Usually it's May that has a ton of amazing books, but this year April is tearing it up with goodness. So much so, that when it came time to whittle them down to a list of four books for Best of the Month, it just wasn't gonna happen. So there are six books on April's Best Books list, every one a keeper.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Anyone who knows me has probably heard me talk about how much I love Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. This is the final book that I've been waiting for for two long years, and it was worth it. Taylor wraps things up beautifully but without closing the door on the possibility of more from the incredible world she built in these books. An important new character and setting is introduced and some of my favorite things from the earlier books are revisited. It's hard to talk about without giving too much away, but suffice it to say that I would wear a sandwich board for this series.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Ava Lavender is a girl born with wings. Not angel wings, but bird wings. Aside from this, she is a normal teenage girl and what unfolds in these pages is Ava's self-discovery, the history of tortured love that plagued her family for generations and may or may not continue, and the mad imaginings of Nathaniel Sorrows who becomes obsessed with Ava and brings this incredible tale to a crescendo. There is magical realism, passion, love lost and love found. A powerful debut novel from an author to watch.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page
We are not in Kansas anymore...Amy Gumm is living a lousy life in Kansas when she gets caught in her trailer during a tornado and dropped into Oz. In this Oz things are very different than when Dorothy arrived. In fact, ol' Dorothy is no longer the sweet innocent who just wanted to go home, but instead she returned to Oz, seized power and became an evil tyrant, cruelly punishing all who defy her. And Amy Gumm, the new girl from Kansas? Turns out she's the one who needs to kill Dorothy and free the land. This twist on The Wizard of Oz is dark, disturbed, and may have L. Frank Baum rolling over in his grave. And guess what? There's a sequel. :)
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
April is when it really starts feeling like summer is just around the corner, and this follow-up to My Life Next Door sets just the right tone with a coastal island romance. But don't get me wrong, there is meat on these bones. Fitzpatrick knows how to write a love story that also has powerful discoveries and consequences that give her characters authenticity and make her books more than just fluffy summer romance reads. Gwen Castle is a teenager who just wants to escape it all--her hometown, her family legacy on the island, and especially rich boy Cass Somers. A coming-of-age story wrapped in a love story that is the best kind of read for days spent on the beach, or just wishing for summer.
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
This is time travel for even the non-science fiction reader. A group from many decades in the future goes back to 2014 in order to correct things that led to the harsh world they came from. These visitors are supposed to assimilate as much as possible, but are also given a strict set of rules about their behavior and are closely monitored by the leaders. Prenna is one of these travelers and a high school student who starts falling for a "time-native" and simultaneously questioning what she's been told about the group's mission and motives. In her latest, Brashares has written an instantly inviting novel that led me to a reinvigorated appreciation of love and freedom.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
Reality shows have effectively replaced the sitcom, and if you watch reality TV or ever thought about what it would be like to participate in one of the series', you'll want to read The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. Set at an arts high school in Minnesota, Ethan and his closest friends are the outliers who don't appreciate the taint of For Art’s Sake, a reality t.v. show being cast and filmed at their school. As Ethan and the others' underground protest takes hold, questions and betrayals crop up in unexpected places. Vigilante Poets is a funny contemporary novel about friendship, standing up for your beliefs, hamster love, and the truth in "reality."