Top 5 Books from 2015
So we thought that one of the best ways for you guys to get to know us is to do a Top 5 list of our favorite books we read in 2015. Not necessarily new books, or hyped books, or anything other than our favorite YA and Middle Grade books we read during the year. Each cover image leads to the Goodreads page for that book so you can add it to your TBR list!
Do you agree with our list? Let us know your favorites from last year down below!
So without further adieu, here are our favorites!
So mine aren’t in any particular order. Actually that’s not true, they’re in the order that I read them last year. I love all these books, and they’re eachgoing to have a place on my shelf for a long, long time!
(I’m writing this while watching Vampire Diaries so my focus is kind of split. But I’m okay with that!)
So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. I knew I liked Kami Garcia from Beautiful Creatures, but this was something else. Demon hunting and hot twins and the ghosts! Oh my goodness, the ghosts in this book gave me actual creeps and freaked me out, which does not happen to me much in books. Usually it takes a movie theater or a darkened house and a scary flick on Netflix, but this one did the trick. The second was just as amazing as the first but APPARENTLY the third is on wait while she works on a NEW PROJECT??? Sooooo not okay with that. This series is great and I need an ending! Like now-ish would be good!!
So I’m going to include the whole series in this one. Well, really just the first three books, because those are the only ones I read last year. Still waiting to do the last one on audiobook because the narrator is fantastic!
If you’ve never heard of this series I highly suggest you watch the book trailer here. What’s not to love with this series? Steampunk, a finishing school in a dirigible, vampires, a werewolf in a top hat, petticoats, forbidden romance, fantastic writing, humor, adventure, intrigue–you name it, this book has it. And the series just gets better as you go. Sophronia is the kind of heroine you want to be like, should you ever be required to fight for king and country while wearing 15 extra pounds of dress. You should definitely pick this series up!
Okay, so I’m going to include the entire series for this one, too. I binged through this one as fast as I could (considering I did the first 2 on audiobook). Yes, it’s post-apocalyptic (which I might be addicted to), but it’s set in an interesting world with new problems (and a few familiar ones).
Kira’s convinced that the way to stop the virus killing humanity isn’t just to force teenage girls into having babies and hoping they survive. She believes that capturing one of the dangerous Partials that released the virus in the first place is the answer. Kira is fierce, daring, and intelligent. She works with science and determination to fight the foes threatening her plans. So refreshing. And her boyfriend Marcus is absolutely hilarious! Loved him!
Picked this one up on the recommendation of a friend. SO freaking good. The kind of good that I had to pace my listening of the audiobook because the husband got hooked. The kind of good where you put off finishing the series so it can last longer.
Sophie and Agatha are familiar but unique characters that bring a whole new look into what makes a person good or bad. Sophie is what you imagine when you picture a spoiled princess and Agatha is like a Tim Burton character come to life!
“- You gave me a dead frog for my birthday!”
“– To remind you we all die and end up rotting underground eaten by maggots so we should enjoy our birthdays while we have them. I found it thoughtful.”
While a few plot twists were a little predictable, there is no way you could predict all the incredible twists and turns this story takes! Not to mention the fantastic humor and the fact that while there is a boy involved, the story at its core is far more about the two girls than it could ever be about him.
So I’m cheating a bit on this one because I finished the last 50 pages in 2016, but I don’t care. Because ZOMBIES!!!
I love me some good zombie stories, though I’ve never been much for gore. This story not only skips the gore but brings something new to the genre. Have you ever thought about how many jobs would have to center around the living dead in a post-zombie-apocalypse world? Have you ever considered that the people that survived might not like it if you hunted down and killed their undead loved ones? Do you know what happens at the bottling plant? It’s gross, but you’ve GOT to read this and find out. Can’t wait to keep going in the series!
My countdown from 5 to 1!
This is more than one book. In fact, it’s three. Hence the word “trilogy.” Ahem. Anyway, this middle grade series is wonderfully imaginative, and it is interspersed with the author’s fantastic illustrations. Eva Nine has grown up underground being mothered by a robot. Something happens, and she must go up to the surface. Once there, things aren’t what she expected, and she goes on an epic journey to find her place in this new world. It’s full of wild adventure, danger, new and colorful characters (and species), and a bid to save the world, of course.
This is neither fiction, nor written for young people. However, a passion of mine is sustainable food production. Not too long ago I came across an outstanding TED talk by chef Dan Barber, who owns a farm-to-table restaurant in New York, so when I saw that he had a book out about his experiences, I knew I had to read it. The Third Plate is an entertaining study of how certain foods came to be what they are today. This is in between stories of his life and struggles bringing sustainable foods to the table at his restaurant along with portraits of farmers all over the world working hard to make flavorful, ecologically beneficial food. It is at times frustrating, hilarious, and heartwarming. If you’re a foodie, consider this book as your next read. You won’t be disappointed.
