My Top 5 Young Adult Ships

A huge part of reading young-adult is the romance. And as a young adult, it is impossible not to go through a couple of books without really loving how two characters go together, appreciating their chemistry and just sighing at their combined cuteness. So this is going to be a post on the ships that I love, love, love.

1.) Jonah Griggs and Taylor Markham
Book: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Couple Name: Jaylor? or Tynah? I think I prefer Jaylor (pronounced like ‘jailer’)
Why: There is nothing cuter than this couple; they have so much history. The angst that they share and how they reach out to each other is truly heart-breaking. But what gets this the number one spot on this list? They say the sweetest things.


2.) Will and Lyra

Book: The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Trilogy) by Philip Pullman
Couple Name:  Willyra? Lyrill? Oops. Both of them sound pretty bad. No cute couple names for them; It’s a good thing that both of them have short names.
Why: These two have a very sweet relationships. Both of them are strong, brave, impetuous and beautiful. They would do anything (and they did a lot) to protect each other. The romance never really got far (they were about 12 years old in the books, how far was it supposed to go?) but there was so much possibility and potential. The end of The Amber Spyglass was the saddest, most beautiful ending I have ever read.  Here’s a picture of it.


3.) Magnus and Alec

Series: The Mortal Instruments by Cassendra Clare
Couple Name: Finally a couple with a well-known couple name that actually sounds good. Drumroll please! May I present to you: Malec.
Why: Although this was never the main pairing in the series, it stole all of our hearts anyways. Magnus is a flamboyant glitter-loving warlock while Alec is a tough, closeted and fiercely protective shadowhunter. These two are so much more than the token LGBT characters. They’re well rounded characters who occasionally have problems in their relationship- just like anyone else.


4.) Penryn and Raffe
Series: Angelfall, World After (Penryn and the End of Days) by Susan Ee
Couple Names: Oh God! This couple name was doomed from the beginning. Penryn was named after a highway exit and Raffe sounds suspiciously like ‘raw feet’. So, Penaffe? Renryn? I didn’t think so.
Why: Angelfall is my favourite angel book ever (maybe even my favourite paranormal) and a huge part of it is due to Penryn and Raffe. I loved the witty banter that they kept up throughout the book. I loved that both of them were total badasses (this is more rare than you would think in a paranormal book) who took turns rescuing each other.  I loved their loyalty towards each other and how it sometimes made them do stupidly dangerous things.


5.) Liam and Ruby
Series: The Darkest Minds, Never Fade ( The Darkest Minds) by Alexandra Bracken
Couple Names: Luby? Riam? Okay, I think I prefer Riam. But not by much.
Why: Because the good-guy is seriously under-rated in young adult fiction. Liam was heartbreakingly sweet (even if he was naïve) at sometimes. He was just perfect for Ruby who was seriously traumatised after just escaping a concentration camp where she had been forced to stay for several years. Also, it’s pretty rare in fiction to see such a powerful, strong and self-assured girl . Let me tell you it was refreshing.


Disclaimer: I own none of these pictures. I just…borrowed them. They belong to their respective artists.

On The Jellicoe Road: A Book Review

Book: On the Jellicoe Road

Author/Authoress: Melina Marchetta

On the Jellicoe Road

Cover: 4/5

Plot: 5/5

 Blurb:

I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago. Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again. And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

My thoughts:

If you thought-even for a second- that it was impossible for a single book to be light-hearted and mysteriously dark and emotional, then you need to read this book just to prove yourself wrong. The book starts off with a fun and frivolous rivalry between three groups of teenagers; the students from the Jellicoe School, the Cadets and the Townies. The three groups negotiate with each other so seriously and solemnly for land access, return of hostages and so earnestly declare ‘war’ on each other, it’s impossible not to get drawn in. Throughout all the skirmishes and pranks, the characters come up with such sharp, witty remarks it’s impossible not to fall head over heels for them.

Melina Marchetta introduces another dimension to this book by bringing in the histories and backstories of all of the characters. The leaders of the three opposing factions somehow bind together to become a group of five. Together, they figure out the tragic and beautiful story of a group of five friends who fell apart when a member died. As the story winds together the teens figure out just how entrenched the story is in their pasts. This book is about past and present colliding and of figuring out how history can shape your story. It’s about how things get lost in interpretation (or should I say, misinterpretation?) and figuring out how everyone belongs.

