I have some very important news:
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
I love celebrating my birthday in various ways, so to mark my first birthday with this blog, I want to recommend my favorite books to you all.
Now, these books are not related in any way other than the fact that they are my favorites. These are my favorite books from any time of release, except for 2016, because I will do a post on my favorite releases at the end of the year.
Let’s get started!
1. Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred by Melody Carlson
Trigger Warning: Cutting
Synopsis: Ruth Wallace knows she can only hide the scars on her arms for so long. Cutting herself doesn’t make her problems disappear, but at least it helps her cope. Ruth needs to find some way, “any” way, to heal her scars–the ones she hides and the ones she can’t–before something terrible happens.
This was one of the first young adult novels I read, and it’s stayed in my heart for so long. It’s a dark-themed book, but it’s beautiful and really amazing to read, and I feel so lucky to have read this book, and it’s one that I wish I could experience again for the first time.
2. The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
Synopsis: Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she: lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list), lost her best friend (Kim), lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket), did something suspicious with a boy (#10), did something advanced with a boy (#15), had an argument with a boy (#14), drank her first beer (someone handed it to her), got caught by her mom (ag!), had a panic attack (scary),lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie), failed a math test (she’ll make it up), hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends), became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch), and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!). But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.
Let me say something: I don’t believe in guilty pleasure books. I’m not ashamed of anything I read and get joy out of, even though I have been made fun of for reading this book before. But I would never call this book my guilty pleasure. This entire series should be on this list because it’s amazing. It’s funny, and it’s probably one of the best contemporary series that’s out there. I’ve read standalones that are a bit better, but this is the probably the best contemporary series. It’s really heartfelt, and the main character is a great protagonist. If you’re into contemporary, you should definitely read this series.
3. Burned by Ellen Hopkins
Warning: I can guarantee this won’t be the last Ellen Hopkins book on this recommendations list.
Trigger Warning: Child abuse, alcoholism
Synopsis: It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious — yet abusive — family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation. This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers — about God, a woman’s role, sex, love — mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it? It’s with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn’s father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn’t know. Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both — until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell — a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.
Ellen Hopkins is one of my favorite authors ever, and her novels are beautiful. The free verse poetry style is brilliant, and this is my absolute favorite novel by her. The story is haunting, and its suspenseful. I love this book, and I can’t wait to reread it when my year of no rereading (my personal 2016 challenge) is over.
4. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Synopsis: Becky Bloomwood has what most twenty-five-year-olds only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it — not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Savingmagazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes? Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique? But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read — and they’re getting ever harder to ignore. She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something … Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Becky Bloomwood and I are two halves of the same soul. She is the character that I relate to more than any other (except maybe Cath Avery from Fangirl), and this book is just funny. This book made me get into this series, and I’ve read this book itself seven times. I love it so much, and I will never be able to forget about this wonderful book.
5. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Trigger Warning: Drug abuse, rape
Synopsis: In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.
This is it. This is the book that got me into Ellen Hopkins’ novels. I adore darker novels, and this one is extremely dark. It’s gorgeous, thought-provoking, and overall so dark to read. I love it, and it’s a definite instant recommendation.
6. The Everafter by Amy Huntley
Synopsis: Madison Stanton doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this – she is dead. And alone in a vast, dark space. The only company Maddy has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things she lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that, with these artifacts, she can reexperience – and even change – moments from her life. Her first kiss. A trip to Disney World. Her sister’s wedding. A disastrous sleepover. In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and frightening truths about her life – and death.
This book is my absolute favorite standalone of all time. I have loved this book since I was ten years old and got it in the ARC club at my library, and I’ll love this book until I’m dead. This book carries such a large part of my heart with it, and it’s the first book that I will instantly recommend to anyone.
7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Synopsis: 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?
Remember what I said about Becky Bloomwood being the character I relate to the most? Well, she’s in close competition with Cath Avery. In that synopsis, replace the words “Simon Snow” with “Harry Potter” and you have a pretty good description of my life. There are only a couple of things different between Cath and I (my parents are still together and my sister is much older than me), but I have never related to a character more than I did while reading this book. I could see myself in Cath, and I loved this book so much because of it. It was also just a touching and hilarious read, so I would recommend this to everyone.
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Synopsis: Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing – if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfill the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him?
I could include the entire Harry Potter series on this recommendations post and it still wouldn’t describe how much I love it. This one is my favorite in the series, and I’ve read it a total of fifteen times because when I first read the series I couldn’t stop reading it. I was and still am obsessed with Harry Potter. I love it so much, and if you somehow haven’t read it, go out and check it out from your library or pick it up from a bookstore immediately.
9. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern
Synopsis: Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S. She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex. Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.
I read this book last year because I was obsessed with the movie. Before I even saw the movie, I knew that it would be one of my favorites (I was right), so when I found out that it was based on a book, I knew I had to read it. This book is funny, emotional, and a great romance read, and it will stay on my favorites list for quite a long time.
10. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Synopsis: Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her. His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
I love this book so much. This is probably my second favorite book, after Shiver. If you’re active in the book blogging community, then you’ve probably read this book, or at least seen it. It’s beautifully written, and I recommend it to everyone.
11. Reality Check by Jen Calonita
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-olds Charlie, Keiran, Brooke, and Hallie have just been signed up for their own reality television show. They can’t even believe it. “You’ll be The Hills meets The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” the Armani-suited executive tells them, “and the hottest thing on our network.” How could they say no? But soon enough, cameras following them everywhere and interfering producers surreptitiously scripting their lives start to affect the four best friends’ relationship. Brooke seems to want all the screen time. Keiran is abruptly written out of the show-and consequently the group’s friendship-when she doesn’t rate well. As soon as Charlie realizes what’s going on, she figures out the perfect way to give the studio and her home audience a much-needed reality check. Because friends don’t let friends do reality shows.
Ah, yes, another book I’ve been shamed for loving. I love this book, and love everything about it. I have reread this book every year since I was thirteen. This will be the first year that I don’t reread it, and that’s only because I’m not rereading any books this year. It’s funny, and it has a good message in the end with great characters. I won’t let anyone shame me for loving this book, and I recommend it to everyone.
12. Renegade by J.A. Souders
Synopsis: Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law. But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster. Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb… and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
This is my absolute favorite dystopian novel. I love it. I don’t say that lightly. If I had to sacrifice every other dystopian story to save this one, I would. It’s a beautiful story with brilliant characters and brilliant writing. The other books in the trilogy are just as beautifully written, but nothing compares to this one.
13. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Synopsis: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
I can’t make a favorites recommendation post without including my favorite book of all time. I’ve read this book more times than I can count, and I consider my paperback copy one of my prized possessions. I can directly quote this book, and I have on multiple occasions. I never thought it was possible to fall in love a book as much as I have with this one, but I’ve had it since I was eleven, and it’s been such a big part of my life ever since. Everyone should read this book, and I hope that you do.
14. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Trigger Warning: Anorexia, self-harm
Synopsis: Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.
This book is definitely one of the darker ones that I recommend to people, but this is an instant recommendation when people ask me for book recs. This book is beautiful and powerful. I cried a million tears while I was reading this, and I wish I could experience it for the first time again.
And that is it for my birthday recommendations! These are all some of my favorite books ever and I hope that you all found at least one book that you want to read now! I’ll be posting again tomorrow for my May book favorites!
See you then!