My YA fiction fix …

Why, hello there vivacious reader (Viv)! I’ve been thinking about you, wanting to catch up, say hi.

So, why haven’t you then? 

To be honest, I’ve been spending my free time voraciously binge reading books in the young adult science fiction/fantasy genre and have only taken breaks for life’s basic necessities.

Hm. Glad to see I come after YA fiction … Also, aren’t you a little old for YA fiction? Weren’t you an English major? No doubt you read classics like Dickens and Shakespeare. Aren’t the Lunar Chronicles kind of … beneath you? 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Viv. Let’s clear some things up. You can never be too old for YA fiction. Just because I can appreciate some beautiful figurative language and deep, thought-provoking prose doesn’t mean I can’t also appreciate some popcorn reading. I’ll follow the likes of All the Light We Cannot See and The Goldfinch with Cinder in a heartbeat. You should give it a chance!

[eye roll] All right. As long as it’s on my kindle so no one sees me reading something like The Selection in public. I have a reputation to protect. 

If that’s how you want to play it, that’s fine. The anonymity of kindles is quite convenient.

I’m only asking this because of your unbridled enthusiasm and because, as your friend, I feel obligated. What do you recommend? 

Love your honesty, Viv. Here are the worlds my brain’s been happily inhabiting:

Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series, books 1 & 2: Wizard’s First Rule and Stone of Tears

Classically epic hero’s journey with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and a kick-ass female character which, Viv, I know you’ll appreciate. The romance isn’t overbearing, though the male gaze is kinda obnoxious at times. (It came as no surprise that Terry is a guy). I’ll be honest, at times it just felt like one trial after another with no end in sight – a grueling trek up a mountain, but I was too invested to stop reading – a good sign.

Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn Series: The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger 

You’ll probably enjoy the female protagonist’s feistiness. It’s also just beautiful writing with plenty of lovely imagery. I enjoyed the understated magical element and the inspiration from A Thousand and One Nights. Overall, it’s a nice balance of plot and character development.

Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above, Fairest

Um, this series sucked me in. It was a pure pleasure to read it. I seriously felt the childlike giddiness I experienced with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. The characters are so three-dimensional. The dialogue is great. The character development across the series is great. It’s just a fun series. And, the retelling aspect is enjoyable without being over-the-top or cliché. I mean, Cinderella is re-imagined as a cyborg mechanic. Brilliant.

Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes

an ember in the ashes

Interesting world-building with a dynamic plot and nuanced portrayals of relationships. It switches back and forth between the two main characters’ perspectives, which adds some depth to the story. I’ll definitely be reading the second book which comes out at the end of this August.

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys

the raven boys

I felt “meh” about this one, though I liked it enough to finish it. I may continue the series at a later point, but I don’t feel compelled to do so. I enjoyed the female protagonist’s atypical quirkiness contrasted with the obnoxious and arrogant “raven boys,” but ultimately I found myself uninterested in their “quest.”

Kiera Cass’s The Selection Series: The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, The Crown

Of all the books on this list, these felt the most “Young Adult.” By the third book, the protagonist’s indecision about whether or not she loved the main dude was exhausting. Even so, they were quick, entertaining reads that I’d recommend for a lazy day at the beach. It’s kind of like The Bachelor meets Hunger Games (except the stakes aren’t as high as in Hunger Games). The last two, which follows a different character’s perspective aren’t as entertaining as the first three, but the perfectionist in me had to see the series through.

Happy reading, Viv!

Next on my reading list: Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series! What are you reading these days?

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