Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations for people who want to get into YA

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  The topics are officially back, and this week is all about book recommendations.  The actual theme is ten book recommendations for _____, and I decided to go with ten book recommendations for people who want to get into YA.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why adults read YA.  For me, it’s an escape from the everyday realities of my adult life – work, bills, conflict – but the genre has also evolved from when I was within the target demographic.  For the most part, the genre has grown out of its former boy drama stereotype and branched out into much more varied stories.

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If you follow YA at all, you’ve probably seen a lot of hype surrounding Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  It’s a poetically written, character-driven story about two polar opposites who become friends and grow into better people.

Similarly, Morgan Matson’s books always get a fair bit of hype, and with good reason.  She crafts realistic characters who face real-world problems in an age-appropriate way – something that used to be almost unheard of in YA.  In Since You’ve Been Gone, Emily’s best friend has disappeared without a trace, leaving her only a list of thirteen tasks to complete before summer ends.

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An author that (almost) always does the genre justice is Libba Bray.  I’ve been a huge fan of hers for over a decade now, and I continue to read everything that she publishes.

In Beauty Queens, Bray delivers a story focused on a group of teenage beauty pageant contestants that have been stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash.  The diverse cast uses their combined talents to survive while simultaneously dismantling the patriarchy.

Changing styles completely, Bray’s Lair of Dreams follows a psychic flapper and her oddball group of friends through 1920′s New York City as they solve mysteries and fight stereotypes.  This spooky series is ongoing, with the third book publishing later this year.

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The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr, a young girl who witnesses police shooting (and killing) her unarmed friend, and the fallout from friends, family, and the media.  In addition to police brutality, it discusses the demonization of victims and the realities of being a young POC in the United States.  Somehow, Thomas does this without ever once sounding preachy.

By now, Red Rising is a few years old, and you’ve probably either read it or decided that you’re over the hype.  On the off chance that you haven’t, let me tell you about this wonderful story.  This intricately built world features a number of castes and a protagonist who attempts to dismantle the system from within. It’s rare for dystopian YA to feel new, but Pierce Brown has created an incredible world.

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David Levithan is a pretty ubiquitous YA author, and his books rarely disappoint.  The best in recent memory is his collaboration with Nina LaCour, You Know Me Well. Stepping aside from the typical romance plot, Levithan and LaCour build a beautiful friendship between two strangers struggling with their own problems.

With a host of taboo topics, The Death of Bees easily steps away from what you might expect from YA.  This is a dark, twisted, creepy story about the powerful relationship between two sisters, and everything that the older sister would do to keep the younger one safe.  Tackling topics such as drug abuse, dead parents, and prostitution, it’s not for the squeamish, but it’s so worth it if you’re willing to take a chance.

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Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On is unlike anything I’ve ever read.  It’s based on the world of Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque character from Rowell’s Fangirl, and Simon’s rival-slash-love interest, Baz.  Simon and Baz put their differences aside to fight some evil monsters, and somehow, at the same time, fall in love.

My Lady Jane is based on the true story of Lady Jane Grey.  The authors take a lot of creative liberties with Jane’s life, involving shapeshifters and a bunch of Monty Python-style references, to create a hilarious retelling of the events that led to England’s Nine Day Queen.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten of 2017 (So Far)

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in forever, and today’s Monday, but I have something special lined up for tomorrow and I loved this week’s theme! So here we have it: my top ten books of 2017 (this far).  2017 has been a great year as far as books go.  I gave nine of these five stars and one was a high four. Read on for my top picks for the first half of 2017.

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Infini // Operation Prom Date

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Anything You Can Do // Arm Candy // My Lady Jane

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Madly // Catch and Release

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The Hate U Give // If I Was Your Girl // We Should All Be Feminists

So far, what are your standout books of 2017?

Book review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Goodreads   Amazon

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” 

Sixteen-year-old Starr is coming home from a party when she witnesses her childhood best friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. Although Khalil was unarmed and, by all measures, not a threat, it seems that everybody has an opinion about what happened. The media calls him a thug, a gangbanger, and a possible drug dealer, but Starr knows the truth about what happened. Can she set the record straight? And is it even worth all the threats she’ll get in the process?

It seems like The Hate U Give is everywhere right now. The entire internet is obsessed with it, and for good reason. This book is incredible. I cannot believe that this is a debut. Angie Thomas is somehow able to capture every feeling surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and wrap it up in an engaging story that never once sounds preachy.

Honestly, I feel like I could write a full-length novel about how much I loved this book and how relevant it is to today’s society. Rather than waste your time reading my rambles about this amazing, powerful book, I would suggest that you take that time to go pick it up from your local bookstore or library. I can’t imagine that you’ll regret it.

Final rating: ★★★★★

#mmdreading: a book of any genre that addresses current events

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 debuts that I’m excited for

Happy first Top Ten Tuesday of 2017!  Today’s theme is ten 2017 debuts that I’m excited for*.  There are actually a ton of debuts I’m looking forward to this year, so it was kind of hand to pick ten. I changed my mind a couple times (sorry to the authors I left off the list!) and finally settled on these books.

* I did not list books that I’ve already read.  2017 ARCs that I really loved will show up on my best of 2016 lists!

Goodreads links below:

WAIT FOR ME // WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE
SEVEN DAYS OF YOU // THE HATE U GIVE
ONE OF US IS LYING // CARAVAL
YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME // HOW TO BREAK A BOY
FOLLOW ME BACK // THIS BEATS PERFECT

Which debuts are you excited for?