I wanted to do a different spin on the Top <fill in the blank> Tuesday and so I came up with an idea. There was NO DOUBT that there was a landslide of Young Adult books that led me to start Novel Lives. I am not going to review or even attempt a mini-review of each. I went on a YA reading binge between June 2016 until Novel Lives launched in July 2018 and no they weren’t all home-runs. Even those that were, I can’t list them all here.
First, I’m sure I’d forget something or someone and second I have read so much in my life that it would be unfair to say other books haven’t influenced my writing in this space or other spaces outside of this piece of the internet. So please don’t lambaste me with BUT WHAT ABOUT X Y and Z. Chances are I’ve read them or plan to read them… Lord knows I’ve learned about SO many since beginning my journey to Novel Lives. Even those I’ve read haven’t all been in the time frame I focused on. If there wasn’t a time frame the list would have been a book in itself.
Certain books definitely left an impenetrable mark on my heart, my soul, my conscience and in some cases, changed me as a person (or my ability to sleep… you know who you are).
However, the Six of Crows Duology by Madame Leigh Bardugo is heads and tails above all others (<ahem> it will be a trilogy… I will hold on to this hope until I no longer roam this earth..) in my heart. I mean I did make “KAZ” my license plate. As they say in Kerch, the deal’s the deal. There will be a brick by brick tattoo coming to fruition.
Next is the Scythe Trilogy (Toll is coming… IT IS COMING) by the Storyman, Neal Shusterman. It will always remain right behind Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Completely different books <ahem> #BasicIncome, anyone? The #Thunderhead knows.
The rest are listed in alphabetical order because… I can’t… I just can’t order them by the love I have for each. Yes. Some would be easier than others but even having said that… don’t ask me to… I won’t and I can’t.
For some it is a more horrific draw… an attachment based on being placed between empathy and disgust, and four days of insomnia (you know who you are) <— You ssee a pattern there, right?! If you are paying attention, you see a pattern.
While, for others it is a love for the gift they’ve brought to the world. Others have provided desperately needed escapes and some desperately needed hope. Lessons taught me about the world, about myself and one a plan, a future I never got to live out. One that I miss with every beat of my heart. They are all too meaningful and too different in their respective purpose to single out and say one belongs before another. That is not what we do to art. And all of these are pieces of art.
If you haven’t picked them up, I highly encourage you to do so. They are all precious and had I been blogging at the time, I can’t even imagine what I would have written. #EmotionalFlailing doesn’t even begin to cover what I went through during each book as I read it, often throwing it at whoever had the misfortune of being in the room, park or my path at the time; a friend, ex-boyfriend, cat… or, yes tweeting at the author… many <ahem> my dear @writeinbk and @getnicced I heart you both for putting up with me and Gomez, as we read your books. We couldn’t have handled them from the fetal position without your support, your beautiful soul and brilliance.
While romance remains a trigger to me know that Adam Silvera remains the one writer I can and will read, romance included, because… Adam. I will always feel safe in his art. Even when my heart is breaking for the love and best friend I have lost and for that I thank you a million times over. <3 @adamsilvera
Oh and my dear @mariekeyn for responding to my students on the drop of a dime in the middle of class, which did more for them than anything I could say as they read This is Where it Ends. Reading it as they one day ran into class yelling that what was happening in the book was playing out in a classroom in Florida and could we please put on the TV. In stunned silence, we watched Parkland unfold. Thank you for taking the time to respond to all of us, and for your work, which helped them process such horrific events.
Again- not to say any other author on this list wouldn’t do the same. Shaun David Hutchinson once side tracked with me about Zombies on bikes… ! I just haven’t gotten a chance to interact with everyone… 🙂 The YA community for all the bad press it sometimes gets is a wonderful community.
Justina Ireland has interacted with me via email numerous times and has always been nothing but kind! She even got my Walking Dead joke on twitter! 🙂 This is my chance to say thank you for their art, their time and their brilliance. I hope you are all around to give your gifts to the world for many moons to come!
Mister Storyman can get a bit cheeky with his Thunderhead Q&A when you ask about the release of Toll… but that’s OK. Desperate fans want to know… I am willing to take one for the team and let the Thunderhead label me #unsavory. ;P
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black And if you haven't seen my ARC review of the Wicked King... Dear Martin by Nic Stone Dread Nation by Justina Ireland Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson For Everyone by Jason Reynolds The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey Apparently one of her gifts was aggravating my insomnia for FOUR DAYS. M.R. Carey knows who he is<-there's that pattern... Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight *Admittedly this is not a YA book but I had to include it and no this books is not about being an asshole! Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds Miles Morales Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson One Last Word by Nikki Grimes Gaither Sisters Trilogy Box Set by Rita Williams-Garcia Release by Patrick Ness They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp