The FIVE Challenge

For the past couple of years, I’ve done the FIVE Challenge, which is basically a series of recap posts that was created by Persnickety Snark. I don’t know if she does it anymore, and I didn’t want to have a whole week of posts like this, but I decided to combine them and pick and choose the topics I felt like doing. Hopefully I don’t overwhelm everyone will all the different end-of-the-year recap and roundup posts – tis the season, after all! And trust me when I say these are in no particular order – there’s no way I could do that without spending way too long deciding on the order!

FIVE Great Debuts

StrangeAndBeautifulSorrowsofAvaLavender ArtofLainey LoveLetterstotheDead 17FirstKisses Illusive

1. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (Leslye Walton)

This is one of those YA books that seemed the least “young adult”-ish. Part of the reason is because the first half or so focused on the female ancestors of Ava, like her mother and grandmother, whose stories are not your typical YA ones, but the magical realism element of the story also felt like something I would more often find in an adult literary work of fiction – but I’d definitely love to see more of it in YA! And come on, that cover counts for a lot as well.

2. The Art of Lainey (Paula Stokes)

This book was such a lovely and fun surprise! I hadn’t heard much about it at all when I started hearing some amazing praise, so I took a chance on it and ended up having so much fun reading it! The protagonist seemed like my polar opposite, but I related to her so much anyway and I was cheering her on the whole time.

3. Love Letters to the Dead (Ava Dellaira)

I didn’t connect with the protagonist too much, but the beautiful language and the way the author made the real, dead people that Laurel wrote to seem like real characters (if that makes sense at all) pulled me into the story so much that I really didn’t mind that much that Laurel didn’t seemed relatable to me.

4. 17 First Kisses (Rachael Allen)

This is yet another surprise – but aren’t those the best? When you pick up a book that you hope will be decent and end up loving it – it’s such a great feeling! This book had some great messages and interesting, complicated friendships – I definitely didn’t regret buying it before I even read it!

5. Illusive (Emily Lloyd-Jones)

More surprises! I was hoping for a decent paranormal book since I don’t seem to read nearly as many paranormal books anymore and I ended up having so much fun while reading this book. I feel like some people might find it predictable or reminiscent of other books, but that didn’t bother me at all while reading it.

FIVE Great Sophomore Books

SplitSecond LadyThief WhatIThoughtWasTrue WickedLittleSecrets InkIsThickerThanWater

1. Split Second (Kasie West)

After rereading and enjoying Pivot Point even more the second time around, it was easy to love its new sequel as well. I was a little worried about adding Laila’s POV, as well as a romance for her, but I ended up loving her just as much as Addie, and the second romance was also cute, so it was a bit disappointing when I reached the end! Maybe West will change her mind and write a sequel at some point…

2. Lady Thief (A.C. Gaughen)

I swear that I liked this book – but I still look back on it with a bit of fear because it was such an emotional wrecking ball. Why do you do this to me, Gaughen? How will I survive the third and final book? HOW?!

3. What I Thought Was True (Huntley Fitzpatrick)

It’s hard to live up to a book like My Life Next Door, so I wasn’t too surprised that I didn’t love this book quite as much, but it still had plenty of merits to stand on its own with. Fitzpatrick continues to write interesting families, and that helped keep me interested when I was sometimes annoyed with the romantic drama.

4. Wicked Little Secrets (Kara Taylor)

Prep School Confidential ended up being a surprisingly enjoyable debut last year, and I was happy when its sequel, as well as the third book – which also came out this year, ended up being just as fun and interesting. It’s one of those strong mystery books that kept me interested with the mystery and had some other stuff going on to keep my attention.

5. Ink is Thicker Than Water (Amy Spalding)

The Reece Malcolm List was one of the last books I read last year, so I didn’t get the chance to sing its praises as much as I would have liked, so I’m doing my best to do that with the second book from Spalding. This book had plenty of interesting family dynamics, and that was definitely my favorite part of it, although there were plenty of other things to interest the reader as well.

FIVE Great Covers

StrangeAndBeautifulSorrowsofAvaLavender LoveLetterstotheDead EverythingLeadstoYou MuseumofIntangibleThings IgniteMe

I don’t think any commentary is really necessary – just bask in the beautiful covers…

FIVE Great Series

CuckoosCalling Size12IsNotFat RavenBoys PrincessDiaries1 YearofSecretAssignments

1. Cormoran Strike series (J.K. Rowling)

Yeah, all I’ve read so far is The Cuckoo’s Calling, but I’m still including this here! This is the mystery series from J.K. Rowling published under a pen-name, so how could it be anything but amazing?!

