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YA Book Reviews by Amy

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YA Book Reviews by Amy- My Thoughts on the Most Popular Book & Series in Young Adult 

Have you ever heard so much hype about a book or series and felt compelled to read it? A book that you see on your Instagram feed, or a series that keeps appearing on Book TikTok, or a YA series that all the booktubers are raving about?  

Some of these books I have read before they gained popularity and others I have read because I kept seeing them and wanted to form my own opinion; I haven’t always agreed, but that is the fun of reading. 

In the next blog, I talk about the books I enjoy that I feel don’t get enough recognition on varying platforms when I think they should.  

Have you read any of these popular reads?  

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black  

Jude and her sister were stolen into a fairy world, after witnessing the brutal murders of their human family. Seen as lesser than due to their human qualities, Jude wants to fit in with the cruel fae that she has grown up with. Jude is constantly treated horribly, and she must watch her back and not trust anyone, especially the aloof and cold Prince Carden, if she wants to survive.  

I can see why this book is popular with many readers because it is well-written with a sassy- romance, but it did not quiet hit the right notes for me. I’m not really into stories about fae/fairies and I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. It is more of a personal preference than the integrity of the story.  

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.   

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber 

Scarlett wants to escape the island that she has been trapped on since she was born; living with an uncaring father and made only to have an arranged marriage. When she receives an invitation to join Caraval— a game on a neighboring island that has grand prizes, but has severe consequences for those who lose. When Scarlett’s sister becomes involved in the games, Scarlett has no choice, but to risk everything. 

This is another book that I understand why many YA readers would enjoy this book, but it did not live up to its hype for me. I loved the magical setting and the mysterious plot was intriguing, but the plot seemed to move in a non-organic way that felt off to me. Recommended for readers that love a magical world with a character that is strong.    

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and Hoopla and at the library* for checkout.  

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer 

Cinderella meets space opera in a fantastic series of different fairytales. Cinder is living in secret, seen as barely human to her stepmother and sisters; she is part human and part cyborg. She lives in New Beijing as a mechanic when Prince Kai visits her to repair an important robot that might save their country. But when she does, Cinder ends up getting entangled in a deadly plot and becomes the scape goat. Will Cinder save New Beijing? Will Prince Kai figure out her secret? Will the evil Lunar Queen be stopped?  

I will probably always sing praise for this series! It has always been one of my favorites because I find the premise to be so interesting and the execution by Marissa Meyer is impeccable; so clever with hints throughout the book to the original fairytales that the books are based off. This is definitely worth the read if you enjoy science fiction or twists on fairytales.  

Available on Overdrive, as an eAudiobook on Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.  

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 

Lara Jean loves to express her feelings of love of her crushes through super private-never to be sent letters. The last letter she wrote was to her current crush, Josh, that also happens to be her sister’s boyfriend. When the letters are accidently sent out to the five guys she wrote about the last few years, she must save face. Lara Jean pretends to date, Peter K., another letter recipient who has his own motive. How will Josh react to receiving his letter after Lara Jean’s sister just broke up with him? And will the fake dating with Peter K. lead to real feelings? 

This book does live up to all the hype for me. Lara Jean is such a likable character that I could relate to when I was a teen: she is super sweet, but also naive. The plot is cheesy, but also is pretty suspenseful. I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys reading contemporary romance. The Netflix movie is very faithful and very cute if you wanted to read the book and then watch the movie. 

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.  

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas 

Celaena escapes from the life sentence in the salt mines when a stranger releases her from her imprisonment to become a contender of a deadly competition hosted by the royals. Celaena must compete against other competitors to become the royal assassin; many of the challengers are willing do anything to eliminate the competition. Celaena has the skills to win, but does she have the will to do what it takes to survive? 

This was a fantastic book when I read it years ago, this series and most of Maas’ books are very popular in the high fantasy world of YA. The world is super rich and the characters are likable. Plus, the plot has one of my favorite tropes– deadly competitions with political intrigue. I unfortunately never finished the 6-book series, maybe one day when my TBR gets a little lighter! 

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.  

 

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 

Kady and Ezra have picked an unfortunate time to break up; their planet has just been invaded by a deadly force. They escape on an evacuating spacecraft. With the enemy following close behind, Kady finds evidence that the invasion might not have been at random and decides to send it to Ezra. The spaceship is not the sanctuary that they believed it to be with an AI that seems to be too helpful to be true, and a mutating sickness that leaves the ship ravaged by zombie-like beings.  

I really enjoyed how this novel is told through emails, files, schematics, interviews, maps, and more. It is interactive book that will keep you reading to find out what will happen to this society. I think this book does deserve the hype because the format is so different from other books. While I liked this book, I did not continue with the series: Gemina and Obsidio   

This book does contain a plague storyline that could be triggering during this time. 

Available on OverdriveHoopla, and at the library* for checkout.  

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi  

Zélie has magic that has been banned all her life and those who possessed magic were killed, including her mother. Living her life with this deadly secret, Zélie plans on finding others with magical abilities and to disrupt the power structure of OrïshaWith the help of a princess, Zélie and her brother travel to reawaken the magic. Things become difficult when a vengeful prince is willing to do almost anything to stop them. 

I love reading about elemental magic and the magic system in this book is a lot of fun. Our main character Zélie has a big personality that is made even bigger with her relationships with the secondary characters. I really enjoyed this book and hope to read the sequel soon. 

Available on Overdrive, as an eAudiobook on Hoopla, and at the library* for library.  

 

 

*check the link for available copies or to place on hold 

Amy

Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.