There are a few bloggers in the Tumblr’s Booklr community that hold a lot of respect – and blogger and YouTuber Rebecca from The Book Hangover is one of them.
The Australian blogger has no problems fangirling over her favorite books, including her top five favorite YA novels below. Some of her recent reads include Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Courtney Summers’ Please Remain Calm, both of which she loved.
Cutting down my infinite list of favorite young adult books into a miniscule five is one of the most evil things you can ask of me. Ask me my top 5 reads of 2014 and I’ll have trouble answering, so to ask me my ALL TIME favorites … I can’t even begin to convey the weight on my shoulders. Therefore, I feel the need to include this short disclaimer.
These are not the only five books that I love and adore, but there is just something about these that make me want to get others to read them. Maybe they came to me at a pivotal moment in my life, or maybe I just find myself constantly recommending them to anyone who will listen. Or it could also be that it just felt right to include them. I have read an insane amount of amazing books, but these are the five that I can’t imagine how my life would’ve been without them.
#5: Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters
“Cut the ending. Revise the script. The man of her dreams is a girl.”
This is one of two more recent reads on this list. I only picked up this book last year, but from the moment I got my hands on it, I knew it was going to be special. It was one of those books that had sat on my Goodreads TBR for years, despite having no real reason for not having read it yet.
This book follows Holland Jaeger – School President with a dedicated boyfriend – as she goes through the trials and tribulations of high school. Then Cece Goddard arrives. What is this feeling? Enter confusion, a little denial, powerful love, and a bucket load of drama.
This is probably one of the more problematic books on my list. I am aware that not everyone is going to love this book, and it may actually fall flat for some, but I picked up this book at a vital time in my life, and it really helped to see “a part of me” being represented in a heart-wrenching book. Since then I’ve made a conscious effort to include more MOGAI novels in my diet even though I have yet to read as many as I’d hoped.
#4: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
No list would be complete without the series that defined a generation. I can still remember the exact moment that I picked up my first Harry Potter book. It was 2001 and for the first time in my short life I had remembered to ask my parents for cash as the Scholastic Book Fair was coming to my school. During lunch, I grabbed the crisp $20 note and skipped to the library. Scouring the shelves, the image of two children in robes riding a giant flying hawk slash possibly horse thing caught my eye – back then I had no clue what a hippogriff was.
Here’s the thing you need to know about little 11 year old me: I was (and still am) obsessed with all things magic. My favorite TV show was Charmed, and I collected those little tie-in novels like my life depended on it. So when I read the synopsis about Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I was sold. That spelled the beginning of the end for me (pun intended).
The thing about the Harry Potter series is that no matter what point of my life I’m in, I can pick up the books and feel like that little 11 year old again. The oddball and the misfit. The one who could count the amount of friends she had on one hand and have fingers left over. And it doesn’t make me feel sad. Oh no, I feel hopeful.
#3: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
Karou is your typical blue-haired 17-year-old living in Prague. She has a devious best friend, a deplorable ex-boyfriend, and an affinity for art. She also happens to have been raised by ‘monsters’ in elsewhere. She lives a normal life – well, normal for Karou – until handprints appear burnt on doors worldwide, doors that lead to elsewhere. Dun dun duuuuuuuun.
The first thing I need to mention about this stunning trilogy is the world building. On multiple occasions I have announced my deep seeded need to pick Laini Taylor’s brain because the every world she comes up with is just…I can’t even put a word to it. It’s just so freaking good.
This leads me to Taylor’s elegant writing style. Her descriptions of people and places are so pleasing. I could picture it all, crystal clear in my mind.
This series is just such an interesting take on angels and chimera. Who are the real monsters? And what makes them the monsters?
#2: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
The second of my more recent reads, I fell in love with this book from the very first page. Liz Emerson has it all. She’s beautiful, rich, popular, and has the hottest boyfriend in school. But Liz isn’t happy and decides to drive her shiny new Mercedes off a cliff.
Zhang’s prose is so poetic and beautiful; my copy of the book is rife with pink post-it notes signifying the vast amount of exquisite quotes. I loved the non-linear storyline, exploring Liz’s life and her reasoning behind her suicide attempt. She’s a mean girl that finally understood how her actions had consequences, and decided to do something about it. All the characters are wonderfully two-dimensional and complex, each with their own needs and desires. It’s practically perfect.
#1: Study series by Maria V. Snyder
This is the one series that I’m constantly recommending to everyone and their mother.
- You want fantasy? Poison Study!
- You want strong female lead characters? Poison Study!
- You want a romance that will have your heart tap dancing in your chest? Poison Study!
No matter what people want to read, Poison Study and the rest of the trilogy somehow manage to worm their way into my list. I have made numerous posts on my blog on why people should read this seriously underrated series so I’ll try to keep this succinct.
First and foremost, Yelena, prisoner turned poison taster, is the raddest, sassiest, BAMF-iest character in the world. She’s strong, she’s fierce, she’s determined, she’s smart, she’s trustworthy. She’s broken but she hasn’t lost her fire and drive to survive.
But that’s not all. Meet Valek, the gruff and stuck up assassin whose loyalty knows no bounds. His relationship with Yelena is awesome as heck. It’s subtle enough that if you don’t enjoy romance you can still enjoy the series. But it’s also overt enough to give you ALL THE FEELS.
Ari and Janco, the dynamic duo. Seriously, not only do they provide comedic relief, but they worm themselves into Yelena’s life, becoming her brothers, her friends, her protectors (even though she really doesn’t need them).
The writing is really straightforward with masterly world building. The plot is fast paced and perfection. There’s magic and fantasy and amazing POC characters (especially in books 2 and 3). It’s a practically perfect series that everyone should read.
Honorable mentions: Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Disruption duology by Jessica Shirvington and so many more.