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Sara B. Larson's debut YA novel "Defy" will surprise and entertain readers.

Who would you defy to stand up for something you love?
Who would you defy to stand up for something you love?
Scholastic

Sara B. Larson has written a debut young adult novel packed with action, intrigue, and romance in “Defy.” In her prologue chapter, the reader is brought right into the action with the first sentence:

“The crackle and hiss of the flames devouring our house couldn’t block out the screaming and wailing of those who were still alive.”

Our main character, Alexa, can’t turn away from what remains of her mother and father, even as the enemy retreats. The sorcerer of the Blevonese soldiers did this. Alexa remembers feeling the magic in the air when the sorcerer killed them both.

To avoid being forced into a breeding house, Alexa’s brother helps her to cut her hair and to disguise herself as a boy so as to serve in the king’s army. Her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills earn her a spot on the elite prince’s guard. Now known as ‘Alex,’ she is virtually unbeatable, but can’t prevent a powerful sorcerer from abducting her in the dead of night.

Also abducted is a fellow guard and the prince, and the longer they are held captive, more than one secret is revealed. Is Alex(a) strong enough to save herself and the kingdom that she is sworn to protect?

What she learns instead is that true beauty lies within each of us and is not just what the world sees.

Larson’s story is one of great strength. It shows how we can learn to accept ourselves, as well as others. The result of this acceptance may lead to true friendship or true love. This author is adept at creating a tale that is compelling as it is surprising. Just when you think you have each character figured out, there’s a bit more than meets the eye.

Pick up “Defy” by Sara B. Larson if you want a story that is entertaining as it is surprising.