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Presented by State Library Victoria

My top 10 YA books of 2019

And thus ends another year. I would like to present my list on my favourite YA reads of 2019. I have excluded other books outside of the YA genre for this list to better fit the website and I have, unfortunately or otherwise, read lots of books that are definitely not YA such as The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, which is, while amazing and diverse, not appropriate for a YA audience. 

I also did set myself some rules when coming up other this list and they are:

  • One entry per author and if it is a series, I simply picked my favourite of the series.
  • I tried to keep it sort of diverse and not just fill it up with fantasy.
  • Also, I realised giving each book a ranking would be way too hard and simply listed ten books in alphabetical order.

I do have three honourable mentions that were great but did not quite make the list and would like to start with those.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Prodigy by Marie Lu(Legend trilogy #2)

My first honourable mention goes to Prodigy. It is the second book in a YA dystopian series mostly set in the Republic of America and follows the dual perspective of Day, a criminal mastermind and June, the Republic’s top prodigy. It’s loads of fun and can get quite emotional.

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness(Chaos Walking Trilogy#3)

The Chaos Walking Trilogy, in my opinion is an incredibly original idea that begins in a town called Prentisstown where there are only men and everyone can hear each other’s thoughts. It follows Todd who later joins Viola(*musicians be laughing at this, say hello to Viola jokes) who happens to be a woman. It’s a great blend of both dystopian and sci-fi which great writing on top of it. A Chaos Walking movie it set to be released next year featuring Spiderman and Rey.

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G Drews

And now we have the Inky Award’s own Gold shortlisted book, A Thousand Perfect Notes. It’s about classical music and piano practice. Need this classically trained pianist say anymore? Ok look, it does also tackle lots of other deeper and more important themes than just practice and classical music, though that may be why I am recommending it.

ZITONG’S TOP 10 YA BOOKS OF THE YEAR

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir(An Ember in the Ashes Series #1)

The first book that I have on my list in An Ember in the Ashes which is the first out of a planned series of four(the first three are published) . It is a fantasy set in a world based on the Roman Empire and follows the characters of Laia and Elias. Most of the first book takes place in a military school where it trains the most elite Empire soldiers called the Masks. It’s sort of standard fantasy, but then it is also so good as well.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo(Six of Crows Duology #2)

Crooked Kingdom serves as the sequel to Six of Crows which is equally amazing. It is a fantasy duology set in a Russian inspired world and includes super cool things like heists, friendships and magic. The characters are also quite diverse which is always a plus. A Netflix adaptation is also coming down the road pretty soon which is very exciting. There is in fact a trilogy called the Shadow and Bone trilogy that takes place before this series though one does not have to read that series before Six of Crows.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare(The Dark Artifices Trilogy #2)

Cassandra Clare books are regarded quite highly in the YA fantasy community and I would like to think for good reason. She always writes amazing characters and awesome family dynamics set in the wonderful world of Shadowhunters. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the third book as much, but the first two are great. One may want to read The Mortal Instruments before reading this for more background knowledge about the world and certain characters, but I’m not too sure on the reading order of these things.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda

This is just a good book, period. There’s also a film called Love, Simon that I haven’t seen so I can’t give my opinion on it. This is a story about Simon Spier and his story on coming out as gay.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson(Skyward Series #1)

Sanderson is my favourite author and I will probably love, or at least like everything he does put out. That being said, I still like the first book over the second one. It’s a sci-fi story where the humans have been trapped on this planet and have been under attack by the Krell for generations. It features Spensa who for her entire life has dreamed of being a pilot and fighting back the Krell. Awesome spaceship battles ensue…

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black(The Folk of the Air #1)

This book won the Silver Inky Award, so according to you guys, this book is great, fantastic even, and I wholeheartedly agree. I have also read books 2 and 3, which were equally good that it would be hard to decide which book would make the cut for this list, but since people are more familiar with book 1, I decided it would be best to put this book on the list. There are beautiful faeries, puny mortals and court intrigue not often seen in lots of YA fantasy. Would even recommend to people who are not that used to fantasy. 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee(Montague Siblings #1)

This is historical fiction that centres around a gay romance and is the cutest thing ever, like, MY GOD. Perfect for fans of historical fiction, representation of both LGBTQI+ and people of colour as well as people who just enjoy a cute romance. It is about this awesome journey of Europe and simply put, it is so much fun to read.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Cover to The Hate U Give

Now I’m sure most people have heard of this book before, and I feel like for good reason. Literally every character, even the side ones have a proper character arc. The transformations are amazing. The message of this story is so relevant to today and is awesome when showing characters that are in a #minority group, like me for example. It is simply the best when one can relate or sympathise with the characters in a book and I truly believe that most people can for this bookyself

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman(Arc of a Scythe #2)

My review for Thunderhead on Goodreads for this book goes a little something like this:

Holy Gods. That ENDING! This book! Those characters! WOW! Completely lost for words. Loved every moment of it. It was wonderful, amazing and also very smart for a YA book. I need book 3 in my life. 10/10

So uh, yeah. 

Winter by Marissa Meyer(The Lunar Chronicles #4)

Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, was pretty good, I gave it a solid 3.5 stars, but I found that each book, perhaps with the exception of book 2(due to personal tastes), that each book slowly got better and better. Winter is a massive book by YA standards, it’s like some 800 pages or something. It may seem daunting to lots of people(I mean by this point for me, 800 pages is like not even that bad anymore. I have like sold my soul to 800+ page fantasy books). However, I do think every moment is absolutely worth it, it’s thrilling, intense and one breathtaking journey.

There you have it folks, my top 10 YA reads of the year plus a few honourable mentions. Ultimately by this point, the amount of fantasy that I consume far outweighs any other genre, but like, I tried everyone. Also let me know which books on my list that you have read and liked, disliked or hated with a passion. On a side note, I do have proper full length reviews for all of these books on Goodreads if anyone wants to check them out, some of which are more coherent than others, with others just being me screaming on how great these books are.

Happy New Year everyone(and happy reading off course)!

6 comments

sekhmet

I DEFINITELY agree with Thunderhead! I haven’t read The Toll yet because I was hoping to get it for Christmas (I didn’t) and I do hope that it is just as good as the books before.

2w ago
zitongbooks

I’m glad you agree! I haven’t read The Toll yet either :/

2w ago
sylvs

I've read 8 of these! An Ember In The Ashes is literally RIGHT next to me but I need to have a look at Skyward :)

2w ago
zitongbooks

Cool! I hope you like them!

2w ago
sylvs

In reply to zitongbooks

I hope so too!

2w ago
guppy

I LOVED an Ember in the Ashes, it was one of my very first YA reads, and it made me cry. The Folk of Air series of course is absolutely amazing. I haven't read A Thousand Perfect Notes, but it sounds really interesting (I love books about classical music and just music in general).

To be honest the Lunar Chronicles were a little eh for me. It just felt like the genres just clashed a bit, but I do agree that they improved as the series went on.

1w ago