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LugaJetboyGirl-irra

Young Adult Books: Discuss!

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For the life of me, I can't find an actual Young Adult discussion thread, other than the 'series recommendation' one. 

I guess that means we need a thread for discussing all things Young Adult, although I hope we will focus on speculative fiction. 

I'll start. Over in the Best Reads of 2016 thread, I posted this:

These are the best Young Adult books I read this year:

Corinne Duyvis, On the Edge of Gone 

Franny Billinsley, Chime

Hugh Howey, Sand Omnibus

Melissa Landers, Starflight

Kathy MacMillan, The Sword and the Verse

Marie Rutkowski, Winner's Kiss 

Alison Goodman, The Dark Days Club

Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King

Libba Bray, Lair of Dreams

Robin Mckinley, Chalice

 

Have you guys read any good YA lately, and why's it good?

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Yay! A place for me! 

I started The Dark Days Club but it didn't grab me and a bunch of other books called me so I never went back to it. I suppose I'll add it back to my TBR. I also read The Raven King and a few of us discussed the conclusion of the series. I didn't find it satisfying in the end.

So this is what I read last year, and my only five star rating went to And I Darken with The Midnight Star pulling up a close second. In both cases the main characters are anti-heroines through and through and I loved that. The Young Elites was a very good series in my mind, and Adelina was such a great protagonist. I'm also very excited to read the followup to And I Darken, Now I Rise. Lada is fierce and fearless and well, mean and ruthless. Fantastic. The Wrath and the Dawn books are a retelling of Bluebeard/Arabian Nights, and while retellings or reimaginings are everywhere, Renee Ahdieh really made it her own, again with a strong lead female. Three Dark Crowns 75% ho-hum but I kept with it and I'm interested in the follow-up given the discoveries made in the end about at least one (but really two) sisters. Heartless was my introduction to Marissa Meyer and I almost stopped reading in the early goings because I just didn't think I could take another retell, and yet, it ended up being more than that. Ember in the Ashes is also enjoyable and for some unknown reason I'm keeping on with the Red Queen story. I'm hoping the villain wins in the end.

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1) Renee Ahdieh    

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2) Renee Ahdieh         

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)  Sabaa Tahir              

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2) Sabaa Tahir          

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)  Maggie Stiefvater             

And I Darken (The Conquerer's Saga, #1)              Kiersten White

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1) Seanan McGuire             

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites, #3)               Marie Lu             

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) Victoria Aveyard 

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1) Kendare Blake        

Heartless  Marissa Meyer   

Are the Sarah J Maas series (Throne of Glass or Court of..) considered YA? They seem a little more adult than young? Along the lines of Rosamund Hodge perhaps? At any rate, her writing has gotten better with each book and I'm looking forward to the conclusion to both series.

Books I'm looking forward to reading this year:

Strange the Dreamer Laini Taylor (I enjoyed her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series)       

Flame in the Mist Renee Ahdieh 

Hunted Meagan Spooner 

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Going to rec, any opportunity I get, Cynthia Voight.  Her Kingdom series is awesome.  

Wings of a Falcon is my fave, but Jackaroo and On Fortune's Wheel were great too.  Still haven't read the last one.  

#notjustforkids

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Posted (edited)

Oh man The Raven King was 2016, wasn't it?

So my two recent favorites are The Raven King by Maggie Stievater and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. And I loved what I read of The Call by Peadar, but I was in a bad headspace when it came out and I had to bail or lose my damned mind. 

I really, really tried to love The Young Elites by Marie Yu, but I just couldn't get into the characters. I will try again this winter.

And HOLY SHIT yeah Kair -- Every Heart a Doorway I bought on a lark and it destroyed me. It's definitely going on the Hugo rec list. Cannot wait for the followups.

Another good YA book I read was Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. I think his Bone Street Rumba universe books are a bit stronger in voice, but I love that all of his protagonists and most characters are POC and frequently queer, and in a totally believable way. In Shadowshaper, the main character is a teenage Latina mural artist. 

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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Larrytheimp, I've not come across Cynthia Voight before. The Kindle version of Jackaroo has a pretty steep price, but it's got a romantic masked hero saving the day? Catnip, right there.

Kair, And I Darken has gotten some rave reviews, but I haven't read it yet because it looks absolutely brutal. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Xray, I still have to read both Crooked Kingdom and The Call. Thanks for reminding me!

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1 minute ago, LugaJetboyGirl-irra said:

No. Go away.

Fair enough. 

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54 minutes ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Oh man The Raven King was 2016, wasn't it?

So my two recent favorites are The Raven King by Maggie Stievater and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. And I loved what I read of The Call by Peadar, but I was in a bad headspace when it came out and I had to bail or lose my damned mind. 

I really, really tried to love The Young Elites by Marie Yu, but I just couldn't get into the characters. I will try again this winter.

