I love romance. Whether it’s the main plot or a subplot, I can guarantee it’s almost always my favorite part of any given book. And like any good romance fan, I have my particular favorite trope — enemies to lovers.

Friends to lovers is the classic romance slow burn, and — don’t get me wrong — I love that too. But there’s something about two people who start off hating each other, or otherwise pitted against each other, and who wind up falling in love that just gets to me. The breaking down of each other’s walls, the discovery that they really do have more in common, the reluctant acceptance that they actually like each other — swoon! It gets me every time.

I’ve rounded up a list of some of my personal favorite enemies-to-lovers stories. Check it out!

22 Fantastic Enemies to Lovers Romances

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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
In Tally’s world turning 16 doesn’t mean getting your license, it means getting a surgery to be turned “pretty”. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. Enter David, someone from the outside who against everything Tally ever knew.  
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The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Esta is a talented thief with an incredible ability — she can manipulate time. She uses this power to steal magical artifacts from a sinister organization, the Order, looking to keep magic users down. And all of her training has been for one mission: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book before a man known only as The Magician can destroy it and doom magic users forever. But Old New York is not what Esta expected — and neither is the Magician.  
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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Dimple is fed up with her mother’s traditionalism and obsessive quest to find Dimple the “ideal Indian husband.” Luckily, the summer program for aspiring web developers she’s in will offer a reprieve from that. Except Rishi is also attending the program. Rishi who, unbeknownst to Dimple, is the second half of a suggested arranged marriage her parents have set up for her.  
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Scythe by Neal Shusterman
In a world where death has been eradicated, the population is controlled by Scythes — a mysterious group of people with the power to “glean,” or permanently kill, anyone they want. When Citra and Ronan are chosen to be apprentices to Scythe Faraday, they’re in for more than they bargained for — especially when their apprenticeships turn into a competition that only one of them can survive.
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This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
The world has been overrun by a mysterious plague that’s put humankind on the brink of extinction. Hacking genius Catarina Agatta hates the shadowy corporation Cartaxus — they kidnapped her father Lachlan years earlier to force him to work for them. But when Cartaxus soldier Cole shows up on her doorstep with news that her father’s been killed, and that Cat is the only person who could access the cure Lachlan supposedly found before he died, Cat must decide who she can trust.  
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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Isobel knows that the fair folk are not to be trusted.  But Isobel’s life is thrown into disarray when she accidentally paints mortal sorrow into the eyes of Rook, the Autumn Prince, and he spirits her away to his kingdom to stand trial. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.  
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Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Amelia & her best friend Cate have worked at Molly Meade’s locally famous ice cream stand for the last 3 summers. When Molly suddenly passes away, her grandnephew Grady takes over and starts making changes. Grady’s presence threatens everything Amelia wants to protect–the stand, her friendships, and most inconveniently, her heart. Grady and Amelia don’t always agree, especially at the beginning, and this leads to some major conflict that’s further complicated by some major chemistry.  
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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Zorie and Lennon used to be best friends, but now they avoid each other at all costs. When a camping trip goes south, the two teens find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong? You can find out in this second novel from Alex, Approximately author Jenn Bennett.  
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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Elisabeth has been training her entire life to be a librarian in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries. In her world, books of magic are dangerous and can transform into terrible monsters. Her entire life has been spent protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.  
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The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Jenn Bennett’s newest book, The Lady Rogue, takes place in 1930s Romania and follows Theo as she and her ex-boyfriend Huck set out to rescue her father who disappeared while searching for a mysterious ring that was believed to have belonged to Vlad the Impaler himself. With only her father’s journal to guide them, Theo and Huck are in for a big adventure and maybe by the end they’ll be able to rekindle their love for each other.  
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Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
When Jaya Rao discovers that Grey Emerson, the heir to her family’s centuries-old rival is responsible for targeting her little sister in the newspapers, she devises a plan to make him fall in love with her with the intent of breaking his heart. The only problem is that Grey Emerson is not what she expected.  
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Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
In Today Tonight Tomorrow, Rowan and Neil have been rivals since the start of high school and nothing can change that…or so they thought. When they have to team up together for Howl, a senior class game, that will take them all over Seattle, they’ll discover that maybe they don’t hate each other after all.  
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These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Normally a Romeo and Juliet retelling features the star-crossed lovers trope (and it still does) but These Violent Delights is also an amazing enemies-to-lovers story. Heirs to rival gangs, Roma and Juliette must put their differences aside to save their city from a mysterious illness. Can they work together to save their city before they betray each other? You’ll have to read to find out.  
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Glimpsed by G.F. Miller
This charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true. Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. But, when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vindhya crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster.  
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A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.  
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Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
Snarky, annoyingly cute, next-door neighbor? Yes please! Liz is determined to get her longtime crush, Michael, to ask her to prom, but Michael has only seen her as little-Liz, the girl from his childhood. Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—even befriend Wes Bennet, her neighbor who has only ever been a pain in her side. But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes.  
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Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.  
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How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in this irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country.  
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As If on Cue by Marisa Kanter
A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore.  
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Drawn That Way by Elissa Sussman
Moxie meets the world of animation in this fresh, unputdownable novel about a teen girl determined to prove herself in the boys’ club of her dream industry no matter what it takes. When Hayley meets Bear, she soon realizes that there’s more to him than she expected. As they work together, the animosity between them thaws into undeniable chemistry and maybe something… more.  
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Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens
Edison Rooker (aka Rook) isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful, intimidating sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. Antonia gives Rook a new job, and a Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, that he has to keep hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, Rook minds less and less. But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.

