Cozy Up With These Five YA Books

Now that it's fall, I am all about cozying up with books that have some meat to them in various forms. I am excited to read books that take me far beyond the confines of my living room.

Now that it’s fall, I am all about cozying up with books that have some meat to them in various forms. I am excited to read books that take me far beyond the confines of my living room. The books below run the gamut from the stories of young women dealing with grief in various forms, the sequel to an EXCELLENT fantasy book, and the story of a young woman deal with sexism to a retelling of The Snow Queen. All five books chosen for today’s post have a young woman as main character which absolutely is normally what I want to read for a main character.

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I feel like I find myself somewhat on the fence with regards to some of Katy Upperman’s books. I loved her debut but wasn’t all that into The Impossibility Of Us. And now, I just finished up How The Light Gets In and absolutely enjoyed it. So, 2/3 is a pretty good track record. I find myself now looking forward to whatever is next for Upperman. How The Light Gets In has excellent characterization and at heart, an unflinching look at sisterhood – good, bad, and ugly – through the lens of grief.

Callie is struggling. She’s turned to getting high and all but quit swim team. Her grades suck. And she’s distanced herself from her friends. Naturally, she is in the grieving process. After all, everyone reacts differently to the loss of a loved one. In Callie’s case, the tragic loss of her younger sister Chloe has shaken her world. And so, Callie’s father sends her to her aunt Lucy’s to assist with the renovation of her Victorian house by the sea. Her aunt Lucy hires a 19 year old named Tucker to handle the landscaping. Tucker is full of light and upbeat and exactly what Callie needs. Throughout the summer, the two develop a trust between them – especially as Callie unravels Tucker’s family history. Meanwhile, Callie is also seeing the ghost of her sister Chloe and looking for closure.

This book was just really easy to gel with. Callie doesn’t come off as TOO MUCH. In fact, she’s someone that you come to care for deeply as a reader. Plus, the relationship between her and Tucker is sweet and seems pretty realistic. Also, Tucker’s friends are wonderful to read about. The only real thing that I’d have to say I didn’t love about How The Light Gets In is just the lack of friends for Callie – like in the time before Chloe dies or even the time after. How The Light Gets In is a very quick read about grief, family, and picking yourself back up after a fall.

How The Light Gets In is a very quick read about grief, family, and picking yourself back up after a fall.

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You might remember that time I was like YOU NEED TO READ DANCE OF THIEVES and had all of the excitement over Mary E. Pearson’s companion book to The Remnant Chronicles series. After reading Dance Of Thieves, I felt like the story seemed wrapped up but was well aware that Vow Of Thieves was coming and would actually wrap the series.

7 Reason To Read Vow Of Thieves:

  1. As my favorite president, Jed Bartlett says “What’s Next?” Friends, this book delivers entirely on what’s next. We get to see even more of the ultimate fates of characters from the Remnant Chronicles. We also finally see how all plays out for Kazi and Jase and get a solid conclusion.
  2. In which Kazi lives up to her nickname Ten. Okay, so we know that Kazi has the nickname Ten because she essentially stole a tiger from under someone’s nose in basically broad daylight. What she steals in Vow of Thieves is much, much more precious.
  3. The stakes are so high. I was actually worried for Kazi and Jase. They go through some horrific things and through some serious pain. At one point I genuinely thought at least one would die. This book is actually a nail biter if you are actually a person who bites your nails.
  4. No matter the pace at which you read this, you’re consuming excellence. I had expected to get through this book in like 2 days, but it actually took me 11. Life happens, but no matter. I always found myself looking forward to more time in Pearson’s world.
  5. The struggle is worth it. I’ll keep saying this but the ending is so perfect. All the persistence on behalf of the characters really plays out for the best. I liked that we actually got some payoff instead of being subjected to difficult situations for naught.
  6. Oh, and the beginning few chapters are right out of left field. I had no idea to expect THAT. You’re dropped right in to a situation and are like really, THAT GUY? That freakin’ guy. Okay then, I guess it’s going to be that way.
  7. You just can’t go wrong with Mary E. Pearson. I am a pretty big fantasy consumer. And so, the market is big and it can be hard to pick a book. Straight up though, all the books by Mary E. Pearson deliver. Always. I have yet to read one of her fantasy books and be let down. If you run in taste that is similar to me, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this book as well as all the Remnant Chronicles and Dance Of Thieves.

7 Reason To Read Vow Of Thieves: As my favorite president, Jed Bartlett says "What's Next?" Friends, this book delivers entirely on what's next. We get to see even more of the ultimate fates of characters from the Remnant Chronicles. We also finally see how all plays out for Kazi and Jase and get a solid conclusion.

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I had really been looking forward to The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. After all, I was obsessed with Fly Trap. So, I had walked into this book with EXPECTATIONS. As it turns out though, I probably just did not read this book at the right time for me.

