Jen’s Top 10 “How Have You NOT Read This” YA Books

It seems lately whenever I bring up one of my favorite books/series, people respond with a blank stare, a careless shrug, or, worst of all, an “I’ve never heard of it” type of comment. AHHH! So, I decided it’s time for me to give you the heads up on some books you MUST read if you haven’t.

Jen’s Top 10 “How Have You NOT Read This?” YA Books

1. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

8490112On average, I read a book a week. AKA, I read a lot. However, no matter how many pages I turn, or how many stories I finish, Daughter of Smoke & Bone remains one of my favorites of all time. And it’s troubling how few people are even aware of it. No offense to Hunger Games  or Twilight, or even Divergent, but I wish the mass population would revere this story. Simply put, it’s awesome. Daughter of Smoke & Bone has everything a reader craves: intrigue, romance, humor, and, of course, adventure.

So go read it! And be sure to spread the word how awesome it is.

Check out my full review here!

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

11235712Sighhhhh…Just…God, just go read this series, okay? I can’t even begin…I can’t even tell you…AHHH! Just read it. Goooo.

Check out my full review here!

3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

136251Believe it or not, there are still people in the world who haven’t read Harry Potter. *cue gasps* Every time I encounter one of these rare beings, they usually tell me, “Well, I tried watching the movies, but I just wasn’t into them.”

…That’s all I have to say about that.

*clears throat*

READ HARRY POTTER!

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

19063-1When people ask me, “What’s your favorite book?” I first glare at them, and then I tell them I don’t have a favorite (what book nerd does?). Then, when they still won’t leave me alone, I spout off a handful of memorable titles. The Book Thief is always on the list. Always. And it should be on yours!  I promise, it’s a tale you’ll never forget.

Check out my full review here!

5. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

6050678Barking spiders! You haven’t read the Leviathan series? Are you mad? What’s not to like? A round-the-world adventure? A would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne? A commoner girl disguised as a boy? Daring deeds? Fun? AMAZINGNESS!

Hey, all you sods, I can fly and you can’t! A natural airman, in case you haven’t noticed. And in conclusion, I’d like to add that I’m a girl and you can all get stuffed!

…Hmmm, I think even I need to go read this–again. So much fun!

Check out more about Leviathan here!

6. Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Amongst all the dystopian books out there, Legend is my favorite. Think Les Miserables set in the future with a deadly virus, two badass protagonists, and lots of rip-roaring action.

In a nutshell, Legend is…

Read more about Legend here!

7. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128Have you ever read a book as slow as possible? Because you’re dreading the end? Because you know when you turn that last page, the story will be over and you’ll be sad for days and days? Well, that’s how I felt while reading The 5th Wave. Although I’m not a huge fan of stories revolving around aliens, this one is both awesome and terrifying. It actually made me stop and think, “Oh crap. What if this actually happened?”

Dun, dun, dun…

I dare you to read it…Okay, forget the dare. I’m telling you to read it. Scoot, scoot.

Check out my full review here!

8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905Rainbow Rowell is officially one of my favorite authors of all time. In fact, I had a difficult time choosing which of her novels to recommend. The truth is, I recommend all of them (Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments). Rowell is a master at character development and writing stories that have meaning and relevance. Trust me, you won’t be the same after experiencing one–or all–of her books.

Check out my full review for Fangirl here!

9. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

7171637Adventure. Wit. Tears. Mystery. Romance…The Infernal Devices has it all! This prequel series to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments is a MUST-READ! Especially if you’re looking for a new giddy book crush.

Oh, Will Herondale

“How rude. Many who have gazed upon me have compared it to gazing at the radiance of the sun.”

Jem still had his eyes closed. “If they mean that it gives you a headache, they aren’t wrong.”

Read more about The Infernal Devices here!

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

1217100I could easily list thirteen reasons why you should read this book, but I’ll only give you one: it’s life changing. So read it!

Check out my full review here!

Okay, I have about a hundred more books/series I could list, but I’ll end things here. Just take my word for it, these are books you MUST read! You won’t regret it.

What about you? What books make your “How Have You NOT Read This” YA book list?

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Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddPanic by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis

“Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.”

