AMONG THE BEASTS AND BRIARS
AUTHOR: Ashley Poston
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.
Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.
As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.
RATING: 5 stars
MY FAVORITE QUOTE FROM THIS BOOK: “I always thought that gardeners’ daughters couldn’t thrive where our roots didn’t grow. But maybe we were like dandelion tuffs.”
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS BOOK IS: The settings! Every place Cerys travels over the course of the story is so lush, and being a classic fantasy world, I couldn’t help falling in love with all of its complexities.
MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK IS: Cerys of course! She is a compelling and multi-faceted protagonist who also deals with moving personal challenges that many readers will be able to relate to.
FANS OF THIS BOOK MAY ALSO LIKE: “Sweet & Bitter Magic” by Adrienne Tooley, “Dreams Lie Beneath” by Rebecca Ross, “Star Daughter” by Shveta Thakrar
THREE MORE BOOKS TO TRY
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AUTHORS: Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
AGES: 8 – 12
SYNOPSIS: This graphic novel memoir tells the story of Omar, a Somali refugee, and his younger brother Hassan, who have been living in a refugee camp in Kenya for years. The book explores themes of family, friendship, and resilience in the face of adversity.
“Before the Ever After”
AUTHOR: Jacqueline Woodson
AGES: 8 -12
SYNOPSIS: This moving middle grade novel tells the story of ZJ, the son of a famous football player who starts to notice changes in his father’s behavior as a result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The book explores themes of family, identity, and the impact of sports on players’ health.
When You Trap a Tiger”
AUTHOR: Tae Keller
AGES: 7 – 11
SYNOPSIS: This Newbery Medal-winning novel follows a Korean American girl named Lily as she moves to Washington state to live with her grandmother and learns about Korean folklore and mythology. When Lily and her sister discover a tiger in the woods, they must make a deal to set it free.
Avery Finley, 17, is an avid reader and book reviewer. When not reading, you can find her playing volleyball, hanging out with friends, or with one of her pets! Follow her on Instagram and TikTok at @readbyfin.Avery Finley, 16, is an avid reader and book reviewer. When not reading, you can find her playing volleyball, hanging out with friends, or with one of her pets! Follow her on Instagram and TikTok at @readbyfin.