Tag Archives: Dystopian YA

2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Best in Show

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Thanks, SO MUCH, to Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman for hosting this very fun blogging event. If I don’t blog for months, I still try to participate in this blogfest because I very much enjoy those women, and, I also want to do my part to promote great YA. Thanks, ladies!

Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

Favorite Cover:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith



Cutest Couple(s):

Callie & Alex | Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Anna & Bennett | Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
Cath & Levi | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Josh & Nastya | The Sea of Tranquility
Will & Zoe | Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner.):
I don’t believe I’ve read a book that will win, sadly. I don’t really know what the criteria is or how it’s selected! Perhaps I should just go back and read some previous winners. 🙂 Check out the current and past winners, here.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you couldn’t put down.):
Winger | Andrew Smith

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.):
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel:
Time After Time | Tamara Ireland Stone
**Let me just say that I’ve been avoiding starting news series when and where I can. So, I think this is one of the only ends of a series that I read! I don’t even know if I can say it was my favorite, but it was… effective?

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:
Wren & Charlie | The Infinite Moment of Us
Crown of Midnight
Callie & Alex | Where the Stars Still Shine

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.):
The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay
Check out Katja talking about her publishing journey. It’s pretty amazing!


Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year published BEFORE 2013.):
This is Not a Test | Courtney Summers
The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald


Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry:

Winger | Andrew Smith


Most Pleasant Surprise (Book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.):
Dare You To | Katie McGarry
This is a bit of a stretch because I liked Pushing the Limits, but didn’t love it. So, I was a little tepid about starting Dare You To. I ended up loving Dare You To!

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:
False Sight | Dan Krokos
All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Nobody But Us | Kristin Holbrook
Golden | Jessi Kirby


Favorite Outlier (Favorite picture, middle grade, or adult 2013 book):
I read a bunch of New Adult outside YA and it’s hard to say which one was my favorite! I think Unteachable by Leah Raeder was extremely well written and Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein was hilarious! Both broke the NA mold in different ways for me.
Required Reading – which series do you think I *have* to start in 2014?
Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
The Selection series by Kiera Cass
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
Something I don’t even know about, yet?

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2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Elements of Fiction

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It’s Day 3 of the YA Superlatives Blogfest, hosted by Jessica Love, Allison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman! Let’s take a look at some great YA from the Class of 2013!

Wednesday, December 18th | Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot: The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
I’m not done with this book–at all–but I am hooked and scared of this alien apocalypse plot. I wish my mind thought like this! Authors are total rock stars.

Most Formidable World: The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
The future in All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill

Well, yeah. So far it feels pretty hopeless and any survival tale makes me think, Welp, I’d be screwed!
Am I becoming a sci-fi nerd? I’ll own it, if so. 🙂 I just love a time travel story and this is a fresh take on time travel for sure. The Director and The Doctor have definitely made life particularly difficult for the U.S. of the future. What is also interesting is that the states are overtaken in AOY in a few years–not generations or decades, and with technology today, why not? But it scares me!

Wanderlust-Inducing: Just One Day | Gayle Forman
Allyson’s journey abroad, and, more specifically her willingness to take risks and hop a train to the next destination, unplanned, etc. is definitely wanderlust-inspiring.

Loveliest Prose: The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
Stiefvater’s writing is really just the best, right? There were a lot of great books with amazing voice, which I’m going to say I think is a little different from lovely prose/writing.

Best First Line:
“There will be no awakening.” The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey

“Dying really isn’t so bad after you’ve done it once.” The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay

Most Dynamic Character: Nastya | The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Ryan Dean West | Winger by Andrew Smith
Nastya is a perplexing character who is a selective mute, yet is totally dynamic and intriguing.
Oh, Ryan Dean. 🙂

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending: Nobody But Us | Kristin Halbrook
I’m going to assume there will be many Allegiant references on other lists, so I wanted to select something different. I feel like this category is a little spoiler-y, but I want to change it up. So, NBU!

Best Performance in a Supporting Role: Joey | Winger by Andrew Smith
Drew | The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Joey is diplomatic, well-liked, and a good friend to Ryan Dean. He is regularly giving blunt, sound advice to RD, despite RD’s pipsqueak-y, underclassman status. 🙂

Yeah, yeah, I obviously love this book. But it’s because of the characters. They jump off the page and I want to be friends with them all. Drew is a friend to Josh and Nastya, although his friendship with Nastya definitely evolves over time. I think he’s loyal to both and able to separate the relationships when necessary. In the end, he’s there when it counts.

