So lately, it seems like I have been ‘attacking’ YA a lot, what with my Why I Really Need to Reduce Reading YA Contemporary and The Role of Male Leads in YA Fantasy (Just heartthrobs?) discussions, and it’s high time I shower some love on this broad, popular, loved genre. I’ve talked about both contemporary and fantasy but also, in each discussion, I have mentioned that exceptions exist! Even though it looks like I’m bashing this genre, truth is, a large part of my reading still consists of YA. And of course, in the midst of all this YA reading, I’ve come across a few exceptions, and a few ‘better YA’ books. So this is what I’ll be talking about today!
From A to Z, I’ll name one book/series/author (all YA) for each letter!
Let’s just look at my definitions of these two things :
‘Exceptions’ : The book is a masterpiece. It’s amazing, probably one of my favorites, and most probably does not fall into the regular ‘tropes’ which I have been bashing, and even if it does – the author does well to handle those tropes.
‘Better YA’ : These books are better than the books I have been bashing in the two discussion posts mentioned above. They are good books, and though they do fall prey to ‘tropes’, they can still be read and enjoyed. These books are better than the general category of YA books.
A – ACOTAR trilogy BY SJM
I know a lot of people have problems with this series and it has its flaws, but it’s definitely one of the better YA books out there. I really liked how the romance in the second book developed, and these books score high in entertainment factor.
B – Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
A refreshingly cute, short book which sends its message and manages to be warm and lovely, without entering into any major trope or shortcoming of YA.
C – Courtney Summers’ All the Rage
A hauntingly chilling portrayal of abuse, bullying and teasing, this book will tear you, break you and remain with you long after it’s over.
D – Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones
Another interesting, ‘out of the norm’ mystery-YA which deals with the murder of a young girl and her family’s endeavour to find out what happened to her.
E – Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of two misfits forming a connection and trying to fight their battles. Quirky, funny and nostalgic, this book is one of the few really beautiful YA Contemps I’ve read.
F – Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
A forbidden love, a heartfelt romance and shocking consequences. Though I was hesitant of picking this up, I was so moved by this, I still catch myself thinking about it once in a while.
G – Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy
This is one of my favorite sci-fi series; it’s that spectacular. A thrilling, fast-paced, full-of-twists-and-turns series, these books deal with different dimensions and traveling between those.
H – The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
This trilogy probably set the stage for YA dystopia to develop, and it will forever remain close to my heart. It’s an extremely well-written story, filled with complex characters and emotions and a fabulous setting and concept.
I – I‘ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.
This one is a clear masterpiece. It’s probably the best YA Contemporary book I’ve read, and it totally lived up to its hype and more. A beautifu, real portrayal of a sibling relationship, and the ups and down which come with it.
J – Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why
You cannot have talked about ‘heavier YA’ without bringing up this book. This book was one of the earliest YA contemporary books to talk about an issue like suicide and it has left its impact on literature.
K – We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
A gripping tale from the point of view of a mother whose son committed a school shooting. This book was an addictive book to read!
L – Looking for Alaska by John Green
I initially thought I’d mention TFioS, but then changed it to Looking for Alaska since I don’t like John Green enough to mention him twice. This was a really good read, deep and dark and different.
M – Morgan Matson. QUEEN.
She’s the go-to author when you’re in need for a YA Contemporary dealing with heavy issues. Though her lighter book, The Unexpected Everything didn’t really impress me, yet I’m still in love with the author, because she’s written some of the best YA I’ve read.
N – Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of A Funny Story
This book was so touching yet hilarious. A raw portrayal of mental illness, this book is one book which portrays mental illness as it should be, without romanticizing it.
O – (nothing at all because I don’t like that many YA)
P – The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This is one of the first lgbtq books to gain such wide acclaim and recognition, and it was indeed a great, short book which packed a punch.
Q – Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Another book dealing with mental illness, which doesn’t romanticise the affair. Oh, give me more such books!
R – The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Favorite YA Fantasy series. Beautiful magical writing coupled with stellar characterization, and add it to a unique story. You get a perfect series.
S – Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Because this book deserves a separate mention. This book is probably my second favorite YA Contemporary, right after IGYTS, and I adore it to bits.
T – Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me trilogy
Everyone is going to shout at me because this series actually falls prey to quite a few tropes, but I’m just trash for the characters. This one is an exception in the literal sense, because even though it has its flaws, I’m still drunk in love with this series.
U – (nothing at all because I don’t like that many YA)
V – Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I’m trash for Dimitri. I admit it. Dimitri (from this book series) and Warner (from Shatter Me series) are my two favorite male book leads, along with the four Raven Boys, and Dimitri is half the reason I put this series on this list. But anyhoo, though I’m pretty much over the vampire-phase of my life, I will always remember this series for its characters, story, romance, action, quirkiness and sass.
W – The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh
A duology based on magic and romance, this retelling of Arabian Nights was a delightful, wonderful read.
X – (nothing at all because I don’t like that many YA)
Y – (nothing at all because I don’t like that many YA)
Z – Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief
What do I say about this book which you haven’t already heard? It’s sepctacular, emotional, eye-opening and beautifully written. Will forever be remembered by me.
So that was my list of the YA books I’ve enjoyed reading and absolutely loved!