YA Books For People Who Can’t Stick To One Genre

You know me, I just cannot stay with one single genre. I want to read everything and widely and with variety. So, here’s five young adult books I’ve recently read from various genres that you should certainly check out.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

YA Books For People Who Can’t Stick To One GenreCamp by L. C. Rosen
Narrator: Ajjaz Awad, Amanda Thickpenny, Bailey Carr, Carol Monda, Gopal Divan, John Lee, Kevin R. Free, Marisa Calin, Michael Crouch, Patricia Santomasso, Robert Fass, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Shezi Sardar
on May 26, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Romantic Comedy, Sports & Recreation, Camping & Outdoor Activities, Performing Arts, Theater & Musicals, Social Themes, Dating & Sex
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the author of the acclaimed Jack of Hearts (and other parts) comes a sweet and sharp screwball comedy that critiques the culture of toxic masculinity within the queer community.Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It's where he met his best friends. It's where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it's where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim -- who's only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.This year, though, it's going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as 'Del' -- buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he's determined to get Hudson to fall for him.But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself: How much is he willing to change for love? And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn't know who he truly is?

I think my best childhood summer time memories come from going to camp. That’s why I am obsessed with reading young adult books that center around summer camp – because I can really relate and it brings me back to those days. When Camp by Lev A.C. Rosen showed up in my mailbox, I knew I had to make it an immediate priority. After all, June is Pride month, it’s summer, and I LOVE BOOKS ABOUT SLEEPAWAY SUMMER CAMP. Thankfully, this book checks some boxes.

Camp features Randy “Del” Kappelhoff. Every year, Randy goes to Camp Outland which is a summer camp that caters specifically to Queer teens. Randy’s best friends all go to camp – and they all stay together in the musical cabin. This year, Randy has arrived at camp with a glow up. He’s embraced his masc side and decides to go by the name Del. This is all in service of love – he hopes to land Hudson as a boyfriend and keep Hudson for longer than two weeks – which is Hudson’s relationship average. The thing is, Hudson is attracted to masc guys and Randy tends to be a bit more femme.

And so, the central pivot of this book is identity. Will Del be able to integrate Randy into his personality again and not lose Hudson? He’s about to find out. I have to say, I liked how this book is so honest about issues of identity and how sometimes for teens, they’re just trying different identities as they get to know themselves and their personalities. It’s truly a time for exploration and self discovery.

Lev A.C. Rosen’s Camp is the PERFECT book to pick up for Pride month. Literally none of the characters that matter are straight. There’s all kinds of rep in this book. Toxic masculinity is explored. This book celebrates love. Plus, I won’t lie, I just loved the color war bits. I am glad this book is out there for teens – finally a camp book aimed at gay teens. Also, Del is just incredibly compelling as a character. I rooted for him the whole time.


All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky Skinner was just what the doctor ordered. After a stressful couple of days, this was the perfect young adult book to wind down with. After reading this book I just feel refreshed and happy.

All Our Worst Ideas is a story about Amy and Oliver – coworkers at a record store. It is not divided up into chapters, but divided into months and then the logical stop points are the bolded point of view switches between Amy and Oliver. So, okay, Amy is a senior in high school and is aiming to go to Stanford and be valedictorian. Oliver is taking a gap year, doesn’t want to go to college, and loves working at the record store.

Amy is made to get a job as her stepfather Carlos lost his job. She’s also neck and neck for valedictorian. Meanwhile, she has this vision of how her life should be, which involves her current boyfriend Jackson sticking around. Unfortunately, Jackson dumps Amy and it causes her to slip a little. Her coworker Oliver seems a little bit surly and never really says a word to her. That is, until they discover they both feel music so deeply, more than most other people and it is this common bond.

Will Amy be able to let go of the direction she thought her life was supposed to go in? Will Oliver figure out what to do with his life? The two are opposites, particularly when it comes to ambition. As you know, opposites do attract. I loved the chemistry between Amy and Oliver in All Our Worst Ideas. It’s a sweet, quiet, listening sort of relationship where they discover commonalities. They aren’t mean or terrible to each other. I think their growth is what made me inhale this book.

Recommended if you just need a sweet romance with wonderful characters.


The Silence Of Bones by June Hur is SO different from everything out there on the young adult market right now. I mean this in the most complimentary of ways. As I read Hur’s book, I kept thinking wow, I have not read this before. I have no idea what happens next. Friends, The Silence Of Bones was a special book and I am so glad I felt compelled to read it sooner rather than later.

