on the boy next door, Boyd, but Kit’s sister Tessa believes the truth is not so simple. Told in moments from the present and diary entries from the past, this was an incredibly well-written story full of secrets and suspense. ~Sarah K. age 18

The Boy in the Red Dress
by Kristin Lambert
Viking Books for Young Readers

The Boy in the Red Dress is a fun "whodunit" novel set in a speakeasy in New Orleans during the prohibition. The club, called Cloak and Dagger, is a queer-friendly space in a not-so-queer-friendly era. When a rich girl gets killed at the club, Millie, the protagonist, realizes that the cops will blame the singer, Marion, just because he dresses in drag and likes boys. So Millie sets out as a guerrilla detective to prove his innocence. An entertaining, feel-good read. ~Kamden I. age 16

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

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz
Puffin Books

Reading this book was a magical experience. Through this masterful piece of storytelling, Adam Gidwitz takes the age-old medium of the written to glittering heights. The writing style is fresh and bold, and the central idea of characters from different backgrounds joining to defeat a shared goal for the better of humanity shines brightly. The book, despite being set in medieval France and using countless centuries-old storytelling elements, pulls its characters, world, and ideas together into a wholly refreshing tale that feels truly timeless.
~Ella T. age 15

Chuckanut Reader 40th anniversary magazine by Village Books