The Lie Tree follows Faith Sunderly whose father is the subject of controversy. You see, he allegedly faked a fossil specimen  – a nephilim. And so, the Sunderly family has fallen from grace in Kent and so they run away to the island of Vane where the Reverend Sunderly has been invited to provide his expertise during an excavation. Unfortunately, he is murdered. Only, everyone thinks he died by suicide except for Faith.

So, Faith uses this tree that her father was hiding — the Lie Tree — and she feeds it these lies that grow to the point that the murderer takes notice of Faith. When you feed the tree lies, it drops a fruit that will reveal a truth to you. For Faith, she just wants the truth about her father’s death.

I had really been looking forward to The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. After all, I was obsessed with Fly Trap. So, I had walked into this book with EXPECTATIONS.

Ultimately, this book is about the roles of women in society and the Victorian era. You could almost say it’s about women in STEM and draw parallels to how women are treated in STEM today (not as well as men). But yeah, it just didn’t hit me quite as hard as The Grace Year when it comes to books about the subjugation of women.

I think if I had read The Lie Tree back when it first came out and not concurrently with an audio on a similar theme, I would have enjoyed it more. For the most part though, the pacing just felt slow and I had such a hard time caring or connecting.

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Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce is I believe the final book of her Fairytale Retellings, however, I could be wrong. Anyways, I found myself looking forward to Cold Spell. The biggest reasons being I expected a quick read and it has been getting cold here. So my expectation was that I could sink into something that would give me cold season feelings and get really into a new fairy tale retelling. Turns out, I was wrong.

Basically this book is a retelling of The Snow Queen, but it is not nearly as breathtaking as say, Breadcrumbs. Instead we get what is a promising opening, set in the 1950s with a young lady and her boyfriend who is stolen by the Snow Queen. Then we launch up to the future and that woman, Dalia is old and a grandmother. Dalia has a grandson, Kai, who is amazing with music. Living in the same apartment building in Atlanta is Ginny. Dalia for some reason I don’t understand doesn’t seem to like Ginny and is trying to keep her away from Kai. Anyways, a storm rolls in, so does the Snow Queen and Kai runs away with the  Snow Queen.

Ginny’s love for Kai is strong though. So, she goes after Kai. Along the way she meets a tracker named Lucas and an heiress named Ella, and she also meets a large group of “Travelers.” And lessons are learned. Adventures are had as we go from Atlanta all the way to Michigan.

On the whole, I was kind of bored while reading. This book took me so long to get through. Normally a book this short with font as big as the library copy I read takes me like two days if not less to read. This one took about a week. I just had such a hard time getting into Cold Spell. Plus there’s certain things in it that I do not think would fly in 2019 (the travelers bear a strong resemblance to the Romani, there’s some mean jokes about fatness etc). Maybe if I could go back in time and read this at a different stage of life I might have liked it more. But yeah, I think that you all might just struggle with this one unless you are a Snow Queen super fan.

I found myself looking forward to Cold Spell. The biggest reasons being I expected a quick read and it has been getting cold here.

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Hostage Three by Nick Lake is the oldest book on my Netgalley queue. So old that I was like meh to reading the eARC and ended up just getting a physical copy of the book out of the library. A whole lot of time and change has happened between when this book first came out and now. And well, I think that the world is different and we just think differently about certain things.

So, I had read In Darkness when it won the Printz Award a while ago and found it interesting. Thus, when I saw Hostage Three coming out, my interest was piqued but apparently not enough to actually pick the book up until 2019 when I decided to challenge myself to get through as many of my Netgalley outstanding books as I could this year. I don’t know how well this book really holds up. My instinct says it doesn’t hold up super great. I mean, this book is told from the perspective of a white girl who is on a yacht which gets captured by Somali pirates, written by a white man. There’s a whole lot of privilege to unpack here. Plus, I don’t really know who is the right person to tell this story.

As for the plot, Hostage Three is told from the perspective of Amy Fields, a girl who is known on the yacht as hostage three – her father and stepmother are hostage one and hostage two. They are given these aliases by the pirates to make them easier to kill, should it come down to that. So, we read about the time before the yacht when Amy is making bad life choices – resulting out of the trauma of her losing her mother. Then we get into the section of her dad randomly deciding to buy a yacht and sail the world and drag Amy along for the trip. Then, of course, the yacht is taken over by Somali pirates and Amy falls for one of them, Faroud. It could be Stockholm syndrome, it could be actual love.

I will say this book doesn’t really have chapters in the traditional sense which drove me batty. It also doesn’t have dialogue marked with quotation marks and traditional dialogue markers. I felt like this was a little bit pretentious for me. It took a long time to get through and never really made me feel fully invested. But, on the upside, we did get a variety of perspectives and got to see why the pirates took the ship and why colonization sucks. I think there is a lot to discuss with Hostage Three but I absolutely do not see myself revisiting this book. There’s an audience – people who are erudite and think deeply about issues.

Now that it's fall, I am all about cozying up with books that have some meat to them in various forms. I am excited to read books that take me far beyond the confines of my living room.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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