My Best Books of the Decade Part 1 – Young Adult

Merry Christmas!

I genuinely can’t believe it’s Christmas time already! This year has just flown by and for once I’m excited about Christmas. I’ve never cared about it before and that’s because I work in retail so I’ve always been so exhausted from work but also sad and angry from horrible customers. “Happiest time of the year” doesn’t really follow when you abuse customer service workers.

But this year, I’m in a different area of the retail store — the book department! — and
everyone is so much nicer there, including the customers. So I’m actually in the Christmas time mood! So much so, I want to show you my amazing Christmas tree:


Anyway, here’s what this post is really all about: gushing about the amazing YA books I’ve read over the decade. I have read so so so many books over the past ten years, all of which have shaped me into the person that I am today: a slightly depressed Slytherin who still searches for doors to Narnia despite being 25 years old. Yeah, I think that describes me perfectly.

This is the first post of 3: this post is about YA books, the next will be about non-fiction books, and the last will be adult books. 

All of the books in the lists were published between January 1, 2010 to 31 December, 2019.

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The Fever King by Victoria Lee (2019)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmThat was the whole point. Governments didn’t have to listen to the people until the people made it hurt to not listen.

39897058The Fever King is a dark YA novel set in a dystopian world where America has collapsed because of magical attacks that have left a lot of people dead, but a few with magical powers. Noam, is a technopath, meaning he can control technology and after a magical attack that kills his father, Noam accepts the government’s offer to teach him magic, while secretly planning to bring that same government down.

This book is a wild ride from start to finish: the action never lets up and the tension literally gave me heart palpitations. While the romance between Noam and Dara is wonderful, this book also tackles tough issues like . I chose this book for my list because it’s a powerful tale of overcoming and tackling intergenerational trauma and sexual abuse. Victoria Lee has created an incredible novel here, and as someone who has read the sequel that comes out next year, it’s just as amazing as this book.

As I mentioned, it’s very dark so TW: intergenerational trauma/genocide, murder, sexual abuse, statutory rape, pedophilia, suicide, slut-shaming, ableist language, drug and alcohol abuse.

Check out my review!

Sadie by Courtney Summers (2018)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmIt all suddenly, and belatedly, felt too real, the things these girls had gone through, what can happen to missing girls.

cover136092-mediumSadie was the first Courtney Summers book I had read and it definitely won’t be my last. This is a very dark book about the horrific things men do to young women and girls and how very few people actually care. It follows Sadie who, after her sister’s murder, disappears to hunt down her killer; and West McCray, a radio personality, who traces Sadie’s footsteps months after she disappears, creating a podcast of his investigation and eventual findings.

This book will upset people, not just because of the content but because of the open ending. But I loved every minute of it. I think it’s a powerful story about a sister’s love and about a girl taking revenge into her own hands. I chose Sadie for my list because it doesn’t shy away from dark topics that, unfortunately, happen to so many teenagers — and how very few people actually care.

TW: pedophilia, child abuse, sexual assault, violence, eating disorder, drug abuse.

Check out my review!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (2017)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmHere, captured between covers, was the history of the human imagination, and nothing had ever been more beautiful, or fearsome, or bizarre.

strangethedreamerI don’t think I’ve ever read a book as beautifully written as Strange the Dreamer. It follows Lazlo Strange, an orphan who grew up in a monastery but through sheer luck, finds himself working as a junior librarian in the Kingdom of Zosma’s magnificent library. It is here that Lazlo begins writing a treatise on his life-long obsession, the mysterious city of Weep. Lazlo is infatuated by this magical city and, when a delegate known as the Godslayer arrives in Zosma looking for scientists and scholars to help the city of Weep, Lazlo knows this is his only chance to escape his humdrum life and discover what exactly happened to Weep all those years ago.

Like I said, this book is written so beautifully, it feels magical and as if I were right there in the novel myself. I adore Lazlo Strange so much — probably because I see myself in him: a nerd who walks into walls because he’s too busy reading.

Check out my review!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmWhat’s the point in having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?

32075671From the very first page of The Hate U Give, I was completely engaged in the story. The book follows Starr, a young Black girl who splits her time between her rich, white school and the all-Black suburb she lives in with her doting family. Starr becomes the only witness to the murder of a close friend by a white police officer, and must decide whether or not she wants to publicly speak out.

I learnt so much from this novel, not just about the wave of systemic racism corrupting America, but also about the long history of POC fighting for basic human rights: the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Dr King, Huey Newton, Tupac Shakur, and so many more. This book is powerful and memorable.

Check out my review!

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (2016)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmWhen they both realized they were heartbroken enough to want the love torn from their rib cages, they touched each other with their hands and their mouths, and they forgot they wanted to be cured.

moonwasoursIf ever there was a book that made me believe in magic, it’s When the Moon Was Ours. This book is so beautiful and enchanting, I was glued to the page. The book follows best friends Miel and Sam, inseparable since the day Miel fell out of the water tower when she was five. As odd as Miel and Sam are, they are nothing compared to the Bonner girls, four red-haired sisters rumoured to be witches and who have most of the town’s men in love with them. But their lure is fading and they want the roses that grow out of Miel’s wrists, convinced the flowers wield a power to force love on another.

