Top Ten Tuesday: My YA Reading Goals for 2018

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I don’t know about you, but when I find a book I really love one of the first thought that comes to mind after I finish it is, “where can I find more stories like this one?” Sometimes the author who wrote it will have something similar in their back catalogue.

At other times, though, I have to do a lot of digging to find anything remotely similar to it. This could be one of the reasons why I like to reread old favourites so much.

Due to all of these preferences, my reading goals for 2018 are all pretty similar to each other. I want to reread a few favorite stories, and I’m also still hoping to find similar books to some of the new ones I read and loved last year.

1. The first book I’m hoping to reread in 2018 is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I just started watching Anne with an E on Netflix. It’s excellent so far, but it is definitely much darker than the previous adaptations of these books. The more this TV show digs into Anne’s truly terrible experiences early in her life, the stronger my desire becomes to reread this series.

2. After I finish the Anne books, I’m hoping to start with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone again and work my way all though until the end of Harry Potter and the Death Hollows. I wasn’t a big fan of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last year, but I’m hoping that might change if the whole series is fresh in my mind when I give it another shot.

3. After reading Skipping the Scales by Pete Tarsi a little over a year ago, I’ve been on the lookout for more stories about mermaids who have the option of walking on land sometimes.

4. I know I’ve talked about this before in previous Top Ten Tuesday posts, but I loved The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. While I’m waiting for her to release another book, I’d really like to read something similar to this.

Secret Path by Gord Downie was a graphic novel I read last autumn about a twelve-year-old boy who died after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. It was based on a heartbreaking true story from the 1960s. While it definitely wasn’t an easy read, I was surprised by how harsh the conditions were at the residential schools. It would be interesting to read more Young Adult fiction that’s based on the lives of real kids from that era.

6. I meant to read The Doll’s Eye by Marina Cohen last year, and I’m hoping to get to it this year. It’s about a young girl who was deeply frustrated with her siblings. One night she wished that they were more like the antique dolls she’d found in the attic. Based on the description of the plot and all of the positive things people have said about this author in general, I think it’s something I should read sooner rather than later.

7. Reading more middle grade novels is also one of my goals for this year. I recently read and loved The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, a fairy tale about a baby who was left in the forest and raised by the witch who lived there.

8. Confession: the last time I read children’s poetry was when a relative gave me a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. I’m hoping to read more modern poetry in this genre this year.

9. Based on how much I enjoyed Monster: A Graphic Novel by Walter Dean Myers, reading more young adult graphic novels is definitely on my list as well. The subject matter of them doesn’t have to be as serious as the tale of a teenager who is awaiting trial for allegedly robbing and murdering someone. I’m open to trying many different types of stories in graphic novel form.

10. Finally, I’d like to check out more suggestions from other people this year. If you have any recommendations for me, please speak up in the comments!
What are your reading goals for 2018?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten YA Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

While I had lots of reading time in 2017, there were still far too many books I would have liked to  read but never actually got around to checking out. I honestly don’t know much about any of them beyond what their blurbs tell me other than the one about Wonder Woman, but all of the other blurbs sure were attention-grabbing. Click on the links below to read them for yourself.

One of my goals for 2018 is to finally start checking titles off of this list. If you’ve already read any of them, I’d love to hear what you thought about them!

1. Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley.

2. Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.

3. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

4. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo.

5. A List of Cages by Robin Roe.







6. Dreamfall by Amy Plum.

7. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy.

8. Release by Patrick Ness.

9. Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh.

10. Want by Cindy Pon.

What did you run out of time to read in 2017? Whatever it was, I hope you’ll be able to read it in 2018!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Young Adult Books of 2017

Hosted  by the Broke and the Bookish

I didn’t realize how many young adult, middle grade, and childrens’ books I read in 2017 until I typed up this post. Wow, there were a lot!

Five of the books on this week’s list were stories I reviewed for Long and Short Reviews YA over the past year. Click on their titles below to learn more about why I loved them each one of them so much. The other half were tales I read for the sheer fun of it, so I’ll go into a little more detail about why I enjoyed them in today’s post.