Characters: 5/5

The characters in this book wrung me out, stamped all over my heart and ultimately broke it. I guess I have some masochistic tendencies because I went back to this book over and over again. And every time I had a reaction just as intense (if not more so) than the previous time.

I don’t know when it happened-maybe it was the very first page or maybe it was somewhere further along the book- but a part of my heart was relinquished to Taylor. I think these two quotes do a brilliant job of describing what Taylor wants:

“I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I’m thinking.”

“‘What do you want from me?’ he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.”

Taylor is abandoned over and over again. First by her mother at a petrol pump and then by her closest confident and mentor, Hannah in her very own backyard. When they leave she becomes closed off and cynical. She becomes depressed and even slightly suicidal. She’s nowhere near perfect but maybe that was part of the draw. The pain is often overdone in YA and maybe it was here too. But her pain was so honest and raw, it actually hurt me.

Fear not! Taylor did not spend this book as a mourning and abandoned vegetable (Yes Bella, I’m looking at you). Taylor had a strong support system and she- I wouldn’t say she got over it- but she functioned admirably; she lead her school in the ‘war’, was an admirable house leader and made a bunch of hilarious quips. By the time I was done with the book, I was attached to her like…like a suction cup on glass.

Ben, Anson Choi, Raffaela, Santiago, Jenna. They form the support system and they were just so witty and profound and multi-dimensional, I kind of fell in love with them. The unnamed girl with the eyebrow piercing deserves a special mention too.

Romance: 5/5

Jonah Griggs is bad. Like killed-his-father bad (don’t worry it was self-defence) He’s as disciplined and tough as hell but he’s a softie (especially when it comes to Taylor). He’s intense without being melodramatic…and I’m doing a terrible job explaining him. The goodness of Jonah Griggs cannot be described in a paragraph. Let me just say that Jonah is not the kind of guy you let into your heart- no, he’s the kind of guy who just walks in without an invitation but with so much panache that you don’t mind.

Plotholes: 4.5/5

It took me a while to get into the rhythm of Melina Marchetta’s writing. I was a bit confused with the italic parts and how that story tied in with the rest of the story. But the story unfolds really nicely once you get into the flow of it.

Overall Review: 5/5

I’ve done a terrible job explaining this book but it’s not completely my fault. This book is a literary masterpiece and you should read it. Right now. In fact maybe you shouldn’t even have read the review cause I have the sinking suspicion that this is the type of book best enjoyed when you know nothing about it.

5 YA Books You Need to Read (Even If You Are An Adult)

There are a lot of people who say they don’t like Young Adult fiction. Maybe they think it’s too childish- that everything’s over-explained, that it’s overdramatic and over-exaggerated. But that’s ’cause they’re reading all the wrong books. Here are 5 YA books which you will love even if you’re against the whole genre (at the moment.)

1.)

Book: On the Jellicoe Road
Author/Authoress: Melina Marchetta

On the Jellicoe Road

Blurb: Im dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

Why you need to read it:
Forget John Green. If you want real, pure, strong emotions, a realistic YA about growing up with amazing dialogues and a lovely romance– you need to read this book. This is definitely not just a book for teens. Of course, it can be read by teens as well but On the Jellicoe Road actually has a very sophisticated subject matter.The book deals with abandonment, responsibility, learning to depend on others and moving forward even while remembering the past. But what really stole my heart is the writing; the way the story is told is simply stunning.
Each and every character was multi-faceted and 3-dimensional.There’s Taylor, who suffers from abandonment and authority issues but is still given the enormous responsibility of leading her school in the rivalry against the Cadets and Townies. And then there’s Jonah who killed his own father and owes Taylor more than she knows. I can’t say much more about the characters without unravelling parts of this amazing story. And trust me, trying to figure out how everybody’s past is connected to each other’s is part of the reading experience. Just trust me on this- All of the characters had powerful, important, utterly moving back stories. And somehow, Melina Marchetta managed to expertly wind them together so that at the end we have a bunch of puzzle pieces that fall together perfectly to create a mind-blowing book.


