A to Z Book Challenge

A2Z-BADGE [2014]This April, the Write On Sisters are participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. That means on each day in April (except Sunday) we write a blog connected to the letter of that day. It all starts tomorrow, April 1st, with Jenn blogging the letter A (Anthropology and Culture in Writing), and continues with Robin blogging B (Boys & Books), and Caryn blogging C (Creative Writing Prompts). Lucky me, next Monday I have the letter F and get to blog on this topic: “Dropping the F-Bomb in YA Lit.” Fun times!

To get in the spirit of things, I thought I’d make a fun little A-Z list of YA books I’ve read and would recommend. This turned out to be harder than expected! Especially for the letter Q and X! So some of the books below are still in my “To Read” pile. Anyway, here goes…

A – ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake – Do you like ghosts, a good mystery, and a ghost hunter who reluctantly teams up with a male witch and a cheerleader to save the day? Bring it on!

B – BURN MARK by Laura Powell – I love my characters tough and conflicted, and these heroes have those qualities in spades. It’s been ages since I’ve been compelled to read a series, but because I love the characters, this book broke the streak.

C – THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black – Just when you think vampire stories have been done to death, this book emerges with a bloody fresh new world to explore!

D – DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas – This is one dark murder mystery. At first I thought the twist ending didn’t work, but then paid closer attention to the tense and dialogue the author used and realized not only did it work, it’s pretty brilliant.

E – THE EYE OF THE CROW by Shane Peacock – It’s fun to see Sherlock Holmes as a boy, and I kept picturing a young Benedict Cumberbatch throughout this book.

F – THE FAULT OF OUR STARS by John Green – I often find Green’s characters pretentious and annoying, but these two teens weren’t. I totally got into their story and cried my eyes out at the end.

G – GIRL, STOLEN by April Henry – A blind girl is kidnapped and what follows is a realistic and scary plot to free herself.

H – HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr – A pregnant teen moves in with the family who is to adopt her baby, but isn’t sure if she can give it up. I can usually predict the ending of these types of stories, but this one kept me wondering until the last page.

I – I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells – This book pulls off something pretty incredible: it’s both scary and touching.

J – JERK, CALIFORNIA by Jonathan Friesen – A main character with Tourette’s Syndrome sets out on a cross-country quest to learn the truth about himself.

K – THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness – I could not put this creepy, adrenaline-pumped book down, but damn that cliffhanger ending!

L – LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL by Jo Knowles – Read this book if you want to delve into the dark side of female friendships and abusive human nature and come out the other side realizing you’re not alone.

M – THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner – I’m a sucker for mysterious stories and this one delivers, though with a cliffhanger I didn’t appreciate.

N – NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Can you believe I’ve never read a book that starts with N! I’ll have to read this soon.

O – ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST by Ken Kesey – The only book on the high school reading list that engaged my easily distracted teenage mind.

P – PROXY by Alex London – A dystopian world where wealthy kids have poor kids called “proxies” to take their punishments for them. Weird concept; great book.

Q – QUICKSILVER by R J Anderson – Can’t find a Q for your alphabet book list? Type in “Quicksilver” and you’ll have a couple dozen options. I’m reading this one.

R – ROT & RUIN by Jonathan Maberry – Despite the long set up, this book rewards with a well-envisioned zombie apocalypse, exciting plot twists, and a hot samurai! For all those adults reading YA, Tom Imura is the 30-something heartthrob you can lust after without feeling like a dirty old cougar.

S – THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani – More MG than YA, but I couldn’t resist the fairy tale training academy idea. So much fun! Plus a surprising amount of emotional punch.

T – THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher – Sorry world, but I hated this book. We’re supposed to feel for the main character who committed suicide, but what she does to the people left behind is bullying too. I found it unbelievable that they participated in her sick game when most of them didn’t do anything bad to her.

U – UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld – One of my favorite books ever! Strikes at the heart of our beauty obsessed culture with wit and adventure.

V – V IS FOR VILLAIN by Peter Moore – This book is coming out in May 2014 with a lot of buzz. Fingers crossed because I love a villain hero!

W – WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion – I enjoyed this fresh take on a zombie tale. The premise – zombie falls in love with human and turns his death around – is imaginative, bone-chilling, and heartwarming.

X – X-IT by Jane George about a teen in the 80s club scene that sounds interesting, but it’s hard to find, though available on Kindle via Amazon. So authors, if you want to increase chances of your book being read, make the title start with X. There are all kinds of challenges to “read a book from every letter of the alphabet” and X is usually blank.

Y – YOU by Charles Benoit – I have the sneaking suspicion I’ve read this, but am not sure. I read so many books I’m beginning to forget. Either way, this sounds intriguing, and I’m a sucker for a story that dares use the 2nd person tense. So I’ll pick it up again just to be sure.

Z – ZOMBICORNS by John Green. Yes, that John Green wrote a zombie book. I know, weird right? I haven’t read it yet, but it’s available for a legal free download under creative commons license here.

So out of 26 letters, only 6 are books I haven’t read yet. Well, maybe 5, because like I said, YOU sounds so very familiar. How’s your list? Can you fill it in from A to Z?


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Author: Heather Jackson

Heather is a freelance screenwriter, game writer, and novelist based in Toronto. For more, visit her website at heatherjacksonwrites.com or follow her on Twitter @HeatherJacksonW

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