1.  Bats at the Library by Brian Lies.

Not only were the illustrations utterly gorgeous, I loved the idea of the library being such an appealing place to visit that a whole family of bats would sneak in to visit it after hours.

2. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.

I know I’ve talked about this book in at least one previous TTT post, but it was a wonderful read. It had so many worthwhile but also difficult things to say about racism, justice, and how some parts of society respond when young black kids are killed.  I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know since I finished reading it.

3. High Summons by Eli Celata.

I was mesmerized by the idea of someone spending the first eighteen years of their life with no idea that they had magical powers. This was the first of many surprises for Jon.

4. “The Hired Girl” by Laura Amy Schlitz.

Confession: Joan was one of those characters that’s honestly hard to love at times. She had very strong opinions about how life was supposed to work, and she didn’t always share them in diplomatic ways.

There was still something appealing about her, though, especially when she decided to take charge of her life after she realized her family wasn’t going to be at all supportive of her dream to attend high school.

5. Princess Rosalinda and the Color Pink by Marcel Szenessy.

This is something I wish had been around when I was a kid. The message in it was as funny as it was important.


6. “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness.

I should warn you in advance that I cried my way through the second half of this book. The plot was about a young boy whose mother has been diagnosed with a disease that was now killing her. After meeting a monster, he decided to do anything the beast said if it would spare his mother’s life.

7. Elphie and Dad Go on an Epic Adventure by Hagit R. Oron and Or Oron.

Everything about this picture book was fun. It’s also something I wouldn’t mind reading aloud over and over again, and that’s always a bonus for this genre.

8. “Allegedly” by Tiffany D. Jackson.

The premise of this story was very loosely based on a real murder case about a baby who died after being left alone with an older child. The plot began when Mary was a teenager living in a group home many years after the baby’s death. After discovering she was pregnant, she only has a few months to prove she didn’t murder that baby when she was alone with it. If she can’t prove her innocence, her own baby will be taken away from her as soon as it is born.

This was one of the most suspenseful things I’ve read in a long time. While I’m still not entirely sure what I think of the ending, I loved reading it and coming up with my own theories about how it would end.

9. A Colorless Blue by M.W. Muse.

To be honest, this was another tear-jerker. No sooner did I figure out how I thought it was going to end, though, than the narrator completely surprised me.

10. “The Nest” by Kenneth Oppel.

This was the best middle grade story I read in 2017. The main character had a sick baby brother, and he made a strange deal with a talking wasp who promised to heal the baby.

The plot only became odder after that point. I can’t say much about it without giving away spoilers, but I did enjoy seeing how that promise played out and what happened when the boy agreed to a deal that he didn’t understand.

What were your favorite young adult books of 2017?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book Settings I’d Like to Visit

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Have you ever read a book so wonderful that you’d love to disappear into it for a while?  This week I’ve compiled a list of ten books with settings the beg to be explored.

1. Whoville in How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss-Doesn’t spending Christmas in Whoville sound like fun?


2. Middle Earth from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien-There are so many intriguing places to see in Middle Earth!  The Shire, Rivendell, Rohan, and Minas Tirith are just a few of the places I’d love to see.


3. The Beast’s Castle and Beauty’s family cottage in Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley-The Beast’s Castle sounds so magical.  I’d love to spend time wandering around the halls.  I’ve always wanted to see the roses climbing the walls of the cottage Beauty and her family live in.  I’ve pictured it in my mind many times.


4. O’Ceea from The Magician’s Workshop series by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr-I think I’d enjoy sailing around the islands of O’Ceea watching the magician’s create projections.


5. Laura’s house from Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder-I’m sure that real life was not as picturesque as it sounds in the book.  However, I still think it would be fun to visit.


6. Narnia from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis-Another enchanting land that needs to be explored!


7. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling-I’d like to visit this magical world, especially during the first book when everything is so new and full of wonder.


8. Damar from The Blue Sword by Robing McKinley-This is another book with so many beautiful places to explore!  I like to imagine traveling in the desert with the nomads.