And HOLY SHIT yeah Kair -- Every Heart a Doorway I bought on a lark and it destroyed me. It's definitely going on the Hugo rec list. Cannot wait for the followups.

Another good YA book I read was Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. I think his Bone Street Rumba universe books are a bit stronger in voice, but I love that all of his protagonists and most characters are POC and frequently queer, and in a totally believable way. In Shadowshaper, the main character is a teenage Latina mural artist. 

I haven't even heard of the raven king before. In fact i haven't even heard of Maggie Stievater before. Was she famous for anything before she wrote it? I hadn't heard of crooked kingdom before either. To be honest I haven't read many young adult books. Maybe im in the wrong thread then XD. Was the call so bad that you dint like it or was it a dark story. Interesting that a young adult book could provoke such a strong reaction.

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1 hour ago, LugaJetboyGirl-irra said:

 

Kair, And I Darken has gotten some rave reviews, but I haven't read it yet because it looks absolutely brutal. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

 

It's ruthless but it's not soul crushing, at least not to me. One of my favourite parts is the gender attribute swapping between Lada and her brother Radu. He's the soft, elegant, beautiful one and she the fierce, warrior (and not pretty). 

This review sums it up rather well. And I couldn't wait to read it!

1 hour ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

I really, really tried to love The Young Elites by Marie Yu, but I just couldn't get into the characters. I will try again this winter.

And HOLY SHIT yeah Kair -- Every Heart a Doorway I bought on a lark and it destroyed me. It's definitely going on the Hugo rec list. Cannot wait for the followups.

Young Elites started off kinda meh, but as Adelina's character started to take shape I was hooked. I really adore that series. And yeah, Every Heart a Doorway just snuck up on me. I didn't know what I was getting into but it was delightful and just really got into me. I had similar feelings about Heartless, but for different reasons though the doorway to world theme was present in both.

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Looking back at the YA books I read in 2016...

Legend by Marie Lu - ($1.99 Kindle deal) Absolutely hated it and trudged through it.  This made me all kinds of sad because I really like Lu on social media and would think I would like her books but apparently whatever I like of her being herself is not in her books.

The Call by our own Peadar - (Free from author and from Bookcon but purchased the ebook at full price!) Really loved this book!  I'm always slightly terrified when faced with a book by someone I know but nothing to fear with this one as it is wonderful.  One of my favorites in 2016.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - (Full price ebook) So disappointed.  I must face the reality that the only book by Stiefvater I am destined to actually like is The Raven Boys.  From that first perfect book, the series has been downhill for me.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - (Full price ebook) (Kair, no I don't think it's YA at all but include it here because everyone else in the publishing world feels the need to publish it and sell it as YA.  This is the sort of book my mythical 13 year old daughter would have to hide from me and read in secret even though I would know it's really under her bed I could never knowingly admit I knew she was reading it.  I was slightly traumatized seeing an 11 year old girl at Bookcon in line ahead of me waiting to get it autographed even though I know I would have so been reading it at 11.)  I enjoyed it a lot although its overly long in the middle and in need of editing.

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynn Jones.  (Full price paperback) I guess a YA classic by today's standards.  Hadn't read anything by Jones before but kept seeing her name bantered about so started with this one since it was another retelling of the Tamlin.  I didn't end up loving it but it was interesting and I do think it's worth reading for anyone interested in YA history.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - (Free at Bookcon) I went into this one with great trepidation as I absolutely hated Blake's previous book which everyone else seemed to love.  But I met Blake at Worldcon and had such a great chat with her that I wanted to like this one.  It was okay.  There are some interesting bits to it but there was a whole lot when you really thought about it that absolutely made no sense at all.  There are these three sisters who must battle each other to the death to become queen and when it starts it sounds like they are battling to be queen of some vast kingdom but then it ends up being an island that sounds so small you can get from one part to the other in a few hours.  So not so fast?  Why so much killing for so tiny a kingdom?

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather - (Free at C2E2) Another one I hated.  Do not read this book.  Mean girls meets The Craft and the Secret Circle with all sorts of nonsensical nonsense.

Winter by Marissa Meyer - ($1.99 Kindle deal) - Hated it.  Too long and too painful to read.  (I did enjoy the first three Lunar Chronicles previously, however.)

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan - (Free at C2E2) - Loved it.  One of my favorite reads last year.  Very slow moving but richly detailed fantasy.

Empire of the Storms by Sarah J. Maas - (Full price Kindle) - Enjoyed it.  The series started off as YA but with this book its officially no longer YA but will continue to be shelved and marketed as YA.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee - (Free at Bookcon) - Surprised that I enjoyed it as I read a horrible review of it prior to reading it but ended up liking it.  Sort of Gossip Girl meets Melrose Place in a 1,000 story building in the future.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu - (borrowed) - Hated it.  I must face the sad reality that Lu is not an author for me.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige - (free at Bookcon) - It went downhill after the first few chapters and I didn't end up finishing it.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand - ($1.99 Kindle deal) - Heard so many fabulous things about this book.  Heard it was an alternative Lady Jane Grey telling in the way of The Princess Bride.  But its way too alternative for this Tudor history fan.  I didn't end up finishing it.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson - (free at C2E2) - Not for me.  Didn't finish it.