Best Use of Theme: How to Love | Katie Cotugno
I really, really liked Reena’s epiphany at the end of the book. I think it’s so true to life!
There were lots of other possibilities for this category, including Just One DayEleanor & ParkOCD Love Story, and Golden.

Tomorrow is the last day of the YA Superlatives Blogfest for 2013. I don’t know how that’s possible already! Check back in for my Best of Show post tomorrow.

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2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Head of the Class

Well, I set my Goodreads challenge goal at 50 books, and it looks like I’ll accomplish that by the end of the year, but, of course I didn’t get to every book I had hoped I would by the time of this blogfest. As a teacher, I get a LOT of books in during holiday break. 🙂 And, I read a lot of books but a good handful are manuscripts and some were not published in 2013.

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The YA Superlative Blogfest is hosted by Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman. The goal of the blogfest is to promote and share extraordinary young adult novels (and have fun, of course!).

I love a good blogfest (Lists! Categories! Deadlines!) but apologies in advance if I peg a book as something that it’s not intended to be. Please consider it a compliment. I liked your book. A lot.

Apologies in advance for repetitive choices and/or double selections.

Monday, December 16th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian Allegiant | Veronica Roth
I don’t care what you say, this series is close to my heart. Also, of my, like, three dystopian reads this year, it was definitely my favorite!

Favorite Science Fiction All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill
Tie? Honorable Mention? – The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
This one snuck up on me! We read the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury in my classes this year, and the kids ate it up. I liked this twist on time travel. It is mildly dystopian, but, even if you’re over dystopian don’t overlook AoY!
I just started this one and am 100 pages in but feel like it’ll be one of my favorites of 2013. Apparently I love a good sci-fi/alien tale these days (and I used to be so adamantly against sci-fi!). 🙂


Favorite Fantasy
The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
Honorable Mention: Relic | Renee Collins

Stiefvater’s writing, the twists, the extra look at Ronan’s life & background, and the continued mystery of what will happen with Gansey just keeps this series at the top of my must-read ASAP when available list.

I had the privilege of reading Relic a number of times and offering editorial feedback during its publication process. I have to say, at first synopsis read I didn’t think it would be my thing. This story is set in the Wild West but in world where bones from now-extinct magical creatures can be harvested and used for the powers. It’s full of action and awesome characters!


Favorite Contemporary
Winger | Andrew Smith
HM: Where the Stars Still Shine | Trish Doller
HM: OCD Love Story | Corey Ann Haydu
This book is so wonderful . The voice of the male narrator is witty, the character draws cartoons, he’s a fish out of water in a boarding school, and is confined to O-Hall with the school’s biggest miscreants. The ending of the novel is a bit abrupt, but, I loved the overall story so much it didn’t really phase me.

WtSSS blew. My. Mind. I don’t usually like issue books and early one we’re introduced to Callie, who has a horrible mother and as such, a horrible home life. Callie ends up in her father’s custody and he is my kind of YA book parental figure.

I just finished this! Props to any book that can take what you think to know to be true about a subject (OCD, in this case) and totally rocks them. Bea and Beck are a hopelessly compulsive and adorably smitten, but intriguingly flawed.


Favorite Action/Adventure – Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas
HM: False Sight | Dan Krokos
The action really delivered in this Throne of Glass installment. I liked ToG but loved CoM. Celaena truly kicks ass in CoM as an assassin, liked I’d hoped for in ToG.

I don’t know how else to describe Krokos’ books other than they are totally action-packed! And, as I’ve mentioned before I keep reading these because of an interesting story line for Miranda and the something-for-everyone factor. 🙂


Favorite Comedy
Winger | Andrew Smith

Laughed out loud. Seriously, I was laughing and needing to stifle my laughter because my husband was sleeping next to me but I couldn’t hold it in. 🙂 This book is genuinely humorous.


Favorite Mystery
Golden | Jessi Kirby
The main character, Parker, felt relatable in that she definitely knows something is missing in her life and needs some action, adventure, and finds it in unraveling a mystery surrounding her town’s “it” couple from ten years prior.


Favorite Romance
– Fangirl | Rainbow Rowell
HM: Nobody But Us | Kristin Halbrook
Every time I think about this book I fall in love all over again. I just thought everything about it was great, but particularly the romance element.

These two. Ugh, their story is lovely and so, so gripping. I feel like I need to reread it immediately! A really stunning debut from Halbrook.


