Book List: Road Trips in Young Adult Fiction

Road Trips in Young Adult Fiction

I do love a good road trip. Wind in your hair, volume turned up loud and either a journey in mind or mindless wandering. From the sunshine-filled and delightful to the soul-searching (or maybe even one long crime spree, as in Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry), this little list of YA road trip novels will have something for all readers.

Hello Girls – Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 6 August 2019

Hello Girls is an epic road trip novel slash crime novel slash ode to friendship slash feminist piece de resistance. With razor-sharp wit and punchy action, this book swings from hilarious to what the hell to hell yeah and back again.  Read full review.


 The Geography of Lost Things – Jessica Brody – Simon Pulse – Published 2 October 2018

The Geography of Lost Things is a fun road trip novel about learning to forgive and starting over. Jessica Brody weaves together a compelling story of second-chance romance and father-daughter relationships, family financial difficulties and learning to see again the value in little things.  Read full review.


A Heart in a Body in the World – Deb Caletti – Simon Pulse – Published 18 September 2018

Achingly poignant and beautifully written, A Heart in a Body in the World is a book that everyone, man, woman and teen, must read. It’s a road trip – but one where the character runs the entire journey. Read full review.


 Autonomous – Andy Marino – Disney-Hyperion – Published 3 April 2018

Autonomous is an examination of the true nature of humanity, where buried secrets are laid bare and the harsh truths of reality are posed against the speculation of how technology might evolve and how it might reflect those truths. When William wins a state-of-the-art car in a competition, he plans to take his three best friends on an epic road trip. Read full review.


Good and Gone – Megan Frazer Blakemore – HarperTeen – Published 14 November 2017

When Lexi’s brother Charlie suggests a road trip to locate missing pop star, Adrian Wildes, Lexi is shocked. Charlie hasn’t moved from the couch since he broke up with his girlfriend and dropped out of college. So despite Lexi’s scepticism, despite the hurt she has been feeling, she agrees. Along for the ride (and actually providing the means of transport for this road trip) is their neighbour, Zack. As Lexi, Charlie, and Zack hunt for the elusive pop star, they begin to work through the emotions, hurt, and actions of the past year.  Read full review.

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Book List: Beauty and the Beast Retellings

Beauty and the Beast Retellings in Young Adult Fiction

Updated June 2019: With the release of Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I just had to update this list.

2017: It is a tale as old as time, and much loved. Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairytale. I love the original tale, the first animated Disney movie, and I love YA retellings of this great story. To celebrate the release of Hunted by Meagan Spooner, which nicely coincides with Disney’s release of their live-action film, I have created this list of my favourite YA Beauty and the Beast retellings. I have also included a few ‘East of the Sun’ retellings. The only thing I need to make my list complete? A Beauty and the Beast retelling by E.K. Johnston…. here’s hoping.

 Click on the covers for full reviews.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer – Bloomsbury Children’s – Published 29 January 2019

Harper is barely scraping by. Her mother is sick and needs treatment they can’t afford and her brother is being forced to work as a violent debt collector to pay off their own debts. Workings as a lookout for her brother one night, Harper intervenes when she sees a man carrying an unconscious women. The man and Harper both receive a shock – he with a blow to the head and Harper when he magically transports her to another world. Commander Grey has done everything he can to help Prince Rhen break the curse that binds them both. While Harper wasn’t his ideal choice as the last maiden to attempt to break the curse, she continues to surprise them all with her caring heart and determined and independent ways, especially when Rhen’s kingdom is threatened by external forces.


HuntedHunted – Meagan Spooner – HarperTeen – Published 21 March 2017

It’s been years since Yeva hunted in the woods with her father. Her muscles have grown soft and her training lax after her father moved her family to town and determined that Yeva would be best served playing lady to the baronessa, sewing and wearing fine clothes. But a turn in fortune sees Yeva, her two sisters, and her father removed from their home and returning to the little cabin in the woods. Yeva secretly rejoices at her chance to once again roam the woods with her bow and arrows and traps. But a strange madness overtakes her father, who is sure a beast rules the forest, and, after her father disappears, Yeva goes after him and discovers a world that has previously only belonged in the legends she was told as a child.


Uprooted – Naomi Novik – Pan Macmillan – Published 12 May 2016

Agnieszka loves her village, set in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind.

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she is everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he takes


A Court of Thorns and RosesA Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas – Bloomsbury – Published 5 May 2015

Feyre hunts to feed her family. Fulfilling an oath she made to her dying mother, she protects and cares for her crippled father and two sisters. Her family do not value the sacrifice Feyre makes on their behalf. That is, until the night the beast appears at their cottage. He is here to claim retribution for his friend, whom Feyre killed while hunting. A life for a life, Feyre is taken across the wall that separates the human lands from the Fae’s. Now surround by those she most hates and fears, she is trapped in a world of great opulence, beauty and cruelty. As she spends more time at the beast’s home, she learns of his struggle with the blight that is creating destruction across the faerie lands and learns to see the man behind the beast.


