The Best YA Books I’ve Read This Year

Hello everyone, and happy holidays! This isn’t going to be an epic post because I am still running every which way with the fam, as we do, but I thought I’d share my top YA reads (with some middle grade and new adult thrown in, because I’m too worn out not to cheat).

I’m linking up with top ten Tuesday for this week over at The Broke and the Bookish, although I only made it to seven really (I could add more for sure, but these books for me were in their own league, either in terms of uniqueness or just plain being great). Here they are!

A Darker Shade of Magic & A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab






This is definitely new adult fantasy but you know, the main characters are in their late teens so I’m going to cheat it here. This is an excellent trilogy (so far; the last book is out in a few months) with magic, alternate universes, pirates, politics, and everything you could ask for, and a good balance of action, worldbuilding, and character development.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

On a completely different note, this is a YA contemporary from a few years back, but it is completely worth reading now. It’s the story of a bunch of different gay male teens from the perspective of a chorus of the generations of gay men who came before. Which sounds absolutely whacky, but it is heartwarming, heartwrenching and totally works.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m sneaking in another new adult-type read but go ahead and judge me (not a young adult book, but the characters are young adult). I didn’t expect to love this book because I’m pretty over zombie stories, but this was a beautifully written romance and book in general. It has a great balance of humour, sadness, sentiment, and fear of zombie skeletons.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

This is definitely a weird and sometimes difficult contemporary (though published before 2016) read, since Leonard Peacock intends to kill someone else and then himself, and the reason why is also difficult to read about. The book also contains letters written back to Leonard from his child in a dystopian future (there is a reason for this). But Leonard is a character with a fascinating mind and this book punched me in the heart.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This is another very memorable contemporary I read this year, a story of a mother’s death told before and after by twin teens. It’s about grief, but also the healing power of art, the power of superstition, and the difficulty of being different in a small town. It has some weaknesses, particularly near its ending, but overall it’s a worthwhile read packed with vivid imagery.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This is a gorgeous not-contemporary (it takes place in the 80s) about friendship, family, identity, and self-discovery. The ending felt abrupt (not like a bad conclusion, but very speedily thrown into motion compared to the slower pace of the rest of the book) but otherwise, this book was a lovely character study and it’s well-worth the read.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This is not a perfect book; I think it definitely could’ve done more, but it’s also so interesting in concept and gorgeous in many places because of its imagery (both in writing and the illustrations) that it’s entirely worth the brief read and it has remained with me for the rest of the year. (Also, this is more middle grade probably, but sue me.) I’m very excited to see this interpreted as a movie!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you again on Friday to talk a bit about my reading stats for 2016!

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