As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the Young Adult books that made our year complete! From sci-fi, fantasies, and adventure to contemporaries and romance, there was something for everyone this year. The novels left us stunned, elated, weepy, and excited all at once. Now, we’re naming our best of the best!
Since it’s so hard to rank these favorites (we love them all!), we’re listing them out in alphabetical order. Trust us, they’ll are great!
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas
Why we love it: It’s the tale of Beauty and the Beast, turned on its head. Sarah J Maas was able to take a story we know well, add in more high fantasy, and turn it into a new, exciting story. Feyre is tasked with caring for her family. But when she kills a wold in the woods, not knowing it was a fae in disguise, she is punished by being taken from her family and living in the world of the fae. While the fairy tale it was based on gave an idea of where the story was heading, we loved the route and twists it took to get there. This was the first in a new trilogy, with book 2 set for release in May 2016.
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven
Why We Love It: Hands down, All The Bright Places is the book that made us cry the most in 2015. But that’s a really, really good thing! Jennifer Niven crafts a story about two very different but equally troubled teens who come together to discover the “natural wonders” of their state and discover deeper something inside themselves along the way. But as one beings to gain the strength to battle depression, the other struggles to stay afloat. This contemporary is heartfelt and genuine, and according to the author, semi-autobiographical, exploring the many sides of a complicated issue– mental health among teens– with grace and honesty.
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir
Why We Love It: Sabaa Tahir won over our hearts and our imaginations with her stunning fantasy land. The characters and world are richly developed with details that made the story come to life easily as we read. The reader is quickly swept up into the danger, the adventure, and the anticipation as Laia and Elias begin a wild journey against society and the whispers of fate to change the world!
GOLDEN SON by Pierce Brown
Why We Love It: We don’t care that even though the main characters are no longer in their teens, because it started in their teens. Regardless, we still consider it part of YA fiction, and yes, it is that good. The drama, the twists and turns, the action, the feels! It’s like a Shakespearean tragedy in space, but without the Shakespearean lingo. By the time you finish the book, you will have felt your heart twisted in more ways than one and your insides gutted and chopped into a million fine pieces. And yes, you will want more.
I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman
Why We Love It: Like all Gayle Forman books, this one is full of emotions from page one. The story follows teenager Cody, whose best friend has recently committed suicide without warning. Cody sets out on a mission to discover the truth behind what happened to her best friend, Meg. There’s heartache, love, determination, and a whole lot of understanding– both of herself and other people. It is definitely on the more depressing side of the YA genre, but it’s truthful heartache and tackles some real issues that people don’t always want to discuss.
ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Why We Love It: Illuminae was such a unique novel. The use of memos, journal entries, security footage and much more was an interesting and different way to tell the story. The way the authors were able to capture such emotion through these different storytelling venues was impressive. The main characters were very relatable even though they were dealing with things that would most likely never happen to us. We were hooked very early on in the novel and all the jaw dropping twists kept us entertained until the very end. We definitely can’t wait for the sequel, Gemina, to come out!
P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han
Why We Love It: P.S. I Still Love You is the sequel to Jenny Han’s amazing book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. While P.S. I Still Love You is predominantly a love story, it’s also a coming-of-age story. It’s a story about a girl who chooses to grow up and consciously puts her childhood behind her. We loved that Jenny Han has created a story that is incredibly and realistically honest, hilarious, and heartfelt.
RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard
Why We Love It: Red Queen is another addition to those books that spark our inner readers. Mare Barrow’s world is literally divided by blood. There are the Reds, like Mare’s family who serve the Silver’s, the elite who have abilities that make them supreme. In a whirlwind of fate Mare discovers she has an ability…but she is red blood. Without wanting she gets stuck in a situation that has her taking on a new name, a new life. Then things turn for the ultimate when Mare gets involved with the underground rebellion. The book includes Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, secrets and deceit, a Victorian-esque setting with their fashion and a love story that will have you wanting a 1-on-1 with Mare herself.
SIX OF CROWS By Leigh Bardugo
Why We Love It: Six of Crows takes the magic and mystery of the Grisha universe to a whole new level with incredible new settings and some of the most interesting characters we’ve ever seen. On top of that, the novel quickly introduces a tricky heist premise that picks up the action immediately– One that doesn’t slow down for anyone or anything! It all leads up to a tense, chilling end that left us begging for the sequel.
TALES FROM THE SHADOWHUNTER ACADEMY by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman
Why We Love It: Okay, we might be cheating a little here. TFTSA is actually a collection of e-novellas from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments universe and it hasn’t been released in book form yet. But with Lady Midnight shifted into 2016, we clung to these suckers! Following Simon’s training and big life changes as he worked toward becoming a bonafide Shadowhunter, the stories are sweet, funny, touching, and heart-breaking all at once. There’s something for every fan of the original series, but it’s especially charming for fans of Simon Lewis (who should be the central character in all the stories, in our opinion). Plus, there’s some great teases for the upcoming The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours series!
THE ROSE SOCIETY by Marie Lu
Why We Love It: Adelina Amouteru’s wild and treacherous journey toward infamy continues in the sequel to The Young Elites. Everything is more intense this time around! There are more powers, bigger action sequences, and dark intentions that guarantee war and catastrophe around every corner. We’re also getting some great new characters, like the sly and wonderful Magiano. It’s bittersweet and fascinating to see how Adelina’s good intentions repeatedly go to hell, marking her descent into someone who is perhaps beyond saving.
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh
Why We Love It: Much like her main character, Shahrzad, debut author Renee Ahdieh captivates her audience with thrilling tales. She takes a story of legend and flips it on its head with fresh, relatable characters, magic, mystery, and emotion. Perhaps the biggest feat is a smart romantic twist in which the characters maintain their individual strengths and avoid sappiness, melting even the most cynical of hearts. We can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the second half of the duology, The Rose And The Dagger, in 2016!
THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Why We Love It: Their Fractured Light takes this space trilogy (Starbound) to a marvelous conclusion. Kaufman and Spooner managed to introduce two brand new characters to lead the story, giving them a story all their own while managing to wrap up their previous protagonists’ stories, as well. After two books, we finally understand how these characters and events are related and why it all happened in the first place. If you’ve read the first two books in this series, this final one should not be missed (and even if you haven’t, it’s not too late to start!)
VANISHING GIRLS by Lauren Oliver
Why We Love It: If you love a good mystery, you need to get your hands on Vanishing Girls! As much as we love her earlier works, this book is debatably Lauren Oliver’s best book yet. It’s the story of two sisters, Nick and Dara, torn apart after a devastating car crash. The two have fallen apart and lost contact… and then Dara goes missing. It’s up to Nick to discover exactly what Dara has been doing since the accident and how her disappearance might be connected to another missing girl in town. The novel barrels into a series of “What does that mean?” and “How did I miss that?!” turns before reaching a stunning conclusion. It’s not to be missed!
WINTER by Marissa Meyer
Why We Love It: We absolutely loved Winter as the conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. We have been waiting so long for this book to come out and it did not disappoint. Each character that we had grown to love over the course of the series got the ending they deserved. Of course Meyer had us feeling so much pain along the way. It’s going to be so hard to let go of these characters, but we can still look forward to seeing them again in Stars Above, the short story collection coming out February 2016.
We got some amazing reads this year, but we can’t wait to see what 2016 brings! Happy New Year!