As society grows in its understanding of mental illnesses, their effects, and their treatments, we’re seeing more and more YA narratives that address these topics. There are many compelling, well-written narratives that focus on mental illness or otherwise feature teen characters struggling with and coming to terms with them. If you’re interested in reading more books that incorporate this important subject, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites below. Which of these important stories have you read?

24 Important Books That Address Mental Health Topics


Earth to Charlie by Justin Olson

Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?


The Place Between Breaths by An Na

From master storyteller and Printz Award-winning author An Na comes a dark, intensely moving story of a girl desperately determined to find a cure for the illness that swept her mother away, and could possibly destroy her own life as well.


Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Love and sacrifice intertwine in this brilliant debut of rare beauty about a girl dealing with her mother’s schizophrenia and her own mental illness.



Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Critically-acclaimed author, Shaun David Hutchinson accounts the story of his struggles with depression and feeling like an outsider in his community during his teens which ultimately led to an attempted suicide. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better. And his story is one of hope that everybody should read.


All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan

A teen boy’s world gets turned upside-down when a zoo of exotic animals takes over his small town in this wickedly funny, heartbreakingly honest novel that’s perfect for fans of Shaun David Hutchinson.


Teach Me to Forget  by  Erica M. Chapman

Ellery doesn’t want to live anymore.

She’s unable to bear the pain of losing her younger sister to a car accident she blames herself for, or face the rest of her broken family. So, she’s made a plan—bought the gun, arranged for her funeral, and picked the day. Everything has fallen into place. Then, on the day she intends to take her own life, she meets Colter, a boy who recognizes her desperation and becomes determined to stop her.


What I Leave Behind by Alison McGee

After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this exquisitely crafted story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each, by award-winning and bestselling author Alison McGhee.


Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act — suicide.


100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

A music loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.


Obsessed by Allison Britz

A brave teen recounts her debilitating struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder—and brings readers through every painful step as she finds her way to the other side—in this powerful and inspiring memoir.


OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.


Bipolar Disorder

Crazy by Amy Reed

He’s falling in love—and she’s falling over the edge of sanity. From the author of Beautiful and Clean, a heartwrenching exploration of a romance marred by mental illness.


