Category Archives: Featured Lists
Summer is here and I have something exciting for YA readers. This a Young Adult book reading challenge for all of you readers out there who are looking forward to lounging on the beach or in the park with some new tantalizingly addictive books. (This is also for readers who prefer to shut themselves away from the blinding sunlight and cuddle on the bed with the air conditioner on full strength.)
What do you win? Well… nothing tangible, but you will broaden your mind with a few trips into the wild imaginations of today’s best Young Adult authors.
This list is entirely adjustable to your own tastes, but if you’re struggling to figure out which books will be best to fill your spare time in these hot summer days then take your pick! And if you’re ambitious read them all!
If you live near a beach or if you’re on one of those dreaded family vacations bring along one of these books to make that long hot day in the sun roll by faster than a wave.
Summary: “On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown, it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.”
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Summary: “When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.”
Summary: “If fate sent you an email, would you answer? When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?”
So you hate the sun, summer is boring and you’d rather just lay on your bed and stare at the outdoors from your window? Well say no more! Here’s some books to keep you busy while you keep cool in the house.
Summary: “There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.
They call it the Heist.
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?”
“Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.
Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.
When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.”
It’s difficult to commit to a new series. What if it’s so good that you have to read the subsequent seven sequels that have already been published? How will you have the time? And you know you’ll make time, and important things will get set aside. So you’ve been avoiding reading those hot bestselling series that everybody else has been talking about. Well it’s summer and there’s no more excuses! Pick up one of these books and get the ball rolling… and don’t worry there’s not many sequels you have to catch up to with these ones.
Summary: “In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.”
“Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.
Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.
Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.”
Summary: “Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.”
What’s summer without a bit of romance to fill those balmy nights? Whether you’ve got someone special or not, these books will have you daydreaming the hot nights and days away.
Summary: “Salvador Resendez–Salva to his friends–appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He’s student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.
Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she’s also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.
Popular guy and bookish girl–the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever–because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.
Then tragedy strikes–and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth’s love be enough to save him?”
Summary: “When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.
Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.
Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.”
So not quite a romance book, but there’s a great love story in it and a fantastic story. Read Shadowfell first because this is the second in a trilogy. Summary: “Neryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec.
Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn’s love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one knows.”
While it is winter in Australia, the other side of the world is currently enjoying a hot summer – and so am I! I’m currently in the USA and will be travelling to Italy and France in a couple weeks. Holidays are for relaxing and while school sometimes makes it seem like reading is a chore, picking up a book or two while you’re laying on a beach, in a park, on the couch at home can be fun! Here is my list of books that I hope to read in the next few months. I probably won’t get through them all but it’ll give me and everybody else reading this list some choice. Don’t forget to tell us what you’ll be reading this summer in the comments box below!
This list is a work-in-progress, at least until my as yet non existant children are born and are old enough to read. I’d love to hear everybody else’s opinions on some of the books that affected them when they were young. FYI these are listed in no particular order.
Summary: “For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.
Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.
Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.”
Reasoning: We had to read this book in 9th Grade. Yes it’s an Australian book which is why you probably haven’t heard of it or read it (unless you’re an Australian). Being from an Italian background, and sharing the same name as the heroine this book really struck a chord for me. I never felt like I belonged. Was I Australian or Italian? Now I’m going to be marrying an American and my children are going to be half Australian and half American (with Italian looks most likely) I’m sure this book will have something meaningful for them in it like it did for me.
Summary: “Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed for ever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!”
Reasoning: I cannot imagine anybody from my generation neglecting to give this magnificent series of books to their children. I hope that the recent news about HP being studied in schools will only grow. I would love for my children to study them. Although that brings up the debate whether kids grow to hate books they’re forced to study, even if they are good books. More on that another time. Harry Potter just encapsulates everything that YA and Children’s fiction should have: magic, fantasy, love, mystery, pain, and adventure. I don’t think I will ever read a series I love more and that makes me sad, because I can never go back and have that ‘reading for the first time’ feeling again.
Summary: “High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.
But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop.
When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love.”
Reasoning: I’ve always loved YA Fantasy, and when I discovered that Juliet Marillier had written one of her incredible fantasy books for Young Adults I excitedly bought it from the bookstore and read it in one day. Boy was it gorgeous. An otherworld that I would happily move to, like one of the characters does, and Stephenie Meyer’s Edward eat your heart out because Marillier got the mysteriously sexy and smouldering quiet boy first. This must sound like nonsensical rambling to someone who has not read this book but I can’t recommend it highly enough. My reason for wanting my children to read this is that it has powerful female and male role models as does Marillier’s sequel, Cybele’s Secret and all of the books on this list. I feel like YA is starting to get corrupted by weak female role models, interestingly written BY females. These books will hopefully set any daughters and sons I have on the right path of equal rights for both sexes.
Summary: “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival”
Reasoning: The Hunger Games is relatively new so you might be wondering why it is on this short list. It’s simple: Katniss is a sharp, intelligent girl who beats all the odds (pun intended) to ensure the survival of herself and her friends, family and anybody else who is not part of the Capitol’s corrupt government. She is basically the female version of Harry Potter. The story itself has some flaws, and the ending of Mockingjay was disappointedly rushed, but the characters have a depth that I want my children to understand. It’s not about the way you look that defines who you are, it’s who you are as a person: intelligence, passion and love.