My Favorite Stand-Alone Books (YA Edition) | What to Read Wednesdays

What to Read Wednesdays

What to Read Wednesdays is a weekly post just for recommendations. If you’re like me and are always looking for new book recommendations (despite having a never-ending-always-growing TBR pile), then this is the post for you! Each week I’ll be posting my recommendations for a specific theme, which will change week-to-week.

Feel free to let me know in the comments if there is a genre you’d like to see some recommendations for! I am an eclectic reader and I hit up almost any genre, so if there’s a type of book that is your favorite thing and you’d like a recommendation, let me know!

Anyways, now for the book recs!

My Favorite Stand-Alone Young Adult Books

I find it really rare these days to pick up a book that’s stand-alone, unless its literary fiction or non-fiction. The young adult genre seems to be saturated with series these days, so I wanted to highlight some of my favorite stand-alone books in this genre today. Sometimes stand-alones can be forgettable. You read them once and, if they’re not really powerful, you can’t remember the details later. The books I’m including on my list today are ones that have stuck with me over the years, that I think about from time to time, and that I would totally re-read (and probably own personal copies of). I hope you enjoy!

Every Hidden Thing | Kenneth Oppel

I recently mentioned this book in one of my Top 10 Tuesdays posts, but I have no problem mentioning it again. I love this book. It’s one of my favorite historical-fiction books. I think Kenneth Oppel is an amazing writer. I’ve read one of his Middle-Grade books as well as this one, and each time he blows me away. I also really enjoyed the characters in this book. There’s a rival-family situation, but both families are presented and fleshed out. It also makes the romance more enjoyable. Additionally, I really like archaeology and books related to that, so this book really sparked my interest in that way. It’s just a really neat, well-written book. Check it out!

The Downstairs Girl | Stacey Lee

Aside from having a gorgeous cover, this book has so many things going for it. For starters, Lee picked a little talked about moment in American history to set her book, featuring a Chinese American girl as the protagonist. This book not only features feminist themes, but also those of race and class. I love the characters in this story, too. Lee provides a well researched backdrop for them to interact in, making the book come alive. It’s a really amazing story and it’s so well-written. I enjoyed reading it so much that I bought my own copy. I recommend it any time I come across someone who loves historical fiction.

Damsel | Elana K. Arnold

If I were to pick any book that I feel does the best job of capturing toxic masculinity and the damage done to female bodies, it would be a tie between this book and Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. Both books, I think, present the very real dangers of male-dominated culture without being too preachy or hitting you over the head. In the case of Damsel, Arnold cloaks these themes in the trappings of fantasy. All the tropes are there in their horrific glory. The whole book is infused with this tension that makes you afraid to keep reading, but you have to know how it ends. The ending, though, is a polarizing factor in this book. I love it and it feels like a perfect way to sum everything up. This book is so powerful and I would read it again.

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss | Amy Noelle Parks

I can never run out of things to say about this sweet, adorable book, but I will limit myself here. This is the perfect easy-to-read teen romance book, smartly written and full of witty banter. I was hooked as soon as I began reading and I think about this book all the time. It may even have ruined all other YA romance stories for me, because the characters in this book, the set-up, the math! It all comes together in such a perfect way. Yes, most YA romances are stand-alones, but if you have to pick just one to read, I’d recommend this one. It’s brilliant.

How I Live Now | Meg Rosoff

I’m ending with this book because it’s definitely the oldest book on this list and it’s been the longest since I read it, however, even after all that, it has stuck with me. I think about this book all the time. Not only is it one of those books that is unlike anything you’ve ever read, it’s also, somehow, so easy to connect to. It’s short, very readable. I think I finished it in a day or two the first time I read it. It’s a dystopian, but I have never read a dystopian like this before. It somehow manages to put the dystopia in the background, but it doesn’t feel like it’s glossing over things. The real focus is the character development. The writing is also beautiful and really compelling. Now, there is an aspect of incest (some romance between first cousins), but it is hardly the focus of the book. I would say the rest of the book is worth it despite that aspect.

How about you?

What are some of your recommended books? Please post yours in the comments and share the love! I hope you enjoyed the post and thank you for stopping by!

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