9. Narnia from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis-I feel okay putting Narnia on this list twice because each time the Pevensies visit,Narnia, it isn’t quite the same as before.  Also, this book focuses on the lands they haven’t explored before.


10. Talaria from Eagle En Garde by Olga Godim-I especially want to visit Neazdal, the city where the elves live.  I desperately want to see the rainbow colored houses.


How about you?  Would you want to explore any of these places?  What places do you wish you could visit?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter Young Adult TBR

Hosted  by the Broke and the Bookish

This autumn, I’ve been reading many stories that were written for preschoolers, elementary students, and middle schoolers. I’m beginning feeling the urge to read more young adult fiction, so this week’s topic is the perfect place to start making my TBR list for the next several months.

Winter is also my least favorite season, but I’m going to have lots of things to look forward to this winter because of all of the fascinating books that are coming out early next year.

I’ve arranged this week’s list chronologically. It surprised me to see the publication dates so nicely spread out. I’ll have something new to read regularly from January until the end of March, and that is sure to take my mind off of all of the cold, snowy weather we normally have where I live.

1. Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed.

Expected publication: January 16.

I’m fascinated by filmmakers and the filmmaking process in general. It’s not a hobby or a profession that I’ve ever thought about pursuing, but I am looking forward to finding out why Maya loves it so much and how her interests shape who she becomes.

2. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann.

Expected publication: January 23.

Falling in love is such a complicated topic. What if your feelings are unrequited? How do you know when to cross the line between friendship and romance?

After reading the blurb, I already know who I hope Alice will end up with. I can’t wait to see who she picks.

3. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.

Expected Publication date: January 30.

The only thing better than a fairy tale, in my opinion, is a fairy tale set in the present day. This one looks deliciously scary, too.

4. American Panda by Gloria Chao.

Expected publication: February 6.

I started college a year early as well. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I hope the same can be said for Mei. There are so many advantages to allowing smart, motivated teenagers to make these kinds of decisions if they’re interested in challenging themselves.

5. The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson.

Expected publication: February 6.

I’m fascinated by the idea of a teenage girl growing up with the knowledge that she only has one genetic parent. The apocalypse reference was eye-catching as well, but I was hooked for good as soon as I read that Elena was the product of a so-called “virgin birth.”

Parthenogenesis happens to certain types of scorpions, fish, reptiles, and even occasionally birds. It’s going to be intriguing to see how that process affects a human girl.

6. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

Expected publication: February 13.

As someone who dislikes wearing dresses and tries to avoid them as much as possible, I was a little perplexed by Prince Sebastian’s urge to wear them. Figuring out what he enjoys about them is going to be a real treat.

7. #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid.

Expected Publication: February 13.

As I mentioned in my last Top Ten Tuesday post, I love unique titles. I can’t wait to find out why this character is called #Prettyboy. The fact that he works for the CIA only makes me more interested in discovering why someone wants to hurt him and what will happen to him next as well.

8. All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell.

Expected publication: February 27.

I’ve never read an anthology I didn’t like, and this one sounds particularly good.

9. Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough.

Expected publication: March 6.

There weren’t a lot of female painters in the 1600s. Artemisia picked a tough road by insisting on becoming one, and I can’t wait to see how that affected her life after something terrible happened to her.

10. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles.

Expected publication date: March 20.

Prejudice sneaks into people’s decisions in many different ways, and sometimes its effects are deadly. It will be interesting to see how this book compares to Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give.

Okay, so technically this book doesn’t come out until the first day of spring. I’m counting it anyways because March is still a cold, snowy month where I live. We normally don’t get to see much proper spring weather until well into April!

What are you looking forward to reading this winter?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Hope to Share with my Children

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded with books.  My parents started reading to me at an early age, and I was hooked.  Now that I have children, I look forward to sharing some of the books I loved as a child with them.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder-I absolutely love this book!  It ignited an my interest in history.


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis-I’ve already read the first three books with my oldest, and we’ve had a great time exploring Narnia together.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien-I absolutely love The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series.  I desperately want to share these books with my children, but it might have to wait a few years yet.


