There was a discussion post over on Pages Unbound a couple weeks ago about the popularity of YA books that made me consider my relationship with these books and how it has changed over the years.
These days, I mostly read adult novels, picture books, and middle grade novels. There was a time when I read a lot of YA, and I believe that was back when I discovered booktube. It’s easy to get excited about books booktubers jump for joy about, and most of them were YA. Plus, at that time, the majority of bloggers I followed read YA books.
But slowly I started losing interest in such books. Not many of the stories captivated me, and I kept feeling tricked into reading romance stories although the books are marketed as fantasy. I mostly read fantasy and whenever I picked up a YA book, it would be a fantasy novel. But often what I ended up reading were romance stories set in a fantasy world, so the story focuses more on the romance than on the fantasy elements, which didn’t work for me especially if there’s a love triangle (I hate those in YA).
I decided to take a break from YA after reading S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong, which was a decent read, but the romance overpowered everything else and annoyed me. That was back in 2017. Since then, I’ve dipped in and out of the YA category and have been lucky to sometimes find gems, like the Diviners books by Libba Bray and Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.
However, I’m still wary about reading a YA novel. (I’ve yet to read Children of Blood and Bone despite the many praises I’ve seen for it.) These days, I add a YA novel to my TBR if fantasy reviewers I trust highly recommend them or mention something about the story that makes me think I can read it all and not DNF it. I know a lot of peeps enjoy reading this category of books, but for this reader, it’s more of a love-hate relationship.
Anyway, we’re here to tour my second bookcase…
We’re on the second row of the third shelf from the bottom, which is where my YA books begin. Let’s take a look:
SITTING ON TOP
Storybound by Marissa Burt
I read the Spiderwick Chronicles after watching the movie and really enjoyed them. They are such short, quick reads that I waited until I had all the books before continuing past the first book. I don’t remember why I have physical copies of all the books except the last one, Wrath of Mulgarath, which I own as an e-book.
The Field Guide by Holly Black, illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★★☆
The Seeing Stone by Holly Black, illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★☆☆
Lucinda’s Secret by Holly Black, illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi ★★☆☆☆
The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black, illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi ★★★☆☆
Below are books four and two of T.A. Barron’s Merlin series, a middle grade fantasy series about the great wizard’s boyhood. I enjoyed reading these books when I was young, but I reread the first book, The Lost Years, last year and did not like it at all. I could barely complete the book; it was so boring. I plan to continue my reread with the books below to see if I have a similar experience with them. If so, I’ll unhaul them.
The Mirror of Merlin by T.A. Barron ★★★☆☆
The Seven Songs of Merlin by T.A. Barron ★★★☆☆
STACKED: LEFT TO RIGHT
Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (Barnes & Noble Collectible edition) by Brothers Grimm
I think people collect these leather-bound editions for aesthetic reasons — they look great on the bookshelf, but I’m not feeling this anymore. I haven’t read the book, and I forgot how I acquired it. I no longer feel the need to explore it. If I later want a collection of the Brothers Grimm stories, I hope to find one that has illustrations. I’ll unhaul this.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne ★★★☆☆ ½
Unlike many people, I didn’t hate this book. I think that’s because I didn’t read it while swept up in the hype surrounding it and didn’t exactly think of it as a continuation of the series. Of course, there are some things about it that don’t make sense in regards to the series, but I didn’t mind it too much. I don’t consider this part of the main story at all. I just like that we get a bit of Draco’s thoughts about his years at Hogwarts.
The Harry Potter books here are the first ones I’ve ever owned. I didn’t own a copy when I first began reading them in middle school. I didn’t get my own copy until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out. I was in Jamaica at the time on holiday and begged my dad to buy me a copy, which he brought down there for me. It weighed down his suitcase because it was heavy and then he was annoyed that I finished it so fast (in one day) after all he went through to bring it to me. Whenever I crack these ones open, memories of the first time I read the stories flood back to me.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (illus.)
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling (illus.)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (illus.)
I’ve only read these three supplemental Harry Potter books once. I don’t remember what I rated them.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling ★★★★☆
I got these two U.K. versions from a friend, who got them as a kid and was not interested in reading them. I’m not a fan of these covers, I just wanted another edition of the books to see what’s different.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
I read this copy so many times, it’s falling apart.
STACKED: LEFT TO RIGHT (CONTINUED)
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
The Immortals quartet is the second set of books in Pierce’s Tortall series, a YA fantasy series that I love. The Immortals books focus on a girl named Daine, who can communicate with animals and some magical beasts. I believe I discovered the Immortals books before getting hooked on and loving the Song of the Lioness books. I just remember rereading Emperor Mage over and over again. (I list the books as they appear in the photo, so they aren’t in order below.)
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce ★★★☆☆
Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce ★★★☆☆
The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce ★★☆☆☆ ½
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce ★★★★☆ ½
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin ★★★★★
I think I was in middle school the first time I read this, but the image of Ged sailing to the end of the world (something like that) stuck with me until I rediscovered and reread the book. If I find an audiobook of it, I’ll reread it again.
Shadows by Robin McKinley
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
McKinley’s Damar duology is a favorite of mine. I read them years ago and still loved them when I reread them for this blog. They are both about young women who do not fit in their societies and who become warriors to save their kingdoms. Both are great reads. I highly recommend them.
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley ★★★★☆
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley ★★★★★
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton, illus. by Jan McCafferty ★★☆☆☆ ½
This is actually middle grade, I think. It’s a childhood favorite (one of the books that got me hooked on fantasy) that I reread but didn’t like as much as I thought I would. It’s about three siblings who move to the country with their parents and find a magic tree in the woods behind their house.
Total books in this row(s) = 33
How many I completed = 26
How many I will unhaul = 1
Total shelves so far = 9
Total books so far = 728
How many completed = 325
How many I will unhaul = 24