Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book 1

Robin LaFevers gives us a riveting story set in 15th-century Brittany that is part spy novel, part feminist coming-of-age tale.

Ismae Rienne describes a "deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip." It's a trail left by the herbwitch's poison at her birth. "That I survived… is no miracle but a sign I have been sired by the god of death himself," she says. With the help of the herbwitch, Ismae flees a dangerous arranged marriage to find refuge at the convent of Saint Mortain, the patron saint of death. Chancellor Crunard, a member of Brittany's inner council, believes that one of the duchess's most trusted confidants, Gavriel Duval, is leaking the secrets of Brittany's court to France, which seeks control of Brittany. Crunard enlists the convent's help, and the responsibility falls to Ismae.`

As she gets drawn deeper into court, Ismae begins to believe Duval's loyalty to the duchess. Is her growing attraction to Duval muddying Ismae's perceptions? This story of betrayal, intrigue and romance will keep readers burning the midnight oil, and leave them impatient for the next two tales, which follow fellow pledges in the convent. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness