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Christina Reads YA

"A children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last." --C.S. Lewis

Ten (or More) Books for Your Book Club

Woohoo! I'm participating in The Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday meme for the first time in years, here at the request of my book club (Alexa, Jen, Lili, Kristin). Since this week's topic is about books you'd recommend for a book club... well, we thought it'd be a good idea for us all to make these lists.

I'm going super overboard (24!) the required "ten" books because Jen, I think, if I'm not mistaken, you're not always a huge fan of fantasy and I realized that most of the ones on my list are. Whoooooops. I've checked out Goodreads and it doesn't look like y'all have read these...?

Everyone else, recommend us some books!! :)


  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman. A.) I have never read a Neil Gaiman novel, and I'd love it if we got to try one. It seems like he's held as a classic or upheld as an extremely high standard in various literature genres. B.) This one is being compared to Magonia, an upcoming HarperCollins release, so it has specific applicability to our blogs. C.) A movie adaptation has been made and we could totally discuss the differences in book and movie. D.) It sounds like so much fun! Fairy tale esque and light and flowery and awesome.
  • The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Another book that was made into a movie, and you can't go anywhere in children's literature without people mentioning the His Dark Materials trilogy. None of you seemed to have it on your GR read list... Plus, a short story was recently released for the world, so it'd be interesting to compare that with what we read. 
  • Mistborn (Book 1: The Final Empire) by Brandon Sanderson. You definitely can't go anywhere in fantasy without hearing Brandon Sanderson's name. He has another YA fantasy series out, The Reckoners, but it seems like he might be most famous for this trilogy and finishing Robert Jordan's series. I'd like to see what the hype is about - and that's always a good discussion opener.
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. This won the National Book Award and was a Printz honor finalist. If that doesn't mean someone out there thinks it's discussion-worthy or a children's classic, well what does. 
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This one's about to become a movie. Just like how we're rereading the Duff before seeing the movie, time to read this book before the movie comes out? Plus I feel like the success of this book led to a lot more YA horror, so it'd be interesting to look at the original stem of that genre.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. To be honest, I don't know that much about this book, but the title sure seems appropriate for a NJ/NYC centered book club, no? Also I've said it referred to in a bunch of YA books, and it seems to be one of those older classics a lot of other people have read. Via GR and the selected quotes, the writing looks really beautiful too.


  • Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Small Review recommended me this book: "It's like a fantasy Pride and Prejudice with an imperfect main character who grows throughout the book, a swoony slow burn hate-turned-love romance, and lots and lots of political intrigue. Since you liked Grave Mercy, Graceling, and P&P, I think you'll like this. It's one of my Special Shelf books. Make sure you get either the omnibus edition (reprinted now as just Crown Duel) or both books in the duology (Crown Duel and Court Duel)." Tell me, does that not make you want to read and discuss this book??? Small also recommended me the Queen's Thief series, which I LOVED, so I 100% trust this recommendation.
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley. Like Lips Touch, this book was a National Book Award finalist, and I've heard it also has really beautiful writing. I don't know too much about it, only that reviews seem to say that it's a really unique YA book, and if that claim's not discussable in and of itself...
  • A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn. Kristin Cashore blurbed this. As did Franny Billingsley. It got a starred review from Kirkus and was named one of its best books of 2014. The review says, "A dreamlike, poetic fantasy bildungsroman explores the power of choice and the meaning of home." Book club and discussion worthy? Sure sounds like it.
  • Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen. This was all over the blogosphere in the summer, I think. Strange Chemistry is gone now too - but anyway, I've heard mostly good things about Stolen Songbird. Certainly seemed like a favorite among many bloggers. I don't know how book club or discussion worthy it is, but if y'all are up for it so am I.


  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I know when I mentioned this book the first time, some of you were hesitant because you'd heard this book had different writing or was different from most YA. But that can be really good. We all took a chance on Brown Girl Dreaming despite none of us being huge fans of verse novels, and look! It was the first novel among three that all of us have liked! Plus this is a Morris Debut 2015 Nominee.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Where can you go in YA without hearing about Patrick Ness? I've heard beautiful things about this novel and his other series, and I'd love to give it a try and discussion illustration in YA if y'all are up for that.


URBAN FANTASY/PARANORMAL ROMANCE (i.e. contemporary/realism + fantasy):



  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. This one seems to be "the" historical fiction YA referred to whenever anyone mentions YA historical fic lit. Time to try it for ourselves.
  • Earth Girl by Janet Edwards. I believe Ms. Edwards is from the UK, and so some of the hype of this one didn't quite make it to the U.S., but this sounds like a really interesting and unusual science fiction novel. Has some great reviews among fellow bloggers too.


  • Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. "An aspiring film writer tells about her troubled teen years in the Chicago suburbs when she and her friends tried to escape the pain of their lives through rock music and drugs." We all really liked This Song Will Save Your Life, and the blurb of Ballads of Suburbia sounds like it might appeal to those fans, though the book also sounds grittier, darker.
  • Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar. Some international diversity here, with an Australian author tackling a tough issue and tough issues are always good discussion material.



  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver. Oliver is huge in the YA world, so I'm curious to compare and contrast her previous works with her adult fiction debut.

What's on your list this week? If you've read any of these, recommended discussion topics? Are they good for discussion among a book club? Let me know! And feel free to recommend us some books as well :).