The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley-One of my all time favorite books, and an excellent adventure story.


A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin-Another one of my favorite books.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling-I can’t wait to share Harry’s magical world with my children!


The Giver by Lois Lowry-This is another one that will have to wait for a few years, but I look forward to being able to share this powerful book.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry-Another very emotional and compelling book.


Holes by Louis Sachar-I read this in college for a young adult literature class and thoroughly enjoyed it.


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen-I know that some people strongly dislike this book, but I really enjoyed it when I was a kid.


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Unique Young Adult Book Titles

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Disclaimer: I haven’t read any of these books yet. Their incredibly creative titles were what caught my attention and made me add them to my TBR list because, as the owners of Long and Short Reviews have already figured out, I’m irresistibly drawn to this kind of stuff.

There’s something special about a title that isn’t afraid to be a little odd or metaphorical. While most of the books that I read have completely ordinary titles, I always love it when authors go that extra mile and give the audience something they never would have possibly imagined.

If you’ve read any of these stories, I’d love to know what you thought of them! Please let me know of any other unique young adult titles you’ve heard of as well. I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface here.

Fifteen Days Without a Head by David Cousins.

How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira.

I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer.

Dancing with a Dead Horse by Danielle DeVor.

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher.

Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom by Jay Cutts.

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg.

Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on my Eyeball by Paul Zindel.

Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen.


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Feature Characters Who Are Foster Kids

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

My extended family includes several households who were or still are foster parents. As a result of this, I have multiple relatives who were foster kids when they first joined our family.

Today I wanted to highlight some of my favorite fictional books that take a look at how this kind of experience affects someone’s childhood. (The non-fiction books about foster care I like could easily fill up their own Top Ten Tuesday post! Maybe someday I will get the opportunity to do that.)

There definitely aren’t nearly enough stories out there on this subject, but I enjoy the ones that have been written. Here’s hoping there will be many more of them in the future.

1. Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth.

The entire family has to adjust every time a new foster kid is added, especially when he’s much older than the kids who have joined that family in the past. I’ve been a huge fan of Coe Booth’s books for several years now, and I can’t say enough good things about them. Honestly, all of them are worth reading.

2. Blood Family by Anne Fine.

Trauma doesn’t disappear just because a certain amount of time has passed or a kid has been adopted. What I found most interesting about Edward’s tale was how much loyalty he felt towards his biological family and how much he worried that sharing DNA with his birth father meant he was destined to act like him, too.

3. Maybe Days by Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia Kahn Wright.

Picture books aren’t always only for small children. I’d recommend this to older readers, too, if they’re interested. Many foster children are eventually reunited with their parents or other relatives, but this process can take years in some cases. It’s nice to see the period of time when no one knows what will ultimately happen to foster kids being acknowledged so honestly.

4. Where I’d Like to Be by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

Twelve is a tough age for many people, but for Maddie it was even more difficult because of how many different foster homes she had lived in since she was very young. I loved the optimism and playfulness in this tale. It wasn’t something I was expecting to find, but it was the perfect addition to the plot.

5. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Sadly, not every foster child is adopted or otherwise finds a permanent family before they turn eighteen. This story explored what happened to a girl named Victoria after she aged out of foster care and had to navigate the world on her own. Her obsession with flowers and what messages they were used to send in the past only made me like her more than I already did.

6. The Sorta Sisters by Adrian Fogelin.

One of the characters in this book, Anna, was being fostered by her biology teacher. Many foster kids are cared for by relatives or people who have known them for years, and I thought it was interesting to see how this kind of placement was discussed in the plot. It can be extremely helpful to maintain those kinds of connections for kids who need to be removed from their birth homes.

7. Peas and Carrots by Tania S. David.

Foster families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. In this case, Dess was a white teen whose foster family was black. What I enjoyed the most about this tale was how little Dess had in common with her new foster sister, Hope, when they first met because of how loved and sheltered Hope had always been. It was thought-provoking to see how Dess reacted to finally living in a safe home and how Hope reacted to some of Dess’ stories about her past.


