So, a million years ago, I went to college and got a degree in English, which meant I slogged through–er–read ALL THE THINGS. Well, all the long, “important” things, anyway. Sometimes I loved it, and sometimes it just made my brain tired. (I had an entire semester on James Joyce. If you know who he is, you’ll understand.) Which brings me to why I love reading YA lit: it’s short! It’s fun! It’s exciting! Bonus: it’s usually clean!
I love classic literature, and no one will replace Jane Austen or Henry James for me. But I also can’t power through Austen or James in 24 hours, riveted to the page the whole time. Great YA novels are like a great film–you just can’t tear yourself away to eat or pee or sleep. I know there are a lot of you out there who are reading this stuff right along with me, but for those who aren’t, may I recommend a few fabulous YA novels that I know are real page-chewers? Even if you think of yourself as a slow reader…trust me, you won’t be able to put these down.
Divergent series: “In a world“ where people are tested to see what their strengths are, Roth’s heroine gets to choose her own fate. She’s gutsy and awesome, but in a totally relateable way, while the world basically goes to hell around her. It’s fantastic. Allegiant comes out in October, and I can hardly stand it!
Legend series: Marie Lu is one clean writer, which makes the action in these books fly. Reading them is like being inside the movie I’m sure they’re going to end up making. I don’t even know how to describe these books, because they’re not quite like anything else. Just go read them! Champion TBR in November.
Variant series: I don’t even remember how I found these books, but I LOVED them. Wells puts you right inside the head of his protagonist, who is totally bewildered by what the crap is going on. It’s fascinating and kind of crazy and really fun.
Under the Never Sky series: Two people from completely different worlds have to depend on each other for survival. It’s a wild ride, and the tension between the two of them is pretty well-written. The settings are absolutely fabulous. Book 3, Into the Still Blue, is coming next year.
Delirium series: Lena has to run to maintain her free will. I was absolutely in love with the first two, but the third wasn’t quite as good, IMO. Still, I couldn’t put it down, and it was worth reading. There is a bit of language, here–you’ve been warned.
The Mortal Instruments series: definitely falls on the supernatural end of the scale, but they really move. These are a little heavier on the romance, but that can be fun. The first 2-3 are the best, in my opinion. Read City of Bones before the movie comes out later this month!
Unearthly series: OK, these are definitely heavy on the romance…but who doesn’t like a love story? The cover is downright goofy, in my opinion, but don’t let it fool you–the novels are anything but. Cynthia Hand is a writer with gravitas, and despite the paranormal premise, the books and characters are entirely relateable and lovely. I will read these again, which is saying something.
The Hunger Games series: If you haven’t read these, climb out from under your rock! They’re definitely more gripping (and sometimes more disturbing) than pretty much anything out there–and there’s more going on, here, than in the movies. Go on, now!