Often, people ask me for my opinion of the best YA books out there. After all, in my circle of people, I am “the writer,” so people assume that if I’m into writing, I’m also into reading.
And let me just tell you, that assumption is 100% CORRECT. YA books are my drug of choice, and the only thing I love more than reading them is recommending them!
Here are the four books I’ve recommended most over the past year or so. Some were published this year, others aren’t quite so new, but I think there’s something here for everyone. All of these books can be purchased through the Amazon links on this page.
#1: STRANGE THE DREAMER – Laini Taylor
“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly.”
A mysterious lost city, alchemy, adorably nerdy librarians, and a cast of characters that are deeply flawed and profoundly lovable made me LOVE THIS BOOK. Also, the writing was so good, it inspired me to try a different style in my own work, and now I feel I can say that reading this book revolutionized my perspective of fiction writing altogether.
My only word of warning is that this story is really, really strange (pun not intended, but appreciated nonetheless), so be ready to have your mind blown if you pick up this first book in a two-book series.
#2: THE RAVEN BOYS – Maggie Steifvater
“Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.”
If there is any book that I have bashed people over the head with (figuratively speaking, of course), it’s this one. The characters feel so real, you expect them to walk through the door any minute–and again, even though they are deeply flawed, you just LOVE THEM.
Also: the ending of this first book in a four-book series literally made me yell “WHAT?!” in a public place. Buckle up.
#3: THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING – Erika Johansen
“Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler–and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.”
I absolutely LOVED the medieval feel of this book, and I was fascinated by the fact that it didn’t actually take place in medieval times. Society has returned to a feudalistic system after a dramatic event known as “the Crossing,” and as the history of the Tearling unfolds, the reader discovers more about the country’s tragic beginnings and how William Tear’s utopia turned into the flawed civilization it is now.
This book reminded me a bit of PILLARS OF THE EARTH, especially in the graphic details it included, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, proceed cautiously–but I very much enjoyed this trilogy!
#4: PULL BY ANNE RILEY
I know what you’re thinking. And the answer is, yes, I am recommending my own book, because I LOVE THIS BOOK, DARN IT, AND I THINK YOU WILL TOO.
Crime fighting and time manipulation in London. An old man’s mysterious death and the resulting fallout his granddaughter must deal with. And of course, all the witty dialogue you could ever want.
PULL was a labor of love for me, so I’m including it here because I do recommend it to you, especially if you like all of the above. One reviewer described it as The Mortal Instruments combined with Doctor Who, so there you go.
Happy reading, everyone!