Part of my reason for choosing these two books is that I've missed me some good YA lately. I started re-reading The Hunger Games a couple of days ago, after seeing the short trailer for the movie (goosebumps!). It's made me crave more, and these are my choices, should I be able to get my hands on them.
Oddly enough, I decided to write about this book today before I realized John Scalzi posted Merrie Haskell's Big Idea about it last night. Weird.
Based on the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses, The Princess Curse is set in Eastern Europe and focuses on Revka, an herbalist who's determined to break the dancing curse. I love fairy tale rewrites, especially when they involve a strong heroine and a realistic, tough setting. I don't know that this book is exactly like that, but the Big Idea post (which is about the underworld and outhouses) suggests it might be. I hope it's similar to Plain Kate.
In many ways, this book reminds me of White Cat by Hollie Black. There's a weird illegal substance - magic in Black's book, chocolate and caffeine in Gabrielle Zevin's. The main character is right in the thick of the "mafia," although Zevin's main character is completely aware of what's going on. I'm hoping there's a really big difference between the two, because I really want Zevin's book to be good, and Black's was most certainly not.
Anya's family is a chocolate manufacturer and supplier - the future equivalent of drug lords. The first chapter opens with her boyfriend begging for a "hit" of the stuff they have hidden in the house. He's poisoned by it, to her surprise, and she is thrust into the national spotlight. In a world where paper is hard to find and water is just as bad.
Zevin's Big Idea piece lists the things that inspired her book, including mafia movies (of course) and the control certain organizations have over what we eat. These are things I also enjoy (to a certain extent - I love The Departed and Boondock Saints, but hate most other movies where people's heads squish). With all the powerful ideas behind it and the amazingly ridiculous first chapter, how could I not want more?