2017 was a big year for me, book-wise.
You see, it was about this time last year that I had a realization: I write Young Adult fiction. You’d think I would know this, but I didn’t. It only took years of reviews labeling my Marked Series as YA, as well as a Bookbub ad in the Teen section rather than the Fantasy section, to finally cue me in.
You see, I hadn’t set out to be a YA fantasy writer, mostly because I didn’t understand what that meant. What is YA fantasy? With contemporary, it’s easy to pick out YA books–they deal with teen issues. But in a fantasy world, an older teen is an effective adult.
Besides, age of character is not a sure-fire measure. I mean, Kvothe is a child and teen, but The Name of the Wind is adult fantasy. Kell is twenty-one years old, yet A Darker Shade of Magic is Young Adult fantasy.
I was confused. I couldn’t understand the difference. And if I am a writer of Young Adult fantasy (which I apparently am), I should probably know what Young Adult fantasy is. Right?
So I set about finding out. By reading A LOT of Young Adult genre fiction, and taking A LOT of notes. I made this a part of my job, set goals, and took my TBR list seriously.
And I learned a lot. Even the books I didn’t much enjoy taught me about the genre, and there were a whole lot of books that I loved. Gushed over. Wanted to tattoo on my heart.
So I decided to do a little round up, to close out the year.
Here are my top 17 reads of 2017:
1.) Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
2.) Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor
3.) The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater
4.) Carry On, Rainbow Rowell
5.) Shadow & Bone, Leigh Bardugo
6.) The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater
7.) The Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer
8.) Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor
9.) The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
10.) The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson
11.) Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
Puppy Chow, the books. This series took over my life while I was reading it. In fact, I can’t even say if it was “good” or not, I was too busy devouring it like a bowl of puppy chow for that level of assessment.
12.) Red Rising, Pierce Brown
This book and I got off to a rough start. Actually, I was strongly disliking it. And then only kind-of liking it. But then, slowly, I was invested. By the second book I was wholly smitten. It’s flawed, in my opinion, but this series also stuck with me in a way that most books don’t. It’s the kind of story that you just keep chewing over long after it’s through.
13.) Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
This book was not only wonderful all on it’s own, but it actually made me retroactively like Graceling more. It’s about a young and inexperienced queen trying to sort through a messy political situation. It’s rare (and refreshing) in these kinds of books for the problems to lack an easy solution. (I also read–and enjoyed–Fire)
14.) A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab
15.) The Black Mage, Rachel E. Carter
This series snuck up on me. The first book held my interest, the second really expanded the top-notch magic system, but the third and fourth…damn. I probably would take issue with certain things that happened in the story, if I weren’t so engrossed that I couldn’t think beyond turning the page.
16.) The Wrath & The Dawn, Renée Ahdieh
17.) The Remnant Chronicles, Mary E. Pearson
I did not love the beginning of book one, but once the plot gets moving I enjoyed this series. Didn’t much care for the romance, but I loved seeing Lia grow into her own person with her own priorities.
I’ve still got a whole lot of books on my list, and I’m excited to work on my next writing project now that I have a better understanding of the genre.
What are some of your favorite Young Adult novels?