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My Favourite YA

July 27, 2012

Since I’m a new blogger and to give readers a sense of my book taste, I’ve decided to put together lists of my favourite books in the Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy and YA genres.  My  favourite Science Fiction reads are posted here.

Here’s a list in no particular order of my favourite YA titles.

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (Contemporary)

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?

A swoon worthy story that just raced along. Anna and St Clair are great characters, although to be honest St. Claire is the star of the show. Paris is a great setting – who didn’t long to be in Paris when reading this story.

Crown Duel– Sherwood Smith (Crown & Court #1-2) (Fantasy)

Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting-with wits and words and secret alliances.

In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.

Great plot with fantastic well-developed real characters – love Mel – she’s a great heroine, brash and tough, often wrong but also admirable. Crown Duel has got everything, battles, chases, dungeons, politics, parties and even magic.

The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins (Dystopia)

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I adore all three books. Suzanne Collins has created an amazing world, with strong characters and a terrific plot. It’s also helps that Katniss is a strong, courageous and intelligent heroine.

 

Going Too Far – Jennifer Echols (Contemporary)

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over….

The chemistry between John and Meg in Going Too Far is incredible. The characters come alive on the page.

Blood and Chocolate – Annette Curtis Klause (Urban Fantasy)

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really—human or beast? Which tastes sweeter—blood or chocolate?

This isn’t a paranormal story akin to  those currently popular in YA. Blood and Chocolate deals with the darker side of werewolf life. If you disliked Bella in Twilight, then Vivian might be the heroine for you.

Enders Game – Orson Scott Card (Enders Saga #1) (Sci-Fi)

 In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Ender’s Game sat in my TBR pile for quite a few years. I’d seen this novel on so many best of lists that I’d purchased a copy but just never got round to reading it. News of the forth coming movie inspired me to dig it out. An excellent story. Ender is a great character and this one is a real page turner.

A Long Long Sleep – Anna Sheehan (Dystopia)

It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone– and her future full of peril.

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose– hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire– is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes– or be left without any future at all.

A Long Long Sleep was the debut novel of Anna Sheehan in 2011. I adored this YA story – it made my top 5 reads of the year. A poignant tale of a young girl whose childhood was rather different – she’s been in stasis for 62 years. A marvellous, inventive and moving novel.

The King of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen’s Thief #3) (Fantasy)

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king’s caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

The King of Attolia is the 3rd book in the Queens Thief series. While I didn’t love the first book, the second was better and the third amazing. Eugenides is a remarkable character.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (Contemporary)

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I thought the Fault in Our Stars was an amazing story with a beautiful sweet romance. Loved it, even though it made me cry.

Daddy Long Legs – Jean Webster

Jerusha Abbott has grown up in the John Grier Home for orphans. As the oldest, she is in charge of the younger children. An anonymous benefactor on the Board, “Mr. Smith,” decides to send her to college, as long as she writes to him faithfully detailing her education. Originally published in 1912, Jean Webster’s coming-of-age tale continues to be relevant to young women today. Actress Kate Forges shares these months and years, from freshman to senior in college. Through a series of letters Jerusha writes to “Daddy-Long-Legs,” a relationship filled with affection and respect develops…

A lovely story with a charming and witty narrator, that feels quite modern even though it’s 100 years old. Available for free on the Kindle.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2012 10:11 pm

    I’ve only read half of these, but you have some great picks. Sherwood Smith has a middle-grade fantasy coming out Aug. 2, in case you didn’t know.

    • August 1, 2012 10:51 pm

      Thank’s Briana. I didn’t know about Sherwood Smiths new book – must check it out.

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