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.
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).
Author/Authoress: Lois Lowry
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.
Author/Authoress: Neal Shusterman
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
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?