Kori's Teen-Tested Titles
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Now that we've talked about my favorite kids' books, let's get into the real fun stuff: TEEN BOOKS! I don't care how many years removed I am from -teen, I could talk about YA fiction all day long. It will probably always be my go-to section in the bookstore. So, here's the tea (and some of my favorite teen titles):
The Rowan Hood books by Nancy Springer- I found this series when I was in 7th grade, and I was instantly hooked. This was one of my first exposures to a retelling or continuation, and the idea was really magical and exciting to me. It was also nice to have a young heroine to look up to, as up until this point most female leads in the books I had weren’t strong in the ways Rowan was—survival, stealth, battle. I feel like this could've been a precursor to retellings and strong/brutal female protagonists.
Edgar Allan Poe Collection- Another love I shared with mom and one of my first forays into poetry. We both favored "Annabelle Leigh."
House of Night by P.C. Cast + Kristen Cast- Ohmygoddess! I loved everything about this series. It’s one of my all-time favorites and another that I shared with mom. Which is really cool, considering it was written by a mother/daughter duo. I started reading it after I saw a girl on my bus with it, and the cover art urged me to ask her about it. The characters felt like REAL teenagers, and they were diverse! LGBT representation! People of color! Insanely wealthy as well as poor characters!
Not to mention their magick stemmed from multiple sources: Cherokee, Celtic, Pagan. It was beautiful to see Zoey navigating the Mean Girl dynamics and the way enemies can become closely-bonded friends. The authors also confronted the negative sides of the Southern Christian Church, which really spoke to me in those crucial years. Also, for those of you who have read this series, can we agree that Grandma Redbird is the real MVP?
Last but not least, I loved the way the authors approached unconventional and toxic relationships. I normally abhor love triangles, but I can make an exception for this series! To this day, I’m still reading this collection.
Nicholas Sparks- Ahh, guilty pleasures! I mean, what teen/YA girl doesn’t swoon over the writings of Nicholas Sparks [and John Greene, who I am sad to admit I am less familiar with]? My favorites were:
The Immortals by Alyson Noel- I was impressed with this series from the get-go. The cover was beautiful, and I really appreciated the guides for flower symbolism and aura colors at the front. It made me feel like I was learning and decoding special messages (the aura guide was also useful later when reading House of Night!). I was terrified it was going to be another cheesy vampire/teen girl romance and was pleasantly surprised when it didn't pan out that way. I also adored Haven and Miles, Ever’s goth BFF and gay friend. Little did I know at the time, this series laid the foundation for a spiritual journey I would take later in life, so I love how in-depth and researched Noel is in chakras, crystals, meditation, magick, energy, astral projection, past lives, akashic records, etc. Not only did it make this series stand out against other YA stories, but it also secured this series a special spot in my heart (for)Evermore.
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber- A goth teen is intrigued when mysterious new neighbors move into her suburban town's "haunted" house. Although the plot in this one reminded me a bit of Twilight, this was a super cute series, as well as an easy read. I got the first three books in one at Books-A-Million and read the entire thing over the weekend at my grandmother’s house.
Kay Hooper’s Bishop Trilogy- Of the books my mom shared with me, I think this mystery series might have been my favorite. I definitely need to go back and read it again!
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia + Margaret Stohl- Another coming-of-age witchy series, but this one was based close to where I lived! I loved Lena and her fire from her first scene. I enjoyed the magic system in this series and the choice she had to make. I even made myself a necklace with a few different charms hanging from it so I could be like her.
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz- This series explores the world of vampires living among the Manhattan elite. It was a lot edgier than some of the other things I was reading at the time, which was refreshing. This is one my mother brought home on a whim and we ended up sharing.
Divergent by Veronica Roth- Last on this list only. My baby sister told me about this series, and I was intrigued from Chapter One. I enjoyed the world Roth built; seeing people grouped together based on their ideals rather than race or status was fascinating to me. While their society was structured in a very different way from our own, it was still not impervious to the many of the issues we face: homelessness, brutality by law enforcement, government corruption, prejudices and feuds between factions, mental illness, PTSD, etc. I especially loved the way she illustrated the beauty of humans as multi-faceted beings, as well as the way people are often picked at—and to some extents harmed or killed—for being different. Tris is a wonderfully flawed protagonist whose ending is poetic; she used her new Dauntless attitude to act in a way that was very Abnegation, the very thing she was running from in the beginning.
Wow, it was so hard not to get in-depth and fangirl everywhere! So let's take it to the comments section: tell me what your favorite books were as a teen, and let's talk!