Grief and Depression

Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti

From beloved author and National Book Award finalist, Deb Caletti comes a fresh and luminous novel about the grief that can tear us apart and the people who can make us whole again.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and “strong, inventive tale” (Kirkus Reviews). 



I Will Find You Again by Sarah Lyu

When Lia disappears, Chase’s life turns into a series of grim snapshots. Anger. Grief. Running. Pink pills in an Altoids tin. A cheating ring at school. Heartbreak and lies. A catastrophic secret. And the shocking truth that will change everything about the way Chase sees Lia—and herself.


Other Broken Things by C. Desir

Natalie’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like getting in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over. 


Tweak by Nic Sheff

Tweak by Nic Sheff

Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin.  In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery.


Wrecked by Heather Henson

Looking for Alaska meets Breaking Bad in this piercing novel about three teens, caught in the middle of the opioid crisis in rural Appalachia, whose world literally blows up around them.


Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

From the team that brought you the New York Times bestselling Dry comes a riveting new thriller that explores the opioid crisis.​



All Alone with You by Amelia Diane Coombs

HBO Max’s Hacks gets a romantic twist in the vein of Jenn Bennett in this swoon-worthy novel about a standoffish teen girl whose loner status gets challenged by a dynamic elderly woman and a perpetually cheerful boy.


Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

A gorgeous and emotionally resonant debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school.


Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder

Parker struggles to reconnect with her twin brother, Charlie—who’s recovering from cancer—as she tries to deal with her anxiety and questions about the future in this powerful new novel from Meg Leder, author of The Museum of Heartbreak 


Disordered Eating and Body Dysmorphia

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives—even if it means swapping identities.


Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

From the award-winning author of Break and Teeth comes a raw and honest exploration of complicated identities in a novel about a girl living on the fringe of every fringe group in her small town.



When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert

From award-winning author Kelly Loy Gilbert comes a powerful, achingly romantic drama about the secrets we keep, from each other and from ourselves, perfect for fans of Permanent Record and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.


Life Inside My Mind edited by Jessica Burkhart

Your favorite YA authors including Ellen Hopkins, Maureen Johnson, and more recount their own experiences with mental illness in this raw, real, and powerful collection of essays that explores everything from ADD to PTSD.


16 & Pregnant by LaLa Thomas

The bond between two best friends is put to the test when one of them gets pregnant in this contemporary teen novel inspired by MTV’s iconic reality show.


Interested in reading more books that tackle tough, but important, topics? Take a look at these books that address drug addiction.

There are many, many instances where the sequel is as good as ­— if not better than ­—  the original. I mean, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back anyone?

As a well-documented lover of sequels, I am here to offer my defense of the second novel. More than the unloved middle child in a trilogy, more than a shadow of its predecessor, a truly good second book takes everything you loved about the first one and amps it up. Way up. More drama, more romance, more suspense, more intrigue. Here’s my list of second books that live up to — and sometimes even surpass — the first books.

Second Books in a Series That Live Up to the First

SPOILER ALERT: Some of the descriptions of second books will spoil the first book for you. If you haven’t started a series yet, you are WARNED!

1. Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

(Second book in the Last Hours series)

The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare.


2. Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson

(Sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns)

In this delightful sequel novella to the New York Times bestselling Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!


3. He Who Breaks the Earth by Caitlin Sangster

(Sequel to She Who Rides the Storm)

Wicked Saints meets There Will Come a Darkness in this sequel to the atmospheric She Who Rides the Storm that follows the four thieves turned unlikely allies as one of their own decides where their loyalties lie.


4. The Song of Wrath by Sarah Raughley

(Second book in the Bones of Ruin trilogy)

Penny Dreadful meets The Gilded Wolves in this captivating sequel to young adult historical fantasy The Bones of Ruin that follows immortal Iris as she desperately tries to thwart her destructive destiny.


5. Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

(Second book in the Eldest Curses series)

From #1 New York Times bestselling authors Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu comes the second book in the Eldest Curses series and a thrilling new adventure for High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood, for whom a death-defying mission into the heart of evil is not just a job, it’s also a romantic getaway.


6. Misfit in Love by S. K. Ali

(Second in Saints and Misfits series)

Janna Yusuf is so excited for the weekend: her brother Muhammad’s getting married, and she’s reuniting with her mom, whom she’s missed the whole summer. And Nuah’s arriving for the weekend too. It’s time for Janna’s (carefully planned) summer of love to begin—starting right at the wedding.


7. Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto

(Second book in the Crown of Feathers Trilogy)

When Crown of Feathers came out, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. Suddenly I couldn’t wait for the next one because I NEEDED to know what Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev were doing next. Well the wait is almost over and our favorite Phoenix rider is back and on new adventures! So add this to your TBR now because it’s definitely a can’t-miss book!


8. Chosen by Kiersten White

(Second book in the Slayer duology)

The epic sequel to Slayer, is an absolute must-read. Set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nina works to understand her powers as a Slayer while also fighting the dark forces of evil. If you haven’t read Slayer yet, what are you doing?! Go read it now! (And then read Chosen).


9. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

(Second book in the Arc of a Scythe Trilogy)

Picking up where Scythe left off, Neal Shusterman weaves story of corruption and intrigue as Rowan and Citra struggle with their positions on the morality of the Scythedom. The Thunderhead, the ever-present perfect ruler of a perfect world has no control over how the Scythedom rules, but it watches, deciding whether to intervene or stay neutral as the perfect world begins to unravel.


10. Containment by Caryn Lix

(Second book in the Sanctuary Trilogy)

Kenzie and her superpowered friends escaped from Sanctuary…barely. Now they’re stuck on a stolen Alien ship with nowhere to go. Now everyone is dealing with the memories of the aliens they encountered on Sanctuary and hiding their own dark secrets. But when Kenzie intercepts a radio message saying that more aliens are on their way, she and her friends might be the only hope at stopping them before they reach Earth. But aliens aren’t the only things hunting them…


11. The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

(Second Book in the Diabolic Trilogy)


The Diabolic was one of my favorite stand-alone books in 2016, so I was extremely excited to find out it was becoming a trilogy! I wasn’t ready to let Nemesis and her world go. Luckily, the second book, The Empress is just as suspenseful and riveting as the first. Tyrus, Nemesis’ love, has ascended the throne, defeating his evil uncle and grandmother. But it’s easier to get power than it is to keep it, and soon Nemesis and Tyrus are facing off against religious and political rivals, in a battle that could destroy them both.


12. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

(Second Book in the Dark Artifices Trilogy)

good books for teens

It’s no secret that Cassie Clare can turn out a sequel, but she still manages to shock me with just how good she is. Lord of Shadows takes all of the heartbreak and action of Lady Midnight and raises the stakes impossibly higher. Emma Carstairs thought avenging her family would be the most difficult challenge, but now there’s a possible faeirie war brewing, and her complicated romantic feelings for her parabati threaten both of their lives.


13. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

(Second Book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy)

The sweet, relatable, and genuinely wonderful romantic antics of Lara Jean continue in this wonderful follow-up. Lara Jean didn’t mean to actually fall in love with Peter K, but along the way their pretend relationship turned into a real one. Now she has to navigate what it’s like to be in a real relationship, while also dealing with the return of a boy from her past.


14. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

(Second Book in the Mara Dyer Trilogy)


The sexy, dark, and thrilling mystery of Mara Dyer continues to unravel in this second novel. Mara used to think she could outrun the past. She used to think her problems were all in her own head. She used to think the boy she loves would never keep anything from her. But everything she thought she knew seems to be wrong. As the truth evolves, Mara must make some difficult choices — choices that might just prove deadly.


