YA Books


I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.

Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.

When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.

Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her to see beyond the mirror or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.

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About Pearl

Run fast and run far, unless you’re fearless. Unless you’re courageous. I’m not, but I’d like to be.

Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.

This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me.

When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.

I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.

Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the decision to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl choose?
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Two-weeks until Willa Wohlbreuk graduates.

Fourteen-days left for exams and senior pranks.

Three hundred-thirty-six-hours for friendships to unravel and to fall in and out of love.

Twenty thousand-one-hundred-sixty-minutes left to go wild and grow up.

And one million two-hundred-nine-thousand-six-hundred-seconds to figure out what freedom really means.

Willa faces her best friend Teddy—Theo now—as he defies his parents and reveals something about himself she never expected. Joss appears with blue hair and stirs things up. And Grady, finally, after four years, suddenly knows Willa’s name. Meanwhile, the undercurrent of uncertainty about the future dredges up the possibility that Willa isn’t even sure who she is. All she knows is life is about to change, epically.

A story of identity and fitting in, friendship and love, living with uncertainty and sexual awakening for fans of Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson, and I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson.

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Rule #1 Never get caught.

Rule #2 Never admit to anything.

Rule #3 Never get involved with boys.

It's not until Ru Rocklin is caught shoplifting that she considers exactly what has been taken from her. For sixteen years, she's lived on the fringe and in isolation with her older sister, Silky, a master thief who doubles as Ru's guardian—lying and thieving is the family biz.

After she's given the ultimatum to go to school or kick it in jail, Ru meets Julian Freese, and finally feels, well, normal. At least until the shame of her not-so-normal life pushes them apart. 

But when he reveals his own secrets, she realizes love is one con she can't pull.
When tragedy exposes the mystery of Ru's past, she's determined to finish the job Silky groomed her for: stealing the famed golden dragon, Mǔ long, from the Institute of Fine Art. It’s a heist she can't do alone so she gathers a crack team of liars and thieves to help.

As she tries to avoid the attention of the authorities, the crew embarks upon a wild game of give and take, bluffs and blunders, and twists and turns. Though it felt like the perfect plan, the dragon only leads to more questions. Ru will have to break every rule she knows to find the answers to Silky’s finely-woven lies and get her life back, or make a new one.

With Romeo and Juliet inspired romance and a caper with Ocean's 11 tension and thrills, fans of Heist Society by Ally Carter will enjoy this story of thieves and thugs, love and loss, and high-stakes action.

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About TIDE
Book 1 in the Sea & Sand Series

Never trust a mermaid's kiss.

Tyler McColdrum has a bright future on the professional surfing circuit until his father tragically dies at sea. Unable to pay the bills, Tyler and his mother leave California and move to his late grandfather's cottage in Land's End, Maine—a world away from the life he's known. 

Not even the stormy Atlantic can douse Tyler's surf stoke, but when mariners go missing off the coast, legends as old as the sea itself suggest something lurks beneath the surface. As the police investigate, his friend Kiwa—the only female surfer for miles—indicates there's more to the McColdrum family history than blood and bone.

Amara is a beautiful mermaid, a mero, who wants a life on land away from her sinister sisters. As charming as mero are, with musical voices and a tempting gaze, they're also brutal and cruel, stealing the souls of sailors. As Initiation nears, Amara learns Poseidon selected her as consort and her desperation for freedom increases. 

When Tyler encounters Amara, he falls hard for her. The ocean is no longer safe for him, but he trusts their love can overcome her mero nature. As locals and officials wage war against the sea, trying to keep mariners safe, Tyler and Amara struggle with how to protect each other.

With one foot in the sand and the other in the sea, Tyler must choose love or the surf as the tide quickly rises.

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Book 2 in the Sand & Sea Series

As men continue to succumb to the sea, Tyler fears for the safety of the people in Land's End and struggles to maintain the secrecy of the underwater world, including the origins of his girlfriend, Amara, former mero, aka mermaid.  
But the biggest mystery of all is his connection to the ocean.

After Tyler's aunt passes away, he puts pieces of his genealogy together when she leaves him and Kiwa, a local girl and surfer, her house and maritime legacy. The ex-friends are at odds after she deceived him, yet she has answers.

However, Kiwa's gone missing.

Going on information gathered about the history of the mero, Tyler and Amara travel from Atlantic to Pacific. There, they make a startling discovery about ghost pirates, an angry sea king, unrequited love, and an ancient curse.

However, everything they're looking for is a lot closer than they realize.

Clues and sea relics lead Tyler to the Magna Maris, an ancient document outlining how to break the curse and reunite the inhabitants of the sea and put an end to the theft of the souls of men.

Unfortunately, Amara believes she's the curse breaker.

Tyler has to convince Amara they can be together while fighting an epic battle for life on land and the ocean below, along with grappling with the truth of who he really is.

