It’s always kind of embarrassing to admit YA is my favourite book genre as a thirty two year old. Like I’m admitting to being someone who sleeps in their make up or takes a colleague’s Babybel’s from the fridge at work.
But alas, my name is Charlotte and I love reading YA fiction.
I’m not sure if my love for the genre is rooted in my own adolescence with which I have the odd random pang to re-experience every now and again. Or maybe it’s because they are so damn easy and uncomplicated to read.
Either way, I’ve been known to devour the latest YA novel like it’s a packet of Chicken McNuggets after my eighth glass of Pinot Grigio on a Friday night in town. With my 2020 goal to read 60 books firmly in place, it was inevitable that book reviews would make it onto this little blog.
I actually read all these last year so they don’t count towards my total, but there’s a few gems in the pile that are totally worth giving a go if you’re after a light hearted romance that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I hope you enjoy!
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Telling the story of Paige, a high school student who’s boyfriend died in an accident, The Start of Me and You is a pretty typical YA romance where the pair have similar feelings for each other but are on totally different pages.
The difference here, however, is that the story is framed around grief as Paige comes to terms with how she feels about her boyfriend’s death. I did really like how this was handled, as grief is such an important topic for young people to talk about.
Paige also had really strong friendships in the book. As a teenager, boys come and go but falling out with friends feels like true heartbreak. As for the romance, it was fairly forgettable for me.
A quiet kind of thunder by Sara barnard
A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a lovely book. One I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and wished could last for a little bit longer. Telling the story of Steffi, a sufferer of social anxiety and elective mutism, and Rhys who is deaf.
The two are introduced when Rhys joins Steffi’s school. As the only other person who knows ASL (American Sign Language) the two are paired up by teachers. This provided an interesting way for them to communicate and I really liked that this provided a different perspective. Steffi’s conditions were also delicately handled which allowed me to feel all the emotions she felt in the book.
I liked Rhys’ vibrant personality although he was sometimes a little too overprotective and controlling. All in all this is a great book with interesting characters and good role models. One I’d probably read again in a few years’ time.
Night owls by Jenn BennetT
I picked this book up in a charity shop – along with the two above – and don’t think I even read the back. Once I did I wasn’t sure if it was going to be for me. Night Owls follows Beatrix as she meets and instantly falls in lust with Jack, a charming graffiti artist with a suitcase full of secrets.
As a teenager I can see what’s to love about this book. Sexy, slightly arrogant male lead with a closet full of issues? I’d definitely have had a book crush on him as a 14 year old. But as an adult I have to say it was a bit too cliche for me.
I did like Beatrix’s career-dream of being an illustrator of bodies, something I’d never come across and that quite fascinated me. There was also an extremely sex-positive message in this story which I loved. But other than that I’m afraid it came up a bit short for me.
By the end I was fed up with hearing how dreamy and handsome Jack was, and I found his fame as an anonymous graffiti artist and mayor’s son a little difficult to believe. That said, as the intended audience I’d have devoured it, and I’m sure that’s exactly who Jenn Bennett wants to love this book.
Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
This is my favourite book on this list. I like it so much that this was the second time I’d read it. Letters to the Lost follows Juliet not long after her mum dies in a car crash. Shrouded in grief, she spends her time writing letters to her mum which she leaves at her grave.
The letters are picked up by Declan, who is serving community service in the cemetery. The two start writing to each other, and discover a commonality in each others grief.
I loved how Kemmerer approached the topic of grief in this story, something I experienced at a fairly young age too. Juliet and Declan form an anonymous and strong, semi-romantic relationship through their letters (and later emails) while their real-life selves struggle to communicate. The two don’t crack the code of who the letter senders are until later in the book, which is a little unbelievable considering how much time they spend together. But it means there isn’t tonnes of romance in the book, however, I liked it all the more for it.
The Loneliness of Distant Beings – Kate Ling
The first in the Ventura Saga, Kate Ling shares her story of Seren, a girl who was born and will die on the space ship Ventura. I was originally drawn in by the cover of The Loneliness of Distant Beings – it’s absolutely stunning – and after I read the back, it seemed right up my street.
It wasn’t meant to be though. I found Seren to be selfish, petty and rude to the people around her. The romance happened so quick that I never believed in the connection or really understood why Seren and Dom were so obsessed with each other.
The spaceship setting is such an interesting concept that I thought would make a great YA backdrop but the world wasn’t built enough for me. I couldn’t visualise it, never got to grips with where they were on the shop and I really struggled to put myself in the setting. The rules of the world were unclear and it felt like they were made for the sake of the plot. Overall, a disappointing read.
It did make me want to read more YA set in space though so if you have any recommendations please do share them with me in the comments.
So there you have it, five YA books I’ve read recently. Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!