Book Recs: YA Standalones

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I like to read a lot of standalones since I don’t have a lot of patience for series, I’m better at starting a series than finishing it. So standalones are better for me and they might be for you too! So I just threw together a little list of some of my favorite YA standalones, hopefully you can find some new and interesting books to add to your TBR!

Keep in mind these aren’t ALL of my favorites and some of these are short story anthologies, but they still count in my book! I will link up each title to their Goodreads pages and also link up any reviews I have too.

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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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You can read my full review here.

This is an absolutely fantastic Peter Pan retelling about the relationship between Tiger Lily and Peter. Although I will warn you up ahead of time, you will cry so many tears! It’s a dark, sad story with many flawed and broken characters but it still manages to be beautiful (thanks to the gorgeous writing!).


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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You can read my full review here.

I don’t think I need to hype this book up anymore but I will 100% support all of the hype it has already recieved since it’s worth every bit of it! This is an absolutely amazing book telling the story of a girl named Starr who witnesses the shooting of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer, Khalil was also unarmed. We then watch as Starr struggles between voicing what really happened and endangering her life, or not saying anything at all.

It’s not only a diverse read but also a very important and powerful one as well. I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already!


The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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You can read my full review here.

This is the story of a girl who lived 12 years in a cult before it finally burned down and the Prophet was killed. Now she’s part of the questioning on what REALLY happened that night.

Another very quietly powerful book on learning to believe things for ourselves and not what others would have us believe. It’s also very interesting if you have some curiousity about cults and their inner workings.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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You can read my full review here.

This is a retelling and origin story for the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland”, is that not enough to make you wanna read it? We get to see some interesting twists on all of our favorite Wonderland characters as well as some crazy plot twists. It’s kind of slow to start but the ending is 100% worth it!


Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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You can read my full review here.

I don’t think I can ever mention this book enough! It’s a unique fantasy book that also weaves together little retellings of Mulan, Jane Austen’s Emma, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. It has great world building and fantastic characters as well, plus the plot itself is very original and has all of the retellings interwoven throughout!


With Malice by Eileen Cook

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You can read my full review here.

A very fast-paced YA thriller that’s about a girl who wakes up in the hospital with anmesia and finds out her best friend is dead and she’s the prime suspect! I don’t want to say too much more because there are TONS of crazy twists that will ensure you zip right through this book.


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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You can read my full review here.

Another psychological thriller that actually gets pretty dang dark and twisted for a YA book. I mean it this book will mess with your mind and you definitely won’t be able to guess what will happen next. The main character, Tessa, goes back to her childhood home to try and dig up the truth of her friend’s cousin’s death that occured when they were little girls. The thing is they lied about what they saw that night and now Tessa must find out what really happened.


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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You can read my full review here.

If you haven’t read this book just….go read it now! It’s the most beautiful, touching story of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer and a monster comes and takes him on an adventure that will change the way he has been viewing things.

Also just a heads up…you will most definitely cry!


Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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You can read my full review here.

This is actually a small collection of three stories all by Laini Taylor, so of course it’s gorgeously written and all have unique twists and very original mythology/world building. It’s truly amazing how much awesomeness she squeezed into such short stories!

The stories themselves are all Fantasy and revolve around, you guessed it, kisses but the kisses all have consequences that can be…deadly.


Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

You can read my full review here.

This is a YA horror anthology that is actually full of VERY good stories with the exception of one or two duds. Although this isn’t for the faint hearted some of the stories get really scary, gory, and disturbing! But if you’re a big YA horror fan like me you’ll definitely love this anthology.

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Did any of these books interest you? Which ones and why?

Do you already have some of these on your TBR?

Have you read any of these before?

What are some of your recommendations for standalone YA books?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

review

I’m not quite sure how to define this book because while it is technically a contemporary it never really FEELS like your typical contemporary YA. “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” is definitely 100% it’s own book, I’ve never read anything else remotely like it. Overall I’m very impressed with it!

PLOT

I’ve always found the cult mentality and just cults in general to be very interesting, I’m morbid like that, and I feel like this book portrays both of these things extremely well too. It’s hard to imagine people blindly following someone or something that just seems so ridiculous and unbelievable to the rest of us, which is shown in this book. I really enjoyed just how developed Oakes made her “Kevinian cult”, with the Prophet’s prophecies, his own version of a bible full of made up stories, polygamy, and even the brutality of their punishments.

The violence can get very graphic at times which not only made it more realistic, I think, but also really helped to drive the point home that these things actually happen in the world. I mean a major part of the story revolves around the fact that the main character gets her hands cut off. So if you’re the more squeamish type this book may not be for you.

However, as interesting as the cult aspects of the book are it isn’t the sole focus instead it focuses more on Minnow, her story, and how she’s learning to adapt with a way of life that goes against everything she’s been taught to believe. This is the part of the book that makes it so powerful and what makes it such an amazing read.

The ending was really the only part I had any complaint about as far as the plot went, it felt kind of anti-climatic although it was still very solid. I felt like the revealing of the Prophet’s death should have been a little more dramatic and what happens to Minnow after her story is complete a little more defined but I’m happy with the choices she made.

The pacing is a little slower and there definitely is not a ton of action but the story Minnow tells about her time with the cult is interesting enough to keep you turning pages, trust me!

What I easily loved the most about this book was Minnow’s narrative, it was compelling with some wonderful snippets of humor as well. I also loved her character in general but I’ll get to that in a bit….

Also the writing! It was just plain amazing I can’t believe this is a debut novel, Stephanie Oakes writes like a pro! I will definitely be reading more books by her when they come out.

characters

As I said a little earlier Minnow is by far the best part about this book, her narrative was amazing and she’s a very strong character especially after all she’s been through. She was complex and realistically developed throughout the story, going from believing blindly to questioning everything she’s been taught.

The side characters are also really well developed, mostly everyone in the juvenile detention center such as the other girls, guards, and teachers. I loved how the “don’t judge a book by its cover” sentiment really comes into play here as a lot of the girls have a lot more to them than initial appearances.

romance

There is a little bit of romance but nothing major, Minnow develops a relationship with an African-American boy, Jude, who also lives out in the woods. Their romance is really very sweet but at the end I was still very happy with Minnow’s decision regarding Jude.

in conclusion

Overall “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly”  is a powerful story with a message that’s easy to grasp, thinking and doing for yourself and no one else. I think that’s something we can all get behind.

What I Liked:

  • Minnow and her narrative
  • Side characters!
  • The realistic (and brutal) portrayal of cults and cult mentality
  • The overall message of the book (thinking and doing for yourself and no one else)
  • The writing
  • The side romance was sweet and didn’t take precedence over the story

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The pacing was slow at times
  • The ending felt a little anti-climatic
  • The Prophet! (even though that was the whole point….but still!)

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book if you’re looking for a unique YA read that also has a really strong message! Overall it’s just a wonderful, dark, realistic book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet

The Sassy