15. Pretties by Scott Westerfield

(Second Book in the Uglies series)

Tally Youngblood has finally become a Pretty. She has it all — perfect looks, perfect clothes, and the perfect boyfriend. But even with all the nonstop parties and high-tech luxury, Tally can’t help but feel a nagging sense that something is wrong. That she’s forgetting something important. Then a message arrives from her Ugly past — one that reminds Tally of what’s wrong with Pretty life, and of the rebel past she’d forgotten.


Don’t forget to check out these authors’ second standalone novels that are as good as their firsts!

Is there anything better than a good cry? The emotional release I get from crying is so deeply satisfying that it can power me for days. There are so many books out there that move me to tears — because they’re particularly sad, or because they’re incredibly joyful, or because they just cut to the depth of the human experience in a way that moves me. Whatever the reason, after I wipe my tears and my snot away, I always feel better about myself and the world. If you’re searching for a good, cathartic cry I’ve rounded up a list of books that get me every time.

18 Books That Will Make You Cry

1. All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott

From the team behind #1 New York Times bestseller Five Feet Apart comes a gripping new romance that asks: Can you find true love after losing everything?


2. Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez

In the tradition of Jason Reynolds and Matt de la Peña, this heartbreaking, no-holds-barred debut novel told from three points of view explores how difficult it is to make it in life when you—your life, brown lives—don’t matter.


3.  Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson in March 2019!

In this moving story that’s perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives.


4. This Might Hurt a Bit by Doogie Horner

Kirby Burns is still grieving the death of his sister, which happened exactly one year ago. Ever since then he hasn’t stopped running: from his family, his memories, and the horse-sized farm dogs that chase him to the bus stop every morning.

But he can’t run forever, and as This Might Hurt a Bit begins, Kirby and his friends PJ and Jake sneak out of his house to play a prank whose consequences follow them to school the next day, causing a chain reaction of mayhem and disaster. It’s a story that’s touching and funny, an authentic meditation on the pain of loss, and the challenge of getting paint to stick to cows.


5. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

After Rumi’s sister dies in a car accident, Rumi is sent to live in Hawaii with her aunt. With the help of a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and her sister never had the chance to finish.


6. When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert

From award-winning author Kelly Loy Gilbert comes a “beautifully, achingly cathartic” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) romantic drama about the secrets we keep, from each other and from ourselves, perfect for fans of Permanent Record and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.


7. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman

After the painful death of her younger sister, Ellery doesn’t want to live anymore. She can’t bare to face her family and she blames herself for the accident that killed her sister. Now she’s bought a gun and is ready to take her life. She has a plan.

Then, on the day she intends to take her own life, she meets Colter, a boy who recognizes her desperation and becomes determined to stop her.


8. See All The Stars by Kit Frick

Then: They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. (Venus. Earth. Moon. Sun.) Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.
Now: Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever. 


9. The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

In a year of firsts—the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom—Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go.


10. The Place Between Breaths by An Na

Sixteen-year-old Grace is smart and responsible. She’s going to help her father find a cure for schizophrenia, the mental illness that her mother had before she left them, disappearing. They’re going to find a breakthrough. But something inside Grace has started to unravel. A stark and fascinating look at mental illness, as well as an interesting and provocative read.


11. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Twins Adina and Tovah have little in common except for their carefully planned futures. But those futures could be wrecked by the illness that might be hiding in their genes — Huntington’s, a degenerative disease that turned their mother into a stranger. When the girls get tested for Huntington’s the results are devastating. One twin is negative. The other is positive. Opposite outcomes push them even farther apart, and change everything. I have an extremely soft spot for books about complicated sibling dynamics, and this one really resonated. Heartbreaking and brilliantly written, it’s a can’t miss debut.


