Top 5 of 2015

2015 was a great year for YA lit. There were a lot of fresh debuts. Several established YA authors like Leigh Bardugo started new series. I’m trying to think up a good cliche for how happy we readers were. Clams? Pigs in mud? I don’t think I have a good analogy for this…

At the beginning of July, I posted my half-way through 2015 list.  I found it interesting to look back at it. Some of the books have been replaced, some remained. This time, I didn’t sort my books into categories. I just chose the 5 books I thought were best overall. I tried putting it into order, but honestly- it was so painful, I gave up.  The only order it’s in right now is by colour of cover (feel free to laugh) .My list is fantasy-heavy this year. I don’t know if I have a slight bias, or if young adult fantasy this year was exceptional.

My list is fantasy-heavy this year. I don’t know if I have a slight bias, or if young adult fantasy this year was exceptional.

But here’s my list:

  1. Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
  2. The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
  3. The Fixer
  4. The Start of Me and YouA Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

Click on the covers to read my reviews. What was your favorite book this year?

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The Start of Me and You: A Book Review

Knowing what happens is different from knowing how it happens. And the getting there is the best part.

Book: The Start of Me and You

Author: Emery Lord

The Start of Me and YouBlurb:

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

My thoughts:

Right now, I am rooting around somewhere deep in my brain for the perfect word to describe this book. Genuine. People, there is nothing affected or unnatural about this book. It is the very honest, very natural story of a teenage girl. (Period, no semi-colon or ellipsis).
Yes, she was the girlfriend of the boy who drowned. But that’s not her whole identity. After all, they only dated for two months and the story begins a year after his death. Really, the only thing lingering about him is her swimming phobia, and random strangers in her small-town walking up to give her their condolences. Yes, she was sad for what could have been. And she felt it was a terrible tragedy to have someone close to you die in such a horrible way, but she’s moved on with her life. (Unlike some other YA protagonists I can think of after break-ups. *Cough*Bella Swan*Cough*).

If you’re looking for a book about a ‘broken’ heroine healing due to the love of a persistent white knight, look elsewhere. Paige isn’t broken. Sure, she has problems. For one thing, her happily-divorced parents are dating again (and Paige is too mature to hope for a Parent Trap ending). Another, her Grandmother is slowly wasting away due to Alzheimers. Three, she’s mildly jealous of her best-friend’s charisma and presence (especially since her long-time crush seems to be crushing on her). But there is no white-knight on the scene. Yep, Max is cute- but for the most part he acts in friend capacity.

And this is really the strong point of the book: the friendships. This book explores what friendship means, and the friendship between Paige, Tessa, Kayleigh and Morgan is one of the most natural ones I have seen. Sure, there are hiccups down the road (how could there not be when each and every one of them have such distinct personalities?). But, the girls always have each other’s back.

In friendship we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.

I haven’t really talked about Max at all, have I? What can I say, Max is adorable. As a fangirl, I loved all the references he made. He encourages Paige to be more confident, to go-for-it (whatever it may be). I think one of the things I love about the romance in this book is how comfortable Paige is with Max.

Ryan Chase was my eighth-grade collage, aspirational and wide-eyed. But Max was the first bite of grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favorite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist. Peanut-butter Girl Scout cookies instead of an ornate cake. Not glamorous or idealized or complicated. Just me.

Another thing I need to mention, the grown-up’s in this book are pretty awesome.
Ms. Peppers:She plays the role of the cool English teacher (as long as you don’t make jokes about Dr. Pepper and Mr. Salt in front of her).
Max’s mom is portrayed to be incredibly strong. And Grandma, Mom and Dad are all supportive and understanding. It’s really great to see such relatable adults in a YA book.

If you want a honest, sincere and genuine book- this is the one for you. This book will make you smile, and you’ll put the book down your heart a little bit warmer, and your head brimming with possibilities.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Other Books Like This: 45 Pounds More or Less, Fangirl, The Art of Lainey

Quotables:

“Our little nerd,” Kayleigh said, pretending to dab at her eye. “All grown up and competing against other nerds.”

Before I could tell them I was fine, Morgan’s arms engulfed me and Kayleigh was right beside us, pulling Tessa in, too. I could pick out their scents–the soft vanilla of Morgan’s perfume and the floral of Kayleigh’s hair and the spearmint gum that Tess chewed any time we were outside of school. With our arms around each other, I almost believed that strength could travel between us like the heat of our bodies. Nothing, not even sadness, could be greater than the sum of us.