Top Ten Tuesday: YA Books I Recommended While Working at a Bookstore

November 19, 2013
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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.

Are there certain books you like to recommend to friends and family? Let me know which ones are your favorites in the comments!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Fantastic choices. I really like a lot of the books that you’ve featured on your list. I need to read The Summer I Turned Pretty. I’ve heard a lot of good things.

  • Reply
    Sash and Em
    November 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a FANTASTIC rec!

  • Reply
    Daisel Tamayo
    November 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    So many great books there, AHHHHH is like heaven! Great lis.
    My TTT

    Daisel @ Owl Always Be Reading

  • Reply
    Jacque Smith
    November 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Great List!! I included Anna and the French Kiss and Mara Dyer on my top 10. Lola almost made the list, but I included it as an add on to Anna. Divergent and Delirium were awesome as well.

    Here is my TTT:

  • Reply
    Deborah Starling
    November 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    This is a wonderful list and I am always asking for recommendations at book stores! I often seem to be searching for books with a good sense of humor (they seem to be difficult to find!) so I thought I would share a hilarious book with you and your readers 🙂 I recently read a super funny, super witty novel by author A.R. Taylor called, “Sex, Rain, and Cold Fusion” ( It is so refreshing to find a book that makes me laugh out loud and this book has done that successfully throughout! The protagonist of the book is brainy Casanova, David Oster. David is spending his adulthood with a complicated web of girlfriends, sex, and minimal career advancement. When he gets a job offer in Washington allowing him to escape his very sad reality he takes it. Unfortunately, the new job doesn’t bring him any closer to his dream of studying underwater physics and only creates more chaos when there is a murder linked to his employer, colleagues that clearly want him to fail and never-ending miserable weather. The book is extremely well written and addictive. A.R. Taylor has a really sarcastic, intelligent way of writing..A good example of this and one of my favorite lines in the novel:
    “Really, his face was distinguished, he kept telling himself – and why wouldn’t he, since his girlfriends told him so too? But soon they’d be saying something else, possibly with a restraining order at the end of the conversation.”

    Hope you will give it a read! You won’t regret it

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