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TEEN READS: YA picks feature houses full of secrets

'Gallant' and 'The Hawthorne Legacy' feature heroines facing puzzles and strange journeys.

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"Gallant" by V.E. Schwab. Harper Collins, 2022.
Mary Schwartz / for the Park Rapids Enterprise
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As we near the middle of the year, I enjoy taking a look back at my book journey for the year so far. I’ve read fewer books to this point of the year than I did last year, but I’ve also read some amazing books! I’d like to tell you about two of them today.

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"Gallant" by V.E. Schwab. Harper Collins, 2022.
Mary Schwartz / for the Park Rapids Enterprise

“Gallant” by V. E. Schwab is a young adult (YA) fantasy with paranormal elements and a bit of a mystery. This is a story that is best read by having little information about the story and just letting it unfold as you read. The author herself suggests reading it in one sitting or as close to one sitting as possible.

Olivia Prior is a young nonverbal girl. She has been living at Merilance, a home for girls with no family, for as long as she remembers. She has no memory of her parents or the time before Merilance was her home. All she has left of her family is her mother’s journal, a puzzling combination of words and pictures, which Olivia pours over, trying to find meaning in her mother’s words.

Olivia and the other girls at Meriance are not well cared for. Because she cannot speak and no one at the school will take the trouble to learn sign language, Olivia has no way to communicate her thoughts and feelings to others. Olivia dreads the future. She knows that when she is old enough to leave Merilance, she will either be sent to a workhouse or married off to a middle-aged man.

One day Olivia receives a letter, which leads her on a journey to a strange house where she learns about her family and herself.

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“Gallant” is hauntingly beautiful and reads like a fairy tale. The book is interspersed with drawings reminiscent of ink blots. It’s perfect for fans of Gothic stories and paranormal fantasy.

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"The Hawthorne Legacy" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021.
Mary Schwartz / for the Park Rapids Enterprise

Another good read for me this year was “The Hawthorne Legacy” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which is a YA mystery. It is the second book in the Inheritance Games series, in which Avery Grambs inherits the estate of eccentric billionaire Tobias Hawthorne. The catch, because there is always a catch, is that she must live in the Hawthorne mansion for one year, with those whose inheritance she has supplanted.

In this second book, Avery is searching for Tobias Hawthorne’s son, who might hold the answer as to why Tobias left his estate to Avery. Avery and Tobias's grandsons are pulled into a twisted game searching for answers. As they work their way through the many puzzles, their discoveries lead to more questions to solve.

The biggest puzzle for Avery may just be determining who she can trust, and who will stop at nothing to get her out of the picture. “The Hawthorne Legacy” and its predecessor, “The Inheritance Games,” are great fun and so worth the read!

Mary Schwartz works in the Park Rapids Area Library’s young adult section, ordering books and creating programming. On the Literary Mary channel on YouTube, her videos explore books, STEM, creativity and family history research. She also enjoys hiking and exploring the woods with her camera and her husband, Kevin.

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Related Topics: BOOKS
Mary Schwartz works in the Park Rapids Area Library’s young adult section, ordering books and creating programming. On the Literary Mary channel on YouTube, her videos explore books, STEM, creativity and family history research. She also enjoys hiking and exploring the woods with her camera and her husband, Kevin.
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