It has been said that some books stay with you forever (I've experienced this with Harry Potter and Hunger Games), but what I didn't realize is that each book you read becomes a part of your soul. No matter what what you read, some part of that writing will stay with you forever.
The year 2015 was a very good year for the young adult genre, and some extremely talented authors swept me off my feet with their works. My favourite YA titles include eight of these amazing books:
- Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
“My mother always says when you fight destiny, destiny fights back. Some things, they're just written in the stars. You can try but you can never escape what's meant to be.”
This was one of my favourite books of 2015. The story is about love and tradition, and the struggle between the old and the modern times.
What made this book immensely good is Naila's (the protagonist) struggle to choose her life partner, and it is not very different from the struggle a lot of youngsters go through these days. Even today, choosing the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is not always considered acceptable. But who decides what is wrong and what is right? Naila's journey brought me to tears. Sometimes while reading it, I had to remind myself to breathe because at times I was holding my breath so hard wishing that in the end, things would work out for the best.
- An Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
“Once, I'd have wanted that. I'd have wanted someone to tell me what to do, to fix everything. Once, I'd have wanted to be saved.”
Even though this is Sabaa Tahir's debut novel, she does not write like a rookie. She takes time to develop her characters and makes sure that the reader is hooked on to them. Her writing style is smooth and the descriptions vivid.
The story has a very Roman and Indo-Persian feel, and what is fascinating is that the author highlights vulnerable human beings who are forced to do things that go against their very nature. An interesting aspect of the story is the way certain Hindi–Urdu words have been included in the vocabulary.
One of the things I liked was that even though people expect a certain romantic angle in dark times, the author hasn't given in to the yearning.
- Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
“You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.”
Like most Sarah Dessen novels, there is so much to this story and yet it is narrated in such a simple way that it touches your heart. It is the story of Sydney, a young girl who has lived her whole life in the shadow of her older brother's captivating personality, and now embarks on a journey of self-discovery. It feels like she bears the weight of the world on her shoulders. This is something each one of us has felt at some point in our lives. Sydney wants to put everything right, but feels powerless to do so. In the end, what drives me to write about this novel is that Sydney is a girl we all can associate with; she is the one who feels invisible and is brought to light by the love and acceptance showered on her by her friends no matter how flawed they themselves are.
- A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
“I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.”
For everyone who is a fan of the story where the beauty fell in love with the beast , you will simply love this book. Enough said.
- P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
“There's a Korean word my grandma taught me. It's called jung. It's the connection between two people that can't be severed, even when love turns to hate. You still have those old feelings for them; you can't ever completely shake them loose of you; you will always have tenderness in your heart for them.”
This is the second installment in the To All the Boys I have Loved Before series, and I sure hope this isn't the last! Honestly, I picked up the first book only because I loved the title (all the boys I loved before! Too many!) but it surprised me... A lot. What starts off as an easy-going chick-lit, this book soon addresses the problems faced by girls growing up without mothers, the bond between sisters and a father's struggle to keep up with his young daughter.
In the middle of all this, we find ourselves rooting for Peter K and Lara-Jean as they struggle to define their relationship. As the two young lovers find themselves at opposite ends of the road, we pray with each passing page that one of them is willing to walk the distance and be with the other one.
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
“The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it's the small things that count.”
This book is full of hurt, and there is such beauty to it that I can't put into words. The story talks about some of the most common issues that we face these days – the lack of compassion towards the mentally ill and the lack of confidence in their ability to lead a healthy life. This story focuses on two bright yet troubled high school seniors, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. While Finch is constantly thinking of ways to end his life, Violet is counting down the days till she can escape the town and the grief of her sister's death.
Neither of them is living till they meet each other, yet will it be enough? Will finding a friend who understands be enough to overcome so much that has already happened with them? Will friendship give them hope?
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
“It's our nature. We destroy. It's the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.”
Set in a dystopian world plagued by war, the novel narrates the tale of a society divided between the poor, red-blooded people called the Reds, and the Silvers, whose unimaginable power come from their silver blood, which marks them as the ruling class.
For years the Reds have been fighting a war to defend the Silvers, yet they don't get anything in return except poverty, which has become a way of life. So what happens when a Red is discovered with powers that she isn't supposed to possess? Filled with mystery, drama, politics and a lot of plot twists, comes Victoria Aveyard's debut novel. This is a vivid fantasy series where the only certainty is betrayal.
- Winter: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
“She would be brave. She would be heroic. She would make her own destiny.”
This final installment of the Lunar Chronicles has it all – swoony romantic interludes, dramatic action sequences, self-discovery, courage and most importantly, friendship. What's impressive about this book (or the series for that matter) is that we get to read about different kinds of worlds, be it Cinder's New Beijing or Scarlet's farm.
What I liked most about this series is that instead of focusing on the knights rescuing the princesses, Marissa Meyer brings out a side of her heroines that shows that they do not need saving and that they can protect themselves. However, what they do need is love and companionship to fulfill their happily ever afters.
Well, there you have it! Some of my favourite YA titles from last year. I do hope you get a chance to read some of these fantastic books, if not all. Happy Reading!