Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten. This week’s theme is book recommendations to X person – the person could be your choice. According to me, reading lists are very personal and you can’t always predict what a person might like, so I compiled a list for readers who want to start reading YA but don’t know where to begin. I have included at least one book from my favorite genres, not necessarily the popular ones but the ones which have had a profound impact on me; have mostly used completed series because I wouldn’t want to subject a newbie to the torture of waiting for the next book in the series. 🙂 So here’s my Top Ten:
The Fault in our Stars
Maybe this one is expected when I talk about a recommendation from contemporary fiction, but The Fault in our Stars is a beautiful book. Death has never been so romanticized as it was in The Fault in our Stars. Perhaps the most beautiful thing about it is the fact that even if it a hopeless situation, you do it anyway because you want to. Also, John Green has sprinkled gems of phrases around the book like: ‘That’s the thing about pain: it demands to be felt’ or ‘Love is keeping the promise anyway’. This book completely transformed my view about contemporary YA fiction.
The Study series is my recommendation from the fantasy genre. The story of a young woman headed for execution who is given the option of becoming the food taster for the General of Ixia. She has latent magic powers but magic is prohibited in Ixia – so there begins a dangerous game of secrecy. Maria Snyder has written this series extremely well and the entire world-building is so amazing, you will fall in love with fantasy YA.
Another recommendation in the genre is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. It is an ongoing series about a young assassin Celaena Sardothien.
Wicked Lovely is both fantasy and paranormal. It is set in the current world but most of the events are set in the faery political world. Once again, great world-building but even more amazing is the writing. All the characters are so fleshed out that you root for almost all of them. The story shifts perspectives and the whole universe is dark and intense. This one is a must-read!
The Infernal Devices
I have included the Infernal Devices but actually it also includes The Mortal Instruments – the whole shadowhunter universe is something to fall in love with. If you love canon and wouldn’t mind being a geek about all things related to runes and Downworlders, then this series is for you. It is a paranormal mash-up, with everything from angels, demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, etc all together. There will be 2 other series in the universe – The Dark Artifices and another so far named TLH so no worries about ‘damn, this series ended’.
Another paranormal mash-up of angels and vampires, this one derives heavily from the biblical lore of angels. The premise is that there are these elite people in the world who are literally blue blooded and they cycle through their lives and come into their angelic memories. The story begins with Schuyler, a half-vampire who is the daughter of Gabrielle, but later on progresses onto storylines for other characters. The companion book Keys to the Repository is also great fun to read.
The Hunger Games
Ooh, dystopia! The hottest genre at this moment. The Hunger Games was almost not on my to-read list but then I saw a copy in my library one day and since then I have fallen in love with Collins’ writing. The most sparkling quality of the book is that it is not focused on the romance – it is more about the fall of an empire at the hands of a single symbol of hope. It’s gritty and dark and will leave you in despair but you will be happy you chose to read it.
Across the Universe
Ever wondered what would happen if humans set out to colonize another planet. Well, let Beth Revis take you on that adventure through Amy’s and Elder’s eyes, aboard their ship Godspeed. Lots of secrecy, racial discrimination, power plays and what not – you could say it is dystopian, science fiction and futuristic rolled into one. Oh, and do read the short stories too – definitely worth it.
This one is more of the horror genre in a post-apocalyptic world. It has also been shelved as zombie, but to become a zombie, you would have to die first, right? So, no zombie apocalypse but something similar. It’s an extremely intense survival story and totally absorbing – I had read all three books in a stretch and when I came up for air, I was so overwhelmed with euphoria, I cannot explain. Great descriptive writing and wonderful character development. Recommended for older teens and above, since it can get a bit gruesome at times. So, if gory is not your thing, maybe you should steer clear; otherwise, it is an awesome read!
If Grimm’s fairytales are your thing, then Jackson Pearce’s Fairytale Retellings series is for you. The series is not complete but since each of the book is basically a standalone set in the same universe, you can start with it. All the stories are set in the present world – with Sisters Red about Red Riding Hood, Sweetly about Hansel & Gretel and Fathomless about the Little Mermaid. Warning – the stories are not warm and fuzzy, and definitely have dark undertones but the writing is beautiful and just draws you in.
So, these are my recommendations for anybody who wants to start with the young-adult genre or wants to explore more of it. Do tell in the comments your thoughts regarding the series above.