Cruel Beauty Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge – Balzer+Bray – Published 28 January 2014

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people. Continue reading

Book List: Mental Health in Young Adult Fiction

Mental Health in Young Adult Fiction

Mental health is an important issue, and it is equally important that is it discussed. All teens need to be able to relate to characters in YA fiction and what better way to de-stigmatise mental health than being open and honest about it. Here is a short list of wonderful young adult novels that feature characters, either main or supporting, with mental health conditions. Click on the covers for more information.

That Night – Amy Giles – HarperTeen – Published 23 October 2018

Everything changed that night. Families. The way people looked at and treated you. You. A year ago Jess lost her brother in a shooting that shattered her world. Now her mother hardly gets out of bed and Jess needs to find a job to pay the bills. Lucas took up boxing after his brother sacrificed himself to save Lucas. But the boxing sometimes can’t control his panic attacks that seem to be increasing in frequency or the consuming guilt. Lucas and Jess are now tied together by tragedy, but when they start working together they find that shared memories might make for a wonderful friendship and even romance.


A Heart In A Body In the World – Deb Caletti – Simon Pulse – Published 18 September 2018 

After everything that happened, everything that has been taken from her, Annabelle isn’t sure what to do. What can she do? So she runs. One night just takes off and starts running. She doesn’t have a plan, doesn’t expect her younger brother to create a route for her from Washington State to Washington DC. Doesn’t expect her mother to agree. Doesn’t expect her Grandpa Ed to travel with her in his RV as her support team. She also never expected to become an unwitting activist with a message to share. All Annabelle knows to do is to put one foot in front of the other – because after you’ve lost everything, what else can you do.


When Elephants Fly – Nancy Richardson Fischer – Harlequin Teen – Published September 4 2018

Lily is working off a tight plan to control the likelihood of her developing schizophrenia. The genetic odds are not in her favour but by living carefully she hopes to avoid following the same journey her mother took. But, when on assignment for her journalism internship, she witnesses an elephant reject her calf and Lily can’t help but see the parallels between their stories. Lily must decide if it is worth risking everything she has worked so hard to control to try and save the life of the elephant she is quickly coming to love.

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Book List: Sexual Assault in Young Adult Fiction

Sexual Assault in Young Adult Fiction

Sexual assault is a heart-wrenching topic, but it is an important topic to raise with teens, bringing awareness and understanding. Here is an updated list (June 2019) of recent and important young adult novels that feature characters who are survivors of sexual assault.

The Leading Edge of Now – Marci Lyn Curtis – Kids Can Press – Published 4 September 2018

Grace’s life has been thrown into chaos – but she’s been living that reality for two years. Since her father died, Grace has been living in foster care, waiting for her uncle to finally claim her and bring her home to the town of New Harbor. But returning to the house that has so many fond memories of summers spent with her dad also brings back memories of the night that changed everything for Grace. Forced to confront the people and memories of that night, Grace starts to uncover the details of what happened -but the truth is something she never expected.


Vigilante Vigilante – Kady Cross – Harlequin Teen – Published 28 March 2017

Hadley’s best friend Magda was raped by four classmates. A few months later, Magda is dead, having taken her own life. Hadley is left with a drowning sense of grief and guilt. She has to see the four boys in her classroom everyday as the four of them were never charged. When a sudden opportunity arises, Hadley decides to create some of her own justice and plans to go after each of the boys who hurt her friend.


Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 20 September 2016

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.


The Way I Used To Be The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith – M.K. McElderry Books – Published 22 March 2016

Eden was always good at being good. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.


Exit, Pursued by a BearExit, Pursued by a Bear – E.K. Johnston – Dutton Books – Published 15 March 2016

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team.  But during a cheerleading camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

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Book List: Mystery Young Adult Fiction

Mystery-Thriller Young Adult Fiction

I love a good mystery. Unlike the fantasy or contemporary genres, I haven’t come across an endless range of good YA mystery novels. But there are some really fantastic young adult mystery-thrillers, be they murder mysteries, crime novels, thrillers with amazing twists or mysteries with a touch of the paranormal.  Here is a list of some of my favourite YA mystery-thrillers, including some exciting new releases.

 Click on the covers for full reviews.

The NaturalsThe Naturals Series – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Disney-Hyperion – Published 2013 -2016

Very top of my list is The Naturals series. Have you seen the TV show The Mentalist? Well, this series is like that in book form. But better. The Naturals is the first book, followed by Killer Instinct, All In and finally Bad Blood, which was released 1 November 2016.bad-blood Serial killers and a team of teenagers who are naturally gifted in profiling, mathematics, emotion reading and recognising lies. A wonderful cast of characters and an intricate plot that just gets more amazing as the series progresses. Seriously, I cannot praise this series enough. Read it!!!!


