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July 7, 2020 | Lea Wentworth

What to Read: YA Edition

What are your summer reads? Teen volunteer Caroline has volunteered some reviews of YA books available through the Libby App. If you are looking for some YA reads in the theme of “Imagine Your Story” for summer 2020, these Young Adult fantasy and Sci-fi reads might be just the escape you need this summer!

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 3/5

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first novel in a YA fantasy series where Feyre, our main character, unknowingly kills a faerie and has to serve her punishment out in the faerie-occupied realm of Prythian with the High Lord of the Spring Court. This book is loosely based on the story of Beauty and the Beast, with the aspects of the curse and captivity present. I was disappointed by how little I enjoyed this book, considering the popularity surrounding it. It is very slow-paced, with little plot happening in the first half. However, I found the characters and their relationship with each other to be pretty well developed and the last hundred pages to be quite enjoyable and action-packed.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4/5

*Mild Spoilers*

A Court of Mist and Fury is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Feyre has just defeated Amarantha and returned to the Spring Court with Tamlin. However, she is greatly suffering from the remembrance of what she had to do to save Prythian. Tamlin isn’t making the situation better either, locking her in their home to prevent her from being captured or hurt again. I liked this book a lot more than the first. The plot is much more fast-paced and action packed. The new characters introduced in A Court of Mist and Fury were easily lovable. I was apprehensive to continue with the series, but I am really glad I did.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4/5

Shadow and Bone is the first installment of a YA fantasy series where our main character Alina discovers that she is a Sun Summoner: someone with the power to manipulates day control light. With this power, she will be able to destroy the Shadow Fold, a fragment of land enveloped in darkness and plagued with monsters that separates the nation of Ravka from its west coast. I think this book is great for people who are just diving into the fantasy genre. It involves a magic system that is easy to understand and a plot that is easy to follow and get wrapped up in. I enjoyed Bardugo’s writing style; it is very fluid and fast-paced. I found the characters to be fairly bland, especially Alina and the love interest Mal.

The Testing (The Testing Trilogy #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Rating: 4/5

The Testing is the first novel in a YA dystopian series. In this futuristic America, a handful of high school graduates get selected for the Testing, a series of examinations that determined if you are fit enough to go further in your education at the University. Our main character, Cia, is one of the students selected, but she soon learns that this program is much more sinister than she ever imagined. I really enjoyed this book. The concept of the Testing is very unique and well executed. You start to sympathize and worry for the characters as they endure the horrors of these tests. The romance in this book is well-developed and cute to read about. I believe fans of the Hunger Games trilogy will highly enjoy this novel.

Independent Study (The Testing Trilogy #2) by Joelle Charbonneau

Rating: 2.5/5

*Mild Spoilers*

Independent Study is the second installment of The Testing Trilogy, a YA dystopian series. We continue to follow Cia as she makes her way through University after passing the Testing. I was highly disappointed by how little I liked this, considering how much I enjoyed the first book. With dystopian series in general, I find that they all start with pretty unique concepts, but they all boil down to the same overarching plot: trying to overthrow the corrupt government. That was exactly where the plot was going in Independent Study, and I am very tired of reading that in dystopian. This book was more boring compared to the first and the new characters that were introduced were easily forgettable.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5/5

Six of Crows is the first book in a YA fantasy duology. In this book we follow Kaz Brekker and his gang, the Dregs, as they are commissioned to go on a seemingly impossible heist. This book is incredible. Six of Crows is set in the same universe as Bardugo’s other works, the Grisha Trilogy and the King of Scars duology. Compared to the Grisha Trilogy, the writing style of Six of Crows is much more complex and entertaining. The characters in this book are also greatly developed, and I found myself caring for each and every person over the course of reading this. The writing is more slow-paced, but it allows for so much development as the story goes on.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air Trilogy #1) by Holly Black

Rating: 3/5

The Cruel Prince is the first installment of a YA fantasy trilogy. Jude and her sisters are taken to the faerie realtrm after their parents are murdered. Jude and her twin sister Taryn are mortals, while Vivienne, their older sister, is a faerie. This book was okay. I didn’t enjoy the writing style; I constantly found myself rereading sentences in order to understand what the author was trying to convey. The plot was very slow-paced, with constant periods of time with no plot advancement whatsoever. Jude, Cardan, and Vivienne are the only characters that felt developed; many of the other characters were easily forgettable because were learn barely anything about their background or personality. However, the ending was very entertaining and action-packed.