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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

The Prison Healer 
by Marieke Nijkamp
Sourcebooks Fire

Kiva Meridan, has spent most of her life fighting for her survival and the survival of others as the prison healer. After a dramatic catalyst, Kiva finds herself caught in an elemental trial to save both her life and the life of the queen. As the stakes increase, Kiva is under insurmountable pressure to save, and survive. The Prison Healer, is a fascinating and vibrant tale that will surly entertain and enthrall its readers with every page turn. ~Abby S. age 16

Keep My Heart in San Francisco
by Amelia Diane Coombs
Simon Pulse

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

These Violent Delights
by Chloe Gong 
Margaret K. McElderry Books

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

Beyond the Ruby Veil 
by Mara Fitzgerald
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

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 
by Michelle Falkoff

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

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
by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
Balzer & Bray/ Harperteen

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

The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees
by Dana L. Church
Scholastic Focus

Dana L. Church’s The Beekeepers brings the marvels of bees and their plight to readers of all ages. Church sets down the details of our incredible dependence on these minute fliers and the devastation wreaked by commercialization and other human interference. Simultaneously she presents cause for hope and a sense of the intricate workings of bees themselves. Their extraordinary nature—their dance, their capacity for learning, and the mystery of their “buzzing places”—will leave readers feeling far closer to them come the final page. ~Noah G. age 19

by Megan Bannen
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen

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