March brings two delicious literary and entertainment treats for teens (and, let’s face it, the rest of us). Not only is there the release of The Hunger Games on the big screen, there’s the U.S. publication of Froi of the Exiles, the new fantasy novel by Australian author Melina Marchetta.

Marchetta won the Michael J. Printz Award for Jellicoe Road in 2009. Her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock, garnered Australia’s Aurealis award. Froi of the Exiles is Book Two of the Lumatere Chronicles; like Finnikin, it is an absorbing adventure that brings Marchetta’s well-conceived fantasy world to life.

The scrappy, hot-tempered Froi takes center stage here. In Finnikin, Froi was always getting into trouble, and had a hard time telling right from wrong. As Book Two opens, three years have passed. Froi is now 18 and a trained protector of the royal family: Finnikin, Queen Isaboe and Princess Jasmina (their two-year-old who, if truth be told, rules them both).

Froi has been mentored and nurtured, but still struggles to control his hot-headed reactions. Ready or not, the moment to prove his true mettle has come. He is the only one who can undertake a secret mission to the neighboring kingdom of Charyn, a strange barren place under a mysterious curse that prevents any of its women from bearing children. In Charyn, Froi will find himself tested in ways he could not begin to imagine, and readers will get to the breathtaking finish eager to spend more time in Marchetta’s richly imagined universe.

In Froi of the Exiles, Marchetta has once again created a complex, engrossing world of adventure, intrigue and romance, with strong characters and compelling storylines. Books this good aren’t just for teens.

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