This post idea came straight from a video I saw from Fadwa, WordWonders. If you didn’t know, Fadwa has a Youtube Channel and I now frequently watch her videos while eating! It’s a reaction to a Goodreads post about The Year’s Most Popular YA Debuts So Far.
I feel like this post gives me a good chance to reflect on the books that have come out, so far, this year. I can also give you a little update on how I feel!
As you can see, I’ve read this entire row. I have been yelling about Opposite of Always being one of the most unique and wonderful time traveling books I’ve ever read. If that isn’t high praise I’m not sure what is. My partner read The Art of Losing before I did since we got it last year at BookExpo, but it’s a story about loss, friendship, and addiction. Then we have The Field Guide to the North American Teenager which just hits all the right spots – angsty, sarcastic, and making mistakes. And then If You’re Out There which is a fabulous thriller about ghosting and friendship.
I’ve actually read, and loved, I Wish You All the Best – seriously five stars from me – but Goodreads isn’t showing it. I didn’t write a review for it for the blog, since I listened to it on audio, but I did write a Goodreads review! While I enjoyed You’d Be Mine which is such a good summer book, I don’t remember a lot about the plot anymore. I also have How It Feels to Float on my bookshelf, I got it via Bookish First, but I haven’t read it yet….
Technically You Started It is on my TBR, I’m just not sure if/when I’ll get to it. That being said, Don’t Date Rose Santos is a fabulous book about identity, family, and summer. This Time Will Be Different is a book about speaking up, family tensions and history, and it is way more powerful than you might suspect! I really liked Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens. It isn’t one of those high stress books, it has tension and stakes, but it’s a quiet-er book about self-discovery and acceptance.
Oh gosh, this section is going to be so long. I have read all but one of these books, so I have many thoughts. We Set the Dark on Fire is absolutely stunning. Go read it now. Four Dead Queens was a book where when I first read it, I thought okay this is like a middle of the road book for me – I thought it was fantasy, but it was more like a murder mystery – but then the problematic content (ableism, killing the Queer characters) was pointed out and it changed my mind.
I read The Similars and just wasn’t wowed, in retrospect I think 3 stars was generous because looking back I just wasn’t impressed. I wanted more from it and was just forcing myself to finish. Wilder Girls is great. I love the idea of monstrous girls loving girls and this gave it to me – and more. More books that are marketed exactly like they are please.
I was not impressed by White Stag. Forcing myself to finish, which was an awful experience, and it just didn’t work for me. However, I know some people who really liked it, but it was just not for me. But I really loved Crown of Feathers which gave me all the Wild Magic feels with phoenixes! Also I want all the sister stories to be mine now please. If you’re also searching for something with magic, but with Paris and revolutionary feels, then you should read Enchantee. It’s a story of magic, beauty, and family. I read Bloodleaf for work, which is why I have no official rating, but it was just sort of meh for me. Not as unique as I would have wanted.
Faves and Some Question Marks
This has to have some of my absolute favorites. I have t-shirts for both The Fever King and Descendant of the Crane so you know that I love those books. With my entire heart. They are such different books. One is full of magic in a future-esque setting. The other is a story of subterfuge and secrecy. Now we get to some contention.
I enjoyed Wicked Saints when I read it, but I am not sure if I’ll pick up the sequel. I really enjoy the darker fantasy books, and this fits the bill. But since then, the author has said some problematic things about teen readers and the community and so I’m just not sure if I’ll continue. With The Devouring Gray I wasn’t as creeped out as I wanted to be. It’s another multiple POV book and the depression rep is fantastic – plus all the queer characters – but I just wasn’t as connected to them as I wanted to be. They never felt like precious babies to me, or like kittens.
I’ve been exposed. The one book on the fantasy/science fiction section I haven’t read, These Witches Don’t Burn. I own it! But I just didn’t manage to score an ARC of it and ended up just pre-ordering it. And then you can see that I adored The Tiger at Midnight, We Hunt the Flame and Wicked Fox! I need more assassin books in my life is the bottom line. We Hunt the Flame is an expansive book with a lush setting that I’m sure everyone has their eyes on. The Tiger at Midnight is fabulous and it is so underhyped, GO READ IT! And the characters in Wicked Fox make me laugh and tear up – also check out my interview with Kat where we talk about motherhood in Wicked Fox.
Oh and more. When I was reading Spin the Dawn I fell in love. I adore Mulan retellings, so much plus sewing kind of Project Runway vibes. Yes please. Since then, there’s been some homophobia and ableism pointed out in the finished copies – I just read the ARC and I didn’t catch these instances. That being said, I still love the elements and the characters – loved the romance, but acknowledge the problematic aspects/elements.
Bringing me to The Merciful Crow which is just phenomenal. Talk about interesting magic, politics, and more! It’s a series so definitely get on it. I read The Storm Crow basically in the same week as The Merciful Crow and while I’m here for all these bird books, it can be a lot in one week! That being said, I liked the idea of these crows, plus they are very different than the ones in The Merciful Crow! But, unfortunately, I don’t remember a lot about the plot – I did appreciate the depression representation.
And to the final book, House of Salt and Sorrows which is a 12 Dancing Princesses re-telling that kind of transcends the original story. Depending on the day this oscillates between 3.5 and 4 for me because of pure nostalgia factor. But House of Salt and Sorrows is an eerie story about family with secrets around every corner.