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I admit once again here that lately I have been reading more YA books this past year. Something about the genre itself has gotten under my skin.
While I recently turned 40, I still can’t resist a fun YA novel. May sound crazy, but some of the best writing in recent times seems to come from authors, who pen YA tales.
So therefore, I am happily putting forth my most recent selections here for all who may be interested in reading more from the YA books category now, as well.
Take a look below at the six most recent YA books on my short list…
So, I was offered this book to read free of charge from NetGalley & Random House in exchange for my honest opinion.
What I liked…
I enjoyed the time period this YA book was set in, which was during Vietnam War era in summer of 1968. Having taken a class in my college studies about the Vietnam War and an overall enjoyment for this period in history, I was definitely intrigued to say the least.
I also enjoyed the close bond that the four friends (Vera, Kay, Saint and CJ) shared. Their friendship actually meant so much to these four that the book starts out with them making a pact to live for each other for two weeks and then subsequently jump off their local bluff in Lourdes, Michigan at the end. So, in essence friends until the end.
What I didn’t like?
The death pledge aspect, for one, really was a bit too morbid for me. But I did have hopes that as the book unfolded we we get a better sense as to why the four friends would want to end their lives at such a crucial time for them.
While the author did her best to explain this, I still really didn’t relate to why the would ultimately make such a final choice here. Plus, the story leading up to it just fell flat for me.
I kept hoping for some big revelation and never really got it. Although there was a few shocking minor reveals, they all seemed a bit contrived to me, such as Vera and her brother Garth. Having a younger brother myself, this plot line just was creepy to me.
My Rating: 3 Stars
This was the second book in only a few weeks’ time that I was offered free to read in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.
What can I say, but I should have learned from the one right before (Once In Lourdes) that sometimes free means it is probably being offered for a reason.
So, the story of Elise Perez and Jamie Hyde set in late late 1980s billed as a modern day young college aged Romeo and Juliet really couldn’t have been anything further from that.
I admit I was intrigued when I first read this description, but as many shared in their own Goodreads’ review I had trouble getting into this story.
Because I couldn’t picture a rich and upcoming young guy falling hard for girl from the wrong side of the tracks and giving it all up for her.
Maybe not being a 20 something in the prime of my youth has something to do with it. But still, when I was that age I am pretty sure that this wouldn’t have happened to me or anyone else I knew.
That said, that part of the book actually wasn’t the most unbelievable as the last part actually dealt with the fallout from an evening out with friends, where a drug induced psychosis actually becomes a central theme for latter portion of this novel.
Honestly, I just couldn’t relate at all and even found myself lacking any feelings one way or the other for both of the main characters by the end.
My Rating: 2 Stars
While I know I reviewed this with the Netflix show HERE, I still felt I needed to include my full novel review in this edition.
First off it has been a long time since I was in high school. But back then I actually went to school with someone who did commit suicide. We weren’t close friends, but did have classes together and were friendly in those class situations.
Also like Clay Jensen, who is the recipient of the tapes that Hannah Jensen made to explain the “thirteen reasons why” she committed suicide, I truly had no idea until it was too late for my own classmate, as well.
But many years have gone by since that incident. I was also a teacher of middle and high school students and can attest on that level, as well how peer treatment as this age can influence and effect youth thoughts on life and death.
So, I must admit I couldn’t stop reading this book and wanting to know why Hannah ultimately did end her life. I mean collectively, it would seem that all “Thirteen Reasons” made her decision the final one. I couldn’t help, but also want to know what that final straw was, as well.
In the end, this one definitely didn’t disappoint (yes I am one of those who loved this book) in what it promised. See the reality is teen suicide is truly final, but also sadly just a reality as many have attempted and also been successful. This book captured that for the most part reality realistically and ultimately perfectly.
My Rating: 5 Stars
The story of 29 year old Lincoln, who was living with his mom and working as a computer IT tech for a local newsroom was a bit slow to start off with. While technically not a YA aged characters, the fact that that Lincoln still lives at home, returns to college and that Rowell is the author, I am including as an honorable mention.
However once this story took off, I was captivated and couldn’t put it down. I really couldn’t help wanting to know what was to happen with Beth, Jennifer and Lincoln when all was said and done.
See Lincoln works with both ladies. However, they don’t know this. He actually monitors their work emails. He falls in love with Beth through her and Jennifer’s email exchanges. Beth also falls for Lincoln, just seeing him around the office. But she has no idea, who he actually is.
Half the fun of this book was hoping that these two would realize, who they actually were and would finally find each other.
Trust me, you are going to want to see this one through and the ending was well worth the wait for the true romantic at heart.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was myApril BOTM selection, because I was intrigued by the YA 1980s setting and plot line.
See the story revolved around Billy Marvin, who was a video game creator prodigy.
Billy was also just a 14 year old high school freshman boy from New Jersey. He and his friends were just your average high school boys, who were captivated by the latest issue of Playboy magazine with Wheel of Fortune’s, Vanna White on the cover.
Seeing as they are underage and can’t actually buy themselves a copy of this magazine, the boys hatch a scheme to get themselves a copy.
This plan includes getting the alarm code for the local convenience store. It is decided that Billy will cozy up to Mary Zelinsky, the convenience store’s owner’s daughter. But Billy genuinely has feelings for Mary, enjoys her company and even ends up creating a video game with her to enter into a local contest, as well.
While the story, itself, isn’t earth shattering, I quite enjoyed the coming of age teenage romance aspect between Billy and Mary. Plus, there was a bit of a twist with Mary that added an extra layer to the story. This twist was something I didn’t quite see coming, but made sense in the end nonetheless.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was my May BOTM because when I truly was excited about this YA novel about two young men who are sent by a sci-fi like organization to fight for survival by each vying for the love of the girl (Juliet).
First off, the plot is truly original and the story to follow also is.
See, even though both young men are to fight to life another day to be the man that Juliet picks, the two guys actually seem to fall in love with each instead.
So, that to me was an ingenious plot twist.
Also I am not going to lie, but definitely enjoyed this book as again it was original and also the story itself kept me coming back for more.
Therefore, what was not to like about this one? Honestly, was refreshing and truly worthwhile YA pick that I can see becoming one of my own favorites for this year.
My Rating: 5 Stars
So, there you have it some much needed YA books to get you too in the mood to read this upcoming summer.