Top 10 YA novels

I am by no means an expert in YA (young adult) literature. However, I have read enough to personally compile a list of my current favourites. I am currently reading Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun and have a few other YA novels I want to get to this year. Nevertheless here are my top 10…

 

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

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This book is wonderfully unique, as are most if not all of the books on my favourites list. I respect every book that makes me laugh and this book made me laugh so much. It’s witty and realistic, both uplifting and heartbreaking and never patronising which I find far too many YA novels to be. This book deals with cancer and though some people think it’s insensitive I disagree, I think it’s refreshing. This book is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars (which I hated) and I’ve never met anyone who has enjoyed both. If you’re that person please comment! This was Andrew’s debut novel published in 2012, I would like to read his other novel The Haters. If you’ve read it please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

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Another novel that is truly unique, The Rest of Us Just Live Here focuses on those who are not the ‘chosen ones.’ Its characters and their relationships are well-written and dynamic. Also, this novel is hilarious. It plays with and reinvents the stereotype and I’d quite honestly read anything Ness writes in the future. This was Patrick Ness’s latest novel published in 2015, he now has a new novel Release available for pre-order now. I may very well end up doing so.

 

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

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I love Leo Denton, who is a character in this book, therefore I also love this book. The cover is pretty self-explanatory yet the story is captivating from the first page. Danny is reading this novel at the moment so I won’t say anything more. This novel was also published in 2015 and is also a debut novel! Williamson’s second novel All About Mia was published this year and I’m sure I will read it in the future.

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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A YA Sci-fi retelling of Cinderella. I know you are judging, but I think this book is great. Cinder is a cyborg. This is a four part series which also has a prequel novella. I have since read book two Scarlet and definitely prefer the first book of the series. The world building is perfect and the villain and Cinder’s friendly sidekick are without a doubt the highlights of the novel for me. I will be continuing with the series as soon as Cress is ready to be picked up from my local library. Also, ANOTHER DEBUT NOVEL from Marissa Meyer published in 2012.

 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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Interestingly, this is the eldest novel on the list published in the year I was/we were born, 1993. This novel is pretty well regarded in the book community and is one I would like to reread soon. This is a YA dystopia which is a genre that has proved extremely popular in the last decade or so.  This book has staying power.

 

The Program by Suzanne Young

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Set in our world with the only difference being a major epidemic of teenage suicides, which is worryingly not as far-fetched as we could hope. The Program is about a society forced to take measures to protect its teenagers against depression where teenagers are, as a result, forced to pretend they’re happy incase their parents or teachers suspect they are depressed, if so they must join ‘the program.’ This is the first novel of a series and was published in 2013. I really must buy the rest of the series as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, it’s haunting.

 

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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The X-men novel of YA literature. The Darkest Minds also has a ‘problem generation’ expect this time the children HAVE power (at least supernatural power.) The only problem I had with this novel was its ending, although it is the first book in a trilogy therefore its conclusion is less of an issue. It was published in 2012 and the concept of power is interesting. I have yet to read the final book of the series as it was hard to find for a while however I have requested it from my local library and will hopefully pick it up soon!

 

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

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This is the penultimate novel in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. As you can see, this is my favourite novel in the series and has some truly epic scenes. City of Lost Souls is a Shadowhunter novel, shadowhunters are demon hunters in order to protect the world and its ‘mundanes’ (us.) There are also other magical species/beings in the series such as warlocks, werewolves, vampires and the Fae, this series has it all.

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Another 2015 published novel. Six of Crows has a few really well written characters and I loved the world building, although this is a separate series which is set in the world Bardugo created for her previous series The Grisha Trilogy. This is an action novel about a heist and is very entertaining. I will read its sequel though this novel is low down on my top10 list.

 

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I read this novel today and liked it more than I expected I would, although I probably don’t love it as much as you would think. I only knew a few quotes and not much of the storyline prior to reading and it was the cheesy quotes that put me off reading it until now. However I found the novel generally well written and I loved Patrick. Other than Patrick I didn’t get emotionally attached to the other characters in Chbosky’s novel and am looking forward to seeing if the movie changes this. What I do love is pretty much all of the songs, books and movies referenced within this novel. Despite the fact I enjoyed but didn’t love The Perks of being a Wallflower I have a deep respect for its originality. I also respect the fact that all of its characters go through real issues and sometimes mental illnesses, it paints a realistic portrait of today’s society. Chbosky’s novel was published in 99.

 

P.S. I decided not to include Zusak’s The Book Thief and Hosseini’s The Kite Runner in this list as they are not always referred to as YA though they would be my all time favourites. I also wanted to feature other novels and was worried I discuss certain novels perhaps too much.

 

Sophie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading Update

Throughout February we have both started reading again. I give Mervyn Peake credit for this, as it is Titus Groan the first book of ‘The Gormenghast Trilogy’ that I’m currently reading and adoring.

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Thus far in February I have read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov which you can find my opinion of here, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding  and Deathnote by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba.  I recently featured Deathnote in my Top5Wednesdays post. I hope to do a review or perhaps a Movie Adaptation review of The Lord of The Flies soon. I am currently reading Titus Groan as previously mentioned, I have 100 pages left so hope to finish this within the next 24 hours.

