5. Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
Goodreads: Meeting Jack on the Owl – San Francisco’s night bus – turns Beatrix’s world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive … and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. But Jack is hiding a piece of himself. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is.
Opinions: I loved, loved, loved the chemistry between the two main characters, Jack and Bex. I really enjoyed learning about both their lives, and I was equally invested in both characters, they were perfect for each other. The book covered a great deal in such a short book (under 300 pages) as both Bex and Jack had complicated pasts. I would really recommend this to anyone looking for a YA romance and more!
4. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Goodreads: Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love. But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…
Opinions: I have never read a book like this before. The concept and idea were so original it blew me away. I love space and the sci-fi element of this book was amazing, it wasn’t too science heavy, it was still an easy, beautiful read. Lauren James built tension in the most incredible way, I read the book in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. I think about this book on a regular basis for its sheer excellent storytelling and realistic characters.
3. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Goodreads: Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her long time summer church camp job. Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counsellor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her co-workers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be. It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp – more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
Opinions: I need to start by saying, I love anything set in a summer camp; they are one of my favourite settings for a book to take place. Firstly, I loved how faith was represented in this book, it’s rare that I come across a book which deals with religion as such a heavy topic, yet does it so subtly. The friendship is this book was beautiful and so diverse, and the romance was handled beautifully. I would recommend this YA contemporary to everyone, it’s incredible.
2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Goodreads: Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say. Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen. Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder. Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.
Opinions: First of all I need to say how accurate and honest the social anxiety representation was in this book. It was explored in a sensitive yet real way, which can be triggering. One of my favourite aspects of this book was the fact that the relationship was not used to ‘fix’ Steffi, her mental health getting better was not because of Rhys. I just loved the way they grew as a couple; seeing them communicate with no words was incredible.
1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Goodreads: Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life – and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Opinions: This is my favourite YA book I have ever read, if you haven’t read it, why not? It is perfect in every aspect. I love books based on twins and it was so lovely to see twins represented as two different individuals with different personalities and interests. I loved the sister relationship representation, it was so gorgeous to read. Cath and Levi’s relationship will forever be my favourite, it was so beautiful and real. And finally, Cath, oh my, what a relatable character. I really felt as if I was reading a book about me, and it felt pretty crazy! I urge you to pick this book up if you’re heading to university, it shows a real insight into how your life changes (both good and bad!)
Have you read any of these books?