Book 1 in the Fight Camp Series

When government officials recruit sixteen-year-old Aran Fenn to summer camp, she leaves her idyllic home in Domain AL and crashes into a violent reality of aggressive campers and ultimate fight training. As she struggles to trust her bunkmate—who knocks her out on the first night—and Cal—who helps heal her wounds in secret—, she quickly realizes telling the counselors that she wants to go home isn’t an option.

Weeks pass and Aran prepares for the trials, including a high voltage tug of war, crossing a bed of hot coals, and enduring ten minutes in the Cage. She learns she's supposed to be at a different camp to exploit her intelligence, but fight camp is supposedly the better of the two. She's also told her green eyes are a life-threatening liability and finds out that after the Last War the Regime isolated the people to create a stronger army, rendering her life a science experiment.

Aran doesn't want to fight, but rather get home to her family even if that means letting go of her budding romance with Cal. However, when she learns the reality of her world, she's willing to put her life on the line and do whatever it takes to gain freedom.

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Book 2 in the Fight Camp Series

When Aran Fenn goes to summer camp, she doesn't expect days spent training and nights spent fighting, and she certainly doesn't think she'll fall in love with the tough, but irresistible Cal. However, she does all of the above and more. For the last trial, she enters the Cage to clinch her position as a Delta, while he's leveling up to Alpha—meaning he'll move off the base. 

She can't imagine enduring camp without him, but her goal of going home also means separation, possibly forever.

Aran learns of her link to the legend of the Firebird Born, whom the people hope will unite them and bring change. Seeking answers and desperate to be free, Aran escapes camp. 

The Regime hunts her in a high stakes game of survival of the fittest. When they capture her, science and story merge: the Regime's leader believes she's the key to developing a serum to bring everlasting life and create an undefeatable army of super soldiers. Now, not only does she have to fight physically, but mentally too.

It’s in Aran's blood to resist and rise, but her family—and Cal—claim her heart, prompting her to choose between what's right: overthrowing the Regime and finding her way home, and what's easy: the tempting offer of a new life on the mainland.
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High School Magical

a 9 book series

 High School Magical: September, Book 1

Maija Wessels, a high school junior, is confident, clever, and insightful. She hangs out at the beach with her besties, loves S'mores, and has a major crush on Carter Miller.

She's also a witch. 

At least, that's what the Certified Witch Caretakers tell her when they show up with a letter from Applemoor Academy for the Magically Talented.

She's also in the first graduating class after Applemoor opened its doors to all magical beings: unicorns, elves, vampires, and more. 

However, not everything is fluffy bunnies, apple pie, and rainbows. 

There are boys too: the mysterious and brooding JJ who appears after she sees her name in the stars. Then Bobby Gold whose smile could melt any girls' heart. 

As she tries to balance her old life with her supposed newfound abilities (not to mention the homework and spellwork), she can't use her cellphone, her roommate won't talk to her, she gets locked in a classroom, and tension among the magical beings on campus mounts. 

And everyone keeps saying she looks exactly like Imogen Hawkes, the subject of the last great prophecy. Meanwhile, she's just trying to get through the day without turning anyone into a toad.

High School Magical is FREE! 

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High School Magical: October, Book 2

It's Maija's second month at Applemoor Academy for the Magically Talented. She still doesn't feel like a proper witch, hasn't successfully cast a spell, or figured out who sent her a love note.

When her parents visit for Family Day, the festivities go awry with giants turning over cars, a family who disappears, and a little girl trapped atop a pumpkin pyramid. Tension on campus continues with a major confrontation in the dining hall. To make matters worse, Maija has to explain to her roommate why she set her bed on fire.

Despite the trouble, Bobby Gold, Maija's crush, transfers into her arithmetic class. He might just be the one to fulfil
l her birthday wish. However, she has to share another class with JJ Thorne. If Bobby Gold is flirtatious and fun—and nice to look at on the rumpus field without a shirt—, JJ is moody and mean—, and about as warm as a black and white photograph. 

Dancing with Bobby at the All Hallows Eve party is a blast until the night ends with a ritual ferrying spirits to the beyond. Maija isn't fond of ghosts. In fact, they frighten her more than the big, hairy spiders at the party, courtesy of the beast trainers. Nothing like live party props with sharp pincers. 

Gathered in the cemetery, chaos erupts, casting Maija into danger. But someone comes to her aid, and it's the last person she expects. 


High School Magical: November, Book 3

 When the All Hallows Eve ritual goes awry, soul snatchers (the worst kind of ghost) get loose and attack Maija. No one is safe on campus, especially after nightfall. Rumors circulate about who was behind the chaos, but no one 'fesses up, prompting an investigation.

