April 12, 2016 Young Adult Debuts

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

A Fierce and Subtle Poison beautifully blends magical realism with a page-turning mystery and a dark,  starcrossed romance–all delivered in lush, urgent prose.

"Mabry smoothly joins dreamy, fever-induced scenes with the lore of “la ciguapa,” a beautiful creature that leads men to insanity or death with a kiss, and her atmospheric ending guarantees goose bumps. "
-- Publisher's Weekly
"The author steeps her debut novel in compelling Caribbean folklore and a lush, evocative setting. "
-- Kirkus reviews

When Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped by a North Korean spy agency, she was only a little girl. Young. Scared. Powerless. And completely moldable.

Now, ten years later, she’s a ruthless assassin. Yet her target isn’t who you might think. Jocelyn is determined to escape her kidnappers and take down North Korea and their spy agency forever.

But when she makes it to U.S. soil, she finds that not everyone believes her story. Will she be able to get the Americans to trust her? Or will the North Koreans discover her deception before she has a chance?

In this life-or-death action-packed spy thriller, Meghan Rogers creates a teen girl character whose toughness, intelligence and determination rival Jason Bourne, Sydney Bristow and James Bond.

The first novel in the Raven Files series will leave you breathless.

"Although the premise tilts heavily toward the cinematic (as is often the case with this genre), the characters’ interactions are fully realistic as Rogers crafts a tense tale of espionage, action, and intrigue. Jocelyn makes for a kick-ass, determined heroine, and there’s no shortage of scenes of adrenaline-charged adventure."
-- Publisher's Weekly

My review: Meghan Rogers' CROSSING THE LINE is an absolutely delightful, fun, action-packed book full of spies and assassins and secret agents and shadowing government agencies and double agents, plus a huge number of completely kickass action sequences, and most of all a fabulous main character. 

Jocelyn is tough and smart and resourceful, and her changing relationships with the distrustful team members who don't want to like or trust her are my favorite parts of the book. I especially love that within all the secret agent shenanigans and spy games the story never loses sight of how what these young people have to do--sometimes by choice, sometimes very much not--affects them, the guilt and regret and second-guessing of these incredibly high-stakes situations, and the choices they have to keep making. The emotional weight is real, although it's never a burden on the fast-paced action.

I want to read so many more books about Jocelyn and the other characters kicking ass and taking names all while figuring out how to relate to each other as people, not just super-competent secret agents. Highly recommended!