On the Come Up, Angie Thomas’s second novel, stars sixteen-year-old Bri, who dreams of becoming a rapper. Inspired by her late father, pursuing a music career feels like the only way to get her family out of their desperate financial situation.
The odds seem stacked against her: her mum was a drug addict during Bri’s formative years (and Bri’s worried that she’s relapsing), and even though her brother has a psychology degree, he only earns the minimum wage at a Pizzeria. Compounded with the constant stereotyping and racial profiling that she faces at school, she must carve her identity and make her voice heard in order to get her come up.
On the windswept island of Thisby, capaill uisce, or water horses, dominate life. Every year, these water horses emerge from the surf on the beaches lining the island, and are caught by islanders to race in the infamous Scorpio Races; an often fatal race of the brutal creatures in which the victor gains glory and riches.
Sean Kendrick knows the races well: he’s a seasoned racer, winning four times out of the six that he’s taken part in. His ability to calm even the most agitated or violent of the capaill uisce has earned him a reputation on the island for his abilities.
Puck Connolly has never ridden in the races, but this year she feels like she has no choice – the money from winning the prize could be life-changing for her family. The first girl to race, she’s no idea what the races really entail.
Both lost parents to the capaill uisce. Both are struggling to get by. Drawn together in a time when you can trust no one, this is more than just a race.
Jule isn’t your typical protagonist. Comfortable with lying and cheating her way through life, she’s definitely not someone you’d want to be opposite in a fight. She meets social butterfly Imogen, and the unlikely duo instantly strike up an intense friendship. Before long, Jule is ingratiating herself with the social circles that Imogen is a part of and weaving her web of lies as she meets more people and must maintain the façade that she has created. Jule is a Genuine Fraud. You can’t get away with that forever, surely?
Charlie is used to being on the periphery of the social lives of his cohort, observing, without fully engaging, all of the drama, parties and relationships that come with the teenage experience. The move from Middle School to High School offers an opportunity for change for Charlie, making friends with some older students who show him what it is like to “participate” – going to parties, meeting new people, and living life to the full. It’s not plain sailing though – hidden to the outside world, Charlie struggles with family relationships, and the all-encompassing guilt he feels over the death of a close relative. Conscious to shake off his wallflower moniker, Charlie tries to live in the moment and change his perspective on life.
Warning: spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books in the series!
In Aveyard’s penultimate instalment of the Red Queen series, we once again join Mare, Cal and the Red Guard on her fight against the oppressive system in the Kingdom of Norta. After the events of Glass Sword, Mare is confined to Maven’s palace as a puppet, her once strong, fear-inducing powers now reduced to nothing. As the rebellion continues without her, Mare must watch from the sidelines. Cal, on the other hand, the exiled prince, will stop at little to get her back…
In Aveyard’s second instalment of her fantasy series Red Queen, we return to the Kingdom of Norta. After the events of Red Queen, Mare, Kilorn and Cal are on the run from the evil and wicked King Maven. As a Newblood, Mare has Red blood (the colour of common people in Norta) but also the superhuman powers of the elite Silvers. With a list of the others who share her Newblood status in hand, Mare embarks on a mission finding and recruiting these individuals to the rebel organisation, the Scarlet Guard.
In Norta, the colour of your blood defines you – your social status, your occupation, and whether or not you have superpower-like abilities. The elite Silvers exploit the Reds, sending them to the front line in the North and using them as their servants in their lavish residences.
Mare is a Red, and every day she becomes closer to being conscripted on her seventeenth birthday. After a chance encounter, she finds herself serving the King in his summer residence. One day, however, something happens to Mare that makes her question her identity – she appears to have Silver abilities but Red blood, so the royal family decide to declare her as a long-lost princess, to prevent any questions being asked. Mare is thrust in to the Silver world, engaged to a Silver prince. She now has the chance to take down the oppressive system that has caused her family and community so much pain and suffering. This won’t be easy; she must dodge the jealousy, lies and rivalries of the royal courts to try to bring justice to her people.
Young Adult fiction contains so many wonderful, enjoyable and inspiring books, so when I’m asked for an on-the-spot recommendation, I’m not great at giving one – I feel like I need to know what a person is looking for before I recommend a book! This inspired me to write this post; recommending books depending on what you are looking for in a novel. If you’re in the UK, it’s World Book Day today (7th of March) so what better excuse to pick up a book?
To access my full review of each book, please click on the title.
If you’re looking for: Feel Good, Easy-to-read Romance
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the ultimate feel-good book that will make you feel warm inside! If you have watched the film and not yet read the book, then do not fear: it is a trilogy, so you can continue the story of Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky in two more instalments! If you’re struggling to get into reading a book, then I really recommend this particular book to get you quickly back in the swing of reading.
If you’re looking for: An Intense, Plot-twist-full Thriller
This is an extremely gripping novel, with interesting characters that seem perfect on the surface, but all have secrets to hide. Kind of like a modern-day Agatha Christie novel, the pace of the book increases as the book progresses, with more hints and clues as to who the killer was as you read.
If you’re looking for: Exciting, Female-led Fantasy
If you’re familiar with the book scene on Instagram, you’ll have seen this series everywhere – and for good reason. This incredibly popular book is led by Celaena Sardothien, a fiery, talented and likeable assassin that you’ll really root for. I’ve recently bought the third book in the series, and I can’t wait to read it!
If you’re looking for: Powerful, Educational, Black Lives Matter movement-inspired Story
This book is an automatic recommendation whenever someone asks me for book suggestions. It is the perfect example of how a Young Adult book can educate you on the social issues in the world today, and I believe the more people that read this, the better. By the way, the film was also amazing.
If you’re looking for: Compelling, Tense Contemporary
I picked this book up from the library, having never heard of it before, and I’m so glad that I took it out. The writing style allows the emotion in the book to be extremely well portrayed, and the use of flashbacks means that the reader can begin to piece together fragments of information, to be left with a picture that is unrecognisable from that presented at the beginning of the book.
I hope that you have found these recommendations useful, and decide to pick up one of these books. I really enjoyed reading all of them, and I hope you will too!
In John Green’s latest novel, Aza is faced with a dilemma when the billionaire father of a childhood friend becomes a fugitive. When her best friend Daisy hears about the $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, the pair begin to look into anything that may lead them to his whereabouts. However, through the investigation, Aza becomes much closer to the fugitive’s son and childhood friend, Davis Pickett. Being a supportive friend to Daisy, a good student and investigating the case is a lot, but Aza must also learn how to cope with thought-spirals and intrusive thoughts caused by her anxiety and OCD.
After meeting online, Simon Spier has been in contact with the elusive Blue over email, sharing their experiences of coming out with one another. It’s not long before the pair are really close, sharing secrets that they wouldn’t even tell their best friends. What’s more, not only do Blue and Simon go to the same school, but they are in the same year – as Simon begins to fall for Blue, he wants to know Blue’s real identity…