YA Books that Used to be My Favorites

As you may or may not know, I discovered the entire book community through booktube in around 2012 and 2013. At that time, these were the popular YA books, and being new to the book world and influenced by booktuber recommendations, I read all of these books and loved them. Do I still like them to this day? There are some I still find the merit in, others I do not. Ultimately, I wouldn’t consider any of these my favorite books now.

Cover= goodreads page (opens in new tab)

The darkest minds

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I read and loved the first two books in this trilogy, but I somehow forgot about the third book and never read it. I haven’t even read the spin-off Zu book. The first book is a road trip across an America ravaged by a plague outbreak that led to some teenagers obtaining superpowers. The main character, Ruby can look inside people’s minds and it’s so cool to read about her doing it! Ruby is an okay MC, but Liam Stewart >>>> any SJM love interest. Special mentions also to Jude, Zu, Chubs and Vida.

The winner’s trilogy 

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The first book, The Winner’s Curse, was a solid four stars. I liked that Kestrel was a main character who used strategic prowess as her primary weapon. The ending was a cliffhanger, so I immediately read the second book, and it broke me! I thought Kestrel was smart in the first book, but her intelligence is taken to new heights in The Winner’s Crime. Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but The Winner’s Crime had a case of the miscommunication trope done right. I know some people disagree and hate this book because of it, but I thought the reasons the couple wasn’t talking were valid, and the way the writer tortured us with their miscommunication was genius. We don’t talk about the third book in this trilogy, though. If you want to know why, you can read my Grey’s Anatomy book tag, where I briefly talk about the finale (shameless plug).

Throne of glass

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Throne of Glass was an instant five stars—I loved Celaena, and most importantly, I loved the romance. But here’s the thing—I was team Dorian, which was actually an unpopular opinion at that time. The Celorian scenes were the only things I appreciated the series for, so when I read the second book, Crown of Midnight, and there were more Chaol than Dorian scenes, younger me was furious. The same thing happened with Heir of Fire and I never continued the series ever again.

The fifth wave 

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To quote Whitney, this book is good, you guys are just mean. These books are about mysterious alien attacks on Earth that come in waves–one was a plague, one was natural disasters, etc. The characters are meh, but the aliens in these books are so smart and completely unlike what we usually think of when we think “alien.” The The Fifth Wave’s plot unfolds masterfully, complete with time jumps and perspective changes. The second book, The Infinite Sea, was fine—I didn’t hate it like everyone else, but it wasn’t as good was the first, but the same as what happened with The Darkest Minds, I completely forgot to read the third book.

The lunar chronicles 

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These were the popular YA fairy tale retellings of the past, and that aspect of these books was actually well-done. The plot aligns with the fairy tale it is retelling in incredible ways, and the world is incredibly easy to get into. It’s a very light sci-fi featuring androids, space travel and everything else that we expect the future to have. The plot doesn’t carry much substance, making it perfect to fly through. My favorite of the four main couples was actually Scarlet and Wolfe, Scarlet being my favorite book in the series. That’s actually an unpopular opinion, and I don’t get why everybody hates on them and their book. I will defend Scarlet and Wolfe until the day I die, and what happened to Wolfe in the last book was extremely unfair.

However, something I’m mad at this series about is the fact that the author clearly did not research Chinese names while she was writing Cinder, which is set in China. Linh is not a Chinese name–what the heck! And you could argue that this series is set way into the future, but I see no reason why Chinese pinyin would evolve so much that there has to be an h after the name Lin. And Kaito is a Japanese name, not a Chinese one. I get this series was written at a time when these things weren’t as important, but I’m still salty.

Angelfall 

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I would say that these books carry the most merit out of all the books I talk about in this post! It’s a post-apocalyptic novel where angels have attacked Earth. That may sound cheesy, but the author takes this as an opportunity to poke fun at the tropes you expect the premise to have. The main character Penryn is strong but compassionate, even though the younger sibling used as motivation trope is strong with her. Her love interest is the archangel Raphael, and he is *insert gif of me fanning myself.* Again, I forgot to read the third and final book in this trilogy for some reason, but I read the ending out of curiosity, and I don’t think it goes exactly the way I want it to.

Falling kingdoms 

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Yikes–we go from the books with the most merit to the one that’s dead to me. The first three books in this series had potential. The plot was kinda basic, but there was an angst-filled romance. How could I not forgive it? This series is hailed as a YA Game of Thrones, and if this is Game of Thrones, then it’s the most watered-down, simplified and childish version of GOT ever. Honestly, it read like the author noticed that everyone was comparing her books to Game of Thrones, so she stopped trying and got the barest plot points found in GOT, used them and never bothered to expand on them. In the end, she used miscommunication to keep the aforementioned angsty couple apart for the rest of the series, and then she gave us the most boring deus ex machina filled finale ever.

The wrath and the dawn

Image result for the wrath and the dawn duology

I will be the first to admit that these books aren’t perfect. The main character is supposed to be on a revenge mission to kill the king of her country for killing her best friend, but they both fall for each other so fast, and the revenge is forgotten within thirty seconds. The male characters are overprotective, and somehow everyone worships the main character, who is the typical sarcastic MC with a big heartTM. However, the romance is unbelievably angsty, and lots of the quotes in these books speak to my shipper heart. Also, the world is Asian-inspired, rich with vivid descriptions of the food and traditions of Ahdieh’s culture.


That’s all, folks! Let’s chat in the comments. Did you read any of these? What’d you think of them?

9 thoughts on “YA Books that Used to be My Favorites

  1. I have actually read none of these, which honestly blows my mind. Around 2012 I think I was reading Elementals by Brigid Kemmerer and the Gone series by Michael Grant, though that was a while ago and my memory is fuzzy lol.

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  2. Omg, that is so unfair, I didn’t discover the bookish community until late 2015/early 2016. I feel so late to the game! But I love this post so much cuz it still includes some of the books I read when I first started really getting into YA.
    Like, you’re feelings on Throne of Glass? S A M E. Dorian >>> Chaol, and I will fucking fight anyone who says otherwise omg. I reread TOG last year though, and omg the way Celaena treats Dorian at the end made me want to scream. He deserves so much better ahhhh 😠
    And omg I loved the Lunar Chronicles when I first read them. I’m actually planning to reread them sometime this year or next, cuz I’m really interested to see if I’d still love them as much as I did. Though how Scarlet and Wolf are your favourites when Cress and Thorne exist is just unfathomable. Like, I loved them both as characters, but Scarlet was so boring compared to the other books in the series. I still loved that book tho, but it was the only book in the series I gave 4 stars instead of 5 🤷🏻‍♀️
    Ok ok ok, we’ve talked about The Winner’s Curse trilogy before, but I still can’t believe you don’t like the third book when it’s clearly the best 😆 Though, I 100% agree that Kestrel’s intelligence in The Winner’s Crime was EVERYTHING.
    Also, omg I want to read Angelfall so bad. Like, ik the series is old and everything, but I’ve just heard such good things from back when it was popular, and everyone always says it holds up so.
    But yeah, I loved this post. It’s so interesting to see the books that used to be your favourites that maybe aren’t now because of time or your growth as a reader. Also, lmao, you trashing Falling Kingdoms is the highlight of my day 😂

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    1. LOL I love how our opinions differ on different things! Yes! How could TOG readers like chaol more when Dorian was such a sweetheart? 😭 I’ve only ever read the book once though & I really don’t think it was with a critical eye so celaena was probably a bitch in that book. At the time that I read it, i *worshipped* her though ://
      My unpopular opinion is that cress and Thorne are ranked at the bottom of my list of lunar chronicles couples along with winter and jacin. Cinder and kai aren’t far above & scarlet and Wolfe were honestly the only ones I truly shipped and liked. I have no idea why it was the opposite for so many other people 🤷🏻‍♀️ I just really liked scarlet’s spunk & her angst with Wolfe was THE BEST. Ugh I just had so much fun reading the second book. And I found cress to be slow because it seemed like we got chapters of cress and Thorne doing nothing in the desert? Though I’ve discussed this with other people & they completely disagree with me 😆
      OMG THE ANGELFALL SERIES HOLDS UP I PROMISE. I feel like there are some things that could be improved but otherwise it’s still GREAT. I think the third book isn’t very satisfying though so :(( I was really tolerating Falling Kingdoms when it started to flop in Gathering Darkness but three books later i just had enough 😂

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  3. I still have to read book two in The Wrath & The Dawn duology and God knows for how long I’ve been procrastinating this. I’m pretty sure I read the first book back in 2015, bought the second one last year and still have not even touched it. Yay! It’s so great being a mess!
    I do agree with most of what you said, though. The male characters are all so overprotective and the main character is pretty trope-y, but my shipper heart still roots for them so badly. I hope I can get my sh*t together and finish this duology soon.
    I started The Winner’s trilogy and even though I owed both the first and the second book, I couldn’t continue. The more I thought about this book, the more it infuriated me, lol. It was just trope-y and the MC annoyed me, so I gave up after the first book. The same happened for The Remnant Chronicles, by Mary E. Pearson. As much as I try my best to enjoy these fantasy series, all the badass female protagonists sound exactly the same for me and I can’t really tell them apart. It’s a problem!

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    1. Honestly, I think The Wrath & the Dawn is the best one in the duology & you could not read The Rose & the Dagger & be fine. Just know that it’s a happy ending because I don’t think TRATD has something that TW&TD didn’t (and that it didn’t do better). But I hope you get to pick the sequel up soon! Aww, that is so sad about the winners trilogy because it was one of my faves back in the day and I still look back on the second book fondly 😅 I do agree that it’s pretty tropey & not a lot of people would like it though. OMG I DIDN’T LIKE THE REMNANT CHRONICLES TOO. I tried to read the first book and it committed one of my most hated tropes—romance disguised as fantasy. And I do agree that Lia was pretty boring. Ugh, I ended up skimming through the first book just to get through it, which is sad because I actually bought the beautiful hardcover of it. On the bright side, my mom actually read it, loved it & continued on with the series. I think the remnant chronicles is one of her favorites!

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  4. Ok, so I had stepped away from YA books for a long time – it was VERY different when I was a teen so when I came back it was like crazy to see what it had become. I haven’t read a lot of those series because I kind of missed the hype train on most of them and now they don’t really interest me. I did like the Lunar Chronicles but WTF about the names? I’d be salty too – that is nuts and I had no idea. I feel like she should’ve at least known something that basic. Also, I ship Scarlett and Wolf the most by far – the hate is lame! They are the sweetest!

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    1. oh yes, I feel so validated right now! I really feel like it’s something people would brush off as no big deal, but a simple google search would have told her all the things she needed to know about named in Chinese? like why? Scarlet and Wolf!! Finally, I am not alone in loving them! They are the best couple in the whole series tbh and I will die on this hill

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