Blogging is a funny thing.
I never imagined that “my thing” as a blogger would be defending genres that I don’t really read. But, it’s something I feel very strongly about. I really do believe that the frequent diminishing of any number of genres is really a disappointing approach to book criticism.
Within every single genre, there’s a spectrum of quality, and that perception varies greatly depending on each individual reader or reviewer’s personal taste, so the dismissal an entire genre out-of-hand really bothers me.
With that said, it’s probably no surprise I was pretty disappointed to read a piece recently that was extremely harsh toward paranormal YA. Admittedly, this is not one of my favorite genres, as I tend to prefer my paranormal in adult fiction (it generally makes more sense to me in a more grown up setting).
However, there are a few paranormal YAs that I sincerely enjoy and often recommend.
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Alert! Alert! This is a standalone paranormal YA! Try not to pass out from the shock of it all. I loved this book so much, it’s a really fun ghost story and mystery with a whole lot of humor and a light, charming romance. And if you grew up on Nancy Drew, you’ll love the little shout-outs to Nancy’s adventures. (Sandra also recommends the Maggie Quinn books by the same author.)
Shade Series by Jeri Smith-Ready
This trilogy is one of the first paranormal YAs I’ve read. I think I really like this series for two reasons: 1) it involves ghosts, and I have a strong preference for ghost stories, since they feel more gothic to me; 2) it’s more urban fantasy that straight-up paranormal and takes place in an alternate future, which has a very interesting backstory. I will warn you that there’s something of a love triangle, but it’s not one that bothers me, and I usually hate love triangles—it actually makes sense in this series. I’ve been holding off on reading the final book in the series because I enjoyed the first two so much.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
We are all big Laini Taylor fans at CEFS. She writes beautifully and has a real talent for sucking the reader into a the story. When read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I did so with a bit of cynacism, as I’d had some traumatic not-so-great experiences with angel books in the past. However, the angels in this book are quite original and the mythology that’s developed in this first book of a planned trilogy (the second is due out this fall) is absolutely intriguing.
Wolves of Mercy Falls Series by Maggie Stiefvater
All right, so I know Maggie Stiefvater isn’t a favorite of a lot of people, but I LOVE her writing. She’s definitely a love it or leave it sort of writer, but if you find werewolf stories compelling, this series is one to look at. This is definitely a series that doesn’t get closure until the final book, Forever, so be warned that the first two books end in cliffhangers, if that’s a dealbreaker with you. (Also, if you haven’t read The Scorpio Races yet, get on that ASAP.)
Raised by Wolves Series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
If you like Mercy Thompson, you’ll like Raised by Wolves, according to Sandra. This is an interesting series also featuring werewolves, and explores a lot of interesting themes about gender and power and, of course, growing up. There’s a lot of action and the books are very fast paced (sort of the opposite of the Mercy Falls series). It seems like this series hasn’t gotten as much attention as some paranormal YAs, and that’s really unfortunate.
Curse Workers Series by Holly Black
This is an excellent YA paranormal series that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s also unusual in that it’s written from a male point-of-view. Cassel is a challenging character, often living in a place of moral ambiguity (he’s part of a family of grifters). This is a unique series that I often recommend to adult readers that don’t normally read YA or paranormal fiction. This is another trilogy in which I’ve held off reading the final book in the series because I don’t want the series to be over.
Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent
This is another author that people always have strong feelings one way or another. Me, I really, really enjoy Rachel Vincent’s books—they’re fast paced and addicting. I didn’t love the first Soul Screamers book, because it felt to me like Kaylee was kind of a dumbass and I didn’t get the rapidity of her relationship with new boyfriend Nash. However, like with Rachell’s Shifters series for adults, my interest was piqued enough to continue the series. And I am so glad! I have really enjoyed this series about a teenage banshee and her friends and family. The world is very interestingly developed and the characters have to suffer MAJOR consequences throughout the series. I’ll be sad when this series ends next year.
What about you? What paranormal YA books or series would you recommend?