It’s no secret I’ve been critical of YA fiction in the past. I hate a lot of tropes, have a love for very specific books.. I could go on. I don’t want this space to be negative, nor do I want to be the girl to trash books on the internet. It’s just not what I’m about.
So today I want to share with you a long awaited list of YA books that I DO in fact, enjoyed reading. I read a wide variety of books, so this list will also consist of a wide variety of books. What they will have in common is that, of course, they’re catered towards a YA audience, but they’re also actually good.
14. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Often cited as the best YA introduction to Western Philosophy, Sophie’s World is one of those books that holds a special place in my heart. The first half is a bit slow plot-wise, but don’t let it catch of you off guard! When I first read this, I read the entire second portion of the book is less than a day.
13. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy NelsonA book that will eave you fuzzy and heartbroken at the same time. I’ll Give You The Sun tells the story of two twin siblings and the loss of their mother. This book is absolutely beautiful, in both storyline and writing style.
12, 11, 10 and 9. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The four books that make up The Lunar Chronicles are absolutely phenomenal. This is a widely known series, but if you haven’t read them yet, just know that you absolutely should! Cinder, Scarlett, Cress and Winter are all names of characters based on various fairytales, as their names suggest. Their lives end up winding together as their dystopian future is being threatened by a plague.
8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Read this book and then watch the movie (which comes out in less than two months!),pretty please. You’ve probably heard of this one also (if you haven’t, HOW?!) so you know that it tells and important story about racism and police brutality in the United States. Iwasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style here, but the actual story itself is very well done and important.
7, 6 and 5. The Shades of Magic series bij V.E. Schwab
I know technically this book is considered ”adult” but it definitely reads more YA to me. The main characters are all fairly young (19 and 21 if I’m not mistaken) and the books are very accessible in both the storyline and the writing style. Definitely check this out if you love a good fantasy!
4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys
This book is based on true events, and I always find it hard to review those. This novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Although this book is definitely not perfect, it was a quick read and it taught me a lot about this specific moment in history.
3. Caraval by Stephanie
Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.Scarlett dreams of going to Caravel, an annual game where the audience participates in the show. She thinks she’ll never get to see it, especially since she’s being forced into an arranged marriage. This novel is definitely more character based, but the atmosphere is AMAZING.
2. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’neill
Just like The Lunar Chronicles, this book is a retelling (or ‘reimagining’ as it says on the cover) of a fairytale. I really loved reading this version of The Little Mermaid. All the dark details of the original story were there, yet the author managed to add a feminist twist to it.
1. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
I only just read and reviewed this book, but holt crap IT’S GOOD. This is the type of thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat – a ‘whodunnit’ book done right.