Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Recommendations from Tess

In the YA genre especially, readers are bombarded with book media overload. This time and genre lends itself to large publicity campaigns filled with YA book hype. However, there are a lot of books that fall by the hay-side that deserve a lot more readers than they receive. Today, I'll tell you about the books that I think are hidden gems.

1. Willow by Julia Hoban
"Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen-year-old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy, one sensitive, soulful boy discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the safe world Willow has created for herself upside down. Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her."

This amazingly poignant tale has stuck with me since the day I flipped the last page. With such weighty topics as loss, guilt, self-harm, and grief, I found myself close to tears many a time. It's emotional toll should not make you shy away, but encourage you to turn the page.

Fans of: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

2. Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn

"Intelligent, popular, handsome, and wealthy, sixteen-year-old Nick Andreas is pretty much perfect — on the outside, at least. What no one knows — not even his best friend — is the terror that Nick faces every time he is alone with his father. Then he and Caitlin fall in love, and Nick thinks his problems are over. Caitlin is the one person who he can confide in. But when things start to spiral out of control, Nick must face the fact that he's gotten more from his father than green eyes and money."

If you read my Opinion, Rant, Same Thing on book covers, you already know how much I love this novel. What particularly struck me was seeing the surprising parallels between Nick's relationship with his father and how he treated Caitlin. It's one thing to know the villain had a troubled childhood. It's a completely different thing to see the story through his eyes. 

Fans of: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

3. The Storyteller by Anotina Michaelis

"Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?"

I've already done a full book review on this one, so I won't say too much. However, I will tell you that this story is much more than its cookie cutter beginning makes it seem. It's a romance I look forward to rereading. 

Fans of: Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

What are your hidden gem books? Leave some recommendations below!

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