Meanwhile, Chancellor West partners Maija with her nemesis, JJ, to help her learn how to guard her thoughts, particularly important for a wish witch. But when she accidently reveals a memory to him, she's determined not to let him get the best of her.

The only redemption post "Ghost Gate" is the pumpkin pie in the dining hall and the upcoming Thanksgiving break. Maija's plans to return home to relax and catch up on her favorite shows abruptly change, casting her more deeply into the magical world. The upside is an accident in the forest results in her remedying a major #witchlife problem she's been having.

The harvest celebration is nothing short of spectacular with days spent decorating the forest, preparing the feast, and hearing tales woven in wonder. Even though Maija misses her family, she finds a new circle of sisters in the wood as well as learning more about her own talents.

Back on campus, questions remain, especially when the losing Rumpus team unexpectedly wins thanks to their new star player, prompting more tension on campus than ever.

Read the third book in the young adult High School Magical series, with a new installment of magic, mayhem, mystery (and kissing), on the 15th of each month.


High School Magical: December, Book 4

JJ Thorne leads the rumpus team to victory, surprising everyone, including Maija. But not even suddenly being the most popular guy on campus can melt his frosty exterior, but she tries… with a not so pleasant outcome. But hey, she's still working on refining her magical abilities.

She also tries to stay out of the infirmary and fails, miserably. One morning she wakes up with a red face, another with blue hair. The worst is when she can't stop barking in full view of the entire campus. Humiliated and frustrated, she's determined to figure out who's jinxing her. 

Meanwhile, JJ continues to baffle her with his cold and colder behavior. Cold, being the time he brings her a special gift when she's stuck in bed after a particularly nasty jinx and colder being when she glimpses a few of his memories. 

However, that's the least of Maija's problems when her friend convinces her to help track the beast from the east. Although the woods are off limits, in addition to the sharp-toothed creature, she spots a mysterious group plodding through the woods and she can't help but wonder what they're plotting—especially after a student is attacked.

Amidst all the trouble, Applemoor prepares for the coming holidays with swaths of twinkly lights, baubles, bells, and berries. There's bound to be cheerful celebration, and cake. Also, Maija won't say no to a magical moment under the falling snow, shared with the last person she expects.


High School Magical: January Book 5

It's the New Year, not an ideal time for seeing a couple of ghosts, breaking magical law, and possibly ruining a budding relationship—not Maija's idea of a good start. On the upside, she does spend time with old friends, help rescue an endangered creature, and flirt with Bobby Gold.

She also learns that when chocolate chip cookies aren't available, oatmeal raisin (no nuts), are a delicious substitute. On top of that, she finds out there's a sinister plot put forth by a renegade group called the originists—taking up souls and eradicating magicals. 

At long last, Chancellor West explains a forbidden prophecy, answering some questions for Maija, but leaving her with more. Namely, what's a witch who hardly knows how to wave her wand to do?

She finds out when a teacher wakes up from a gorgon spell, revealing critical information. However, the unusual circumstances place Maija as a suspect. Before she can be questioned, she falls ill and has to go home. 

When she's finally feeling better and returns to Applemoor, Bobby waits for her, but so does the Coven Constabulary, aka the magical police. Oh, and they finally caught the soul snatchers, well, almost all of them.


High School Magical: February Book 6

Maija fears the worst when the Coven Constabulary summons her for interrogation, but she does get a slice of pecan pie out of the ordeal, so there's an upside. Then Chancellor West's shares his secret society theories, which aren't as sweet, but a note from her secret admirer temporarily helps her forget her troubles. Double upside.

When the campus cutie asks to meet in the library, it turns out to be a bit of a frustrating disappointment. On the day of the sweetheart dance, Maija and the girls in Penny House get underway with makeovers, contend with a love potion gone awry, and an unsightly blemish that literally has a life of its own. 

Under a blush moon, the problems with magical integration continue to brew, bubbling over at the dance. But that's not all. There's also tension between two not-quite-friends, a student attack, a chocolate fountain explosion, and marauding by figures in green cloaks, ruining the night and Maija's hopes for something special with her sweetheart date.

High School Magical: March Book 7

As Maija contends with matters of life and death, she also deepens her understanding of magical theory, researches key historical figures that influence her future, and faces her mortal, or maybe immortal, enemy.

It's not all doom and gloom though: Maija accesses her wish witchery, puts a stop to nearly a dozen soul snatchers, and discovers she's fluent in Gibberish. Some of these skills seem a little more helpful than others, but that's witch life for ya.

She also gets closer to someone whose heart is only a little bit chilly, but it's not his fault. It's the result of a curse that she's keen to reverse—if only she knew how to find the missing wand and a missing person. But when she finds a magical map, she might have to confront fears worse than facing her worst enemy.


© Deirdre Riordan Hall | All rights reserved.
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