Shade MeNikki Kill series – Jennifer Brown – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 2016 – ongoing

This series starts when Nikki Kill is dragged into the investigation of who grievously harmed one of her class mates. Nikki’s synesthesia, seeing colours for numbers, words or letters, makes her a good investigator. dare-youNikki is a tough, brash, and independent character. Her investigation continues in the second book in the series, Dare You. And if Dare You is anything to go by, this series is just going to get better and better.


The Fixer The Fixer series – Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Bloomsbury – Published 2015 – ongoing

Yep, back to Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Because she is awesome. The Fixer series is about Tess Kendrick, who learns that her much older sister is entangled in the world of powerful politics. When the President has a problem, he calls Ivy Kendrick and she makes it go away. the-long-gameBut this time some very powerful people are involved in a conspiracy that involve the families of Tess’s new classmates.

The Long Game continues the series and it is even more exciting, dangerous and edge-of-your-seat crazy. Both are excellent books and the series promises to continue with more twists and fabulous suspense.


The Hidden Memory of ObjectsThe Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato – Balzer+Bray – Published 21 March 2017

Megan’s brother is dead. The police say he died of a drug overdose and Megan can’t reconcile the images she has of her fun-loving, positive brother with those from the story the police are weaving of a boy who saw no other option than to deliberately overdose in an abandoned building. Heartbroken and confused, Megan decides to do some investigating of her own, starting with the things Tyler left behind. But as Megan collects and then starts creating artwork from her brother’s things, she begins to have strange headaches and blackouts, triggering memories of her brother that she couldn’t possibly have.


Holding SmokeHolding Smoke – Elle Cosimano – Hyperion-Disney – Published 3 May 2016

Smoke is serving time for two murders, one of which he didn’t commit. After a near-death experience, he can now move outside his body.

This is a mystery with a good dash of paranormal. I’ve not enough words to covey the supreme brilliance of this book. This book is dark and edgy and so very readable. It’s harsh and eye opening, heartbreaking and just a touch hopeful. I couldn’t put it down, intrigued by the thrilling and fast-moving plot, and addicted to the complex characters.


9780062094223Take the Fall – Emily Hainsworth – Balzer + Bray – Published 16 February 2016

This is an edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, check-over-your-shoulder, add-your-own-cliche-here kind of book. This is ultimately an epic murder mystery, with a huge list of suspects, a twist that came out of nowhere and a surprise ending. It’s dark and kind of disturbing but so easy to read.

The night Sonia was attacked in the forest, her best friend Gretchen was also attacked. Sonia survived, but Gretchen is found dead at the base of the falls. It sparks an investigation and town-wide terror as the police search for those responsible.


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Book List: If You Liked Poison Study

If You Liked Poison Study – Young Adult Fiction Book List

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Have you read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder? Did you love it? If you did, you are no doubt looking for books that are similar. I know that when I discovered Poison Study I was desperate to find something I could read next. I have created this list of titles to read after Poison Study.

The Study Series.

Okay, maybe it seems pretty obvious to read the rest of the series, but there are plenty of books in the Study series and the companion Glass series, which together form the Chronicles of Ixia series.

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Here’s the suggested reading order.

  • Poison Study – Study #1
  • Magic Study – Study #2
  • Fire Study – Study #3
  • Storm Glass – Glass #1
  • Sea Glass – Glass #2
  • Spy Glass – Glass #3
  • Shadow Study – Soulfinders #1
  • Night Study – Soulfinders #2
  • Dawn Study – Soulfinders #3

There are also a few additional novellas available – Assassin Study, Power Study and Ice Study.


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Book List: Geek/Nerd Young Adult Fiction

Geek/ Nerd Young Adult Fiction

Comics, superheroes, live-action role-playing, comic con, aliens, sci-fi movies, gadgets and the epic universe of fandom. As a self-proclaimed nerd, there is something so enticing about everything geeky.

The books in this list are young adult contemporaries with characters who have a severe love for at least one of these geeky/nerdy obsessions. They may be funny, serious or somewhere in between. This list also highlights a few books to be released in 2016 – which looks like it’s going to be a great year for geek/nerd fiction.

Click on the covers for full reviews.

9781453663318 Geek Girl – Cindy C. Bennett – Createspace – Published 26 July 2010 

17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even -ugh!- bowling. To truly belong with him -and with her new foster family- she must first come to terms with her violent past.


9781742973951Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil – Hardie Grant Egmont – Published 1 February 2013

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls. Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it. Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones. 

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