4 YA Books That Melted My Heart

Thursday 20 April 2017

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And take two.

Yes. Definitely got the right books this time.

young adult books love

I tried to write this post last month until I realised that I had actually confused my happy tears with heart-wrenching ones. This time I made sure that all the books in the post brought on nothing but positive, uplifting and heartwarming emotions, as well as memories. That's a great thing about reading young adult novels, you get to think back about your time as one. All the main characters in these books are teenagers going through typical teenage problems, as well as more serious issues. I had mentioned before I didn't like reading as a teenager, and social media wasn't a big thing and neither was talking about serious personal issues. Reading these books now, and seeing how authors can really open the eyes of the younger generation, as well as adults, is really inspiring. These books will all show you love, hope, and move you in the most unexpected ways.


"I think what I’ve realized is, life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down. As long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards."

young adult finding audrey sophie kinsella

Audrey suffers from social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder and depressive episodes. After being constantly bullied at school, she has found comfort in her safe space at home behind a dark pair of glasses, resulting in no eye contact with anyone, not even her family. After returning home from the hospital, Audrey is adamant she is going to do everything she can to get better. Easier said than done. Her therapy sessions seem to be helping a little, and she feels like she is making progress, until her brother's friend, Linus, accidentally ends up in her private den. After finding out about Audrey's conditions, he is eager to be a part of her a trip outside to Starbucks. Underestimating how dramatic this experience would be for her, he thinks it's necessary to start setting Audrey small public challenges, which end up making the biggest impact.

Finding Audrey is a book that will fill you with all kinds of emotions, luckily, mostly positive ones. What I love most about Audrey is her determination to get better. Even though she knows that any sort of contact (eye, physical or verbal) with anyone will probably result in the world's most embarrassing moments, and bring on nothing but sheer regret, she still goes through with it. She never gives up, and is definitely a fighter. I kind of wish that the book didn't portray love as a mental health cure, but it does provide the reader with hope. Her family is so dysfunctional, and I love how Audrey describes them as a weather system. The whole 'mum's addicted to reading the Daily Mail, yet is always at Frank (Audrey's brother) for being addicted to his computer' really brings humour to the book. During a therapy session, she is asked to start a film about her life at home. Throughout the book, this is recorded in the form of film transcripts, which can really help you see her personal journey as well as how her family are handling situations. I love when books include these sorts of personal touches. If you are looking for a lighthearted and uplifting book, this would be perfect for you.


Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon and Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen



"We're all weird and damaged in our own way. You're not the only one."

young adult jennifer niven holding up the universe

Holding Up The Universe is a story about two people finding strength in the most unpredicted places. Jack suffers from prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, resulting in him not recognising the face of his friends, his family or even his own, which he is keeping a secret from everyone. Libby is returning back to school after getting bullied, which led her staying at home for 5 years. She knew school still wasn't going to be easy, but all this torment and time away has given her the strength and confidence to try again. After a prank goes terribly wrong, both Libby and Jack have to learn to get along with each other, but they soon realise they need each other in ways they never thought.

This book deserves it's very own post dedicated to Libby's message, so it's going to get one soon. You all know I am a huge fan of Jennifer Niven, and ATBP is my favourite book ever, so I was excited to read her new YA novel. I was introduced to this book during her interview in London, where she talked about the backstory and revealed a few teasers. I had already fallen in love with Finch and Violet, but the love I have for Jack and Libby is something completely different. Libby is a character who you end up rooting for throughout the entire book. You are just waiting for her to get her moment, whether it's with Jack, or with those bullies. Her self-confidence is contagious, and her apathetic attitude makes me envious. Even though Jack is a popular kid in school, his approach to people is never as bold as Libby's. Maybe he can't make personal connections because of his face blindness, or maybe he is just trying to fit in, which changes once he meets Libby. Their relationship just makes me smile. Jack has definitely never been around somebody like Libby, and she definitely brings out the better side of him. Whether you were bullied in school or not, this book is an eyeopener. Full of highs and lows, and such a beautiful message behind it, you will finish this book with a new sense of you; a much more wanted you.


Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist and One by Sarah Crossan


Check out these 4 young adult books which will melt your heart


"It was the nicest thing she could imagine. It made her want to have his babies and give him both of her kidneys."

young adult eleanor and park rainbow rowell

Eleanor & Park is the story of unexpected first love. Eleanor is a girl with wild untamed hair and a fashion sense to match. Park love music and comic books and is trying to get through school without becoming the centre of attention. Zoning out into his music and books on the school bus is the only way he can get through the journey until Eleanor is forced to sit next to him. They both sit, silently, trying to plan a way of switching seats and getting away from each other. The day is like no other, Park is reading his comic book when he notices a glaring eye from the girl next to him reading along. Soon, Park would pass over Eleanor comics to take home, even stacks piled on her bus seat. Books turned into mixtapes (well it is the 1980's), and Eleanor spent weekends falling in love which every song hurrying each day along until Monday.

How could anyone like the new weirdo freak girl?

But Park did.

What I love most about E&P are all the nostalgic memories that come with it. No matter how old you are, those feelings you got from your first love just come rushing back. Sadly I missed the mixed tape phase as a teenager, (we had mixed cd's, but that isn't the same) but I can still hear a song and remember certain people or places. The book takes the form of a dual narrative (which I love), and from the very first time they really pay attention to each other, the words they use to describe one another becomes delicate. Park starts to notice the smell of the books when they were returned and the details of her clothing. The book also covers some real issues such as physical and psychological abuse from Eleanor's stepdad towards her mother and her family. Park also faces issues at home from his father, who wants Park to be very masculine, (play sport, go pheasant hunting), while Park wants to wear eyeliner and get blonde highlights. Eleanor also challenges her identity by wearing men's shirts and not liking make-up. This adds to the realism of being a teen in the 1980s. The book ends in a way that is going to keep you thinking. I can't obviously say too much, but you can use your own interpretation of the characters to work it out.


The Romantics by Leah Konen and Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland



"Nothing strengthens a friendship like an argument survived. And nothing made me so sure of my friendship with Suzanne than the way she handled our first."

beautiful broken things sara barnard

Caddy is making a change. She's bored of being a teenager with zero risks, and is putting together a list of milestones to achieve before her next birthday; get a boyfriend, lose her virginity, and experience a significant life event. Her best friend Rosie is rather sceptical about Caddy's new lease of life, and if anyone would know, it would be Rosie. These two have spent every day together since they were children, but going to different schools haven't stop these two. Suzanne is the new girl who grabs Rosie's attention at school. She's gorgeous, confident, but speaks very little about her past. She merges in with the girls, but Caddy is less than impressed and finds it hard to adjust to the new dynamics of the group. She is used to having Rosie to herself, plus, how is she meant to achieve her goals with someone new to compete with? Feeling threatened, Caddy starts looking into Suzanne's past, but will she go too far and break Suzanne down too.

Beautiful Broken Things is a story of a group of girls who explore the highs and lows of female relationships, while still expressing themselves as individuals. This isn't your typical high school teen book though. BBT also focuses and pushes boundaries with each of the girls experiencing struggles with mental health, physical abuse and loss. You can really see the vulnerability in each of the girls, especially Suzanne, as her secrets and a part of her life she thought she left behind returns. When you first meet Caddy, she can be seen as quite naive, even childlike with her jealousy towards new people. She uses her new experiences (not the ones she planned for) and grows. Though I didn't grow up in Brighton, I love that it's based in the UK. Most of the books I read are based overseas, so it's nice to have familiarities with locations and British traditions. This book will bring back those memories, (good and bad), of your high school friendships.


Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


I'm so glad I have finally got this post out! Let me know if you've read any of these books, or if you can recommend something similar.