As the year comes to close, we’re lookinng back on the best young adult books released in 2014.
Some you have heard of, others maybe not, but they are all books that should be read and enjoyed by the masses.
Best books of 2014:
’Faking Normal’ by Courtney Stevens
Faking Normal is a beautifully written novel about a girl living with a secret and a boy whose family has fallen apart. Both are broken in their own way but together they find hope. The pages are filled with raw emotion and realness that makes your heart hurt. Alexi struggles to find piece after being betrayed by someone she knows. She compulsively counts the slates of her vent, hides in her closet and scratches her neck where no one can see. Bodee is broken for other reason and the two become unlikely friends as Bodee tries to help Alexi as well as come to terms with his own issues. This is a beautiful story about surviving and finding your voice.
’Isla and the Happily Ever After’ by Stephanie Perkins
Readers waited patiently for Isla’s stories to hit the shelves and their patience was greatly rewarded. Isla and the Happily Ever After is Stephanie Perkins’ best book. We first met Isla in Anna’s book and her beau is none other than Josh who is was heavily featured in Anna’s book. Josh and Isla have an epic story that is filled with ups and downs and the humor that one expects from Stephanie Perkins. The characters feel like friends and the story is addictive. No relationship is ever easy, Josh and Isla prove that to be true, but on all accounts as they face old flames, separation and concerns over not being good enough. This represents what growing up is, finding yourself and figuring out what is real.
’The Blood of Olympus’ by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and friends fought their last battle as the series came to an end with The Blood of Olympus. One of the greatest highlights of Blood of Olympus was finally getting chapters in Nico’s perspective. He’s been an integral character for so long, and yet he’s remained as mysterious as ever. It was exciting to see these events in Nico’s point of view, and experience him struggling with the secret revealed in the last book and coming to terms with what that means for his relationships going forward. –Karen Rought
’Snow Like Ashes’ by Sara Raasch
With a unique premise and fierce female lead Snow Like Ashes deserves to be read repeatedly and discussed at length. The kingdom of Winter fell to that of Spring and only eight Winterians remain. Their only hope for survival may be a sixteen year old girl. The setting, with various kingdoms related to the seasons, as well as other kingdoms, is reminiscent of Games of Thrones. The plot brims with magic, action and heart making for an irresistible read.
’Say What You Will’ Cammie McGovern
Cammie McGovern crafts a story that takes a realistic look at people who have disabilities but who are not their disability. Amy and Matt both struggle with finding their independence and the boundaries of their friendship. The story explores the challenges of being a teenager and normalizes those experiences for Amy and Matt. It is a bit of a roller coaster ride as you laugh, cry and feel the pain that these characters do. The plot is well thought out and takes you on a journey with two special narrators. In many ways, Matthew’s OCD affects him much more than Amy’s cerebral palsy limits her.
’The Truth about Alice’ by Jennifer Mathieu
This story is brilliantly told. It weaves together the story of Alice through four separate, unreliable narrators who each have their own secrets. At times reading what is said about Alice is painful and uncomfortable but then you realize this happens to teen girls way more than it should and it becomes devastating. The Truth About Alice is an important novel for teens to read so they can understand that words have consequences and just because someone says something it doesn’t make it true.
‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart
This was by far one of the most talked about books this year and with good reason. We Were Liars drew us into the world of the privileged families who summer on a private island. The ‘liars’ are a group of teens who spend every summer together until something goes terribly wrong. Cadence tells the story of the liars and the fateful summer of their fifteenth year. The book is written beautifully and will keep you turning the pages until you discover all the truths the liars have to tell.
‘The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy’ by Kate Hattemer
Take a reality show about young artists, place it in school filled with talented teens, and add in a long form vigilante poem that goes viral and you have the basis of this quirky story. Ethan is the lead among a cast of well-drawn characters who feel incredibly real. The wit and humor of the novel will have you laughing out loud waiting to see what Ethan and his friends will do next. The story is based on friendship rather than romance which is a refreshing change.
‘Lady Thief’ by A.C Gaughen
The tale of Robin Hood has been given new life with A.C. Gaughen’s unique look at Will Scarlet, who is really Lady Marion in disguise. The second installment in the Scarlet series, Lady Thief sees Scarlet’s true identity revealed and her struggling to free herself from a marriage with Lord Gisbourne. The biggest twist however lies in Scarlet’s true lineage. This is a great read filled with twists, romance and fully fleshed out characters. For lovers of Robin Hood and books set in a realistic medieval times this is a must read.
‘The Young Elites’ by Marie Lu
Marie Lu didn’t hold back on the opening book of her new series. The Young Elites introduces us to an unusual bunch of rebels looking for a place in the world. Lu’s book is infused with characters who are unique and each forever changed after surviving the plague fever. Seen as abominations for surviving, Adelina and the other malfettos seek to escape the Inquisition genocide and place of their own on the throne. With a sweeping setting and intriguing characters The Young Elites will please readers of all ages.
‘Ruin and Rising’ by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo manages to create a complex YA fantasy world based partly on Russian folklore. In her world, The Darkling, the most powerful wielder of Grisha magic, may have met his match in the commoner orphan Alina Starkov. Alina’s magic, that of a sun summoner, may equal and surpass that of the Darkling’s magic of darkness, but only if she finds three amplifiers to strengthen her power. One of the best aspects of Bardugo’s writing is that her characters are, for the most part, intelligent and sure of themselves and their mission. Their war is often a battle of strategy, cunning, and skill. Ruin and Rising is a satisfying end to the Grisha Trilogy, and leaves the world open to new tales featuring other characters. –Laura Byrne Cristiano
‘Blue Lily, Lily Blue’ by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle is amazing as a series but Blue Lily, Lily Blue is one of the best of the series. Blue Sargent and her Raven Boys continue to search for Glendower and her mother, who has disappeared. The words dance along the page creating beautiful imagery and metaphors. Maggie Stiefvater has crafted a story unlike any other in a world where magic feels possible and a dream thieves really do exist.