12. The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

I’ll start with a big trigger warning for this one, as it follows the aftermath of a sexual assault — but it’s a book about healing, trauma, and finding inner strength that carries a lot of meaning and is guaranteed to get you in tears. Eden was looking forward to high school, but now everything is different. Nothing makes sense anymore, so instead of telling anyone what’s happened she buries it — and she buries her old self, too. Told in four parts across the four years of high school, this book is a phenomenal, heartbreaking tale of strength and survival.


13. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Artistotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

A lot of books on this list made me sad-cry, so here’s one that made me happy-cry instead. Aristotle is angry. His brother’s in prison, and no one seems to talk about it. When he meets know-it-all Dante, who has an unusual way of looking at the world, they seem to have nothing in common. But as these two loners come together, they start to discover a special bond that will change both of them for a lifetime.


14. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

And we’re back to sad crying! Taylor Edward’s family isn’t the closest-knit, as overscheduled and busy as they are, but they get along fine. And Taylor herself is doing fine, even if she does have a slight tendency to run away from her problems. Then Taylor’s dad is diagnosed with cancer, and the prognosis is bad — only a few months left to live bad. The Edwards’ decide to spend one last summer altogether at their lake house, and Taylor discovers that there are some problems you can’t run away from.


15. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

If you’ve ever been crushed by rejection or struggled through self-doubt, you need to read Starfish. Kiko Himura has a hard time saying what she’s thinking. It doesn’t help that she lives with her white mother, who’s dismissive of Kiko at every turn. But it doesn’t matter, because Kiko has a dream — she’s going to go to Prism, a prestigious art college, and then everything will change. But when she doesn’t get accepted to Prism, Kiko’s devastated. And things are made worse when her mother invites her abusive uncle to live with them. When a childhood best friend reappears in her life with the offer to move out west and look at art schools, Kiko jumps at the chance to leave. Now, away from her mother for the first time in her life, she has to figure out who she really is, and what she really wants.


16. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.


17. The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely

The point of living is learning how to love. That’s what Gpa says. To Hendrix and Corrina, both seventeen but otherwise alike only in their loneliness, that sounds like another line from a pop song that tries to promise kids that life doesn’t actually suck. Okay, so: love. Sure. One hot July night, Hendrix and Corrina decide to risk everything. They steal a car, spring Gpa from his assisted living facility, stuff Old Humper the dog into the back seat, and take off on a cross-country odyssey from LA to NY. With their parents, Gpa’s doctors, and the police all hot on their heels, Hendrix and Corrina set off to discover for themselves if what Gpa  says is true—that the only stories that last are love stories.


18. The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together? While the adults’ plan for the future, box up their possessions and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.


Looking for more? Check out these books that will make you laugh!

Who doesn’t love a good love story? Two people brought together against all odds in a hectic world; best friends who realize, slowly, they were meant to be together forever; two paths intertwined by destiny…*sigh* I’m a sucker for them. But what I really love are love stories where people aren’t meant to be together, or more specifically, aren’t allowed to be together. Where, for some reason or another, their love is forbidden — by the government, by society, by their families, by fate, or sometimes by the universe itself.

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite forbidden romances below!

13 Unforgettable Forbidden Romances

1. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

It doesn’t get more forbidden love than a Romeo and Juliet retelling! Set in 1920s Shanghai, Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang, must work with her sworn enemy and first love, Roma Montagov, heir to the rival White Flowers gang to stop the mysterious killings plaguing their city.


2. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Two star-crossed lovers fight for a more just world in this searing novel with a critically-acclaimed BBC series adaptation now streaming on NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform!


3. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott and Mikki Daughtry

Can you love someone you can never touch?

In this moving story that’s perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within a few feet of each other without risking their lives. Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Yet, as the two start to fall in love, distance is harder than it has ever been for either one of them.


4. Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson

When Lane’s crush, Grey, becomes her stepbrother and moves into her house, things are bound to get complicated. With only a wall separating their bedrooms, the two try to ignore the undeniable chemistry between them, which is made all the more complicated by the fact that Grey has a girlfriend.


