Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor | These books are full of some of the most beautiful prose available in YA lit! The world-building, the characters, the humor, the beautiful imagery: this was the fantasy series I’ve been waiting for. Karou is a young artist living in Prague, and she was raised from birth by several chimaera “monsters.” They love Karou, and she brings them teeth. (Yes, you read that right.) So, what does a super-hot angel, an old love story, wishes, and all the teeth have to do with Karou? Please read this trilogy to find out. You won’t regret it. I think the second book was my favorite, and the third one my least (because of some detouring storylines, which I’d be happy to whine about to anyone else who’s read the series), but the writing in all three is full of over-the-top gorgeous imagery, the kind you typically can’t get away with except for in fantasy writing.
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick | This being the most recent Printz winner, I knew I wanted to read it– especially with that amazing cover! This was a novel in seven parts– seven short stories that are connected to one another through a little thread that you will search for the whole book but only discover in the end. I thought the execution of the format was done masterfully, though there were some stories I loved more than others. The hard thing for me with the short story format was that it was harder for me to truly connect with the characters. But it had the definite feel of a psychological thriller, something I don’t often encounter in the books I read, and I liked it. I finished this book in only a few days.
Help Thanks Wow: the Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott | I’d read Annie’s grocery lists if she’d let me. She’s one of my favorites, and this short little book didn’t disappoint. Yes, it’s definitely hokier than most other Christian books you might read, but she has a good heart and deeply loves Jesus, and I give her a pass on some of her more “out-there” ideas because she is able to reach so many crowds this way. What an impressive platform she has! Anyway, this book was about the “three essential prayers” that she’s mentioned in other books, and she takes time to meditate on each type of prayer while also sharing some of her amazing stories that fit the theme. I drank this one down in quick gulps and would be happy to drink up again.
Unstrung: an Unwind short story by Neal Shusterman | I’ve written before about the Unwind dystology that has me so enamored, and this short story about Lev’s time on an “Chance folk” reservation reminded me how freakin’ excited I am for the fourth and final book in the series to come out this fall! This short story also helped me to better understand and appreciate what happened in the third book. Obviously, don’t read this unless you’ve read or are reading the whole series, but if you are, this is a deep and profound little extra!
The New World: a Chaos Walking Prequel by Patrick Ness | I’ve also written about how much I ADORED the Chaos Walking trilogy, so this was a fun (but sad) little opportunity to peak into Viola’s perspective before she and Todd met and began the journey of their lives. Viola seemed really different in this short story than she did in the entire series, so that was a little stranger, but then again, an event that happens in this prequel is a life-shaping, life-altering one, so that sort of makes sense Another little extra– but not necessary in order to enjoy the series!
What’s up next for me?
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (even though I only read the first book of the Shiver series, this book can be read as a standalone, and I’m loving it. It’s intense though, and emotionally draining, so I can only tackle it in small doses!)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (started today and am already quite enjoying it!)
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Have any awesome YA contemporaries to suggest? I’d love a list. Also, as far as fantasy series go, should I next read the Lunar Chronicles or the Grisha series or the Throne of Glass series?