Favorite Paranormal
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas
So many cool paranormal elements in CoM. Maas has built a quite the fascinating, magical kingdom. I mean, the book has a map so that automatically qualifies CoM as great paranormal/fantasy, right? 🙂


Favorite Family Drama –
How to Love | Katie Cotugno
HM: Where the Stars Still Shine | Trish Doller
Oh, Reena’s family. Their dynamics are not puppies and roses and I loved that about them. I loved their best friendship with Sawyer’s family. I loved their religious undertones. So incredibly realistic.


Callie’s life is a mess, which is why her father stepping in was so sweet and spectacular. I love strong parents in a novel (when they’re often absent in YA) and the fact that her mom was such a mess made her dad even better.


Favorite Genre Bender – 
 Time After Time | Tamara Ireland Stone
Is it Science Fiction? Is it Paranormal? Is it a Romance? There are Contemporary elements for Bennett… I’m so confused! 🙂 But I really loved it! A great sequel to Time Between Us. Truly I think Anna and Bennet are two of my YA faves. And I love them together.

Abstention: Favorite Historical Fiction, although perhaps Relic could fit. 🙂


Keep tuning in, folks! I will be doing my best to continue participating throughout the week:
Tuesday, December 17th: Popularity Contest
Wednesday, December 18th: Elements of Fiction
Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

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YA Book Club – ALLEGIANT

This month the YA Book Club, hosted by Tracey Neithercott, read Allegiant by Veronica Roth. While I’m definitely feeling some dystopian fatigue, this book ripped me out of any feelings of complacency. I really loved being in this Chicago and in the head of Tris, overall. I really love Four. Okay, I mostly just love Four.


There are major spoilers riddled throughout this post, so read no further if you don’t want spoilers!

Let me start by saying I knew bad things would happen because I had seen psuedo spoilers like “Chapter 50—OH MY GOD” on Twitter so I knew something big was coming. Most people seem only mildly happier that what happened was with Tris because, with spoilers, everyone seemed to think that Four was going to be the one on the chopping block. I just thought maybe they’d be broken up because I’m brilliant like that. 😉

My initial reaction: I was mildly traumatized. There were definitely tears. I couldn’t believe the fate of the characters, but I didn’t hate it like everyone else in the world seems to. I don’t know that I felt it was the poetic justice that was intended, but, I didn’t hate it. What made that ending somewhat okay for me was what I felt was poignant moments from Four. I died a little more inside when he has the flashbacks–gosh, my stomach just did flippy flops thinking about him remembering her from her jump. Of course I wanted them to have their HEA.

The love: I’m glad Tris and Four were more loving toward each other in this book. The last YA Book Club that I participated in was for INSURGENT and I started off saying that I was fangirling all over it, which I don’t think is true, now. I think I was just really happy to have another piece of the Divergent puzzle once I’d finished it. Upon reflection, I think Tris was childish and pushed Four away a lot in that book. With ALLEGIANT, I think she showed those shades of immaturity again in this book, but after the early missteps from Four I really thought they were connected again, and I loved that.

Four: What I was more unnerved by was Four’s sort of emasculating behavior in this book: going against Tris and along with what’s her name in a rather flippant way, being so concerned about being “damaged,”–hell, he’s not divergent like his dad (Or mom? Or both? can’t remember), he should be happy, right? I know he needs a character arc and growth but I think I would have been perfectly fine with Four being static. 😉 I did struggle at times with the dual narration. Sometimes I found Four’s and Tris’ voices too similar. No matter what, I still love him and I’m excited to see him portrayed (what I think will be) well in the movies.

I feel that the whole “allegiant” uprising or that title is actually pretty trivial, as was the idea of having damaged genes versus pure genes. Who cares? Or, is it just easy for people like Tris not to care because she’s not damaged? I think that it just felt–to me–like there was some cult-like science club that had a god complex or something. I thought there would be a bigger deal about what was going on outside the fence.

I thought Tris was borderline shrill when she was right all the time and just expected Four to trust/follow/respect her when she had made pretty big errors in the past. I wanted to just think yes, she’s strong, she’s a martyr, she’s selfless and loving and that’s why she dies but mostly I was just sad she made the choice to go in over Caleb. I don’t know that a sibling could be THAT selfless, even in love. A parent, yes. Sibling, not sure. And I LOVE my brother! 😉

Still can’t get over Four. I just want the guy to be content and happy and I think he mostly is at the end, but, I wish it was with Tris. 🙂

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