Set in 1800 Joseon which is Korea, The Silence Of Bones is told from the perspective of Seol. She is a sixteen year old girl who is an indentured servant to the police department or what is called a damo. This means that Seol can assist with moving the bodies of female victims, speak with female witnesses, etc. She also cleans and provides tea. Seol begins to form this bond and loyalty to an Inspector Han. Is he worthy of her loyalty however? Further, is Inspector Han hiding something? Time is running out – there has been a murder of a noblewoman which just might be connected to the murders of other Catholics. And so, Seol takes it upon herself to unravel the case.

Hur’s book is a bit heavy and serious. There’s some violence and some beatings. Also, there is no romance at all. However, the mystery is where it is at. Everything comes together in such a spectacular way and it is SO worth the payoff at the end. Check The Silence Of Bones out if you are all tuckered out on romance, want a wholly unique read, and need a book where you come out having learned something new.


The Court Of Miracles by Kester Grant is a young adult fantasy take on Les Miserables (is this a new trend by the way?). Of course, I was IMMEDIATELY intrigued. After all, Les Miserables is one of my favorite classics – even getting through the Waterloo bit. I get excited when there is a fresh voice and twist to the classics.

The Court Of Miracles is about Eponine (Nina) Thernadier. The year is 1828. The story diverges from reality and the classic, as in this story the French Revolution has failed. France is ruled by royalty and the streets are run by nine guilds. Of course, Nina is part of the thieves guild. If you know the original story this should not come as a shock to you. Cosette (Etti) catches the eye of Tiger who runs the Flesh Guild. And so, Nina must reach out to the Death Guild for help. She’s got some big choices to make in this story.

Honestly, I wish I had read a physical copy of The Court Of Miracles instead. It is very grand in scale and I just kept getting confused during the audiobook. I listened because I am trying my damnedest to get through my TBR and this book was available via Libby. I listened varying between 1x speed, 1.25x and 1.5x speed. At times it feels so slow paced. Then there’s some interesting twists that I missed out on the context because I zoned out during the slower parts. The audiobook is narrated by Ajjaz Awad and John Lee. I did like that there were two narrators – one for the interspersed information documents about the guild – John Lee and the other for the actual story part – Ajjaz Awad. I think both narrators did do a fine job. Personally, I am just out of practice listening to speculative fiction audiobooks.

I am not sure yet if I’ll pick up the sequel or not when the time comes. Overall, I want to be hopeful. However, you know the saying – so many books, so little time.


I did not know what to expect with the audiobook of A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson, but WOWZA. This was one of the BEST audiobooks I have listened to this year. As you know, I can be particular about audiobooks and sometimes have trouble paying attention – especially during the pandemic when I don’t commute as much. Jackson’s debut kept my attention the whole way through. And now I know what I’d like from a thriller as well.

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is about Pip (full name Pippa Fitz-Amobi) who is 17 and working on her capstone project for graduation. She has chosen to do research on the murder of Andie Bell, a popular senior who died five years ago, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend Sal Singh. Around this same time, Sal supposedly committed suicide as he allegedly did not want to face the charges and guilt of Andie’s death. Only, Pip isn’t convinced that’s what happened. So, she conducts interviews, accesses primary sources, and starts her own investigation for her project. This will set Pip upon a dangerous path.

Avoid this book if you can’t handle dog death.

Otherwise, the audiobook of A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is spectacularly produced. There’s one main narrator, Bailey Carr, who narrates as Pip and is with us through the whole book, she’s the narrator glue. As we listen to interviews and review documents, those parts are read by a full cast. It adds such a unique dimension to the story. I loved how the full cast was implemented in such a way as to not feel distracting or off. This is exactly what I want from an audiobook and was perfect for capturing my attention. I can’t wait to pick up Holly Jackson’s next book, but only in audiobook form.


three-half-stars
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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.
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.

Comments

  1. Great! I love reading romance novels but it never hurts to try out new genres does it? Great post!
    https://thechronicalist.com

  2. Adding all these are going to my TBR right away. I usually stay off from YA because they are more or less about fantasy. So this list might change my mind.
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  1. […] Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur Also by this author: The Silence of Bones Narrator: Sue Jean Kim Length: 10 Hours 7 Minutes Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 20, […]

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