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YA Book Recommendations

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Reading (verb)

Definition: an ancient form of art that most of us have forgotten how to do.

I know, I know- most of us probably haven't picked up a book since middle school. But lately I've been getting back into it and reading, cheesy as it sounds, is actually super fun- it lets us explore new worlds and meet new people, all from our very own couch.. and what better time to do this than now, when we're all stuck at home?

I've been going through my shelves recently, and stumbled upon a few of my favorite books which I would give anything to be able to read for the first time again, and wanted to share a few of my recommendations here!

If you're a bookworm, or just someone bored in Quarantine who's looking for new books to enjoy, keep reading: this blog post is for you!

The Sun Is Also A Star:

This has to be one of my all time favorite books! The Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon, is about Natasha Kingsley, a girl who's family illegally immigrated to America from Jamaica, who is trying to do everything in her power to prevent being deported. At the worst possible time, she meets a boy named Daniel Bae, a boy who secretly wants to become a poet, yet is on his way to a interview with Yale to become a doctor due to parental pressure and societal expectation. The story follows the two characters, as their paths intertwine to tell an intriguing and suspenseful tale of family, culture, love, and the importance of following your dreams.

I think my favorite thing about this book would have to be the way Nicola Yoon used perspectives and showed different points of view throughout the book to portray the uniqueness of different people's stories. This book centers around the butterfly effect, and really makes you question how much you can affect a stranger's life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes love stories, the theme of perspectives and big dreams, and wants to have their lives changed forever and have a mini midlife crisis for a couple days (but in a good way!) because of this amazing book.

Paper Towns:

Paper Towns is a book that follows the story of Quinton (Q), an easygoing shy boy who has been playing it safe his whole life, and his childhood crush Margo, an unpredictable girl who's the opposite of Q In every way, who has mysteriously disappeared right before their senior graduation. Quinton and his friends embark on a journey, following Margo's trail of clues to discover where she went and who the real Margo was, behind her mask of perfection.

This is an outstanding book: I fell in love with the characters, they are real, raw, and charismatic, John Green's narration is impeccable (as always), and the plot is suspenseful and dramatic. My favorite thing about this book is the themes and lessons it includes and how it really makes you question, well, basically everything. Paper Towns really makes you think about the harsh reality of the world, about people and the masks they present, and overall gives you a total existential crisis (but again, in a good way!) I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes John Green, mysteries, romance, and realistic fiction!

All The Bright Places:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, is a story that takes place in the fictional world of Bartlett, Indiana. It is based on real events, and is a realistic fiction love story starring Theodore Finch, an adventurous, resilient, yet suicidal boy diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and popular girl Violet Markey, who is grieving her dead sister. Violet and Finch are assigned to work together on a school project to explore the different "Wonders" of their hometown, and in the process they become friends, and possibly something more. This story teaches you to appreciate the little moments in life, sheds light on mental health problems in a completely real and raw way, and tells the story of two struggling teens, overcoming suicidal thoughts, grief, and guilt.

I know a movie just came out on Netflix- but PLEASE, do yourself a favor, read the book first! You won't regret it- it's an amazing read, it's not cliche or stereotypical at all and is filled with major plot twists- I guarantee that it will give you major feels and make you emotional for the next month.

The Raven Boys Series:

The Raven Boys, a four part book series by Maggie Stiefvater, follows the story of a group of friends: Gansey, a rich charismatic boy destined to die, Adam, a boy living in an abusive family who's struggling to figure out his own identity, Blue, the powerless daughter of psychics who also happens to be destined to kill Gansey, and Ronan, who has a pet bird named Chainsaw and honestly just that describes his character pretty well. The four teenagers are on a quest to uncover the buried grave of Welsh King Glendower, a hidden grave that is rumored to grant one wish to the one who uncovers it.

This story is filled with hidden gems, including but not limited to LGBTQ+ romance, assassins, car races, magic, psychics, Welsh kings, and energy maps/ley lines, and I can guarantee that it will make you want to rally your friends and roam around underground caves looking for dead Welsh kings (oddly specific, yet oddly accurate).

I highly recommend this book to anyone- It's one of my favorite books and I think it's so underrated and deserves so much more attention! The voice and narration of this book is top-tier, the plot is extremely unique and fascinating, but I think the best thing about this book has to be Maggie Stiefvater's characters: every single one, even the background characters, are so well-written and real, and the relationships between the characters are simply adorable! Unlike most YA books, this story focuses a lot on platonic love much more than it does on romance, and this book makes you really appreciate your family and friendships.

Six Of Crows Duology:

Six Of Crows, a two part book series by Leigh Bardugo is set in a fantasy world called Ketterdam. It stars Kaz Brekker, a gang leader and a thief who's life centers around revenge, Jesper Fahey, a loyal yet unstable gambling addict, Nina Zenik, a confident and charismatic girl with magical powers who misses her homeland, Inej Ghafa, a spy who was formerly kidnapped and sold into sex slavery and is trying to figure out what she wants from the world, Matthias Helvar, a former 'witch hunter' who is trying to learn to forgive, and Wylan Van Eck, a rich boy trying to escape the shadow of his abusive father. This group of unique individuals path's end up crossing when they receive an impossible mission: to infiltrate the 'Ice Court', one of the most safely guarded places in the world in return for a million dollars.

This story of adventure has an extremely intriguing plot, and the backstories of each character are fascinating and well-written. The book switches from each characters perspective to show the different sides to each character and switches from past to future scenes to portray their past histories and backstories. I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves adventure, dystopian fiction, and romance!

The Hunger Games Series:

If you haven't heard of the Hunger Games you may possibly be living under a rock- but if you haven't had the chance to read this series yet, or have only seen the films- read them! The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a dystopian series set in 'Panem', a world where every year, 24 kids get chosen to participate in a "Hunger Games'- aka a killing game where you try to be the last one to survive. It follows Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers to take her sister's place, and tells a raw and emotional tale about revolution, grief, family, and love.

This was really the book that got me into reading and seriously, it will change your life. The scenes are written with such great detail, the plot is intriguing and suspenseful, and there are so many hidden themes and lessons in each scene. This book will really make you question the world we live in and show you the tragic truth of poverty, grief, and revolution.

Since most of the world is in some type of quarantine or shelter in place right now, most of us don't have access to a public library or bookstore where we can get books but we live in an age of technology and there's lots of resources available online! If you want to read one of these books but don't own a copy, try googling an online PDF or using the Kindle app (Free 30 day trial!) to read.

If you have an opinion about any of the books on my list or want to share your own favorites and recommendations, comment down below!

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River N.
River N.
May 27, 2020

I've a few books to add that I enjoyed a lot:

  • Everything Everything, Nicola Yoon — it's such a good book with a plot twist that I never saw coming (though that could be because most plot twists get by me), and it's a really sweet teen romance. It's also a movie, and I'd recommend that, too. :)

  • Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston — possibly my new favourite book. It's an adorable gay romance between the First Son (not the current one) and a British prince. It's incredibly difficult to put down.

  • Whiskey When We're Dry, John Larison — if RW&RB is my first favourite, this is my second, despite the two being about as different as they…

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