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Hello, Ladies ([personal profile] helloladies) wrote in [community profile] ladybusiness2018-12-03 07:05 pm

December Rec Roundtable: Young Adult at Heart

It's December: the end of the year and the time of 1000 recommendation lists. We thought we'd get in on the action with some sweet themed recs before a certain holiday arrives and everyone who reads this blog is unavailable as they've put their phone on airplane mode so they crack open that one they've been waiting to read for months now...

Theme for December 3: Favorite YA Novel


One old favorite and one new one: Sabriel by Garth Nix and In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan. Sabriel is one of the first YA novels I remember reading and it still holds up after all of these years. I love Sabriel as a main character and I love the magic in this world. The whole thing is just great! I read In Other Lands because it was nominated for Lodestar Award last year and I’m so glad that I did. I was hesitating because some of my friends didn’t like the main character—but I loved him! I loved his hatred of violence, and the way he tried to apply sensible rules to fantasy land. This book is snarky and takes on some of the fantasy tropes that most frustrate me. Plus its a cute story about friendship and coming of age.


I read When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore for the Latinx Book Bingo Challenge, and I'm very glad I did. A lovely coming of age romance with a transgender main character, and maybe my favorite magical realism story that I've ever read.


Another rec for Anne-Marie McLemore here! I read and loved Wild Beauty this year. It's a story about magic, families, female support systems, and the potential dangers of falling in love. It's so deliciously, elegantly written I practically melted over every page. And it's stuffed full of lesbian, bisexual, and gay chromatic characters. If When The Moon Was Ours is half as good then I can't wait to read it.


Ooh, this is a tough choice. For me, it's a toss-up between The Scorpio Races and Six of Crows for very different reasons. Six of Crows has heists, which I am always here for, especially in a fantasy setting, and especially when the solutions to everything going as dramatically wrong as expected are honestly fun? Plus I love the relationships that build between the group, and between it and the sequel there is some quality slow-burn. The Scorpio Races, on the other hand, is a story about family and choices and traditions. For a story where at least five people are killed by murder horses that rise up from the sea, it's surprisingly gentle, and it has a very good exploration of family members making choices that you can't understand, and of trying to exist as a woman in male-dominated spaces. Plus the romance kills me every time, because I desperately want Sean and Puck to be happy!


KJ and Jodie are correct, and you should all read everything by Anna-Marie McLemore. But just to shake things up, I’m going to recommend Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim. It’s about three Pakistani-American kids who take a road trip to avoid the wrath of one of their sets of parents. Karim tackles complex issues in a way that avoids stereotyping almost completely; and despite the many sad things these characters are dealing with, the book still feels relatively light and exceptionally lovable.


Two—one published last year that I read this year and one published this year that I read this year—because who needs RULES. The first is In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (it's not really cheating since [personal profile] forestofglory already mentioned it!). I loved all the characters, the examination of power and gender, how complicated love (and there's a lot of different kinds in the book) can be for people who aren't shown love. Elliot is a complete ass and I loved him. The second is a sequel to Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, Defy the Worlds. It's very hard to talk about the second one without extreme spoilers of the first, but the second explores how your priorities can change as you get older, the fallibility of trusted authority, learning to let go of the past, and finding the courage to carve your own path. There is also a human/AI romance which I like a lot because I like the characters themselves, and an Evil Rich People storyline that was *chef's kiss*.