Monday, October 20, 2014

A Few of My Favorite YA books…


I blog so often about middle grade fiction, it sometimes seems like I don't read anything else. But I do love YA and adult fiction as well. I thought for a change, I'd highlight a few of the memorable YAs I read this year. 



SEKRET by Lindsay Smith

I’m not normally a thriller reader, but I am a huge Russophile. I thought this concept sounded intriguing: what would happen if KGB agents had supernatural skills? But what really won me over were the details. Smith’s Russian is correct, she captures Russian diction (even when writing in English), and the atmosphere of Soviet Russia was dense and rich. A couple of other things I loved: an interesting love interest and a satisfactory ending without a cliffhanger (even though it’s a series).



FIREHORSE GIRL by Kay Honeyman


When I heard FIREHOUSE GIRL dubbed a Chinese Pride and Prejudice, I knew I had to read it. But once I got into it, I realized the love story, while somewhat like P & P, really takes a back seat to the main story, which is about Jade Moon finding her identity as a strong, independent Chinese woman. Reading this book also meant learning the harsh truths about Angel Island (the Ellis Island of the West Coast). The author is not Chinese, but was inspired by her adopted daughter from China, which shows that it's more important to write what you love than what you know. 



A TIME FOR MIRACLES by Anne-Laure Bondoux

This is a translation from the French. This is yet another book set in Russia, but it’s one of the only books I’ve come across that deals with Chechnya during the aftermath of the Soviet collapse. The writing, so incredibly lyrical, conveys the child-like voice of Blaise perfectly. I was incredibly moved by his adventures as he and his guardian, Gloria, travel through the former Soviet republics and Europe by foot. If you loved “Life is Beautiful,” you will love this.




BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross

This is one of the only books I’ve ever picked up because of a book trailer. It's that good! You can watch it here.
Despite its cover, which is somewhat misleading, you must give this one a try. It's set in France during the building of the Eiffel Tower, but the premise, based on an Emile Zola story, is unique.  In late 1800s Paris, Maude takes a job as a foil, an "ugly" girl who works as a companion to a rich girl to make her look pretty. But what occurs—and what this book says about our current beauty-obsessed culture--is well worth the read. I loved this book for its depth, its theme, and its rich layers of details.

Have you read any great YAs lately?

12 comments:

  1. Haven't read any of these but loved seeing the kind of YA books you enjoy.

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    1. So glad you stopped by, Natalie! I hope you found something new to read.

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  2. Wow, I've never heard of some of these, but I'm intrigued by the Russian ones (I studied Russian in college).

    I just finished GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A.S. King and it blew me away as all her books do.

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    1. That's interesting, Joanne. I studied Russian as well. I haven't read A.S. King yet, but I've heard great things. I'll have to check out some of her stuff. Thanks for the rec!

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  3. I've read none of these and have picked out two that I want to read. I enjoy reading YA and writing it too.

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    1. I'm glad you found some new titles! YA is a lot of fun to read and write.

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  4. Nice picks! I am really interested in FIREHORSE GIRL. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Chrys! It's a very interesting read.

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  5. I like the international focus of this post. Belle Epoch sounds particularly interesting to me. I had heard of it, but never knew what it was about.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I hadn't planned it that way, but I'm particularly drawn to books set in other countries. I hope you enjoy Belle Epoch. It was very unique.

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