Having already composed a list of books I really want to read, I believe now is the time to create a list of excellent reads I absolutely love. So, if you are looking for a great novel to read or a series to dive into, here is the place to look!
Now, I absolutely love reading, and there are far more books that I love than I could include here, so here is a list of nine books I adore and highly recommend.
The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
These are the kind of books that are super hard to put down. There's so much going on and so much suspense that you just have to keep reading! James Dashner is a professional at cliff hangers, especially at the end of the chapter. His writing is quick and simple, but captivating and ingenious. These books are filled with groping adventure, killer suspense, unique characters, frustrating plot twists, and pretty much everything you could ever hope for in a post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction. Oh yes, be warned, you will want to scream, you will want to cry, you will want to throw the book across the room. But don't! I will not promise you things will get better, but the books are too good to damage or give up on them.
The Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
Gorgeously written, brilliantly strung together, beautifully created characters, and fantastically whimsical worlds; Cornelia Funke's Inkworld trilogy is a book lover's dream! Inkheart is completely magical as you're introduced to darling Meggie and follow her on her sudden adventure into the magic of bringing books to life, literally. Then, of course, you're sucked into Inkspell in which you only just begin to wind down the zigzag road of plot twists and you get to venture a great and terrible world you only got a taste of in Inkheart. And at last, after all hope is lost in the heart wrenching cliff hanger of Inkspell, you reach the dramatic and unexpected finale of Inkdeath, in which you find that you hate everyone just as much as you love them, and visa versa. Trust me, when you read these books or if you have already read them, you will understand exactly what that all means. But I absolutely adore the bonus of recognizing references and quotes to other well loved books in which Cornelia Funke weaves throughout the story. What else can you expect when the main characters are bookworms?
The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
These incredible books are of the few utopian and dystopian books I actually enjoy. I love how much I get to know different aspects of this futuristic world Lois Lowry has so cleverly crafted, getting to know Jonas in The Giver, Kira in Gathering Blue, Matty in Messenger, and Claire in Son. Once you complete all four books, everything makes so much sense and comes together so perfectly. So, if you have read The Giver and find it odd how different Gathering Blue is from the first book, no worries! It all fits into place. The beautiful way in which Lois Lowry has written these books truly makes you look at the world in a new light and puts so much value on the little things in life such as feeling emotions both good and bad, finding truth and individuality a strength rather than weakness, the power in sacrifice, and the true bond between mother and child. And for those of you out there who believe that The Giver is a play off of The Hunger Games or Divergent, remember this: those two book series were inspired by The Giver. Without this book, you would have no mega dystopian franchises. Besides, I personlly think The Giver quartet is the best utopian/dystopian book series out there. Don't judge me!
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Now is the time for a novel. Tiger Lily is an engrossing retelling of my favorite classic, Peter Pan, told in the perspective of the sassy and curious Tinker Bell. However, even though it is told through this pixie's eyes, it is really about Tiger Lily's side of the story. Oh yes, this is a love story, but a very different love story, and you end up so frustrated and so confused with your emotions that you have no idea what to do with yourself. After all, as much as I love Peter Pan, this book really captures his character in that he is probably not the most romantic of all guys. Of course, Tiger Lily falls for him, as does Tink, but don't get mad at me for spoiling because it's all in the synopsis! But I adore the way Jodi Lynn Anderson spins this tale, creating a Neverland that may just exist, forming characters you can practically see, and taking you on a fantastic ride you never expected. Because even though I'm sure most of us know the basic story of Peter Pan, you will never anticipate how this ends. Be prepared for the tears, grab some tissues, maybe even get out other Peter Pan movies to watch afterwards just for assurance that some versions are happy. Even so, read the book! It's truly incredible.
Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls and Heist Society
I know I have mentioned before how much I adore Ally Carter's writing, but now I can rant about how much I adore her two series, Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. Now, I have been reading Gallagher Girls longer, so I shall talk about that one first. These books are definitely of the best young adult spy books out there! Yes, the titles are a little odd, but I've come to enjoy Ally Carter's play on words in her titles, even if it does take a while to say I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You. And I will promise this, because I've had to reassure my sisters the same thing: it does get better after the first book! But you have to read the first book in order for things to be explained. You have to get introduced to Cammie's world even if it seems a bit awkward with her trying to date Josh. It gets more action packed and intense as the story moves along.
Then there's the thieves series, Heist Society. Don't worry, the titles are much easier to say! In these books, you follow Kat and her ventures with her family of thieves. Filled with humor and incredible plot twists, trust me, you will never know what happens next! And I do think that both of these series go so perfectly together, especially in that Gallagher Girls seems to focus on friendship is the best kind of family, and Heist Society is family is the best kind of friendship. And then of course my squeal of delight upon the crossover book, Double Crossed!
