What were our favorite YA books of 2015?

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The best of lists for 2015 are hitting the web, and as 2016 approaches, it’s time for us to take a look back at our favorite books of the year. What do we think were the best of the year?

the walls around us nova ren sumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

“Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us is about three girls: one in jail, one free, and the one who binds their stories together. It is one of the most gorgeously written books I’ve ever read – haunting and lyrical, a story that drips with blood and tears and truths and lies. This is a must-read for anybody who loves writing and the craft of creating a story – for anybody who loves stories about the lengths girls will go for the things they want – for anybody who loves to read at all.” – Nicole Brinkley

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

the sacred lies of minnow bly stephanie oakesEerie and beautiful. The writing was poetic and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time – between the morally corrupt leader of the Kevinian cult and the story of what happened to Minnow, I’m surprised I didn’t skip ahead to find out what happened. But when a book is as creepy and mysterious as this one and I don’t try to skip ahead, that’s when I know it’s a good book.” – Tara Hackley

Serpentine by Cindy Pon

Serpentine by Cindy Pon was a given for me. I’m a huge fan of anything Pon writes because her words have this wonderful ability to overtake my world completely and throw me into the world I’m reading. Both [The Wrath and the Dawn and Serpentine] have kick-ass female protagonists, lush descriptions and seductive storylines.” – Alison Ng

under a painted sky stacey leeUnder A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

“I loved Under a Painted Sky because it was a historical YA, for starters. It focuses on positive female friendship, bravery, and perseverance. All of the characters were enjoyable and worked well together. I appreciated the historical context and accuracy, as well as the diversity of characters. Nothing felt false or forced, which are two things that are essential in writing both diverse and historical novels.” – Lauren Byrnes

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter is easily one of the best series endings I’ve ever read – relentlessly fast-paced, action-packed and full of surprising twists and turns. I had high expectations for the last book of the Lunar Chronicles, winter marissa meyerbut I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest; Meyer expertly weaves the many strands of her story together, ending on a surprising but very satisfying note which I’m sure most fans will love.” – Lucy Nisbet

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

“My favorite book this past year was What We Left Behind by Robin Talley for purely personal reasons. The book came at a time when I was questioning my gender identify a lot, and to be able to read about a character who was doing the same, albeit it from the “opposite” side of the gender binary, was so powerful for me. I identified so much with everything Toni went through in terms of gender identity, and absolutely loved reading about Gretchen while she watched Toni change and dealt with her own realities of freshman year in college as one half of a long-distance relationship.” – Lindsay Paige

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

queen of shadows sarah j maas us“I’m a sucker for these books, I really am. Maas paints and weaves an
intricate world, where all the characters entwine together in intricate, complicated patterns. And trying to figure out those patterns is a favourite hobby of mine. Watching Aelin grow from the repressed prisoner she was in the first book to the once and future queen in Queen of Shadows has been a journey and a half. Maas doesn’t pull any punches, and puts us through the grinder right alongside her characters, which I LOVE. I especially adore the diversity portrayed in these books. And they’re not made a big deal of, either. It’s just mentioned off-hand, almost like an afterthought – all characters have an actual place in the plot, and the colour of their skin or their sexuality is never treated as a big deal, but as normal: just as it should be. I’m very excited to see what’s next!” – Mandy Rosas

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

the wrath and the dawn renee ahdiehI’m not a fantasy fan but when I heard this was a reimagining of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ I knew I had to read it. The characters and their motives are complicated – there was so much gray area in this book that I could never figure out what the main characters would do and I LOVED that! Easily one of my favorite fantasy novels.” – Tara Hackley

“I heard about The Wrath and the Dawn through all of the blogging hype, and I’m glad to say it lived up to my expectations. The seductive nights and uncertain mornings of the novel caused me to finish the book in a four plane ride from Houston to New York. Both [The Wrath and the Dawn and Serpentine] have kick-ass female protagonists, lush descriptions and seductive storylines.” – Alison Ng

Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

the orphan queen jodi meadows“This was one of my most anticipated 2015 releases, and I was so happy when it didn’t disappoint in the slightest! Meadows’ story is compelling, and I literally could not put it down. The characters are interesting and beautifully layered. You want to root for everyone at the same time, and know everything there is to know, but you can’t. Wil was a delight of narrator, and personally I would be honoured to call her my queen. Watching her grow and develop was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it happen.” – Mandy Rosas

Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell

“At first, I thought Sweet Unrest was going to be a cheesy, boy-meets-girl story. I was dead wrong. The characters sucked me in and made me hang onto every word. The way that Maxwell switches between past and present is masterful. Her research on New Orleans and Voodoo culture is very impressive and truly helped to bring her story to life.” – Lauren Byrnessweet unrest lisa maxwell

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was also a favorite of mine this year. Simon was so much fun to read about, even when things went poorly for him, and his relationship with Blue was just too cute to not love.” – Lindsay Paige

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a heart-warming, butterfly-inducing, tooth-rottingly sweet story, and definitely one of my all-time favourite contemporary realistic reads. I can’t remember the last time I read an entire book in one sitting,simon vs the homo sapiens agenda becky albertalli but it was impossible to put down. I wholeheartedly recommend Simon vs. to fans of Rainbow Rowell or Stephanie Perkins looking for a more diverse YA romance to fall in love with.” – Lucy Nisbet

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

“I have not been able to stop talking about Illuminae since I read it. There’s something utterly captivating about Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s new sci-fi thriller, a YA novel told entirely through found documents. It left me clawing through the pages into the early morning hours, heart pounding in my throat. I needed to know what would happen – and I had no idea what to expect. Every turn of the page threw what I already knew into chaos and disarray. I loved every moment.” – Nicole Brinkley

What were your favorite 2015 YA books? Sound off in the comments below!

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

3 Comments

  1. Suzanne van Rooyen on

    Absolutely agree with The Walls Around Us. Other favs of mine include Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn, Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, and The Weight of Feathers by Anne-Marie McLemore!

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