If you haven’t heard about Maria Lewis by now, you are seriously missing out. Her YA debut It Came from the Deep just released yesterday and involves mermans and mystery. Two of my favourite things. My review will be up tomorrow but today Maria is sharing some of her favourite YA reads with us. And I must say she has great taste
The Girl Who Would Be King – Kelly Thompson
Self-published by Kelly Thompson, who now writes the excellent Jem and the Holograms comic, this followed two very different teenage girls with superpowers. Every generation two girls are born and – due to matters out of their control – one will turn evil and one will fight for good. In the same way Buffy and Faith’s simultaneous journeys were so interesting, The Girl Who Would Be King is brilliantly clever at depicting the hero’s journey. Even if that hero turns out to be the villain. I also love female villains and Thompson gives us some meaty ones with complicated, complex motivations.
While I Live – John Marsden
The Tomorrow When The War Began series was one that I devoured when I was in highschool. The original seven novels were amazing, but it was the first of the spin-off stories that focused on Ellie Linton after the war that really stayed with me. Not only did it look at the realities of a country struggling to refind itself after a war, it dealt with trauma and how one learns to move on after suffering insurmountable losses.
The Runaways – Brian K. Vaughan
Technically a graphic novel, this is one of the most authentic depictions of teenagers I’ve ever read. It also happens to be incredibly entertaining, as a rag-tag group of young adults with superpowers learn that their equally gifted parents are actually super villains. It’s a very literal metaphor about breaking out from under your parents’ expectations, but God damn if it isn’t effective.
There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins
I’m massive fan of slashers and There’s Someone Inside Your House felt like some of my favoruite horror movies brought to life. Think I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, but with a complex, biracial heroine and a supporting cast of characters that reflect the realities of modern day 2017 and not the nineties.
Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera
When you put together a list of books that define you, Whale Rider would be on there for me. Witi Ihimaera was the first Māori novelist to ever be published and his body of work is extensive. While some of his other works may be better known, Whale Rider is special due it’s handling of challenging themes and – namely – it’s brassy central character, Kahu.
Hexenhaus – Nikki McWatters
Given the attack on women’s liberties and freedoms in 2017, a YA novel about witches might not seem like the kind of escapism you’d be craving in present day. But the stories of Hexenhaus are wonderfully told and poignant given the current climate. Funny, romantic and terrifying in equal measure, it’s a wonderful collection of three separate tales in the one book.
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
Generally I find John Green books hit or miss, but The Fault In Our Stars was a major hit right at the centre of the target. I finished it at 3am in the morning and was hysterically sobbing for the next 10 minutes or so. It was not a good look. Given Green’s background working with young, often terminal, cancer patients I felt like a lot of that came through in the story. The illness wasn’t the focus of the characters lives – it was still a central part of it – but majority of the time they just got on with living, Being sick didn’t define them.
The Diviners – Libba Bray
I remember being pretty blown away by this book when I first read it. It was so refreshing and magical, while at the same time really, really creepy. Set in prohibition-era New York, it follows a group of teenagers from different backgrounds, different races, different sexualities, who all have unique abilities. Together, they have to team up to defeat a great evil. Think Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries meets X-Men.