Today I thought I'd give some recommendations for some books that I really really love that I feel could use a bit more attention. Some of these I've recommended before but wanted to emphasize; others I haven't recommended and am happy to finally recommend now! Hope you enjoy.
Neal Shusterman's Unwind Dystology
This four-book series (the fourth book still on its way) takes place in a dystopian future where, after a big war over abortion, a compromise decreed that teens could be sent to be "unwound", or taken apart as organ donors, if they didn't prove useful enough in society. This is only one piece of the incredible political and social commentary of this series, which I find brilliant, relevant, and engaging. This one really makes you think, and it's full of action too! Multiple points of view, which I hope doesn't throw you off, because seriously, it's so good! You can learn so much from this series.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
This book, about the son of a notorious serial killer fighting to stop a new serial killer in his town, is one of the most brilliant and effective psychological thrillers I have ever read. It's incredible to see Jazz utilize the horrible things his dad taught him for good, and also just to watch him navigate human life and relationships while dealing with all the stuff that's in his head. This book says a lot about how our parents shape us, but also about making our own choices. Also, serial killers. If you can handle some disturbing stuff and enjoy psychology and/or thrillers, absolutely read this one. *Graphic content warning*
Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles.
The Lunar Chronicles is one of the most brilliant, creative, and original fairytale retellings I have ever read: a dystopian sci-fi fairytale where Cinderella is a cyborg, Red Riding Hood loves a genetically altered wolfman, Rapunzel is a great hacker, and Snow White is princess of the moon. Besides being a beautifully woven combination of sci-fi and fairy tale, this four-book series does have some fascinating social commentary and great cultural aspects as well. If you're looking for some real creativity and originality, give this series a go!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is one of those WWII Holocaust-type stories, and it's possibly the most powerful I've ever read. It's told from the perspective of Death, which is quirky, original, and really thought-provoking all at once, and is done in such a way that it really makes you feel. It's probably one of the most well-written books I've ever read, and I will always and forever recommend it. I Am the Messenger, also by Zusak, is a similarly thoughtful and pretty good contemporary read, although the beginning is almost torturously slow. I recommend them both.
Kiera Cass's Selection Trilogy
This one is a really sweet, swoony read, lighter than the others on this list. It does take place in a dystopian future, but little focus is put on that. The trilogy tells the story of a lower-class girl who is put in the running on a televised competition, a la our Bachelor, to win the hand of the Prince. It's not just about romance, but also about choosing to make a difference in the world and standing up for what's right. But yeah, there's lots of romance. It's very fun.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
I have this thing for books that put you in the perspective of someone with a physical or mental issue that you don't have. They're always so thoughtful and educational at once, promoting true empathy, and I devour them. Ones that I've recommended in the past include Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (girl with Asperger's) and Wonder by R.J. Palacio (boy with a severe facial deformity). These are both middle grade novels.
Five Flavors of Dumb is the one YA read that I feel is completely up the alley of all those MG books, and is super high-quality as well--and I'm slightly ashamed to say I haven't recommended it yet! This book follows a deaf teen girl as she becomes the manager for a local rock band, which is a terribly wonderful premise already. But it gets better--it's pulled off so well, with true empathy and feeling and a cast of really vivid characters. The look that Five Flavors of Dumb takes on family as well is very intelligent and worthwhile for a read. You should definitely give this one (as well as the others above) a go.
Thanks for reading, guys, and I hope you give those books a try! When you do, come back and tell me what you think. Come back next time for a post on personality types!
Images via Goodreads.
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