5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray thinks her life is perfectly normal until the night her mother disappears. This is her introduction to the Shadowhunters, a secret group of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back into their own. Clary must team up with blonde, handsome, and infuriating Shadowhunter Jace to track down her mother. As Clary and Jace’s attraction grows, things get increasingly complicated. After all, Clary’s not a Shadowhunter, she’s just a regular human . . . isn’t she?


6. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

It isn’t really a Shadowhunters book without some delightful forbidden romance, which means sequel series The Dark Artifices is filled with it too. Emma and Julian are parabati, who, by Shadowhunter law, cannot be in a romantic relationship. So, when the two start developing feelings for each other, things get messy. Oh, and on top of all of that, there’s a war brewing. It all makes for thrilling reading!


7. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

On their 16th birthday, everyone undergoes extensive plastic surgery to become Pretty. Tally Youngblood wants to be Pretty more than anything. Her friend Shay wants nothing less. When Shay defects from society to join a band of rebel Uglies, Tally is tasked with bringing them down. But when she finds the rebels, she finds herself surprisingly attracted to David, their leader.  This one’s twofold forbidden: not only is David a rebel, and therefore their relationship would prevent Tally from achieving her dream of being Pretty….he’s also Shay’s boyfriend.


8. Lizzie by Dawn Ius

In this modern-day retelling of the Lizzie Borden case, painfully shy Lizzie spends most of her time in the kitchen of her family’s B&B, dreaming of becoming a chef and escaping out from her tyrannical parents. When the B&B hires Bridget Sullivan as a new maid, Lizzie is instantly drawn to her — a bond that quickly becomes more than friendship. But Lizzie’s parents forbid it, and as Lizzie chafes against their restraints, she starts to feel as if she’s going mad.


9. American Panda by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Mei is an early freshman at MIT, having skipped fourth grade. This is all part of her parents’ master plan for her future — become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and produce a litter of babies. But Mei has to face some harsh truths. Like that she hates germs and biology lectures, that she doesn’t want to give up her passion for dancing, and that she definitely has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi — who is decidedly not Taiwanese.


10. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


Artistic prodigy Isobel may work with the fair folk, painting them for favors, but she knows better than to trust them. When she’s tasked with painting Rook, the autumn prince, Isobel makes a grave mistake and paints mortal sorrow in his eyes. Furious, Rook takes her away to his kingdom for trial. But things are amiss in the world of the fair folk, and Rook and Isobel find themselves relying more and more on each other — a dangerous thing, considering love between fair folk and mortals violates the fair folk laws.


11. The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw


Two centuries ago, three sisters living in Sparrow were sentenced to death for witchery and drowned. Now Sparrow is cursed, and for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the return, a strange named Bo Carter arrives. And as Penny and Bo start to fall for each other, someone else starts to fall for Bow as well — one of the Swan sisters. And so Penny must choose: save Bo, or save herself.


12. Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Kenzie,prison-guard-in-training, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures. What happens when she starts falling for someone she should have never even met?


13. Want by Cindy Pon

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO.


Looking for more? Check out these adorable romances that will make you believe in love!

I absolutely adore beautiful book covers. Good writing is important, but a good cover design can really bring a book to the next level! A fun thing that I’ve noticed is that so many of my favorite books actually have different covers in different countries. There are so many cool, stunning international versions of books that it makes me totally envious! I rounded up a few of my favorite foreign book covers — check them out below!

10 Foreign Covers so Beautiful We Wish We Could Own Them

1.City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – UK Edition

The US covers of the Mortal Instruments books are absolutely iconic, but there’s so much rich imagery in these books that there’s plenty of room to play with cover designs. This recent UK adult repackage of City of Bones is totally stunning, and features so many intricate little details — the angel wings contain runes, the Mortal Cup, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Institute, and, of course, Jace and Clary themselves. And it’s PINK! Seriously considering hopping a plane just to grab this one.


