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Teen SRC 2017 – The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Witches, talking cats, ghosts of long-dead poisoners, a charismatic devil – Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita has it all. Written during the darkest period of Stalin’s regime and only published decades after its completion, this Russian classic alternates between ancient Jerusalem and contemporary Moscow, where Satan and his retinue wreak havoc and set the beautiful Margarita on a journey to be reunited with her beloved.

Every page of this novel is filled with a new surprise. Nothing is impossible in The Master and Margarita, and while it may seem confusing at first, it’s much more enjoyable when you stop asking questions and just let yourself be immersed in the madness. It’s definitely not a book for everyone, but if you (like me) love satire and magical realism, this is an amazing read.

Teen SRC 2017 – Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

23129410 Based on the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast, this intriguing novel is set in the town of Night Vale, a friendly desert community in the American southwest where mysterious lights in the sky, government surveillance and unknown powers are part of day-to-day life. It follows Diane Crayton, a PTA mom struggling to connect with her shape-shifting teenage son, and Jackie Fierro, the owner of a pawn shop who has been nineteen for as long as she can remember, as a strange paper and a man in a tan jacket cause their paths to intertwine.

Being a fan of the podcast, I had high hopes for this book; and it didn’t disappoint. It’s rich with mystery and fantasy and even horror, but in the good-humored way that makes Night Vale so entertaining. Whether you’ve listened to the podcast or not, I have no doubt that anyone will enjoy this novel as much as I did.

Teen SRC 2017 – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Image result for the inexplicable logic of my life

Set in El Paso, Texas, this contemporary novel follows 17-year-old Salvador as life-changing events make him question everything he’s ever known. Haunted by his history, Sal is caught between his loving, adoptive gay Mexican-American father and the parents he never met, and he discovers he no longer knows who he really is. Along with his best friend, Samantha, Sal must confront issues of grief, loss, and faith.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is engaging from start to finish, and a hard book to put down. Sáenz excels in creating characters that are both dynamic and believable. I became attached to these characters and their stories, and even days after I finished this book I could not help but think of them. This is a stunning novel by an outstanding author, and a truly heartwarming read.