McLemore also deals with issues surrounding gender dysphoria in a considerate and sensitive manner, through the character of Sam. When the Moon Was Ours is a magical realism novel that is captivating and just incredible. I never wanted this book to end.

Check out my review!

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (2016)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmI wonder sometimes whether you’ve exploded already, like a star, and what I’m seeing you is three million years into the past, and you’re not here anyore. How can we be together here, now, when you are so far away. When you are so far ago? I’m shouting so loudly, but you never turn around to see me. Perhaps it is I who have already exploded. Either way, we are going to bring beautiful things into the universe.

25322449-1If you want a book about platonic soulmates, then look no further than Radio Silence. The book follows Frances who is a study machine: all she does is focus on her schoolwork, until she goes home and then comes alive while listening to her favourite podcast, Universe City. Then she meets Aled, a boy from her school, and realises that he’s the anonymous creator of her favourite podcast.

This book is the millennial experience: worrying whether or not you should attend university, discussions surrounding mental health; but also features loving and accepting friendships, and of course, plenty of queer characters and characters of colour.

Check out my review!

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (2016)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmWords matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.

31952703If you want to read something that will tear your heart out and simultaneously restore your belief in love, pick Words in Deep Blue up immediately. The book is dual-narrated by Henry and Rachel, ex-best friends who are slowly becoming friends again. Their friendship broke when Rachel moved to the seaside … or so Henry thinks. Rachel moves back to the city after the death of her brother and doesn’t tell anyone about her brother’s drowning. Rachel is severely depressed and traumatised, and doesn’t have time for Henry … but the boy is determined to be her friend again, no matter what.

This book is a love letter to books and writing, but also to friends and love and family. The characters are all highly realistic and all of them behave like teenagers. But mainly, this book will make you cry buckets — from the amazing friendships and relationships formed, but also from the depiction of grief.

Check out my review!

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (2015)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmMemories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own. You can’t really know which ones you’ll survive if you don’t stay on the battlefield, bad times shooting at you like bullets. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of good times to shield you.

morehappyMore Happy Than Not was the first Adam Silvera book I read and its still my absolute favourite of his. The book follows Aaron Soto who is struggling after his father commits suicide: but he has the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and has made a new best friend in Thomas, the new boy in the Bronx. As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron begins to discover things that might threaten his newfound happiness, so many the memory-altering surgery by the Leteo Institute can help him out.

This book reminds me so much of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which is one of my favourite movies — but gayer. I chose this book because it focuses on grief and exploring sexuality, and what it means to have to deal with something in your life that other people judge you for — and how to live with it, rather than try and change it.

Check out my review!

The Rose Society by Marie Lu (2015)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmOnce upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, so she destroyed them all.

therosesocietyThe Rose Society is the sequel to The Young Elites and it takes everything from that first book and makes it 10 times more amazing. The sequel picks up after Adelina Amouteru is in hiding and on a path of revenge. She’s now known as the feared White Wolf and is trying to form her own army of allies with the goal to bring down the Inquisition Axis, a sect of warriors that hunts down and kills people like Adelina who were touched by the magical virus. But Adelina’s dark powers, fed by hate and anger, are growing and her enemies, Teren of the Inquisition and Raffaele and the Dagger Society want to stop her quest for vengeance.

I love this book so much because reading it was the first time I’ve read a book about a villain — and not just an antihero, but a full on villain. This is Adelina’s villain origin story and the ending to this book is so powerful and amazing, my jaw dropped to the floor and I haven’t managed to pick it up since.

Check out my review!

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (2014)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmHe did not want to be loved as a second choice, as a surrender. He had spent his whole life not being loved at all, and he had thought being loved enough would satisfy him. It would not. He did not want to be loved enough. He wanted to be loved overwhelmingly.

He had never been chosen, so he had never had a chance to know this about himself before now: he wanted to be chosen first.

31944679In Other Lands is one of my all-time favourite young adult books and for very good reasons. The book follows Elliot from ages 13 to 17 as he is accepted into magical school, and time and time again prevents multiple wars alongside his two best friends Luke Sunborn and Serene, an elf from a matriarchal society.

I love this book so much because not only is Elliot openly bisexual, but the entire book’s message is about the important of teenagers developing their sexuality and learning about safe sex. Elliot is a little shit but also sweet and funny, and I adore him so much. And the matriarchal elf society is one of the best societies I’ve ever read about. You need to read this book!

Check out my review!

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Have you read any of the books on my list? What are your favourite books of the decade? Let me know!

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10 thoughts on “My Best Books of the Decade Part 1 – Young Adult

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