My Thoughts Monday – Huffington Post’s “Top 12 Young Adult Books of 2014”

Melanie’s “My Thoughts Monday” #5


The Huffington Post posted their list of the “Top 12 Young Adult Books of 2014”, written by Lisa Parkin, and I am always excited about lists like this – you never know what you are going to find!  Here are their choices and my thoughts on each one.

best fantasy


I haven’t had the chance to read this one, but I have seen a lot of praise for it via Tumblr.  First off, the cover of this novel is just striking – the simple font imprinted over a beautifully dressed woman in a position which expresses a soft femininity.  I question such a soft femininity in an empire where war is the norm, or does she use it to hide a strong and striking personality looking to challenge what is considered normal?  I also find the title to be interesting because we are taught from a young age that there is a certain honor and prestige that comes from winning, yet this novel presents winning in a more negative light – as a curse which could ultimately cost you everything you love.  It sheds an interesting light on what it means to be a winner.  This is a book I will be adding to my “To Be Read” list.



 I am somewhat familiar with the writing of Holly Black having read her novels in the Tithe trilogy many years ago, another novel of hers which takes place in a world where humans and fae coexist.  I hold a special place in my heart for novels featuring the fae and a love for all things faerie, so much so that I got a faerie tattoo four days after turning 18 – there has just always been something in the fae I have always longed for, a certain freedom I have always found in them and desired for myself.  Black has always had an affinity in her world building and her knowledge of all things fae, so I am not surprised to find one of her fae novels chosen as a feature for the category of “Most Interesting World.”  This is another novel that I will need to add to my “To Be Read” list.



The Naturals Series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a series that was brought to my attention by the Tumblr Bookblr community and after reading the synopses of the two books, I right away added them to my “To Be Read” list.  I am a huge fan of police procedural TV shows, an excellent example of my love for this would be my obsession with Criminal Minds.  Therefore, I’m not surprised by just how easily I have been pulled in by this series – the idea of an elite group of young adults investigating serial killers a la Criminal Minds‘s FBI Behavior Analysis Unit style is just something I would be incredibly interested in reading, hence why it is already on my “To Be Read” list.  I am hoping for so much more than just a fast read from this, I am hoping for a story which will keep me coming back for more.



I have seen a few posts floating around on various social media sites about this book, specifically via Tumblr’s Bookblr and other book blogs on WordPress.  I read some of the reviews, but I didn’t really form much of an opinion on it.  I’ve stated before, I don’t read a lot of contemporary novels so this isn’t a novel which tickled my “To Be Read” list radar.  I may look into it in the future if/when I am in the mood for a more contemporary novel, other than that though I don’t have much of an opinion on it.



The Lunar Chronicles is a series which has constantly been praised in posts all over Tumblr’s Bookblr – another one which I have seen but am not all that familiar with.  Again, I have seen nothing but praise for the novels of this series and feel bad for not knowing much about them nor am I familiar with the author, Marissa Meyer.  I greatly enjoy novels based on familiar fairy tales, so I think I am going to have to look towards this series and add it to my “To Be Read” list.



Parkin calls this novel, “…a dystopian environment without all the tropes,” which elicits an immediate response from me because I really enjoy dystopian novels.  I read dystopian novels for a mixture of reasons, but it is mostly because I am interested in seeing how individuals picture societies in these types of situations.  So to be told that there is a dystopian novel out there which avoids the tropes normally associated with them is interesting to me.   This cover is also incredibly striking, hinting at a possible forbidden love – a trope that we have experienced in the past, so I am curious as to what facets of this novel were being praised by Parkin.



Kasie West

Sadly, Kasie West is not an author I am familiar with nor have I read any of her works.  She currently has four novels published and three more being released in the next three years:  The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point (Pivot Point, book 1), On the Fence, and Split Second (Pivot Point, book 2).  My unfamiliarity with her is probably due to the fact that her novels fall within the contemporary genre which as I have said previously, isn’t a genre I read very often.  Parkin raves over the work of West stating, “West has this incredible ability to combine heartfelt moments with laugh-out-loud humor and serious yet approachable issues.  I dare you to read one of her books and not feel something.”  Bring on the feels lady!  I’ll have to look into her books in the future.



After reading the synopsis for this novel, I think that this is a contemporary novel I can see myself falling in love with…

Can anyone be truly herself–or truly in love–in a language that’s not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue — the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn’t always like, and the best friend who hasn’t said a word — at least not in a language Josie understands.

I have an absolute love for language – the human language, not just in terms of the words we say but in how we say them.  I find word choice to be one of the most important facets of conversation because there are so many different ways to interpret what is said based upon the words that are chosen, where the emphasis takes place – semantics are such an important part of conversation.  Honestly, I think this is a contemporary novel I can see myself devouring.



I am only familiar with this series based on what I have seen of it from Tumblr’s Bookblr community, the majority of that being incredibly positive reviews of the series.  Perhaps since the series is complete and there isn’t any of that anticipation for the next novel I will look into reading it, especially since this novel is praised as being “a shining example” of typing up loose ends in a book series.



Another book I found via Tumblr’s Bookblr and added to my “To Be Read” list after reading the synopsis.  Meira sounds like an amazing female protagonist – a girl looking to get things done rather than waiting around for someone else to do it.  I am also incredibly interested in this world and its Kingdom of Winter – are there other kingdoms based upon the seasons or is there more to it than that?  It sounds like a mixture of a coming of age story and a fantasy epic, which is an incredibly exciting mix if you ask me.

Here’s to the end of 2014 and the coming of 2015!

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