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Over winter break, I read many different books, most of which were stand alones, so in this list, I decided to give you some good books to read if you want something new to add to your own book list. Genres range from LGBTQ+, science-fiction, historical-fiction, romance, BLM, and fantasy, but all of them go under YA novels. Some in this list are even going to be made into movies, so maybe read the book before the movie or vice versa, but see the original and then compare it to how Hollywood changes it. I hope you enjoy this list, I loved each of these books and just have fun with them, they each have something special.

What If It's Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli

A chance meeting between Ben and Arthur has them both unable to stop thinking about this fateful encounter and searching for one another in New York before Arthur has to go back home.  A very cute story of self-discovery, friendships, and love in unexpected places. An easy read on a weekend to just relax with and enjoy the adventure Ben and Arthur go on.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

One of my favorite authors, Mafi writes about a Muslim girl, Shirin, in 2002 after the tragic events of 9/11 and how she deals with the racism in her high school. This racism doesn’t stop her from trying to achieve her dreams of becoming a breakdancer and designer. However, what Shirin least expected was a boy named Ocean who challenges the rules and walls she has built up to keep everyone out. A moving story that is actually becoming a movie soon, so, if you aren’t patient and want the story now, enjoy this empowering story.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas expands her universe in Garden Heights with Bri and her dream to get out of the Heights and give a better life for her family who is struggling. When one of her songs goes viral, things start to get complicated and Bri is thrown into a new situation she did not intend to wander into. With side issues with friends,  family problems at home,  and school becoming more unsafe, Bri has to learn to accept help from others and use her gift of speech to speak up against those who defy her. There will also be a movie for this book, so add this onto your list!

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

From the author of Legends, Marie Lu writes an inspirational book about Mozart’s older sister, Nannerl Mozart, and the relationship between the two siblings and the imaginary world they created together. Learning about the unspoken sister is a fascinating adventure that keeps you turning the pages and seeing what a woman’s life in the 1700s was like, especially in a famous family. Unexpected turns of danger arise in her life and she has to save her brother, but will they remain as close after everything?

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Penny and Sam, two people who end up becoming each other’s emergency contacts when their lives are confusing and full of issues. In a new environment, Penny is just looking to get away from the stress of her home life. Sam, struggling through film school has one too many problems on his plate. When they meet and start to text each other every minute of the day, they discover something about themselves, and about the relationships they have.

Seven Deadly Shadows by Valynne E. Maetani & Courtney Alameda

In Japan, Kira Fujikawa is just trying to get through high school and enjoy her time working at her family shrine. However, when evil threatens her family and shrine, she must assemble seven death gods to help her ward off the evil spirits who are trying to take everything from her. With the help of Shiro, a kitsune (fox spirit), Kira will learn how to fight for what she loves and will do anything to protect it. This book offers an insight into Japanese culture by weaving in the Japanese language, culture, and customs nicely so that the reader who is new to this culture can follow what is happening and what some things mean. There is even a dictionary in the back to translate the words from Japanese to English.

The Inheritance Games by  Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Arvey, a girl who has nothing, suddenly inherits the Hawthorne mansion and 46.2 billion dollars. In the mansion are the Hawthorne brothers, 4 boys who are suspicious of who she is when she shows up and starts living with them. Little does Avery know, not only is she a major mystery for the boys to solve, but she must solve them as well. Living in a new and flashy world, Avery must put the puzzle pieces together and solve the mysteries around her, before it’s too late.

Given by Nandi Taylor

In a world of magic, dragons, and danger, Yenni is the princess of her tribe, but her life is getting crazier and crazier when her father’s disease takes a turn for the worse and she must travel to the mainlands and attend magic school in order to find a cure to save not only her father but also her people and their future. When she arrives at school, no one knows who she is and she must keep it hidden, but when a powerful dragon named Weysh starts to follow her around, things change. Yenni’s time in school is limited, and everything is against her, she needs to find a cure before Weysh causes her more troubles.

The Bird & the Blade by Megan Bannen

Three life-threatening riddles, one dangerous secret, and two people who have to challenge it all. Jinghua, a slave to the Mongol Empire, finds herself involved in more than she can handle when it comes to helping Prince Khalaf. With his kingdom on the verge of collapse, Khalaf seeks out the only way he knows how to save it: answer the princess’s questions and marry her. However, on their travels to her, Jinghua and Khalaf grow closer than ever and Jinghua has to make a choice between the future or her love for Khalaf, but she has no idea how everything will end.

Each of these books has some form of self-discovery, and reading these has even helped me see things differently as a result. Pick one and have fun with the book you chose, and each author has their own amazing way of writing, so I hope you read these and learn something new from them.

Christy Bogan

Stonehill '23

Hey, I'm Christy and I am an English major at Stonehill College. I am from Fall River, Massachusetts. I love to read science fiction books and write short stories.
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