Jen’s Review

Ever since reading Before I Fall and Delirium, Lauren Oliver has become one of my “Must Read Authors”. If she writes it, I’ll read it. So, when I heard she had a new book coming out, I went bonkers. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Panic. And once I did, I was sooo excited! So excited, in fact, I felt a little panicky. I panicked over Panic! 😉

Overall, the freak out was worth it. Panic was entertaining, suspenseful, and ahh-ddicting. It was also scary. I don’t know how many times I was screaming at Heather, Nat, and Dodge to bow out of the Evel Knievel-like game. I was so scared one of them would take on one of the daredevil tasks and fail–like, FAIL. Like, die-fail…

RIP-347-x-300

…No, I’m not gonna tell you if any of them did kick the bucket. You’ll have to read it to find out.

Besides the action-packed, nail biting stunts, Panic also had an emotional backbone that sucked the reader in and kept them invested. It was hard not to care about the characters and cheer them on, even though you knew only one of them could win the big game and take home the cash prize. Heartache, anger, hope, spirit…Panic had it all!

Now, I know some people may think this deadly plot isn’t believable. Personally, I was able to accept it. I’ve known small town teenagers who’ve participated in life threatening stunts. Even my own dad, who grew up in a small Kansas city, used to accept ridiculous dares that could’ve gotten him killed (thanks Dad for risking my existence!).

My only main complaint about Panic had to do with the character, Dodge. At times, I absolutely loved him. He was gritty, determined, and brave (crazy brave), yet also vulnerable, even sweet. But then he would betray those endearing attributes with a streak of violence or hate, or both. I just didn’t like that. I understand how some characters possess a dark side, but Dodge’s dark side was too dark for me. It made me wonder what type of man he would become. Loving husband or vicious criminal? I also felt his attraction to Nat was on the shallow side. I know a lot of guys, especially teenage guys, are only attracted to a girl because of what she looks like. However, as a lead character with so many heart wrenching layers, I expected more from Dodge.

But, don’t let those small nitpicks stop you from reading this. It’s worth it, especially if you’re looking for an intense, moving, slightly psychotic story.

To read more about Panic, click here!

Jen’s Rating

3 Star

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Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

14288998Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi 

Synopsis

“The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do–and they are just as determined to stay together.
Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.
In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.”

Jen’s Review

Into the Still Blue was exactly what I wanted it to be: adventurous, romantic, suspenseful, addictive, surprising…Basically a perfect wrap up to a fantastic series!

Since this is the third and final book in the Under The Never Sky series, and since I despise spoilers, I’m going to keep this review short and sweet.

The characters were as likable and endearing as ever. The plot was tightly-woven, fast-paced, and plenty dramatic. The writing itself was crisp, smooth, and easy to follow. And the ending was–whoops! Not going there 😉 You’ll just have to read Into the Still Blue to find out for yourself how Veronica Rossi decided to conclude Aria and Perry’s tale.

I’ll just say this: If you enjoyed the first two books in the Under the Never Sky series, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. And if you haven’t read any of the Under the Never Sky books yet, then I highly suggest you do, especially if you like dystopia and adventure.

Jen’s Rating

3 Star

Read more about Into the Still Blue here.

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Book Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

13104080Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi 

Synopsis

“tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it’s almost
time for war.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.”

Jen’s Review

Overall, Unravel Me was fine okay good. Did I love it as much as Shatter Me? Unfortunately, no. Shatter Me was better. A lot better.

In the first book of the Shatter Me series, the protagonist, Juliette, was uncertain, fragile, and scared. And in this sequel, she was uncertain, fragile, and scared. And I’m betting she’ll be uncertain, fragile, and scared in the third book, Ignite Me.

Yeah, obviously I’d hoped wanted expected to see more character development with Juliette in Unravel Me. Her “I’m so scared and weak and useless” mindset quickly became frustrating. And what made it even more frustrating was in every chapter, she’d make some kind of vow to be “stronger” or “nicer” or “happier” after a pep talk/lecture from her friend, Kenji, or Omega Point’s leader, Castle…but then she’d encounter her boy toy, Adam, or she’d accidentally hurt someone, and she’d fall right back into her ol’ weepy, self-loathing ways. I hate to say it, but the only time I liked Juliette in this book was when she turned into that “monster” she feared. Then, she was cool insane badass.

