2012 was a pinnacle moment for any YA reader. The Hunger Games had been released in cinema’s, teenagers worldwide were quoting The Fault in Our Stars, fandom edits dominated our Tumblr accounts, and some of YA classic reads like Throne of Glass, The Selection, Cinder and The Raven Boys appeared on our bookshelves.
I’m currently in the process of writing a blog post about how YA fiction has changed over the years, and since writing it I’ve started to feel really nostalgic and sentimental. I’ve grown up with YA fiction, and it’s been wonderful to watch it grow and develop into a genre that is so much more than love triangles, dystopian governments and rebellions. These stories have shaped the person I am today, so I thought I’d share a few of my old favourites and reminisce over some much-loved characters and storylines.
My TBR is overflowing, but I’m tempted to do a read-a-thon inspired by some of these throwback reads and original YA classics that I missed out on reading, like the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi or The Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead! I’m also currently in a bit of a reading slump, so hopefully, this will help!
Anyway, here is a list of my favourite throwback reads from my teens, enjoy!
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins – Harper Price, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance leaves her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts and with these powers, she’s been given the task to protect her least favourite person; David Stark. This book is funny and adorable, but is also filled with intense fight scenes and an action-packed storyline, it’s the perfect combination of contemporary and fantasy!
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Dear Netflix, if you’re looking for another YA contemporary love story to adapt then look no further. The story follows Anna, a student in her senior year of high school but not any high school – a high school in Paris, France. From there we follow her senior year however it’s not that simple. Here she meets a beautiful boy named Etienne St Clair, he has it all including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true.
Angelfall by Susan Ee – This is one of my old favourites and a majorly underrated dystopian fantasy! Angelfall follows Penryn, a 17 year old trying to help her frayed family survive in a post-apocalyptic world, a world that has been torn apart by angels. But not the virtuous and good kind, the kind that are cold, cruel and merciless. So when her younger sister is taken by angels, Penryn must team up with an unlikely companion and fallen angel Raffe, to save her sister. Penryn is not your typical YA heroine, she’s strong, independent but she’s also still a normal teenage girl who even has her priorities sorted out! This book is packed full of suspense, action and some of my favourite character interactions.
The Archived by V.E. Schwab – This was the first V.E Schwab book I ever read! It’s eerie and unique premise is what makes this book so special, just imagine a world where the dead rest on the shelves like books! It wasn’t until the second half of the book that I started to fall in love with it but I promise you that it’s definitely worth the read!
The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig – Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire and the effects of the radiation have caused every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha – physically perfect in every way and seen as superior in society – and the other an Omega burdened with deformity, small or large and branded as the lesser human. However, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other. Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality.
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – This has been on my list of ‘series I want to finish’ for a while now and is another book that I’ve completely forgotten about! Whoops! All I remember is the unique world building and some pretty kick-ass fight scenes!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Another book that I can’t remember much about, only that it had everything a YA novel needed; strong protagonists, unique storyline and an action-packed adventure. This series is at the top of my series re-read TBR as I’m curious to dive back into this wonderfully magical world and to see if my opinions have changed! Also, I know I always say this but please can we take a moment to appreciate these new covers, they’re stunning!
Legend by Marie Lu – This series is addictive! Yes, this is a YA dystopian novel but it’s one of the better ones! The narrative is commanding, and the plot is explosive and I know it’s cliche, but this series will have you on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking for a powerful and exhilarating read then this is the series for you.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge – If you’re looking for a Beauty and the Beast retelling, then this one is for you! Cruel Beauty was the original Beauty and the Beast retelling that took the YA community by storm, way before A Court of Thorns and Roses did. It’s a beautifully brilliant and heart-breaking story that I guarantee you’ll love!
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – This is such an underrated duo-logy! Wolf by Wolf imagines a reality based on two horrific “what ifs”, ‘what if’ Hitler won the war, and ‘what if’ an experiment resulted in something else. Now pair that with motorcycles and a race across the globe and you’ve got yourself a wildly compelling and fast-paced novel with some brilliant and powerful characters.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – Paige completely flips an original story on its head and creates something so versatile and wonderfully different than readers will fall in love with. As you can possibly figure out from the title, the story is a continuation from the Wizard of Oz but things are very different from where the film/book left off. So when our protagonist, Amy, lands unexpectedly in the magical world of Oz, everyone is miserable, grey and depressed, the munchkins are slaves and flying monkeys are wingless. So what happened to the Oz Amy grew up loving? Dorothy happened.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – When I was young I devoured this series and I remember being so proud of myself after reading all THIRTEEN books. I also went through a phase where I desperately wanted to be just like Violet, I would try and invent things and made sure that I always carried a ribbon around with me so I could tie my hair up whenever I had an idea!