Today I'm going to list some books that, despite the odds (in my eyes), are actually very good. I know, you're probably tired of all the recommendations now... I'd like to share more about THE CHOSEN FOUR, but that could be spoiler-y. We shall see. For now...
Insurgent, the second book, was unique and incredible, and thus this series made a name for itself in my mind. Divergent follows Tris as she is initiated fully into her society by making a choice of which faction to join. These factions are based off of what value the person considers highest--there's Candor, the honest, Erudite, the intelligent, Amity, the peaceful, Dauntless, the courageous, and Abnegation, the selfless. Tris comes from Abnegation but proves in the testing to be Divergent, a dangerous situation in which she fits more than one of the factions. She chooses to go Dauntless, which is where the story gets really epic. Dauntless is the craziest, most intense, most violent group ever, I swear. I'm amazed at how tough Tris is. Not only that, but there are simulations in this world that show you your inner thoughts--in this case, your fears. Tris is almost immune to these because she's Divergent, and it's awesome to watch. Then there's the romance--Four/Tobias is a great romantic lead because he's not stereotypical, which fits Tris. Anyway, no spoilers, but let's just say there's a sort of coup for power, and things go terribly wrong. As Tris fights through Insurgent, different things are revealed until the shocking final conclusion. And it's great, and original, and I love it.
The Host is a sci-fi romance where a parasitic alien species has taken over Earth. Wanda is one of these "Souls." And the Souls are actually very kind, selfless, generally altruistic people. Wanda is one of the most altruistic of their kind, which she proves throughout the story. The Souls travel between all the planets they've taken over, connecting to hosts in order to experience the full variety of the world. Usually, a Soul will pick a planet to stay on, as their home. Wanda is unique because she's been through a record number of lives without choosing a home.
On Earth, now, she finds herself with a new problem--the host body still speaks to her. The girl's name is Melanie. She was a rebel against the Souls in the beginning. And she wants her body back. (Another note--Melanie reminds me of my BFF here at home.) So they fight a lot, and Wanda struggles because, through Melanie's thoughts, she's fallen for Melanie's human love. Not only that, but she's developed a motherly love for Melanie's younger brother. Finally Wanda breaks down and, with Melanie's help, seeks out the secret place where the free humans live, which results in much abuse towards her, because, of course, the humans hate her kind. But over time things change as she proves her altruism and humanity. She even has in this great romance with another character. This whole book is thoughtful and lovely and heartening, definitely a favorite of mine.
There are three series so far involving the Warriors: the original, which follows Fireheart, a domestic cat who joins the Clans and becomes a great leader while dealing with a terrible betrayal from within; the second generation, following Fireheart's daughters and a few others as they search out a new home in the wake of human environmental destruction; and the third generation, which is my personal favorite because it follows Fireheart's grandchildren, who have special superpowers connected to a huge prophecy. And one of those cats is blind, which is great. I <3 disabled representation.
Images via bethtownshend.blogger.com and Goodreads.