In the past two days I have finished two YA novels, Close to Famous by Joan Bauer and The Agency: A Spy in th House by Y.S. Lee. I always enjoy Bauer's novels as they are upbeat and charming. This one was no different. Foster McFee is an amateur baker who woos the townspeople of Culpepper, West Virginia with her muffins and cupcakes. Foster struggles with reading and the loss of her father in the Iraq war, while her mother, a talented singer, tries to make a life for the two in a new town. Sometimes Bauer's endings are too neat and tidy, but her characters struggle realistically...and it is nice to have a happy ending sometimes.
Lee's novel, is mystery and historical fiction similar to that of Anne Perry's William Monk and Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels. There is just enough historical detail for a YA reader along with an interesting female sleuth. I believe Lee intends a trilogy; the second book, The Body at the Tower is out now...I will have to track it down at my local library. I am interested to see how Mary Quinn (aka Lang) develops and to what depth Lee will explore the time period and London conditions.
At the top of my list for reading next are Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce and The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd.