Did you know I used to work in a bookstore? No? Well, I did — and it was awesome! I was the YA manager/specialist and I often had certain books I’d regularly recommend to customers looking for their next great read. Curious to know which ones I recommended? Take a look:
1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – Laini Taylor writes with a certain maturity and weight that appeals to readers of all ages looking for a stunningly complex and intricate read. The mythology, world building, and overall plot of this book is fantastic. Pure magic!
2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Delirium is a clever, poignant, and all around beautiful book that attacks the emotions and packs powerful punch. It has a great contemporary feel despite the dystopian setting, which makes it a great read for people who like their sci-fi on the mild side. I once convinced a customer to buy it and she came back the next day waving it in the air and gushing about how much she loved it. She then left her own comment on my shelf-talker: “He’s right. This is an incredible book! Read it!”.
3. Sea by Heidi R. Kling – I loved recommending Sea to mom and daughter book clubs. Heidi’s writing is smart and emotional, and the story contains meaningful messages that prompt wonderful discussions. With a sort of consciousness to the story, Sea is a stunning read that I often recommend to those looking for a more “literary” read.
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass – For people who loved fantasy novels a la Game of Thrones, I always turned to Throne of Glass. With high stakes action, a witty heroine, and a fantastical world, what’s not to like? When non-YA readers think of YA fantasy, they often think of Harry Potter, which is great, but YA fantasy is so much more and Throne of Glass helps illustrate just how wonderful it can be.
5. Divergent by Veronica Roth – Divergent was a big seller for me at the store, especially with readers who didn’t want to read the Hunger Games because it was a “children’s book”. And instead of trying to sell them on that series, I often turned to Divergent and heralded its incredible world building and action. But even if they did read the Hunger Games, I still loved recommending this one to them and they often came back demanding to know when Insurgent and Allegiant were coming out.
6. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han – I often had readers looking for books similar to Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti. They wanted a contemporary book and/or series that was romantic, honest, and without fluff. So I would pluck Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty off the shelf and send them off to enjoy.
7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – It’s no secret that I love Shiver and the series as a whole. Maggie’s writing is incredibly poetic and she knows how to reel you in and keep you engaged. I would find opportunities to recommend it whenever I could. Luckily, I often had customers looking for a book with the epic romance feel of Twilight, but with a different writing style.
8. The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan – I haven’t actually read this book or series, but I know enough about it that I often suggested it to boys who were looking for something new and different to read — and preferably something without a lot of romance.
9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – For customers looking for a dark, thriller-ish read, I would turn to Michelle Hodkin’s powerful debut. The slight supernatural element would sometimes deter readers, but they’d still buy it and come back later to tell me how much they loved it. This is definitely the kind of book that keeps you up all night and on the edge of your seat.
10. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – This is such a charming and heartfelt read! It brings on all sorts of feels and is just splendid. Much like The Summer I Turned Pretty, I gave this book to readers looking for a great contemporary read that they’d love as much as their favorite Sarah Dessen or Meg Cabot book.