2. Heather Wells series (Meg Cabot)

So far I’ve read three of the five books in this series, and they’ve all been fun and fluffy mysteries, which is exactly what I want from Meg Cabot! This is one of her adult series, but it really doesn’t feel that different from her YA works.

3. The Raven Cycle (Maggie Stiefvater)

So far I’ve read and enjoyed the first two books in this series, so I still have two more books to look forward to! I don’t always understand quite what’s happening with the magic and such in these books, but I really love the language and writing in them, as well as many of the characters, so I couldn’t care less!

4. Princess Diaries series (Meg Cabot)

I’d read the first book in Cabot’s arguably most popular series, but never the rest, and it was lots of fun finally reading them all and seeing how different they were from the movies.

5. Ashbury-Brookfield series (Jaclyn Moriarty)

I started this series last year, but I read and really enjoyed most of this year. It could be so unbelievably weird and out there, but that was one of the things that I really liked about the books. I’m certainly interested in checking out more from Moriarty.

FIVE Great Re-Reads

PivotPoint MyLifeNextDoor TTYL Secrets1 Antigoddess

1. Pivot Point (Kasie West)

As I already mentioned, I reread Pivot Point and ended up enjoying it more the second time around, which is always great! I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the right mindset or something the first time, but it was tons of fun rereading it.

2. My Life Next Door (Huntley Fitzpatrick)

I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much when I reread it, but I was so totally wrong! I loved it just as much and got even more pumped up for the sequel, coming out next year!

3. TTYL/TTFN/L8R, G8R (Lauren Myracle)

I hadn’t reread this entirely-written-in-IMs books lately, so I was happy to see that I loved the characters and their stories just as much as I did back in middle school, the first time I read them.

4. Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Jen Calonita)

I was worried that these books would seem too shallow, and while they could seem a little young at times, I still enjoyed the fluffy fun that is the Hollywood drama of these books.

5. Antigoddess (Kendare Blake)

I’m really glad that I reread this book – not only did I enjoy getting back into the story, but I had forgotten quite a bit of what happened, which surprised me a bit!

FIVE Great Non-Debuts

StealingParker SmartGirlsGetWhatTheyWant PerksofBeingaWallflower EverythingLeadstoYou SavingFrancesca

1. Stealing Parker (Miranda Kenneally)

This book is my favorite of the Kenneally books so far. Parker is my favorite protagonist, it has my favorite romance, and it has my favorite family drama.

2. Smart Girls Get What They Want (Sarah Strohmeyer)

I WANT TO REREAD THIS BOOK ALREADY! I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M SO OBSESSED WITH IT BUT I AM!

3. Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

Why did I wait so long to read this amazing, wonderful book? I watched the movie first, and I think I’m actually glad that I saw the movie first, since I feel like any changes bothered me less as a result.

4. Everything Leads to You (Nina LaCour)

This book was just so beautiful and wonderful and had and out-and-proud biracial lesbian protagonist, which I definitely need more of in my books.

5. Saving Francesca (Melina Marchetta)

This book started off a bit slowly for me, but after it got going, it became a new favorite even before I was done with it. I just connected with the characters and story so much.

FIVE Most Anticipated

LairofDreams ThingsWeKnowByHeart TheFillInBoyfriend TheDevilYouKnow LionHeart

1. Lair of Dreams (Libba Bray)

This book was initially supposed to come out last year, and I have been waiting for it for so long that the anticipation is getting much too high!

2. Things We Know By Heart (Jessi Kirby)

It’s been much too long since we’ve had a new Kirby book. Sure, the last one was in 2013, but that’s still too long!

3. The Fill-In Boyfriend (Kasie West)

A new contemporary from West! No, I’m not overly excited at all.

4. The Devil You Know (Trish Doller)

After loving Where the Stars Still Shine, I’m super-excited for Doller’s next book, which is taking way too long to get here.

5. Lion Heart (A.C. Gaughen)

I am both excited and scared for this book.

And, even though it doesn’t have a cover yet, you can bet that I’m super-excited for The Boy Most Likely To, the sequel to My Life Next Door!

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