Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

First Frost

Happy New Year!

Given the frost on the ground in my usually balmy California home, I thought we would ring in the New Year here with the appropriately titled First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen–our first 2015 title, to boot.

This book is an example of one of my favorite parts of this blog: when a reviewer finds a book that neither Angela nor I had heard of, and reviews it all on her own. Makes my part of the job much easier, and more importantly, brings great books to my attention.

First Frost sounds like a fabulous teen recommendation–a family of magical women; a 15-year-old girl not sure what to do with her magic, or with the 18-year-old boy she knows she’s supposed to be with; and magical hair and candy–what more could you ask for?

ALLEN, Sarah Addison. First Frost. 307p. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2015. Tr $25.99. ISBN  9781250019837. LC 2014032166.

All of the Waverly women have a special kind of magic. Sydney does hair—and she can make your day (or week) better or worse because of the style. Her sister Claire takes after their grandmother Mary, and makes food and candies from the edible flowers that grow in the yard—food that makes everyone feel better. Even distant cousin Evanelle has the ability to give people exactly what they need—whether they know it or not. Fifteen-year-old Bay, Sydney’s daughter, has the gift of knowing what things (and people) belong together. So she knows that she is somehow meant to be in the life of 18-year-old Josh—rich kid, soccer player, and basically, high school royalty. At the beginning of the school year, she even writes Josh a note telling him so, but it only succeeds in making Bay more of a pariah in school than she already is. Meanwhile, Sydney wants a baby, Claire isn’t sure that her candy-making business is the right thing, and a stranger arrives in town, a con man who has some sort of interest in the Waverlys. First frost is always a time of upheaval for the Waverly women, and as that day approaches (coinciding this year with Halloween), all of these issues come to a head in this delightful novel of magical realism that will appeal to fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s “Raven Boys” cycle (Scholastic) and Alice Hoffman. Bay is an extremely likable heroine who will appeal to teens who, like her, are trying to find out where they belong in the world.—Sarah Flowers, formerly of Santa Clara County Library

Share
About Mark Flowers

Mark Flowers is the Young Adult Librarian at the John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo, CA. He reviews for a variety of library journals and blogs and recently contributed a chapter to The Complete Summer Reading Program Manual: From Planning to Evaluation (YALSA, 2012). Contact him via Twitter @droogmark