Easily in 2024's Top Ten List of Best YA!

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This book shot to the top of my Best Books of 2024 list, and though it's barely March, I have a feeling it's going to stay there! Vanessa Le takes readers on a wild ride in The Last Bloodcarver, a fantasy novel that infuses the story with action, mystery, romance, and grief.

Nhika is a bloodcarver, one who has the power to control other's bodies through physical touch. She can heal wounds, eradicate illness, soothe pain...and can also burst blood vessels, block veins and arteries, break bones, cause pain and death.

On the run from those who mistrust her and consider her dangerous, she finds unexpected allies via a wealthy family who purchases her in the hopes that she will help them solve the mystery of their father's murder, by healing the only living person there to see it. In the quest to solve the mystery, Nhika must trust these newfound relationships, as well as her own powers, if she has any hope of surviving with her soul intact.

This book was truly magical. The world building was so clear, the description of the magic/science of bloodcarving fascinating, and the characters written with distinct personalities and motivations. Every character is at a crossroads in their decisions, and the author manages to hold empathy for all of them simultaneously--so while the villain remains horrifying, the ultimate reveal of what they're trying to accomplish is both terrifying and heartbreaking in equal measure. Meanwhile, our protagonists manage to remain worth rooting for, despite some decisions that lead to devastating outcomes. Twists throughout the story take the characters in different directions, but this is one book where you can't be assured that there will be a "happy ever after"--leading to real stakes of life or death for everyone involved.

I've never been so happy to remember that a book will have a follow-up as I am for this one! Vanessa Le has shot herself to the top of my "must-read" pile, and I'm already anxious for the next story. I'm not being hyperbolic at all when I tell you to run, not walk, to get your hands on this book!

Thanks to Roaring Brook press for this Advanced Reader's Copy!