Brace yourselves, booklovers, it’s time for me to take you through my (admittedly limited) YA Lit collection. The excellent, the mediocre and the just plain cringeworthy.
It’s Pallavi’s YA Lit Round-Up. Here we go.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus, by Rick Riordan.
You’ll notice that I’ve clubbed these two series here, but I’ve written about The Kane Chronicles separately. That’s because these two series and the other one are set in two different universes, that overlap in a few places simply because Rick couldn’t resist. I’ll get to that later. PJO and HoO are right at the top of the list for a reason. I am extremely sentimental about the Percy Jackson Universe. In many ways, it helped me make friends I probably wouldn’t have made of my own volition. I related to Percy and Annabeth’s relation in a way did not anticipate I would. My two closest friends are my closest friends simply because I decided to read a book about Greek gods running rampant in modern-day USA. I will forever be grateful to Percy Jackson for those days. These ten books hold a lot of bittersweet memories.
Sentimentality aside, PJO+HoO is probably some of the best YA Lit ever. Relatable, funny without trying too hard to be, and still somber enough to lose one third of its characters in the last book of the PJO series (I cried), this is a universe that will stay with you for a very long time.
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
Honestly, YA gets a bad rep. The Hunger Games proves that not all literature marketed to teens is just centred on a love triangle. That’s not to say, of course, that this trilogy doesn’t have one. It does. Quite a lot of the story revolves around it. But The Hunger Games is about so much more than just a girl and two guys she can’t choose between. It’s about power, revenge, bureaucracy. It’s about a government gone wrong and children who die for the worst reason possible- for the entertainment of the affluent. THG shows us just how depraved humanity can get.
The Kane Chronicles, by Rick Riordan.
By far one of my favorites, The Kane Chronicles is what Uncle Rick does best- juxtaposition of myths and millennial USA. This time, however, it’s the Egyptian gods in Brooklyn, not Greek gods in Manhattan. In my opinion, this trilogy did a lot more for the characterisation of the gods than PJO did. We get to know the mythical characters a lot more intimately than we did in PJO.
Another point worth mentioning is that all of Rick’s books are diverse. There is no whitewashing, and people of colour are represented accurately. One wishes for more LGBTQA+ representation, though. Just two characters (in HoO only) is a bit of a disappointment.
The Divergent Trilogy, by Veronica Roth.
Here’s a series that had a promising (and if I’m being honest, mindblowing) start, then began sputtering, and finally died a sad death. Divergent was delicious, Insurgent was slightly unpalatable, and Allegiant was such a disaster that I’m glad it never met Gordon Ramsay. Read it at your own discretion. As far as dystopian teen lit goes, this series disappoints as it continues.
The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer.
I once told Jeannie that Twilight is to literature as 2013-era Justin Bieber is to music. Everyone claims to hate it, but they’re not too sure why. This is what Jeannie and I, as psychology and sociology students, should call The Milgram Effect. Look it up!
Anyway, obscure social obedience references aside, Twilight has a terrible reputation that it definitely does not deserve. You know what deserves a terrible reputation? Fifty Shades of Grey.
Sure, Edward can be a bit of a sparkly pain in the neck sometimes, and Bella needs to get a grip, jesus, but it ain’t all that bad. For example, Alice Cullen is actually one of the most delightful characters I’ve ever read. So is Carlisle Cullen, the sparkly dad vampire. Take everything in the book with a grain of salt. It also gave spawned THE BEST PARODY MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN. Take a look- Vampires Suck Movie Trailer.
The Fault In Our Stars, Looking For Alaska (aka The John Green Genre), by John Green
Let me begin by telling you how much I love John Green. I love him a lot. Vlogbrothers and Crash Course are two of my favorite channels. I admire all of his YouTube work. His books aren’t half bad, either. The only two I’ve read are the ones mentioned in the heading. I prefer TFIOS over LfA. Some parts of the novels are tear-jerkers, and the angst gets a little excessive, but it’s tolerable. Some phrases and moments stay with you. Pretty quotable. If this had a donut equivalent, it would be a Double Trouble. Good, but far too heavy in excess.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
I only have two good things to say about this book- accurate representation of Mexican POC and LGBTQA+ community. That’s about it. While this is pretty commendable, there’s a lack of plot, character development, and actual real teenagers. Yeah. Nice cover art though.
All The Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven.
This one’s a real tear-jerker with no actual substance. I’m completely sick of the manic pixie boy/girl trope. And the smoke-soaked badboy and the nerdy girl trope. Please. Offer me some variety, I’ll lap it up.
And that’s Pallavi’s YA Lit Round-Up! I hope you enjoyed it. If you’d like me to do something similar, tell me about it in the comments.