Best of 2016: YA Book Madness’ Top 16 YA Reads

It’s been a crazy year. I’ve done so much that I never thought I would with writing and making blogger/author friends. Through all the chaos I’ve read some amazing books (though not all of them got reviewed). Last year I broke my top picks into categories. This year, I’ve decided to do an overall top 16 and then into broad categories. Tell me if you’ve read any on my list, what you thought, and feel free to recommend some of your top 2016 YA books!!!

BEST OF 2016 YA OVERALL 

BEST of 2016 SCIENCE FICTION

BEST of 2016 CONTEMPORARY

BEST of 2016 HORROR

BEST of 2016 THRILLER

BEST of 2016 PARANORMAL 

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

the memory bookGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

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They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.

review

4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Memory Book is a beautifully heartbreaking and poignant read that celebrates what we neglect most-the value of memory and living each and every moment to its fullest.  

I always love books that teach me something. The idea that children can get a version of dementia (Niemann-Pick) completely blew my mind and absolutely terrified me. Some scenes are incredibly written and packed with powerful emotion. The moments when Sammie realizes her disease is kicking in right before the memory loss are brutally real and hard to read. The pain and sympathy for Sammie is unreal. 

Sammie’s voice is gripping and courageous. You know exactly who she is, what she wants, and how insanely brave she is. She’s determined to overcome when her body is failing her, she refuses to give up despite every setback, and that not only makes her admirable, but heroic.

The diary entries read with such honesty, they’re oh so real and open. All of Sammie’s fears and hopes are laid bare. 

I’ve never felt more happy for a character. As Sammie falls in love, it’s a sudden realization that is so bright and refreshing. No love triangle. That perfect moment when something building floats to the surface and everything is beautiful. 

Secondary characters are complex, and while I would have liked just a hint more of their back stories, there was enough to keep me intrigued and feel their connection to Sammie. I would have also appreciated more family interactions between siblings. 

Those diary entries at the end of the book. Stomp all over my heart, why don’t you? 

Life can be so unfair and some people give into the sadness, hurt, and depression. Sammie is ever hopeful, rarely negative, and finds beauty in simplicity. That in itself, is enough to love this book. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: A Million Miles Away-Lara Avery

18484795Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBookscooltext1889161239 copyPerfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, this breathtaking story of love and loss is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.

When high school senior Kelsey’s identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn’t know about the tragedy is Michelle’s boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can’t bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can’t deny that she’s falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn’t want.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little Brown Books for Young Readers: Poppy

A Million Miles Away is a story of tragic loss, shattered sense of self, and learning to cope. An unconventional love story, A Million Miles Away is an exploration of honor through imitation.

PROS:

  • Kelsey doesn’t know how to deal with the void left behind by the death of her identical twin so when the opportunity comes up to act as though Michelle were still alive, Kelsey leaps at it. The only problem is, she falls hard and gets trapped in the lie. Kelsey misses her sister so much that she effectively becomes her, takes on her personality, her likes and dislikes, and totally infiltrates her love life. As creepy as it is, it’s gut-wrenching and brutally sad. Kelsey feels like when everyone is moving on, her sister is just disappearing, a memory and she can’t live like that. Kelsey honors her sister’s memory in a really crappy, weird way but you can feel every bit of love she had for her sister.
  • Peter is adorable, dorky, and quirky, his personality is fun and deep, he’s the total package. A gorgeous soldier whose romantic lines, though cheesy as sin, will make you laugh and swoon. He’s haunted by what he’s experienced and yet is able to smile, to feel free in love. It’s bittersweet knowing the truth and hearing the hope in Peter’s character for a happily ever after with Michelle. 
  • When Kelsey and Peter initially meet, there’s a spark, even though he was with Michelle, something was brewing beneath the surface. In some ways, their meeting was fate and you get this truly hopeful, uplifting feeling that together they can heal. 

CONS:

  • Secondary characters had little to no function in the story. When they did appear, they were stereotypical and forgettable. Kelsey’s past is kicked to the curb and everything that mattered to her before fades into the background. This void between the past and present makes for emotionless moments when Kelsey and her friends come together. 
  • It was hard to see the true Kelsey beneath the disguise of her sister. There are brief glimpses of the dancing, popular party girl she once was but what mattered to her before is, for the most part, pushed aside. 
  • Kesley is a great actress, knew her sister well, and yet, things still didn’t add up. Throughout the story, Kesley even remarks that she didn’t know a lot about her sister, that they grew apart. It was unbelievable that Kelsey fooled everyone so easily, especially Peter, but was quickly discovered by people who didn’t know both girls. I’m sure that Kelsey and Michelle didn’t kiss the same way or even have the same catch phrases and for someone who was supposed to be head over heels for Michelle not to be able to tell the difference was strange. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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