Back again with another round of favourites to talk about! This time I’ll be focusing on YA novels and authors. I absolutely ADORE YA – all the magic and fun, all the great emerging and established authors. Let’s go!
1. “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey
Cassie is running from aliens. Not scary little green Martians. They look just like everyone else. You can’t tell who’s on your side and who’s not. Her goal? Save her brother from their clutches. And she’ll do anything to accomplish that.
I was skeptical about this series when I first heard of it—I thought it seemed average, a typical YA with a bad love triangle thrown in there. I have never been more wrong. The strong characters, non-linear storytelling, swapping POVs… everything comes together to tell a heart-wrenching, nail-biting story. You feel Cassie’s struggles, her pain, her incredible sarcasm and bluntness. You’re there with Zombie as he changes from boy to man, as he discovers who he is and how to be a leader. An amazingly haunting sci-fi.
Yancey’s style… I hardly know where to begin my praise. He writes so chillingly, with flair and grace, with darkness and humanity. I get goosebumps every time I reread the series (and I reread it once a year now that it’s complete). He inspired me to embrace my own style, and be unafraid of writing artistic prose in novels. Readers are out there, and that type of writing has power like no other.
2. “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard
Blood rules the world. The Silvers are elite, possessing magic and power. The Reds are commoners, workers, soldiers. Mare Barrow finds herself entangled in a web of politics when she, a Redblood, turns our to have powers of her own.
My friends got me into—and hooked—on this series. Mare is brash and sneaky and basically everything I love in a character. The villains are complex, the plot interesting, the worldbuilding… *chefs kiss*. This series is basically my goal for dedication, style, characterization and twists. I haven’t read War Storm yet, but it’s sitting on my shelf waiting for me, and I eagerly await it.
Aveyard writes first person so well. Each character’s voice is distinct, their thought patterns and goals their own. Her timing is extremely well executed, the plot reveals coming just as you want them to. Not only that, but having LGBTQ+ characters (that happen to be some of my favourites, through sheer coincidence) always makes me love a book and author even more. Who are they? Go read and find out!
3. “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” by Patrick Ness
What if you’re not the Chosen One? What if you’re just a highschooler, dealing with your own life and problems and health, like Mikey? What happens then?
It isn’t hard to make me cry, especially reading, but this book got me hard. Being able to see myself in a book isn’t rare, but seeing myself and my friends, in a diverse cast (from health to religion to ethnicity to orientation) felt special. I was moved by how important an ordinary story is, and having my own struggles highlighted as More important, in fact as the Most important plot point, was warming. One of those stories I wish I had been able to read as a teen, and a book I’m glad teens have now.
I hadn’t read Patrick Ness before this book, and I love his style and how personal it feels to read. The little insights into the lives of the Chosen Ones having fantastical adventures in each chapter was a brilliant move. I can’t wait to get my hands on his other books and see how his style works across all his novels.
The next and final installment will be about Adult novels (and, yes, I’ll do my best not to make it entirely about fantasy). Until next time!
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