Hi Heather, let's see.... If you are looking for a YA book, the one that I read most recently that I loved was an ebook I got through LibraryThing (you can get it from Smashwords) called Stray: Touchstone Part 1 by Andrea K. Host. I also read the sequel and am waiting impatiently for the third to come out in December. My review:
Stray: Touchstone Part 1 by Andrea Host is a YA science fiction novel. Cassandra Devlin, an 18 year old Australian high school student just finishing her last exams, wanders through a "gate" or wormhole on her way home from school and finds herself in a strange forest. She walks for days, trying to survive and figure out where she is. Eventually she finds an abandoned village and works to make herself a comfortable home. She is rescued by "psychic ninjas" or Setari from the technologically advanced planet Tare, and there her adventures really begin.
I enjoyed this book very much. It is written in the form of a diary, which allows you to stay with Cass and learn about what is happening as she does. You get to understand and appreciate her as a character more and more as the story unfolds. Initially, I found her almost too calm, much like Alice after she tumbled through the rabbit hole. But she admits after the first few entries that she hasn't been describing all her emotional meltdowns and fears as they happen. This made the character even more believable. The author cleverly makes Cass a SF & F fan and an online gamer. This allows her to make educated guesses about what has happened to her and to cope with all the new things she encounters. It gives her a language to describe what she is experiencing. Spider Robinson is another author who has used this device well and Host's writing reminds me somewhat of his work. There are also many cultural references which add richness to the story, and which Cass uses to cope with her surroundings.
There is a very useful glossary as well as a dramatis personae in the appendix. This is especially helpful to understand the Australian and gamer slang as well as the invented language. There are many characters who are sometimes referred to by first names and sometimes last names, which can be confusing. However, one of the things I enjoy about SF & F is world building which includes invented language and mythologies. Host's world is rich and interesting and full of mysteries that keep you wanting to read and learn more.
I became so involved in Cass's story that I had to download the sequel as soon as I finished this book. Sadly I have to wait until December for the final book of the trilogy. I highly recommend this book for YA and adults who enjoy SF & F. Some strong language but no other content that would be unsuitable for younger readers.