This month I would also like to finish reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, a contemporary dystopia that I’m enjoying so far. As previously mentioned in my February TBR post, I would like to get around to reading my first novel by Daphne Du Maurier and my second Steinbeck novel. Other than this fairly optimistic goal I would like to read Greenmantle by John Buchan on recommendation from an Instagram friend. I read the previous novel The 39 Steps last year and am looking forward to the next instalment. I would also like to read a short story from the collection Legoland by Gerard Woodward.

If, on the rare chance I get through these novels, I have some other books high up on my TBR list- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Dead Poets Society: A Novel by N.H Kleinbaum and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

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I have most recently finished Tokyo Ghoul 2 by Sui Ishida, I am looking to complete On the Road by Jack Kerouac in the next couple of days and then I will move onto the 5 books I have previously mentioned that I have been challenged to read as well as continuing with the Tokyo Ghoul series.

Annual Reading Challenge meets Judge a Book by its Cover Challenge (Inception)

We did this same Challenge Last year, this challenge is between me and Amy, Sophie’s little sister. Sophie and Christie are also doing the same thing. First of all I will run through my thoughts on each book by judging the cover (I know don’t judge! get it…) I will also read the blurb and pass comment on the same. If you have ready any of these then please do not hesitate to comment you opinions below.

The 5 books Amy challenged me to read this year are:

  1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien
  3. The Art of being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So down to my reviews

  1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Front Cover

First of all I will say that last year I was challenged by Christie to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and absolutely loved it. I am therefore really excited before even reading the first word on the blurb. The front cover shows a blurred yellow Taxi which kind of reminds me of New York. Other than that there is what looks like another vehicle, potentially another cab going much quicker and therefore is even more blurred. I think from just looking at the front cover all I can assume is that this novel is not set in the same era as Zusak’s other book. If I was to go literally then I would say about a man or woman (maybe a cab driver) in New York who is there to deliver a message. This is probably completely wrong but I am writing this off the cover alone.

Blurb

I am not going to write the blurb down here as I am too lazy however I am happy to say I was right with the Taxi Driver, the blurb makes the character seem younger than I was expecting though I don’t really know what I was expecting. The concept of this, sounds kind of like a vigilante revenge story until it reads “Who’s behind Ed’s Message?” This gives the implication that something either happened to Ed to make him into a good person acting for what he deems is right or on a more sinister turn that someone is forcing him to act in the way he is. Obviously either way I will not know until I read but good news is I am quite intrigued by what I have seen so far.

 

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien

Front Cover

I have already read the Hobbit and seen all 6 movies in the Franchise, there is not much I can really say about this apart from the cover of this edition I have borrowed from Amy is pretty cool. It has the ring with elvish written around the circle and what looks like an eye of which I can only assume is Sauron. Either way I loved the Hobbit and am looking forward to reading this too.

Blurb

Again this is a bit pointless as I know what is going to happen however I am excited to see if the film missed any big parts from the book.

 

  1. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Front Cover

The Front cover here shows a Female silhouette (toilet stickman) ripping off an ‘outsershell’ of a male silhouette (toilet stickman) and standing proud. This gives me the impression that it is about gender identity and namely the transition of a male into a female. I am guessing it is about someones sex change and the story of whether or not this is normal in society. It may be about differing opinions on the issue and other peoples definition of being normal. Either way it is an interesting concept and it is probably not something I would generally pick up myself but that is the whole point of this challenge.

Blurb

The blurb has highlighted that this book is about the struggle of a young man in school who is not gay but rather doesn’t feel as though she was born the correct gender. Obviously this is interesting, it is hard to know whether or not the story is true to real expiriences unless of course Lisa was once Liam and then it would have a different meaning completely. Again I am interested however I wouldn’t have picked this myself.

 

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardogo

Front Cover

This cover is very intriguing. It is is a crow mid flight over cloudy buildings and a phrase “Six Dangerous Outcasts. One Impossible Heist”. I am hopeful that this is going to be like a darker cooler Oceans Eleven. I would be likely to pick something up like this myself and therefore I am quite excited to read. I love books that are quick paced and keep you guessing I feel like this is going to be like that.

Blurb

So my idea of a darker cooler Oceans Eleven is a bit wrong as it sounds more like Lord of the Rings Meets the Italian Job. It has a lot more mythical aspects and creatures and it is more obvious that it is definitely a YA novel than just the cover alone. I am obviously not against YA as some of my favourite reads of last year were YA. I hope it lives up to expectations… I am excited for this but not as much as I am for the final choice.

 

  1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Front Cover

I know this is a classic and the Clothbound edition which I have borrowed from Amy doesn’t give much away. If I were to say what the book was about from the cover I would say it is about a chandelier salesman or maybe a chandelier hoarder. Either one does not seem likely…

Blurb

After finding the blurb online due to the lack of blurb on the Clothbound Classic I am really excited to read my first Dickens. Thank you Amy! I will be looking to review this as well. I know it is like a crazy famous classic with numerous adaptations. I cannot actually wait for this one and would probably put this at the top of my list.

 

Finally I think I will also do the Try a Chapter Challenge and try and rate the books from the first chapter of each. I will do that shortly. Anyway any questions or comments on Amy’s suggestions then let me know.

 

Danny.