YA BOOKS I READ & LOVED IN 2015

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Before I dive into my Best of Read in 2015 books—I’ve changed my theme! What do you think? I love the smooth, simple layout and easy to read font. I’ve had my last one for so long I’ve needed a change.

YA is and forever will be my favorite group of books to read, and 2015 has been a really, really good year for YA books (and reading in general.) I’ve read 240 books this year alone—I’m a crazy fast reader—so these are just a taste of the books I read and loved in 2015.

THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu

“Fear creates the strongest illusions. Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.” 

Genre: high fantasy

This. Book. Having never read the Legend series by Marie Lu before (I know right—shame on me!) I had NO idea what I should expect from this one. But I saw the words “vengeful” and “mysterious and powerful gifts” written in the blurb, and yep, I’m in. That, with Marie Lu’s exceptional worldbuilding and lovely, lovely prose, and this one QUICKLY became one of my favorites of 2015. As I’m writing this I have The Rose Society sitting on my bookshelf, and gosh, it looks just as good—if not better—than the first.

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A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” 

Genre: historical/fantasy

I absolutely CANNOT express my love for this book, but I’ll try. (Or, you know, you could also read my kind-of review here.) This was the first V.E. Schwab I’ve read and I literally jumped upon this one when I found it in my library; along with the striking cover, the concept was something I could NOT resist. Alternative Londons? Magic? A magical coat? I. Need. More. A Gathering of Shadows, the second in the series, is out February next year—and This Savage Song (her new series) will be out June 2016. The same month as my debut, so obviously, June will be a FANTASTIC month. ;)

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THE BONE SEASON / THE MIME ORDER by Samantha Shannon

“Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.” 

Genre: dystopia/fantasy

I DEVOURED these books. They took me awhile to get through, sure (have you seen their size!?) but they were totally, completely worth the late nights reading. I can’t even begin to explain the complexity of Samantha Shannon’s epic worldbuilding; there’s so much there it’s hard to wrap your mind around it. The story beautifully blends the paranormal and dystopia. (Also—I’ve included this in YA as Paige is nineteen, but it’s shelved in the Adult section of my library. Take that as you will.) The next in the series, The Song Rising (SO in love with that title), should be out November ’16.

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THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh

I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it.

Genre: historical fiction/fantasy

A friend of mine literally forced this book into my hand . . . so really, I had no choice but to read it. And I was so freaking blown away with it. A retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, I just loved EVERYTHING about this book. The writing. The characters. The plot. And, of course, the lovingly written descriptions of FOOD. (Literally made me hungry while reading this.) So obviously, I’d recommend this one forever and ever—and the sequel The Dagger and the Rose (May 3rd, 2016) looks JUST as epic.

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RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.” 

Genre: dystopian/fantasy

Oh, this book. THIS BOOK. For one—let’s just stare at the glorious cover for a moment. I’ll totally admit I dived into this novel not knowing much about what happened and judging solely on the cover (I regret nothing), and it locked my attention from beginning to end. Especially that end. It’s also just so wonderfully quotable. Mare was such a strong (but believable) character I loved so, so much. The sequel, Glass Sword, is out February 2016. Which is freaking close when you think about it—can you believe 2015 is almost over!?

… Not that I’m complaining when I realize books such as The Rose and the Dagger and Glass Sword is coming out.

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SABRIEL by Garth Nix

“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” 

Genre: high (?) fantasy

You know those books you keep meaning to read . . . but time just seems to slip away before you have the chance? Yeah, those ones. SABRIEL was one of them, but this year, I made a pointed effort to sit down and give this one a chance (because the premise generally sounds EPIC, and the author is Australian—yay #LoveAusYA.) With this year’s release of Clariel, I thought it was about time I should read it. I loved this one to bits. The worldbuilding, the characters, the writing. Add to that a kickass character and wonderfully unique plot, and I’m sucked in. Everything was so brilliantly done I couldn’t take my eyes away from the pages until I’d done. No, seriously. I read SABRIEL in one sitting. The rest of the series (Lirael, Abhorsen were just as good—I’m yet to read Clariel.)

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HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”

If you know me then you know of my EXTREME love for these books and Sarah J. Maas (although I haven’t yet read Queen of Shadows or A Court of Thorns and Roses). There are so many epic, kickass characters, gorgeous quotable writing, and plot twists that will leave you breathless; what’s not to love about these books!? Add to that the freaking AMAZING covers (both the US/UK ones are incredible) and there’s no way I can’t love these books.

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DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor

“I am one of billions. I am stardust gathered fleetingly into form. I will be ungathered. The stardust will go on to be other things someday and I will be free.” 

These books are such a breath of fresh air. Even though they take the age-old idea of angels versus demons—good and bad—Laini Taylor weaves her story in such a unique way everything feels so new and wonderful. And this is totally the novel that has made me want to travel to Prague—the descriptions of the city in this book are so breathtakingly beautiful. (Also, Laini Taylor has a new series out next year. I. Cannot. Wait.)

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Another favorite (but not YA—more NA) read of this year was Stay With Me and Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout. So. Good. I will literally read anything and everything by JLA. I recently finished White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch (YA paranormal a lá Supernatural), which were just so epically fun to read.