8. Murphy’s Three Homes: a Story for Children in Foster Care  by 

This story was so cute! I also appreciated how nurturing Murphy’s final home was when he worried that he was a bad dog or that they weren’t going to keep him. Those scenes were beautifully written.

9. Fostered by Vanessa Marie.

While some foster kids find love and acceptance in their first placement, Dante wasn’t that lucky. I totally understood why he didn’t think the McKinleys would keep him longterm, but I also  hoped he’d eventually realize how much they cared about him.

10. Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath.

The type of foster care in this tale is an old-fashioned one. I enjoyed getting a peek at how communities used to look after children who needed safe homes before Child Protective Services agencies were streamlined and well-known. Primrose herself was an imaginative girl, and I really hoped she’d finally get her happy ending by the final scene.

Have you ever read a book about a character who spent part or all of their childhood in foster care? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten YA Books on My Fall TBR List

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

My TBR list is growing longer by the minute. Lately, I’ve been most interested in middle grade and YA books, so that is what I’m planning to focus on reading this autumn as I whittle down my list.

Here are ten of the many books I’m hoping to get through beginning this month. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to finish all of them, but I’m going to give it my best effort.

1. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Mary, the main character, was accused of killing a baby when she was nine years old. She became pregnant years later as a teenager who was living in a group home. Now she will either have to prove her innocence or lose custody of her baby when he is born.

The premise of this book grabbed my attention immediately, especially as soon as I read that Mary’s backstory was loosely based on a real case.

2. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco.

Okiku was murdered centuries ago. She began to spend her afterlife hunting down murderers to stop them before they harm more innocent people. This worked perfectly well until she met someone she couldn’t save.

I love a good ghost story, and this one looks particularly interesting since the main character is a ghost.

3. Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker.

The title of this one honestly tells you everything you need to know about it.

Incidentally, the title is also 90% of the reason why I want to read it so much. What a fun way to show an audience exactly what to expect.

4. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Ever since I first heard of the legend of Romulus and Remus, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of abandoned babies being found by kind strangers.

The thought of a baby being taken care of by the very person she was supposed to be sacrificed to makes me even more interested in checking this story out. What a neat twist!

5. I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amelia Sarn.

Djelila was being harassed for not being Muslim enough while at the same time her sister, Sohane, was choosing to become more devout than ever.

Siblings don’t always see the world eye-to-eye. I really like the idea of exploring how two people who grew up in the same house can become so different as teenagers.

6. A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman.

Veda’s biggest passion in life was dancing. After suffering a terrible accident that amputated one of her legs, she had to figure out if dancing was a dream she should give up on or if there was a way for her to continue to pursue her favorite thing in the world to do.

I was a dancer when I was younger. The idea of losing the ability to do something so fun makes  me wince, so I know I have to find out how she adjusted to life after her accident.

7. Miles Morales: Spider Man by Jason Reynolds.

It isn’t easy being Spider Man, especially for someone who has so many other things going on in his life at the same time.

Spider Man is by far my all-time favorite superhero. I’m excited to see how Mr. Reynolds interprets the story!


8. Sold by  Patricia McCormick.

Lakshmi was sent away from home to work and support her extremely poor family. She expected to be a maid, but what she didn’t realize was that the place she’d been sent to was a brothel.

This is one of those stories that I suspect I will have to read in small doses because of the heavy subject matter. I love the fact that the author did so much research on the topic, and I can’t wait to see how that affects her storytelling.

9. Blind by Rachel Dewoskin.

Emma, the main character, lost her sight in a car accident. Soon after the accident one of her classmates was murdered. Will she be able to figure out what happened while also adjusting to life without sight?

One of the biggest reasons why I this book appeals to me so much is that I went through some medical tests on one of my eyes a few years ago. While I turned out not to have the disease they were testing for, it was scary to imagine losing my sight in that eye while I was waiting for the results. Ever since then, I’ve had a real soft spot for books about people who are sight-impaired.

10. American Streets by Ibi Zoubi.

One of my favorite themes in YA fiction has to do with what happens to kids or teens when they’re separated from their parents. After Fabiola’s mother was deported by U.S. Immigration officers, she had to adjust to living in America with relatives.