Well that it a bit more than I expected to write!  But those were the YA (or marketed as YA) books I read in 2016.  Mostly not so great but then most of those I got for free or nearly free so not a big loss on my part except for some time wasted reading.

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3 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Another good YA book I read was Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. I think his Bone Street Rumba universe books are a bit stronger in voice, but I love that all of his protagonists and most characters are POC and frequently queer, and in a totally believable way. In Shadowshaper, the main character is a teenage Latina mural artist. 

I have tried to read this book two times and have given up halfway through both times.  I don't know why it doesn't work for me as it would seem to be the sort of book I would normally love.

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9 hours ago, Wrl6199 said:

I haven't even heard of the raven king before. In fact i haven't even heard of Maggie Stievater before. Was she famous for anything before she wrote it? I hadn't heard of crooked kingdom before either. To be honest I haven't read many young adult books. Maybe im in the wrong thread then XD. Was the call so bad that you dint like it or was it a dark story. Interesting that a young adult book could provoke such a strong reaction.

Yes, Stiefvater was well-known before The Raven King, which is the fourth and final book of a series. First book in the series is The Raven Boys and is wondeful.

The Crooked Kingdom is by Leigh Bardugo and is the follow-up to last year's Six of Crows

The Call is excellent, but it's grim AF, and I wasn't in the mood to read something quite that depressing. I'll try again this winter. 

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, lady narcissa said:

I have tried to read this book two times and have given up halfway through both times.  I don't know why it doesn't work for me as it would seem to be the sort of book I would normally love.

Yeah, I hesitate recommending Older because he's got a really particular writing style that is either going to work for someone or it won't. Older is not big on tight plotting in any of his stories (which drives me up the wall), but that works to his advantage in his short stories (which are great), and his larger ensemble narratives. It's his characters and his clear love of (and knowledge of) Brooklyn that keep me coming back. 

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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Didn't read many YA books in 2016, but well: 

Night Study by Maria V. Snyder: Has anyone else here read her books? I really enjoy them, but I guess she isn't that famous. Night Study is the 5th book in the Study series, or the 2nd book of the 2nd Study trilogy, depending on how you count. I liked it more than its prequel Shadow Study which was also a good. I love the characters in the Study series and the story was also interesting. I'm looking forward to Dawn Study which will be released in the end of January. 

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson: The beginning was a bit slow, but I still enjoyed reading it. I liked the protagonist well enough and the other POV characters were also interesting.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: I agree that her writing has improved, but I still liked this book less than it's prequels. I'm not a big fan of romance, so I prefer YA books with less romance. Empire of Storms. had a bit too much romance for me and I had the feeling that everyone had to get together in this book. Can't one character stay single? Is it impossible for a man and a woman to just be friends, do they really have to become a couple? I generally don't have a problem with authors introducing new POV characters in the 3rd book (or later), but I don't really like Aedion and Rowan that much. I preffered Dorian and Chaol as characters. This book didn't include any Chaol chapters. Dorian has become a really interesting character, but he had very few chapters in this book. So, while it had an intersting story, Empire of Storms didn't appeal to my personal taste that much. 

I'm currently reading The Invasion of the Tearling and I'm enjoying it so far. 

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The ebook of And I Darken is $1.99 on amazon today so I picked that up.

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I did this weird thing growing up were I kind of skipped YA entirely and went straight to uh, adult? Older Adult? Basically I started reading Stephen King at WAY to young an age.

Anyways I don't venture into YA too much these days mainly because I have enough books on my TBR pile as it is without adding a whole other section of the book store. Basically The Call and whatever Kate Elliotts YA series is called are all I've rad recently.

The other problem is trying to figure out what is and isn't YA. I alot of the books mentioned above are shelved with the regular fiction here and God help you if you call something YA that people don;t consider YA for some reason. I know the Tearling books in the US are not marketed as YA at all, and neither were Abercombie's YA series that isn't a YA series but is.

Also one of the recent Maas series was written specifically as NOT YA but the publisher decided to market them as that anyways. It's crazy.

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Posted (edited)

Your second-to-last graf makes no sense -- who cares if something is YA or not? If it's good, it's good. 

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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2 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Your second-to-last graf makes no sense -- who cares if something is YA or not? If it's good, it's good. 

Well when you have a thread like this it makes it hard to know what we should and shouldn't discuss. Plus there are a LOT of people who dismiss YA out of hand, not on here, well actually yes on here, see above.

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