 

Sooo… This post turned out waaaaaaay longer than I intended. There were so, so many great reads this year. What books have topped your best-read list?

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44 thoughts on “YA BOOKS I READ & LOVED IN 2015

    • RED QUEEN was sooo good! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!! Eeee, the THRONE OF GLASS series is my favourite EVER. The rest of the series (that I’ve read) are just as good. I highly recommend THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. So beautifully written; you’ll be sucked in from beginning to end.

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic! Heir of Fire! LOVED THOSE! <3 I read about 100 pages of Sabriel before I quit, it just simply wasn't the right book at the time, and I really want to try it out again. Funnily enough, I had very mixed feelings about The Young Elites, The Wrath and the Dawn, and Red Queen, all of which I enjoyed but didn't love. I am excited to eventually get to their sequels because I'm optimistic that the stories will just improve. And as for your new blog theme — I love it! I mean, I loved your old theme, but I personally love clean, white, minimalism designs. Great choice!

    • Definitely give SABRIEL another chance. It might surprise you. :) Shame you didn’t love RED QUEEN, THE YOUNG ELITES and RED QUEEN, but hopefully you’ll like the sequels better. And thanks! I liked my old design, too, but I felt like I needed a change!

  2. It saddens me that I’ve only read (and LOVED) Red Queen from this list. :( Though I am currently reading Heir of Fire…and all of the others are on my TBR. All of these sound great, Kara, so I’m really glad you’re loving them! Your new design is quite appealing, too.

  3. I adored the Wrath and the Dawn. It was amazing! I have Red Queen on my shelf to be read and am hoping I will have time over Christmas break to get to it.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Amanda

  4. I love your photos of The Wrath and the Dawn and Heir of Fire. SO PURTY.😍 And zomg I loved so many of these too…mainly TW&TD. hehe and I need to read A Darker Shade of Magic. GAH. It’s literally on my kindle begging for attention and yet here I am…ignoring it. Somebody needs to change their priorities. XD

    OH and I like the new theme! Very sleek and professional. :D

  5. Yes omg The Wrath and the Dawn <3 Aren't you glad I forced you to read that? I keep re-reading it waiting for the second. It's gonna fall apart at this rate before the sequel comes out, I reckon.
    Okay, so you're taking things off my TBR list, right? Most (if not all) those are on mine :o Luckily, I have The entire Throne of Glass series to read on the plane, and hopefully (fingers crossed) the Sabriel series will be mine to own ASAP. (Santa, are you listening?)
    All the pretty covers. *drools*

  6. I love, love, love the new look Kara! It’s so crisp and lovely, really like it :)

    The Bone Season series! I couldn’t agree more. Those are monster books, but so immersive that I flew through them really quickly and RED QUEEEEEN! I absolutely loved that book. I know a lot of readers have complained that there’s nothing new that they haven’t read before, but they haven’t see it all within the one storyline. I can’t wait for book two. BRING. IT. ON! Great list Kara, reminds me that I really need to move a few of these up my list <3

    • Ahh, glad you like the new theme!

      I know right!? Despite the fact that they’re massive, you just canNOT put them down — and you don’t even realize how big they are when you’re reading. I *can* understand what people mean by RED QUEEN . . . but honestly, I thought Victoria Aveyard threw a fresh spin on everything. :)

  7. AHH. So many fabulous books Kara! I absolutely adored The Young Elites – it was such a thought-provoking and psychological read. And The Red Queen was amazing too! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous recap + choices! <3

  8. THOSE ARE BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!! I agree with like 70% of your list (and I have no opinion for 10% because I haven’t read some) but seriouslyyyy, the first couple I was just like YES! YES! YEEES! The Young Elites was bomb dot com (ofc, Marie Lu does it again) while TWATD was just <3 <3 <3. And omg, I got introduced to the Bone Season series this year too and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. Ugh I could go off on a tangent on so much more but GREAT BOOK KARA.

  9. Omg so many great books on this list (some of which I’m ashamed to admit that I own but have yet to get around to). Sarah J Maas is kween, and I have yet to see a ‘fav books of 2015’ list that have not included her books. I clearly need to many more time next year so I can catch up on all the awesomeness of 2015!!

  10. I love your new theme! :D I really want to change mine too- I’m tired of my current one haha. I just haven’t had the time (or energy) to do so yet. I haven’t read most of these, so I definitely need to change that!

  11. You haven’t read Legend?? Yes, Shame on you.
    I got The Young Elites as a Christmas present 2014…it’s been sitting on my ‘high priority TBR’ ever since…still haven’t read it yet. *sigh*
    And I need A Darker Shade of Magic! I’ve wanted to read it for ages.

    I LOVED The Wrath and the Dawn! Absolutely loved it! And I also enjoyed Red Queen, and Heir of Fire.

    Love the new theme :)

  12. Oh my gosh! I’ve read so many conflicting reviews on TYE, RQ, and TWATD! I liked those books, just there was a lot of hype that wasn’t necessarily for me! But you can pretty much never go wrong with S. J. Maas – she really knows how to please a reader!

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