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YA Book Reviews by Amy


YA Book Reviews by Amy: Marathoning a Series

Have you ever heard of marathoning an entire book series?

Essentially marathoning is a term used in the book community in which you read the entire book series, from beginning to end, without stopping to read any other books, in a short amount of time.

I like marathoning because that usually means that I do not have to wait for the latest book to be released, since the series should be completed, and that I don’t need to remember any of those pesky details that I may not remember between books.

Another reason I love reading an entire series back to back is because I can get lost in that world and the characters. I feel more immersed in the story.

Here are some book series that I marathoned and I think it was a better reading experience because I did!


Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Audrey Rose has been learning behind her father’s back about the new science of criminology with her uncle. Along with handsome student, Thomas, she learns about the gruesome events that are plaguing London: particularly the White Chapel murders done by the infamous Jack the Ripper. Audrey thinks that she might be close to finding the true identity of Jack the Ripper, but she may be closer than she likes, especially when it becomes clear her life may be in danger.

A first book in the series, this book starts off with an exciting plot that explores one of the biggest who-done-its in history. You can continue with Hunting Prince DraculaEscaping from Houdini, and Capturing the Devil. I devoured this series and think that the books just kept getting better as I read on.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three sisters, each with unique magical abilities, grew up separately, knowing that they must fight against each other to the death. Katharine has grown up as a poisoner; her ability to digest any poison without dying is coveted in Fennbirn. Mirabella has been foreseen as the most powerful, her elemental magic is strong and deadly. Arsinoe is a naturalist, she should have power over growing plants and have bonds with animals, but she has yet grown into those gifts. Are the sisters will to kill to get the crown? And which sister will become queen?

Dark plot, dark powers, and even darker characters that will make it difficult for you to know who to root for. I listened to this entire series recently, and I am so glad that I finally gave this series a chance. I really got a sense of the world that made me care about the fates of our main characters.

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

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Historical fiction with a slight fantasy twist; Lee Westfall is looking for a better life and she believes she will find it journeying westward during the Gold Rush. She decides to disguise herself as a boy to follow her best friend, Jefferson, to California and find riches with her uncanny ability to find gold. She bands with a large and unique group of travelers on the Oregon Trail. Her journey is plagued with sickness, fighting within the group, and death is constantly surrounding Lee.

A tough read at moments but is completely rewarding. This is the first book in a trilogy: the second book is Like a River Glorious and the third is Into the Bright Unknown. I am so glad that I read this series and found that it was that much better after reading it back to back. I wanted to see Lee overcome hardships.

This title is available on Overdrive, Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia has spent her entire life training as a Belle, a girl with the ability to control the beauty of the people of this world; legend has the gods turning the humans into ugly and painful creatures with severe consequences if left to their natural state. Belles are limited and important to the society, and Camellia would love to become the favorite, the Belle working for the royal family and the most lavish people at court. But not all is what it appears to be when beauty is fabricated, and the past turns more questions than answers.

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this creative dystopian plot that speaks to the beauty and societal standards. Camellia is a realistic and likable character that must make tough decisions throughout the novel. I had to pick up the sequel as soon as I finished. Marathoning this duology was simple since it was only two books, but well worth it.

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

And I Darken by Kiersten White

This is a reimagining of the life and infamy of Vlad the Impaler, only genderbent; what if Vlad the Impaler was really Lada Dragwlya, a girl that was raised to be ruthless and seemingly uncaring, but with a need to be a ruler to help her people of Wallachia. Her brother, Radu, does not have the concerns that Lada does and only wants to love and be loved. They both must grow up with their enemies and learn to become rulers.

This was a powerful read; this entire series had me emotional and ended up being one of my favorite books that I have ever read. Continue with Lada and Radu’s story with Now I Rise and Bright We Burn. I could not put it down!

This title is available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout. 

Legend by Marie Lu

June is considered a military prodigy in her dystopian version of the United States. She has accepted her role until the death of her brother. Day is a high sought-out criminal and the government has convinced June that Day has murdered her brother. Now June seeks revenge, while Day is trying to survive the streets and the authorities. When June and Day learn the truth, they must set their differences aside and work together to form a better life for them.

I originally read this book because of the dystopian world when that was the genre to read. I ended up reading the entire trilogy because I enjoyed reading the duo perspective of June and Day; I understood where each character stood and liked their journey and growth. I would marathon read in the past more so than now.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius knows little of his Persian ancestry and culture, but all that will change when he and his family and travel to Iran. Darius meets his mother’s family and becomes immersed into the culture with the help of his new friend and neighbor, Sohrab. He begins to feel like he can be his true self; will this feeling continue even when he returns home?

Darius is such a relatable main character that struggles with his own identity which I feel like many readers will feel. So far this book series is only two books long, and as soon as I was finished with this book, I had to read the sequel: Darius the Great Deserves Better.

Available in Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Juliet, the daughter of Dr. Moreau, must leave the comforts of London when her reputation is ruined. She travels to the island her father has occupied for the past several years. On her trip to the topical island she and her childhood friend, Montgomery, save Edward from a disastrous shipwreck. When Juliet arrives, she finds a distorted world of her father’s experimentations; humanoid animals with different levels of humanity and danger. She is not safe on this island. Megan Shepherd’s retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau twists the main character to be Juliet while Edward’s story is still important. For readers that enjoy a dark gothic tale that discusses: what is human?

The series continues with Her Dark Curiosity a reimagining of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And the finale A Cold Legacy is based on Frankenstein. I really enjoyed these retellings that I just had to read the entire series in a week.

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

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


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.