Book Reviews: YA Fiction

A beautiful, emotional and thought provoking offering from John Green and David Levithan. 

Two boys called Will Grayson with polar opposite lives meet one night in a Chicago  porn shop called Frenchy's. How they got there and where they go next I'm not going to tell you but suffice it to say it's worth the 309 pages. Not only are the to Will Grayson's totally captivating in themselves by secondary characters including Tiny Cooper, Jane, Issac and the Wills' parents provide a world worth exploring.

An interesting concept. Ethan was abducted 9 years ago outside his house. He spent 7 years with a new family before they left him, a year on a home and a year on the streets before being reunited with his family. 

Coming home isn't easy though -Ethan has to cope with 9 years of memories that don't include him, a whole town who thought he was dead and a sister he never knew. Compelling reading  with a jaw dropping twist - here's hoping for a sequel!

Jarratt's eagerly awaited follow up to the wonder that was Skin Deep last year...

Holly had to move away from everyone she knew, to protect them, the only people that really know her are her mum and dad and younger sister Katie. What she witnessed will stay with her forever, it disrupted her life in every possible way and now she has to live with the consequences... new town, new school, new life but you can never really leave it all behind.

Beautifully written and easy to read... I just wish Laura Jarratt wrote her stories quicker!

Can a chance encounter change your life? Allyson was a quiet, cautious girl, just graduated from high school.. but when she meets the Dutch Shakespearian actor Wilhelm she decides to throw caution to the wind and leaves her friends to spend a magical day in Paris with the Dutchman. 

Adventure and mystery ensue but a day is never enough. Whilst Allyson is back in America and starting College her mind is elsewhere and she can't settle until she finds him again. Is it romance, is it curiosity I can't quite tell. Forman's main character is a bundle of emotions and uncertainty but how else do you find out who you are if you don't take a chance? Looking forward to the sequel in October, Just One Year.

After attending an event at the library with the author C.J Skuse I decided to try one of her books... They aren't what I would normally go for in terms of cover design but I found myself not able to put Dead Romantic down and finished it in a day.

Zoe and Camille are taking on the experiment of a lifetime - making their own dream boy! Witty, thoughtful and hilarious - this story incorporates adventure, drama, romance and teenage angst. An easy, enjoyable read.

A prelude to Dashner's Maze Runner series - this part of the story focuses on the disaster which was a prelude to the Maze and Scorch Trials.

Mark and Trina met each other on the day of the flare... as they team up with other survivors they take on what becomes WICKED's attempt to neutralise all those infected with the madness that it left behind. As a stand alone it works well but this idea has to be over now.

The sequel to McKenzie's Falling Fast - River and Flynn have made it through Romeo and Juliet, now real life is posing all the problems. Flynn can't handle his temper, rumours at school are getting worse. River's friends are worried about her and after one too many incidents Flynn drops a bombshell that tears River's life apart... can the star crossed lovers make it through? When you're in love if you're not in the relationship you just can't understand - An easy absorbing read that teenagers will be able to relate to.

I've had a bit of reader's block lately and so returned to an old favourite. This is the third or fourth time I've read 1 Reasons Why and every time I get engrossed in the story and finish it within 48 hours. Hannah Baker committed to suicide a fortnight ago but no-one knows why... In the night that follows Clay Jensen finds out why. There are 13 reasons, 13 people responsible and on 13 sides of cassette tapes Hannah explains why. 

You can touch someone's life without even realising.. have an effect that snowballs or just catch someone on an off day but unless you realise how can you help?

The third in the Chemical Garden Trilogy sees Rhine find her brother and Gabriel and develop her relationships with her sister wife, Cecily and her husband Linden. But as with all stories there is always a villain of the peace - House Master Vaughan. No matter how much she tries Rhine cannot escape Vaughan's grasp, not when he threatens the lives of everyone Rhine holds dear, but there are secrets to revealed and friends lost as they hunt the elusive cure. A fitting end to the trilogy... I look forward to future offerings.


Zoe did a bad thing, a very bad thing. The only person she can tell is Mr Harris... a prisoner on death row.

 A Monster Calls is Patrick Ness' fourth novel after the Chaos Walking trilogy. Built upon from the original idea of Siobhan Dowd, this tells the story of 13 year old Connor coming to terms with his mother's fatal illness. This story is beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay and won both the Carnegie and Greenaway awards in 2012 (the first o do so in the medals history).

An emotional and heart wrenching story, easily read in one sitting when the monster comes calling he helps Connor to admit the truth and share his story, his fears and hopes. A coming of age story for this generation which will resonate for years to come.

An exploration of two teenage girls from very different backgrounds looking for love and acceptance in a world turned upside down.

