Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review. We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors!
This month's book pick is THE ADVENTURER'S GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ESCAPES by Wade Albert White.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): A thrilling debut novel where fantasy and science fiction meet, dragons aren't as innocent as they look, and nothing is quite what it seems.
Anne has spent most of her thirteen years dreaming of the day she and her best friend Penelope will finally leave Saint Lupin's Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children. When the big day arrives, a series of very curious happenings lead to Anne being charged with an epic quest. Anne, Penelope, and new questing partner Hiro have only days to travel to strange new locales, solve myriad riddles, and triumph over monstrous foes—or face the horrible consequences.
Packed with action, humor, and endless heart, this debut novel marks the first volume in an irresistible and original fantasy series.
First Line: "At Saint Lupin's Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children, every orphan is treated with the same amount of disdain and neglect."
This is a great first line because it clearly telegraphs what type of book you're about to read—funny and irreverent.
Highlights: The book featured several things I absolutely love: interesting fantasy elements, humor, action/adventure that kept me turning the pages quickly to find out what was going to happen, and a really cool twist at the end that turned it all on its head.
One of my other favorite things about the book was that it features a diverse protagonist—but the story isn't about her diversity. That doesn't seem like it should be such an unusual thing, but I haven't encountered it much in my reading.
Notes for Writers: The reader is rooting for the main character of this book, Anne (short for Anvil), from page one. If you're looking for an example of how to create a likable protagonist, this is a great one.