A plane full of beauty pageant contestants crash lands on a deserted (or so they think) island, and hilarity ensues. I have never laughed so much and so hard at a young adult novel before! Not only is it hilarious and completely ridiculous (in a good way), it is also full of social commentary without being preachy or heavy-handed. If you have a chance to listen to it on audio, do it! The author reads it absolutely perfectly, accents and all. You won’t be disappointed.
Holy plot twist, Batman! When I got to the end of this book I gasped and said, “No way! It was there the whole time, and I never saw it coming!” All twelve-year-old Callum Hunt knows is that his father doesn’t want him at wizard school, but he nevertheless finds himself whisked away to study magic. He soon finds out that the magical world is a fascinating place, but it’s fraught with danger, and he doesn’t know who to trust. But don’t assume this is a Harry Potter knock-off. Oh no, this story is unique and brilliant, and it keeps you guessing until the sudden, but inevitable plot twist.
Yes, I know, another book by Libba Bray. I only discovered her in 2015, so I’ve been reading a lot of her books. She is a masterful writer, and The Diviners is no exception. I also listened to this on audio, read by the fabulous January LaVoy. In the roaring twenties Evangeline (Evie) O’Neill is sent to New York City to live with her bachelor uncle because of her scandalous small-town behavior. But once there, she realizes that something spooky is afoot, and she and her uncle are just the people to figure it all out. This book is chock full of 1920s magic. Flappers, prohibition, jazz, speakeasies, and an occult serial killer. What more could you want? This book has a serious creepy factor, and it drew me in and kept me there until the very end. I can’t wait to read the next one. In fact, I’m going to go do that right now. You can show yourself out, yes?
- The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson
An entire book about the fabulousness that is Magnus Bane? Let me count the ways I love thee. Actually, let me not. I’m horrible at counting. This story is full of my favorite trope – how immortals manage immortality and what they do with all that time. It’s really just a collection of short stories featuring Magnus and other side characters in the world outside of the Shadowhunter Institute. Characters that were in the main books & not fleshed out (I’m looking at you, Rafael Santiago… I seriously love that kid. And now I love you even more.) with stories that surprisingly intersect with the enigmatic Magnus Bane. Not to mention the cool walk through history. And it was glorious.
Ok, I’ve been waiting for this book for like…. ever. Ok, maybe only 2 years. But that’s a long time to wait. Oh, the horrors of reading new books as they come out instead of waiting for the series to be done… We all experienced it during Harry Potter. Anyhow, Winter! It’s nice to see an epic story like this wrap up so well. This is the last in a series of 4 (5 if you count the side story featuring the rise of Queen Levana, Which I don’t, but only because I didn’t read it.) Characters that I liked showed up more often in this book, as well as giving us another Princess to get to know. This book does a good job of not wrapping things up too easily. Anyone else feel like that happens sometimes? Last books in a series are nice because you know (hope) everything will work itself out. If you love fractured/retold fairytales, this books for you.
I break rules. This isn’t necessarily a YA book – however – a lot of young people could use a laugh about dark subjects sometimes (no? am I the only one? 🙂 You guys are liars if you disagree) It’s a biography of sorts? I’m not sure what to describe it as. Funny short stories? It’s no secret that the Lawson suffers from actual mental illnesses, this is a story about how she works through it or sometimes doesn’t but celebrates that it’s something that makes her unique and different. It’s spectacularly laugh out loud funny, slightly irreverent humor. And reads a lot like Lawson’s blog posts. Fair warning – she curses. Like a lot. And there’s frank discussion of mental illnesses, so keep that in mind. For me, it was a story that said celebrate your weirdness and you will find others like you.
I am a huge fan of Rae’s other book series (Fire and Thorns trilogy) and was so excited to see another book of Carson’s on Amazon as a preorder that I immediately put down money for it. Without reading what it was about. I mean, the cover was pretty, and it was an author I knew and I’m definitely a ‘shoot now and ask questions later’ person. When Amazon delivered a surprise box roughly 6 months later, I put down the other book I’d ordered and started this immediately. Practically devoured it. Strong female lead? Check. Long journey? Check. Treacherous wilderness? double check. I won’t lie, I’m an 80s baby. I grew up with the Oregon Trail video game and the Mormon Pioneer Trek, so I’m fascinated by this time period. I dread this cliffhanger likely in the next book. But I’m still looking forward to picking it up as soon as it’s out and read it and fret over the next book. Hope no one dies of dysentery.
This is another book not necessarily strictly YA. Maybe the older YA crowd? The crowd that doesn’t want to give up the YA books? Whatever, it straddles the line. This book pulls you in. No, really. Like you are in parts of this book. Parts are written as if you are experiencing this mysterious circus for the first time. Parts of the book are written from a future within the narrative and then come back to the past to show you how it all started. It’s a little weird to get used to and took me forever to figure out (so, you’re welcome! You’re starting way more prepared than I was). This book has some major twists and turns and so may not appeal to the younger readers. The main characters are a little older. Parents should also note that there is a heavy magic/illusionist slant. But as the child of an amateur magician, this book was fascinating. Oh, right. warnings… unethical business practices from fathers/guardians who should know better? Great characters. Great storytelling. Fantastic world-building. I only wish it were real.