The Tiger's Curse Saga by Colleen Houck
These magnificent books by Colleen Houck are probably some of my absolute top favorite books! I've loved them ever since I first saw the first at a book store, and even more so when I finally got my hands on this literary beauty. The Tiger's Curse saga is overflowing with gorgeous writing, heart pounding adventure, sweet romance, and fantastical destiny. Kelsey is one of the most relatable characters I have ever read, with sass and confusion and rationality and kindness. Besides, she's from my home state, beautiful Oregon, so I can definitely testify the legitimate locations throughout the story featured in Oregon. Besides Oregon, Tiger's Curse takes you to enchanting India, which I find a nice change from other books taking you to Europe and such. Along with Kelsey, you also get to know some other amazing, deep, personal characters to make your heart sing: the Indian princes, Ren and Kishan; the lovable Mister Kadam; the Indian goddess, Durga; and many more amazing and terrible people you will constantly love and hate. I can hardly imagine how Colleen Houck will continue with the series, seeing as how perfect she ended the last book.
Gail Carson Levine
Now for an author. You may recognize Gail Carson Levine's award winning book, Ella Enchanted, which is definitely one of her most popular novels that I absolutely adore! However, this magical book is not the extent of Mrs. Levine's incredible works. Yes, I do very much encourage anyone to read Ella Enchanted if they have yet to, but seeing as it is so popular, I wish to shine a light on Gail Carson Levine's other novels. Fairest is a fantastic book based on the classic Snow White story, though not how you may remember it. Aza has little to no good self image, which is one of the key roles in the story, and I believe Levine does a beautiful job in weaving this modern struggle into such an enchanting book. Another amazing novel is Two Princesses of Bamarre, which portrays the sisters, Addie and Meryl, as extremely close but as different as night and day. In this tale, when a terrible disease takes hold of brave Meryl, Addie is forced to overcome her fearful shyness in order to save her sister. In this tale, Levine plays with the theme of overcoming self uncertainty for the good of all. In a way, I believe that is the primary theme in all of Levine's novels: taking one's inner struggles and doubts and conquering them, whether it's through confidence, image, or courage. There are other books by Gail Carson Levine if you would like to check them out, such as The Wish and Ever, which are also amazing novels.
Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum
Yes, another Peter Pan rewrite. However, like most every Neverland book, Never Never takes a whole new perspective of the classic story we know and love. This amazing novel takes the story from Captain James Hook's point of view and will challenge everything you know about Peter Pan and Neverland! Brianna R Shrum has created a world that fits perfectly into the classic book, so I would definitely recommend reading Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie before reading Never Never. In the beginning of the story, or rather, the first half of the book, it features James as a boy before Neverland, his time as a Lost Boy, and through the last stages of his childhood. It is there that all throughout, he is always referred to as James. It is written more towards middle grade in this first half, much like the way Barrie writes Peter Pan, but as James grows up, so does the writing style. It does breach upper YA in the last half, however, and I would skim over a few uncomfortable scenes, but it does show the difference in how James changes to Hook, to which he is solely called in this last half. Truly, this is a beautifully written, carefully thought out book that I would gladly and tearfully read again. And... I just have to say that the last page is probably my favorite part, it's so perfect and emotional and perfect and... that's all I shall say at this point.
Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
This mind boggling novel is quite possibly one of the most eye opening books I've ever read. Out Of My Mind is about Melody, a brilliantly smart girl with a photographic memory, incredible spirit, and lovable nature. However, the catch is this: Melody has cerebral palsy. She cannot speak, she cannot write, she can hardly control her movements but for her thumbs, and no one knows of the various facts and feelings going on in her head. Because of her inability to express herself verbally, to the world, she is incapable of understanding anything. But she can understand, very much so. In Out Of My Mind, the world is revealed through Melody's eyes. You don't fall in love with her dialogue exactly, for she has none, but you fall in love with her soul. This book gets every possible emotion in you raging! Joy, sadness, frustration, laughter, love, hate, and so on and so forth. There is not one moment in this beautifully written novel in which I wanted to put the book down. Melody will capture your heart in more ways than you can ever imagine, and enlighten you to a world you never thought you needed to understand. This book is one for all ages, so no matter who you are, read this. You will not be disappointed.
So there you have it! A brief list of books I love and highly recommend. I hope this has inspired some reader out there to pick up a few of these magnificent books to enjoy.
So, tell me, have any of these peaked your interest? Have you read any of these paper and ink beauties? What other books do you think I should do reviews on? Leave any comments or questions below and I will get back to you as soon as I am able! I can't wait to see what you have to say.
Thanks for reading!
Emory R. Frie
"Stories help us remember what we never want to forget" - Neverland (The Realms Series, Book Two)
Emory R. Frie is the award-winning author of debut novel, Heart of a Lion, and the Realms Series. Emory is attending Berry College to further pursue her writing craft. Raised in Oregon, she now lives in Georgia with her family and rambunctious Scottie pup.