July 27, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 3)

I love all books, but the ones that most need shout outs are the ones that aren't known to a lot of people. So today I'm continuing my underrated YA series with some more little talked about but AWESOME reads.

Again, I also recommend you check out the hashtag #quietYA, started by @DailyJulianne for tons of great under the radar suggestions.

Here's part 3 (with a reminder that stats were gathered on April 6, 2015 and may have changed since then)...

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Torched by Andrea Colt [392 ratings, 3.97 average]
A fun and swoony contemp romance meets compelling high school set mystery. Loved the two main characters and their interactions so much!!

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler [591 ratings, 4.00 average]
Dahlia has such a dynamic internet presence that it's hard to believe only 591 people have rated this book. This is a Hollywood YA story, one that I think would appeal both to those who normally love and those who normally loathe the typical Hollywood YA books. Cute, charming, swoony, with great friendship and family issues. A perfect YA/NA hybrid.

Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn [652 ratings, 3.61 average]
Nyrae Dawn always crafts such complex characters who feel truly real. She writes with an emotional honesty that I adore. This book in particular is a great read for any fan of contemp YA, with a fabulous message of finding the beauty in yourself which comes across in such a natural way.

Forget Me by K.A. Harrington [1,231 ratings, 3.73 average]
Forget Me is a straight up contemporary mystery/thriller, which we don’t see a lot of in YA. I loved this book because it was so hard to predict! It could have gone so many ways, and I really enjoyed the journey it took me on. Bonus points: the creepy/eerie feel a lot of the scenes had, and a strong friendship between two females who were unflinchingly loving to and supportive of one another (yes!!).

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales [1,298 ratings, 3.50 average]
This book is so delightful, so funny, and so honest. It perfectly captures the angst and humour of being a teenager. Such a fabulous friendship book as well. I highly recommend all of Leila’s books.

Something Real by Heather Demetrios [2,173 ratings, 4.01 average]
This is an amazing contemporary that really spoke to me. It has such great characters, a crazy interesting plot (the main character and her siblings have grown up as part of a reality TV show!), a slow burn romance, and that certain unknowable quality that made it "unputdownable".

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Wilson [2,873 ratings, 3.99 average]
I’m so surprised more people haven’t read this one! It’s a heartbreaking love story with strong themes involving class and race. I’m sad that it’s still relevant – maybe especially relevant – these days, but the work itself is gorgeously written.

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando [3,383 ratings, 3.64 average]
I adored what this book had to say about friendship, romantic relationships, growing up, and change. It tells the story of two girls from totally different parts of the country, with very different lives, who are going to become college roommates. This is a great book which features a very meaningful friendship which grows online, and some incredibly well defined secondary characters. I love NA, but this is the type of college related story that I find relatable.

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker [4,426 ratings, 3.80 average]
This is a book about a lost friendship. A book about a summer sailing trip. A book about family, about romance, about endings and beginnings. If you’re looking for an emotionally satisfying contemp YA, this is one to check out. Bonus awesome: Clem’s little sister Olive, one of the best sibling characters I can remember reading about.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord [6,192 ratings, 3.94 average]
I am a sucker for stories about people with connections to famous people, so this book where the main character is the BFF of a Taylor Swift-esque figure and goes on tour with her for the summer is kind of like my crack. Reagan is a prickly main character who you can't help but root for. I loved the friendship, the road trip-esque aspect, and the romance. Just soooo much amazingness going on here.

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergen [Book 1: 12,330 ratings, 4.08 average; Book 5: 705 ratings, 4.45 average]
Again, decently high number of people reading this book, but when it comes to the last book in the series only around 700 have marked it as read. You can see by the high ratings that this book is beloved. Time travel to 14th Century Italy, anyone? I loved the family aspect to the series, the history, the romance – basically everything about this book and the series is done so well.

Just writing about these books makes me want to re-read them!! I hope you'll check out some of these recommendations, and stay tuned for Part 4!