When Jill's father died she lost all meaning to her life, closing herself off from family, friends, and her boyfriend Dylan she tries to find her new place in the world. Her mum is trying to do the same and invites Mandy into their loves.

Mandy is 33 weeks pregnant, fleeing from her mother who doesn't love her and a stepfather who abuses her, the only love she's ever known is an afternoon with a boy called Christopher.. who may or may not be the father of her baby. 

A story full of powerful emotion and self discovery, I couldn't put it down!

I've always wanted to read a Maggie Stiefvater and went for this one purely on the cover art - I know... not best way to choose but that's how I roll! I can honestly say I enjoyed it but am so confused about what actually happened!

Blue lives in a family of psychics but has no supernatural ability herself - she has been told from as young as she can remember that if she kisses her true love she will die - bit harsh when you're 15. This doesn't seem a problem for Blue until she meets Gansey, Adam and Ronan... the Raven Boys, each with their own plethora of problems.... what ensues is a search for more supernatural enmeshed in angst from all characters trying to solve problems beyond their years.

Another choice for those riding the supernatural teen train... Ethan has lived in Gatlin County all his life but when Lena Duchannes comes to town life in Gatlin changes and not all for the better... she's a Caster living with the town recluse but Ethan fights against family and friends to find out who the real Lena is... beautifully paced and a different take on the supernatural which usually focuses on Vamps... can't wait to read the next one!

I tried to hold off but with a week off work this is going to get read quickly!!!!

We follow Lena and Ethan through the all to true teen problems of relationships whilst trying to work out what Sarafine has in store for Lena's 17th birthday... Light or dark who will know and can Lena decide her destiny?

Link is an Incubus, Ridley is mortal but Lena and Ethan are still in love and that is the core of the story as they overcome obstacles and try to decipher the 18th moon's prophecy. The relationships that we have seen develop are tested to the limit as the End of Days nears and no one knows who needs to be sacrificed to stop it... a brilliant written wicca like novel with a true love story at it's core...a definite for anyone who like Vampire Diaries and the like!

The final instalment in The Caster Chronicles series... Ethan and Lena now live in different worlds after Ethan's sacrifice at the end of Beautiful Darkness. But, like teenage love... nothing can separate this couple. As Ethan tries to make his way back to Lena he encounters the demons and angels of the otherside. Lena hasn't given up either and she and the rest of the gang including Link, Liv and Ridley help each other to bring Ethan back where he belongs.

The latest offering from Pittacus Lore sees the garde of Lorien learning to use their legacies and work as a team to defeat Setrakus Ra.... The action doesn't stop in this third instalment, those that are following the series will not be disappointed especially with each garde member trying to work who is in fact Pittacus!

A teen series I've been meaning to read for a while, when I realised there was a graphic novel I thought it would be a brilliant way to get started! 

After being orphaned, James is taken to an Orphanage... what he doesn't know is he has been head hunted by CHERUB... the youth section of MI5 - no-one suspects a child of espionage... James gets put to the test in his first mission but will his naivety get the better of him?

A disease has wiped out all the people on earth apart from 82 people in a village in Surrey - one of whom happens to be the only person to engineer a cure for Hav3n! When Michael retruns with the vaccine the people of Little Sheen have to learn how to survive in a world where they are the only inhabitants and much rests on the shoulders of the 4 teenagers of the village.

Are you part of the church gang or the Wheatsheaf gang? When you're the only people in the world is it easier to keep order? it would appear not! 

A nice change from the distopia/vampire fiction that is drowning the YA market at the moment... and a stand alone to boot!

The fourth instalment in the enemy series... Children live in the buildings of London hiding from the sickos, the oppos, the zombies, the adults that have taken over the city. But the zombies are getting organised, they are being called to the centre of the city whilst the children arejust trying to survive... recurring characters Dognut, Sarah, David, Ed and Kyle move the plot along and we learn more about Sam and the Kid and the shadowman introduced at the end of the fear. Another gripping instalment but how much longer can it go on for?

When Chris' best friend dies unexpectedly it affects him in ways he didn't realise it could..Chris becomes mute whilst he tries to come to terms with Declan's death, how he feels about Declan's supportive grlfriend and the new boy at school who reminds him so much of Dec. Well written concerning sensitive issues

A touching coming of age story about first love, lust and the heartache that follows. This was my first foray into LGBT fiction and I enjoyed it. It was very easy to forget it was LGBT and think of it as just another teen love story apart from a couple of pages when Sean was unsure how to approach the subject of his sexuality with his loved ones.. these pages spoke outand could have been read separately from the book as a how to. Setting it in a small town gave the author the chance to show the diversity of a small population but he needed an outsider from the big city to re-assure Sean that everything was going to be ok... This Summer changes everything

 I've tried to read The Hobbit and it didn't stick but with the film coming out later this month I thought I'd try it in simpler chunks... Wenzel's adaption and illustrations help move the story along... we meet the dwarves and the elves and the wonderful Gandalf... beautifully illustrated I think I've got the basic plot down!