I am looking forward to seeing if this character is reunited with her mother and what she will believe are the biggest cultural differences between Haiti and the United States.

What are you planning to read over the next few months?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book Recommendations for People Who Like Mysteries

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Other than science fiction and fantasy, mystery is my favorite type of young adult and middle grade book. It’s fascinating to follow a kid or teen around as they try to solve a crime or figure out why a certain part of their life doesn’t make sense.

There many incredible YA and middle grade mysteries. Today I wanted to highlight a few of them that I think are the cream of the crop. If you’ve never tried one, this is a wonderful place to start. If you have read something awesome that isn’t on this list, I’d love to know the title and author!

The first five books were written for middle grade readers, and the last five are for teenagers.

1. The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base.

I have three words for you: elephant birthday party. Thinking about animals having and attending birthday parties was nearly as much fun as trying to help Horace the Elephant figure out who ate all of the food before his party even started.

2. Space Case by Stuart Gibbs.

Imagine growing up on a moon colony and never being allowed to go outside! When one of the lead scientists was murdered, Dashiell tried to figure out what happened. I love this character’s voice and how persistent he was in the beginning when the adults in his life thought that their colleague’s death had been an accident.

3. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis.

Not all amateur detectives are necessarily good ones. It was funny to watch Timmy try so hard to solve his case while missing many important clues. I also enjoyed his character development. The author trusted his audience to notice how Timmy changes from one mystery to the next, and that made this a great read.

4. The Tail of Emily Windsnap: Book 1 by Liz Kessler. 

Emily’s family wasn’t like most other families. Before she could go on any adventures of her own, she had to figure out why her parents had never taught her how to swim and why her body did such odd things when she finally did get into the water.

5. Eight Grade Bites #1: The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd by Zac Brewer.

I’m a sucker for a good vampire story, pun intended. So I was curious to see what life would be like for a fourteen-year-old half-vampire who was desperately trying to conceal his identity and avoid the vampire hunter who wanted to find him.

What surprised me the most about Vlad was how funny he was. I’d expect a lot of things from a vampire, but a great sense of humor isn’t one of them.


6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

The Netflix retelling of this story was all the rage earlier this year. While I didn’t end up watching it, seeing the advertisements for it did make me curious about reading the original.

I had mixed feelings about Hannah’s decision to make the tapes in the first place since some of the people she left messages for were responsible for such minor errors.

With that being said, she was a complex character whose flaws made her incredibly interesting. I also liked the message the storyline gave about how our actions can affect others far more than we might have originally guessed.










7. Monster by Walter Dean Myers.

A sixteen-year-old has been put on trial for murder. While he waited for the justice system to decide his fate, he sorted through all of the events in his life that lead him to this moment.

The mystery of what really happened that night kept me guessing. I have strong opinions about who killed the victim, but every reader has chance to make up their own mind about the events of that night and whether the main character is guilty or innocent.


8. The Cellar by Natasha Preston. 

I normally shy away from books about people being abused, but this one grabbed my attention as soon as I saw the cover.

Fair warning: this is a scary tale about a teen girl being kidnapped and locked away in a cellar with several other young women. Her reaction to those events kept me up at night. I couldn’t look away until I’d figured out why she was kidnapped and if she’d ever see her family again.

9. The Everafter by Amy Huntley. 

Imagine trying to solve your own murder after you’ve died and gone to the afterlife. This was such a unique premise that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I especially enjoyed the plot twists. Obviously I can’t say anything about them without giving away spoilers, but Madison’s new home wasn’t quite as simple as it sounded. It was amusing to figure it all out and try to piece together her final moments before she did.

10. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

There were two main characters in this tale. One of them was brutally beaten by the cops. The other witnessed that attack and so knew immediately that the official story that the local police department later released about what happened was false. Their responses to that night not only changed their lives but the lives of everyone in their community as well.

I loved the tension of it all. It didn’t let up for one single second, so I changed my mind so many times about what the characters were going to do next and whether the truth would ever come out.