August: the month of YA novels

I didn’t intend for it to be this way, but in the month of August I found myself tearing through a bunch of YA novels. This is definitely not a bad thing though, because even though it has a shameful stigma, I really enjoy YA novels. The worlds are complex and well imagined, you can get through them pretty easily and feel accomplished, and it’s exciting to read about characters on the cusp of adulthood. There’s a new layer of complexity that adults sometimes lack.

One of my all time favorite books is a YA book. Harry Potter is technically YA, though that along with my other favorite series, The Hunger Games, has that crossover appeal. Don’t hate on YA around me!

I read the first two books in Allie Condie’s ‘Matched’ trilogy and they were okay. Beautiful prose, but I sometimes found myself confused and frustrated with the plot. Since I’m one of those people that has to finish series that she starts (I crave conclusion!), I felt obligated, but not excited to read this.

I was pleasantly surprised though. The rotating point of view made the narrative full and lush. I found myself less frustrated with Cassia, the protagonist, in the third installment, and I was captivated by this plot the most. It evolved from an obligation to a page-turner. It’s definitely the best of the series, and I love the poems that she used throughout her three book narrative.

Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

I have to admit, I picked up this book after I saw the movie trailer for it. Also, I just really like the title. It’s gotten lots of literary love, including the Printz award (which is like the Pulitzer for YA for those of you not in the know). Also, it was exciting for me because this was the first e-book that I borrowed from the library. Ah, the wonders of technology!

How I Live Now is about an American girl who is sent to England during the outbreak of WWIII. If you want a grand scope of what’s going on in the world for the fictional third war, this is not the book for you. The narrative is focused mainly on Daisy and what happens to her as she struggles to keep the family she’s come to love safe. We get a great sense of the vagueness of war.

The last part of the book is beautiful. I so enjoyed it. I found myself gobbling this book up, despite the weird romance. Speaking of, I should warn you, the book is good, but I was a little creeped out because she falls in love with her cousin. I mean, I get that cousin romances are not a rarity…in 18th century England. Not present day. I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning for this, but yeah, it’s a strange one.

Goodreads rating: 3/5 stars (docked a star for the incest)

Another book set during a world war, but this time it’s historical fiction. Two girls become best friends during their time serving in the women’s forces in WWII. One of them is captured by the Nazis and tortured for information. The novel is divided in half, each part told from one girl’s perspective, and it includes a lot of flashbacks that sometimes made the narrative a little chunky for me. The other thing that made it chunky was a lot of the airplane and military jargon.

But it’s also deeply suspenseful and I loved the unique language Wein developed for her two narrators. The book was very visual, almost like a movie. The climax of the book is erie and startling, but well worth it. Also, there’s some code cracking in it, which I love.

Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

I know the publishing industry and readers are feeling a little fatigued by the dystopian trilogies (I know I am a little as well), but this one pleasantly surprised me. Marie Lu’s legend starts off a little obnoxiously, but as the characters develop, you get pulled into their world. I absolutely love Day, one of the narrators and the male lead, and June grew on me. Her dystopian LA is very well thought out, and I could see the seeds she was planting for the sequel (the final book comes out in November).

Goodreads rating: 4/5

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