Have you ever read a book that just really rocked you to the core either intellectually, emotionally, or from the pure fun of reading it? Wouldn't you love it if there was some way you could completely wipe the book from your memory and experience it all over again for the first time? There have been many books that I have felt that way about for one reason or another but here is a list of recent YA titles that have left me longing for a re-boot of the same experience.
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Firelight and its sequel, Vanish, are both masterfully written books. I had never before read anything about dragons the way Sophie Jordan has designed them. I don't know if that's because there aren't any other books like hers or because I just haven't come across them. But they are magnificent. I sore through the clouds with Jacinda and hit her low, dry spells alongside her. Her intensity and her fierce protectiveness of her family and her pride are written so realistically that I never question her choices even if I don't like them.
The books are full of imagination and romance with a protagonist who is firmly resolved without the need to waver back and forth between men or become melodramatic for any reason. Simply fantastic reads that I wish I could re-savor for the first time.
Kiss & Lies by Lauren Henderson
I have adored the entire 4 book series based on Lauren Henderson's Scarlett Wakefield but Kiss & Lies was by far my most favorite. Probably because Scarlett ends up on quite a few escapades including a stay in a Scottish castle and discovering the identity of the person who murdered the first boy she ever kissed.
I absolutely love anything to do with Scotland and guys in kilts so the whole back drop for most of the book was a real treat. So was the intense and perfect timing of every clue and scene leading up to the final, fantastical reveal. In this book we learn the most about Dan, the boy Scarlett kissed then had die at her feet moments later, and Plum, her arch-nemesis. There is a fabulous little revenge subplot that I totally enjoyed as well.
All in all, the whole series is one deliciously snarky and mysterious thrill ride. I so wish I could ride it again for the first time.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Okay, so I guess by now you've noticed that this list isn't just 5 books really. It's more like the 5 books that brought sequels into my life that I also adore. The same can be said for The Hunger Games because I not only devoured that first book (all but literally eating it), I waited impatiently for the 2 sequels and enjoyed them just as much (with some minor exceptions in Mockingjay, but who's counting).
The Hunger Games was the first book I had picked up from the YA shelf in years. I had been such an avid reader of all things YA back in the 90s (when all we really had were the Great YA Trinity: LJ Smith, RL Stine, and Christopher Pike). And it was because I was so completely drawn in to the entire world and the characters and the intense conflict that I ultimately decided to begin writing again, which then begat my blog as a means to keep my finger on the pulse of current YA trends so as to be fresh and new with my own writing.
Which is a lot of praise without much explanation, I know, but I have a feeling most of you reading this have read The Hunger Games and already know just how ridiculously addictive and fascinating the entire series is on the whole. And you're probably waiting, like I am, very impatiently for the movie. Because my hope is that with the movie I can experience my first sprint through The Hunger Games all over again.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Ah yes, The Maze Runner. With it's super intense world of strange mechanical creatures, brain-blanked boys all living in the center of a maze, and the one girl who appears and sets the entire clockwork life out of whack. Beginning one of the best adventure dystopias I have ever read.
James Dashner has such an imagination! I was absolutely astounded with some of the plot elements and twists that he threw at Thomas and the others. Things I would probably never have dreamed up in a million years (and I'm that annoying chick in the movies accurately predicting what will happen at the end 99 times out of 100). Which to me makes his writing brilliant to the point of addiction.
Some have said that The Maze Runner is the male version of The Hunger Games, and sure they're both somewhat similar at the very very base idea. But there's no comparison. Don't get me wrong. That's not a sleight to The Hunger Games. I just mean the two series are in leagues of their own impressive girth of colorful imagination and intense action/adventure. Now if only they'd make THESE books into movies I could have hope of re-living my time in the Maze & the Scorch all over again. (PS: Wikipedia says it's being shopped as a possible film project so I'm definitely crossing my fingers)!
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
As you can probably tell from the majority of my list here, I am head over heels for dystopias. And Wither by Lauren DeStefano is one of the most intricately designed, achingly beautiful and horrifically ugly dystopias I've ever read. The extremes and the layers of this world and the characters are so perfectly woven together that the book is a taut and claustrophobic waltz through madness. And if you think what I'm saying makes it sound as though I didn't actually care for the book, no, just the opposite! Every nuance and twist and turn brings the reader either face to face with the loveliness of Rhine's hope and good heart or the horrors she must fight valiantly against. It's an intense study of what makes people fight to live or give up and die.
I cannot wait for the sequel to be released. Fever promises to be a great follow up to Wither and if it's true that writer's learn, develop, and enhance their craft as they progress through their books, Fever will outshine Wither with even more beauty and horror, life and death. Maybe that will help me enjoy the whole experience of Wither for a second time though it'll never be like the first.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie
Drought by Pam Bachorz
Paranormalcy & Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby
StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
The Forest of Hands & Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan
Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer
To sum up, basically what I enjoy most in books is being drawn into the world, the characters, and intensity of some sort. The books with a well-balanced amalgamation of all three of those elements are the ones that I truly would love to re-read for the first time. So where is the scientist research methods for erasing books from our minds so we can read them over again for the first time? I'm impatient over here!
What books would you like to wipe from your memory -- then re-read for the first time?