 2.)
Author/Authoress: Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park
Blurb: Two misfits. One extraordinary love.
Eleanor
… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Why you need to read it: 
I’m never sure if I really love this book or hate this book. But I do know that this book is unforgettable.
Why I love it: I love the characters. I love how they’re so relatable even though (and maybe because of this) they are both misfits. And even though you’d never think the combo would work, I love how the big (in both personality and size), loud, red-headed,tough, loner Eleanor fits with popular (superficially at least), generally good and happy Park. I love the way they encourage each other and help each other with their problems. I love how they react when they learn something new about the other’s life, especially when it’s so unfamiliar to them. And I love the way they’re able to find common links and similarities with each other even when they seem so, so unlike. But what I really love about this book are the things Eleanor and Park say to  each other. The things they say… Oh my God!…they’re  simultaneously sweet, uplifting,heartbreaking and bitter-sweet. But at the same time, they simply reek of honesty and whenever they say something truly profound, you can tell they truly mean it. 
Why I hate it : I hate how this book is able to wring so many tears out of my eyes. I hate how I can’t read another book set in this time period without subconsciously referring to this one. And I hate the sad, unfinished feel of this book. The ending is perhaps the most heartbreaking one I’ve read. There are no happy ever afters in this book; Only an ending which we all wish is unfinished but is instead unfortunately and ultimately final. I wanted to rage and scream at the ending because Eleanor and Park deserved so much more. In fact, even though it probably detracts from the story, I wrote up my own Happy Ever After for them (which, trust me is serious business since I’m normally against happy endings in books).


3.)
Book: The Giver
Author/Authoress: Lois Lowry
The Giver (The Giver #1)
Blurb: Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Why you need to read it: 
This book is a freaking classic. I’m serious. We could wait our whole lives for a YA dystopian book this good. Lois Lowry is a genius who created a creepy world that’s oddly enthralling. Just imagine it- everything that makes life painful and unhappy…hunger war, pain, negative emotions- gone as if they never existed. But along with it, everything that makes life, life – contentment, happiness,love- they would all be gone. Along with choices and free will and the ability to make decisions. The themes in this book are so strong and so profound and perfect. This is the kind of book you can read over and over again and get something new out of it every time.I read the book for the first time when I was in fourth-grade and I’ve read it 3 times since. And without fail, I find a new piece of symbolism hidden somewhere deep inside the book that makes me look at the whole story with new eyes.

4.)

Author/Authoress: Neal Shusterman
Unwind (Unwind, #1)
 Blurb: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
Why you need to read it:
I am a huge fan of this book! HUGE! Here’s what I can really say about this book: It’s the kind of book which makes you think. Set in a crazy world where abortion is illegal but organ harvesting of teenager’s isn’t, this dystopian book has quite a few political undertones; the biggest issue in the book being pro-life or pro-choice. It speaks about identity and at points it even gets a little spiritual. For example,  if you are divided into parts and not really dead, would your soul disappear or would it just be spread. After reading this book you’ll practically be forced to deliberate on topics like morality and ethics of organ harvestation and how much control parents/guardians should really have.
The characters in this book were truly amazing. Neal Shusterman is a genius for creating such realistic characters that grow and change throughout the book. Each of them had a distinct voice, so for the first time ever- I didn’t completely hate the idea of having more than two POV’s in a book. If you have the time, then let me convince you to read this book right away. Read my review of it here.


Author/Authoress: Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
Blurb: Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.
Why you need to read this book:
Whatever you read in the blurb about history, WWII, fighter planes and torture – you need to know that they’re not important. Okay, they are pretty important (in real life and this story) but most of that won’t matter to you much by the time you’re halfway through the story. Because as soon as Maddie enters the picture, the story of Verity’s and Maddie’s friendship will completely blow you away. This is one of the best friendship I’ve ever encountered in a YA book. Both of them look up to each other and will do anything and everything to keep each other safe.The phrase “Kiss me Hardy. Kiss me, quick” may sound totally innocuous to you now, but after reading this book, you won’t be able to say that sentence without spontaneously bursting into tears.
 But that’s not the only aspect of the book that completely wowed me. Something that I see authors and filmmakers struggle with is how to portray a strong, kick-ass female who can hang with the boys and still retain her femininity. Elizabeth Wein has no such problems doing so. I have looked high and low but have never seen such an amazing interpretation of a ‘strong but feminine woman’.
After reading this book, I stared at the book for almost 5 minutes in shock. This book makes you feel so much; It will tire you out emotionally and leave you at a loss for words. Consider me awed.

So if you’re an adult who’s not really into YA but has been coerced/begged/threatened into giving it a chance, you should pick up one of these books so you can join us happy campers on the YA bandwagon. If you’re already into YA fiction and are hoping for something mature, emotional and basically amazing to read then you should also pick up one of these books.

Which book would you put on this list?