Another of the never-ending dsytopian teen novels. This for me was lacking something although I can't put my finger on what.

Cal is just a normal kid, goes to school, comes home, does his homework but then the cracks start appearing, voices are in his head, seeing things in the shadows... and then he is woken from the coma that has been induced in him for 12 years. What ensues is a need for truth, discovery of a new world and the need to find a family you don't remember.

As Mia trys to come to terms with a tragic accident we find out whats important and whats not and if young love is really enough... a definite page turner! Can't say anymore without giving it all away!

The sequel to If I Stay shows a different side of the story as we follow Adam (Mia's boyfriend) learning to live with the consequences of Mia's accident and all that comes after. If anything enjoyed this more than the first.

Sarah Dessen is an author I've been meaning to read for a long time and I wasn't disappointed! An energetic coming of age story as Macy learns the truth about perfect with a Summer full of surprises.

Meg Rosoff is another one of those authors I feel I should have read and I'm not sure if I started with the best one or not. What I Was is a foray into first love and in my mind the story was very slow and predictable but whilst saying this I did fall in love with the underlying beauty of Rosoff's writing... I felt I was there in the beach hut as it was being beaten by the natural elements, I could smell the salt air and the crackling fire so maybe it was just the story that didn't grab me but this got me thinking... 

Can you dislike a book whilst enjoying the writing style?

This is an amazing debut from Laura Jarratt... the story of Jenna and Ryan isn't your normal teen love story there are obstacles to overcome and twists I didn't even see coming but you instantly fall in love with Jenna's vulnerability and Ryan's need for protection... beautifully written with characters that are so real and raw as they learn that true love never did run smooth...

Apparently if you liked Hunger Games you'll love this but as it's going it reminds me more of Maze Runner or Knife of Never Letting Go (both excellent)... I did end up enjoying this more than I would although quite predictable... doesn't help that the blurb on the back of the book tells you what's going to happen!

A beautiful teen story set in the future when all men die at the age of 25 and all women die at the age of 20.. as with many teen novels the underlying emotion in this is love, Rhine is married off to Linden at the same time as two other "sister wives" but the only thing she cares about is escaping her new mansion home to find her twin brother... enter attendant Gabriel and things start to get a bit blurry... a definite page turner, this had been recommended to me and with good cause, can't wait for the next in the series!

The second in The Chemical Garden Trilogy... fans of teen dystopian fiction will lap this up - Just when you thought it couldn't get stranger DeStefano takes you into a world of brilliant imagery and characterisation. Gabriel and Rhine have escaped from the mansion and are making there way to New York to find Rhine's brother.. a brilliant second episode, write the third one quickly please!


Just as good the second time round.. am sure you all know the story by now... girl volunteers herself to save her sister... moral and physical challenges ensue... Katniss is chosen for the 74th annual Hunger Games, a "celebration" which pits 24 children against each other to the death, the more brutal the better... enjoy!

Recommended by a colleague, this is another perspective on the teenager cancer story... how to cope with death and teenage angst at the same time is a common thread in YA fiction but Green deals with it very well giving his main characters a support system of peers and family... plus there's always the love story!

Read the whole thing in an evening and whilst not moved to tears I still find myself wondering how the characters are getting on!

Something about Jay Asher books - always page turners and I can never make them last because they're just so good! Yes, the plotline was pretty predictable but it's the characters you fall in love with and you'll love Josh and Emma... enjoy!


I enjoyed Smith's earlier series Furnace so when this came out it was on my list. This starts out as a teen zombie story.. much like Higson's The Enemy series but there is a twist.. there are points where you wonder where the plot is going... it could have been shorter to make it punchier but the twist at the end is worth getting to.

The last in Dashner's Maze Runner trilogy... it has the feel of Higson's The Enemy. Without giving anything away if you like a good dystopan adventure I would recommend this... not in a Hunger Games way but more a The Enemy, Divergent way but for 11/12yrs.. think kids can definitely relate with the characters and there is enough action to keep you reading... especially liked the fast paced ending!

 The sequel to Divergent... Tris is growing up fast in the world of the Factions learning who to trust and searching for truth in a world where it is hidden from everyone... a strong sequel although I feel I should have read Divergent again first... been too long in between! 

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