On the plus side, I still worship praise adore Tahereh Mafi’s writing style. I can’t tell you how many times I’d re-read a sentence/paragraph for its sheer beauty or imagery. “My fists are full of unlucky pennies and my heart is a jukebox demanding a few nickels and my head is flipping quarters heads or tails heads or tails heads or tails heads or tails.” Mafi truly has a magical touch (no pun intended) with words.

I also loved many of her secondary characters, especially Kenji and Warner. Kenji is just plain fun. In fact, he’s probably my favorite character in this entire book. Strong, daring, hilarious. Kenji rocks. However, his many “Ugh, Juliette! Will you stop whining/crying/beating yourself up/making out with Adam?” moments highlighted Juliette’s many faults.

As for Warner…

…sigh

Unlike most, I fell in love with Warner in Shatter Me. I sensed there was more to him than lunacy cruelty bloodlust. And there was! In Unravel Me, we discover many of Warner’s humanistic emotionally scarred delicate layers. However, as much as I love love love Warner, I don’t love love love his involvement in the love triangle with Juliette and Adam. It’s too reminiscent of Bella, Edward, and Jacob…Okay, quick side rant: Juliette is blindingly beautiful. Adam is blindingly beautiful. Warner is blindingly beautiful. Everyone is blindingly beautiful in this book! Why? And why does that beauty overshadow more important qualities like personality? I just don’t like it when a protagonist has serious emotional/personality problems, yet she’s desired by all because she’s “hot”.

Well, anyways. I know it may not seem like it, but I did enjoy this book. Yes, it’s flawed, but yes, it’s good. And yes, I’d recommend it. And yes, I’m planning to read the third book in the series, Ignite Me. But, if you LOVED Shatter Me, all I can say about Unravel Me is:

Jen’s Rating

3 Star

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Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

13206828Cress by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.”

Jen’s Review

Well, that about sums up my feelings for Cress. Yippy, ya-hoo, woo-hoo, yea, yeah, yes! Seriously, can Marissa Meyer write a bad book? I mean it. I thought Cinder was great, Scarlet was amazing, and now Cress? Wow! I’ve never read a series that gets better and better and better. Not only is the story itself evolving at a highly satisfying pace, but it’s building upon a cast of characters that are some of my favorite characters of all time!

I won’t lie, Scarlet and Wolf remain my favorites in The Lunar Chronicles (and I was a little bummed those two didn’t play a more prominent role in Cress). However, I absolutely loved the main duo in this book: Cress and Captain Thorne.

28791I can’t even begin to tell you how endearing and amusing Cress is. This Rapunzel inspired character was a perfect combination of sweet and naive, and edgy and brave. Half the time I wanted to laugh and shake my head at her daydreamin’, romantic fantasies, while the other half I wanted to give her a high five and thank her for not being a total damsel in distress.

A roar clawed up from her throat and she swung her elbow, as hard as she could, landing a solid hit against his jaw…She didn’t check to see if he was unconscious, or if she’d given him a heart attack, or if he was in any shape to get up and follow her. She wrenched open the door and ran.”

And then there’s Captain Thorne. (cue dippy sigh)

If you read Scarlet, then you’ve already been introduced to Captain Thorne. And if you didn’t fall in love with him then, I promise, you will in Cress. Through countless adventures and an unfortunate accident, Captain Thorne proves to be more than a charming, arrogant, self-centered fop. He shows us he’s also a genuine, patient, caring guy. And a man of his word.

I’m going to die. And I’ve never been kissed.”

Cress. Cress. You’re not going to die.”

We were going to have such a passionate romance, too, like in the dramas. But no–I’ll die alone, never kissed, not once.”

…”I promise, I will not let you die without being kissed.”

 Yeah…I think that calls for another dippy sigh, right gals? 😉

Really, everyone, I could go on and on and on about this book and the rest of The Lunar Chronicles. So, I’ll save my breath and simply urge you to go read it. Go read all of them. Now! Move it.

Jen’s Rating

4 Star

To read more about Cress, click here

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Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

8909152Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis

“‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ‘
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?”

Jen’s Review

<<Jennifer to Beth>> You are a complicated woman.

<<Beth to Jennifer>> No. Doy.

<<Jen to Reader>> Oh my gosh! I just read an AMAZING book!!!

<<Reader to Jen>> Yeah? What?

<<Jen to Reader>> Attachments by Rainbow Rowell! I couldn’t put it down. It. Was. So. Ahhh-dicting. Seriously, Rowell is officially one of my favorite authors.

