I don’t really blog a lot about YA (you could argue I don’t blog a lot, full stop), but YA makes up a good proportion of my reading diet.
So in honour of YA Appreciation Month, here are a few YA books / series that have been on my mind recently:
The “why did I take so long to read this” YA series: Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief books
Megan Whalen Turner (warning: reviews on her website have spoilers for the previous books) has created an incredible series. I think fans of The Thief may be hitting critical mass – certainly I have noticed more and more mentions of these books in the blogosphere recently. Ana did a fantastic spoiler-free review of the series and pretty much echoed my thoughts.
1. Kings, queens, rulers, etc–Fiction 2. Soldiers–Fiction 3. Loyalty–Fiction 4. Robbers and outlaws–Fiction 5. Adventures and adventurers–Fiction
How could you not be excited about a book with those keywords?
This is very definitely a standout series, YA or otherwise (and expect a separate post coming up!).
Coriel, the illegitimate daughter of a high-ranking aristocrat, spends most of her life learning herbal medicine from her grandmother, but she spends her summers with her half-sister, Elisandra, at the royal castle where Prince Bryan resides. Corie has always been secretly in love with Bryan, but she is slowly realizing that he is a spoiled, selfish, dangerous man—and that Elisandra dreads her upcoming marriage to the prince. Corie hopes that the prince’s cousin Kent will save Elisandra, while she wonders if the taciturn guard Roderick might play a bigger part in her own life.
I adore Sharon Shinn’s writing. No matter what she writes. And she has a trick of closing her books with the most magical lines ever. Her Samaria and Twelve Houses series get quite a few mentions (and they sit on my keepers shelf), but I don’t hear a lot about this standalone YA of hers.
“Summers at Castle Auburn” is one of my favourite Shinns, a perfect coming-of-age story. It is very much a comfort read for me, and it never fails to satisfy. Here’s a review from Jennie – seeing that she read it on my rec, I’m really glad she enjoyed it!
Call it fate, call it intuition, or just call it common sense, but somehow young Alanna knows she isn’t meant to become some proper lady cloistered in a convent. Instead, she wants to be a great warrior maiden–a female knight. But in the land of Tortall, women aren’t allowed to train as warriors. So Alanna finds a way to switch places with her twin, Thom, and take his place as a knight in training at the palace of King Roald. Disguising herself as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page in the royal court. Soon, she is garnering the admiration of all around her, including the crown prince, with her strong work ethic and her thirst for knowledge. But all the while, she is haunted by the recurring vision of a black stone city that emanates evil… somehow she knows it is her fate to purge that place of its wickedness. But how will she find it? And can she fulfill her destiny while keeping her gender a secret?
Tamora Pierce has written many books since her first Alanna series, but the Alanna books are the ones I always end up re-reading (and there are some scenes that always end up with me sniffling, even though I know exactly what is going to happen).
Angie included Alanna in her recent post on “Stubborn Girls (and Why I Love Them)” and I have to agree whole-heartedly.
Interestingly, all these three are straight fantasy – something that I wasn’t actively thinking about when I was thinking about the YA books I wanted to highlight. All three are also pretty much coming-of-age stories, which is much less of a rarity in the YA genre.
I could have chosen many other YA books – LM Montgomery’s Emily trilogy is amongst my all-time favourites, I was addicted to LJ Smith’s books, including her “Secret Circle” and “Dark Visions” trilogies, I buy Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books as soon as they hit the shelf, and I’m on a mission to complete my Eva Ibbotson collection… however, I think I’ll stop here and head off to check out everyone else’s YA posts!