July 22, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 2)

I posted Part 1 of my favourite underrated YA books awhile ago, and today I'm back with Part 2. You can check out the first post for my thoughts about the meaning of underrated vs what people mean what they say it. I also recommend you check out the hashtag #quietYA, started by @DailyJulianne for some great under the radar suggestions.

Alright, here's part 2 (with a reminder that stats were gathered on April 6, 2015 and may have changed since then):

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Apparition by Gail Gallant [190 ratings, 3.84 average]
Canadian set YA ghost story? Yes please! I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The ghost part was eerie but never truly scary (a good thing IMO). I loved the characters and their relationships. This felt like a real contemporary novel where there just happened to be a paranormal element, which is something I always enjoy.

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin [544 ratings, 3.67 average]
This is a contemp with a great mix of heavy and light emotions. It has a music theme to it, and it tells a great story of boys, family, and growing up. I especially liked that it featured exes who were both to blame for the break-up, and I thought that the author did a great job of telling a “will they, won’t they” story.

Kiss. Kill. Vanish. by Jessica Martinez [640 ratings, 3.61 average]
This book is exciting, romantic, and thrilling. There’s a certain twistiness to the story, a real slow reveal of what happened to Valentina (or Jane, as she’s calling herself in Montreal). I can’t say too much except I was still thinking about this book months after I read it. I truly believe this is the strongest of Jessica’s books yet, and I was a huge fan of Virtuosity as well.

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker [1,028 ratings, 3.50 average]
What I wrote in my review for this book: ‘Small Town Sinners’ is an incredibly compelling and touching novel. Melissa Walker offers a very nuanced and non-judgmental examination of religion, belief, and truth. I get that the topic of this novel will turn some people off, but I honestly find it such a relevant and honest novel that a lot of teens may be able to relate to. It's not easy to reconcile faith and modern society, and Small Town Sinners takes on one aspect of that.

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins [1,735 ratings, 3.85 average]
Please ignore the over-used cover models and focus on the inside of this book. This was released as YA, but I definitely consider it a hybrid NA book. It features an aspiring chef and a wounded war veteran. Sooooo much character growth in this book, such an amazing story of finding your path in life, and the romance is absolutely beautiful. When you can do family, friends, and romance well in one book I am a happy contemporary lover.

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding [2,077 ratings, 3.89 average]
If you’re looking for a book about a complicated mother/daughter relationship I’d highly recommend this one. Also great in this book: teens acting like real teens, show choir/musical theatre, and a cute (nerdy!) boy.

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross [2,315 ratings, 4.18 average]
Sporty heroine and sporty hero. Swoony, sweet romance. Complicated (but also amazing) family dynamic. I could keep going and going listing all the things Julie Cross has added to this book and done such a good job portraying. I loveddddd this novel and how it made me feel, and it makes me so excited for her hockey book to come out next year.

Shadows by Paula Weston [3,260 ratings, 4.00 average]
This is an Australian novel, and it's been out in North America for about a year and a half now. I highly suggest you drop everything and READ. THIS. BOOK. I'm so serious about this. This very quickly became one of my absolute favourite series. Fabulous characters, including tons of strong females. Epic, explosive chemistry between two of the leads. Wonderful world building and HIGH STAKES for the characters. Plus I love the setting and general tone of the book.

Star Crossed by Elizabeth Bunce [5,178 ratings, 3.81 average]
Such an interesting fantasy read, with fabulous characters and amazing world building. If you enjoy fantasy novels involving magic, court politics, and religion I definitely recommend this one. Celyn (or Digger) is a delightful main character, so strong, intelligent, and loyal.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood [Book 1: 10,826 ratings, 3.91 average; Book 3: 1,431 ratings, 4.17 average]
A trilogy about sisters, witches, feminism, and about love in its many forms. I love this magical alternate history. Such a smart, emotional, romantic, feel-the-emotions-in-your-stomach series.

I hope you'll check out some of these recommendations, and stay tuned for Part 3!


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