<<Reader to Jen>> Wow, really? Why?

<<Jen to Reader>> Well, besides writing good stories, she knows how to write fabulous characters. She makes them feel so real, so relevant, so relatable. I swear, my life is a Rainbow Rowell novel. It’s like she knows me. The problems her characters face, the thoughts they have, the fears they deal with–all me! It’s creepy, but in a cool, “whoa” way, ya know?

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the guy in this book, Lincoln!…siiiigh

<<Reader to Jen>> Spill!!!

<<Jen to Reader>> I don’t know. He’s just so darn cute! Sweet and endearing and polite. I just wanted to wrap him up, take him home, and keep him forever. I mean it, he’s the kind of guy you wanna meet and fall in love with in real life…Where are you Lincoln??? Where, where, where…

<<Reader to Jen>> Um, you do know you sound a little crazy now, right?

<<Jen to Reader>> …yes.

<<Reader to Jen>> Okay, good. Just checking. So Attachments is really good?

<<Jen to Reader>> YES!

<<Reader to Jen>> Better than Fangirl and Eleanor & Park?

<<Jen to Reader>> Well, I wouldn’t say “better”, per se. Just different. In my opinion, Attachments was lighter and more fun as a whole. But, don’t get me wrong, it still had its dramatic, epiphany-filled moments. They just didn’t seem as intense or prominent as the other two novels.

<<Reader to Jen>> Okay, so I guess that means you’d definitely recommend it?

<<Jen to Reader>> Duh!

<<Reader to Jen>> Okay, okay! Sheesh.

<<Jen to Reader>> Sorry! I get pushy when I find a book that I love, and I LOVED Attachments. Let’s just say as you near the end, you’ll start to feel anxious and sad, because you won’t want it to end.

b9d10050302e88e870291e52c4ada5bf<<Reader to Jen>> Fine, fine. I’m heading to the bookstore now.

<<Jen to Reader>> Good! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

“I think I missed my window,” he said.
“What window?”
“My get-a-life window. I think I was supposed to figure all this stuff out somewhere between twenty-two and twenty-six, and now it’s too late.

Jen’s Rating 

5 Star

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Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

13455782Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 

Synopsis

“No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.”

Jen’s Review

You can’t touch me,” I whisper. I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him. He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him. Please touch me, is what I want to tell him.”

I loved loved loved this book. So much so much so much. You should need must read it!

Okay, sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I guess Tahereh Mafi’s writing style rubbed off on me a bit. It was so different unique strange. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Actually, I mean it in a very good way. I thoroughly enjoyed Mafi’s fun take on formatting. I wasn’t at all fazed by her lack of commas and periods, repetitious sentences and crossed out words (I’m sure her Word document would beg to differ; I bet the entire thing was underlined in green squiggly lines).

Besides Mafi’s crazy weird cool style, her story was interesting captivating addicting. Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t the most original concept. I mean, a girl who can’t touch people without hurting or killing them? Sounds just like Rogue from X-Men, right?

However, Shatter Me wasn’t X-Men. It was too pretty poetic artistic. So many of Mafi’s lines would literally make me sigh out loud. She definitely has a way with words and painting them in a beautiful, imaginative way.

As far as her characters went, I found them to be a likable, complicated and endearing group. The protagonist, Juliette, was a big bag of polar opposites: quiet yet loud, weak yet strong, passive yet aggressive. And Adam, the love interest, was what every girl wants in a boy: gentle, protective and hotttt…Oh yeah, I’m still cooling off, ladies. Adam definitely qualifies for my Book Crush Club. And, if I’m being honest, Warren–the antagonist of this dystopian tale–might too. I know it’s weird and wrong, but his bad boy psycho complex personality was too interesting to dismiss.

I only have one complaint about this entire book: Adam’s eyes. Did you know they’re blue? No? Well, you will after Mafi tells you about them a hundred times. “Adam stares at me so long I begin to blush. He tips my chin up so I meet his eyes. Blue blue blue boring into me.”

Blue blue blue…

Despite the countless ooey-gooey descriptions of Adam’s blue blue blue eyes, I adored Shatter Me. And I highly recommend it. I do I do I do. So go go go to the bookstore and buy it. Now now now.

Okay, I’m done.

Jen’s Rating

4 Star

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