Sarah Rees Brennan's first novel, The Demon's Lexicon, was so good that I took my time reading it even though I have a huge pile of books to work through. The language was so clever (first paragraph: "The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink." Okay, tell me more!), the plot fast paced (explosion on page 4!), the characters complex and likeable AND it involved demons and evil magicians. Alan and Nick are being pursued by magicians who want to get an amulet from their mother, who was driven mad when their father was killed. As a result, they have to move frequently, whenever the magicians locate them. The last time they do, two school mates of Nick's show up with problems of their own. Mae is concerned because her brother Jamie has a demon's mark-- a third tier one, which means he must die. Since Alan has a crush on Mae, he tries to help, and ends up with marks of his own. In order to remove these marks (which allow demons to possess the boys), the group must locate Black Arthut and his Obsidian Circle of magicians and kill two of them. Things become more and more complicated when it turns out that Nick is not who he believes himself to be.
Really--wow! Clever, clever language, and just a great read. Darren Shan fans, fantasy fans, horror fans, mystery fans-- this is something for everyone. It seems as if there is room for a sequel, but the book if brought to a satisfactory conclusion if there is not. Have to get two copies.
I also enjoyed Cara Haycak's Living on Impulse. Mia Morrow likes to shoplift for thrills, but when she gets caught and stuck with a $300 fine, she has to get a job to pay it off. Her ailing grandfather wants more for her than her own mother accomplished, but Mia doesn't think college is for her. This causes her friends to drop her, and she begins to rethink her goals. This is really more of a high school title, because the bad choices Mia makes involve drinking, clubbing, and some recreational drug use. I'll have to stick to Eyerly's Angel Baker, Thief for something about shoplifting.