2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard – UK Edition

This one might be a bit of a cheat considering the UK is actually the original publisher — making the US the true foreign edition — but I’m putting it on here anyway because, just wow! The color scheme here is stunning, and the swirling heart affect clues you into what a sweet, romantic book you’re picking up.


3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld –  Russian Edition

Uglies takes place in a universe where regular looking people are considered Ugly, and everyone has to undergo plastic surgery at sixteen. And not just any plastic surgery — ultra-advanced, high-tech plastic surgery, which allows for wild, inhuman appearances. That means cover designers get to have a lot of fun with this series, as evidenced by this Russian version. The flower embroidery is beautiful, but the lines across her face and the expression on the model betray there’s something sinister underneath that beauty. A true stunner!


4. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – German Edition

The Diabolic is another great sci-fi novel that plays with the idea of beauty and power, and of the sinister underbelly of an elite ruling class. The German take on Diabolic portrays that excellently. There’s something deeply sinister about the greyscale of the cover and the bright blue of the eye – you know there’s more to this girl than meets the eye.


5. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale – UK Edition

The Beast is an Animal is a dark, atmospheric fantasy that will send you reeling. The UK cover really leans into the classic fairy tale feel — but still leaves you with the sense that this story will be more Grimm than Disney.


6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – German Edition

Aristotle and Dante meet at a swimming pool, so it’s appropriate that the German version of the book features one prominently. But this cover also absolutely captures one of the main conflicts of the book — the inner turmoil of Ari. The figure in the pool is anything but relaxed, and you get the feeling immediately that this peaceful, beautiful book will have a great amount of depth.


7. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – UK Edition

The town of Sparrow is cursed. Every year the spirits of three witches return to down men in the murky waters surrounding the towns. The UK cover really leans into the water aspect, creating a beautiful image that manages to also feel sinister — look at that hand reaching up! Spooky!


8. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren – Dutch Edition

Autoboyography is a sweet, tender love story, and this deceptively simple Dutch cover absolutely captures that feeling. I adore the clean lines and silhouetted figures — who convey so much in just a little body language. And the typeface is stunning! Plus, the title is a little different in Dutch — directly, it’s My Version of You. Adorable!


9. The Empress by S.J. Kincaid – UK Edition

The UK cover of The Empress uses the same central image as the US cover — a live raven rashing into the statue of a dove — but a very different background color. There’s something so striking about the colors here, and it totally leaps out at you.


10. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell – Dutch Edition

Similarly, the Dutch edition of The Last Magician features a version of the image on the back cover of the US edition. But this picture of the Brink is a fantastic front cover too, and definitely captures the dark, fascinating magic lying behind this book.

Who doesn’t love a good twist? The moment that makes you gasp, literally. The sentence that changes everything you thought you knew. The reveal that characters you thought were trustworthy were actually the bad guys the whole time! As a voracious reader, I often pride myself on being able to predict plot twists, but there are some truly brilliant titles out there that have completely stunned me. I’ve gathered a list of some of these books for you to check out below!

WARNING: I do not give away the actual twists in any of these books, but obviously I am telling you every one of these books has a twist. If you consider the knowledge of a twist to be a spoiler, well. You’ve been warned. Read at your own risk.

And onto the books!

16 Books With Plot Twists You Have to Read to Believe

1. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soul mate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world. But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest… And it was Elise who pulled the trigger. As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her. Told in alternating timelines, this twisted psychological thriller explores the dark side of obsessive friendship.

2. All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick

In this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their lives intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secret. Amanda Kelly is the daughter of small town social climbers, dating real estate heir Carter Shaw. Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend against her Christian fundamentalist parents by carrying on a fake relationship with Carter on the side. Now, Amanda and Rosalie are roped into a bid to take Carter down and unmask their stalker, known as Private, before Private uproots their lives.

3. The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone

When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. But when a fellow staffer turns up dead, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy. If it doesn’t get him killed first.

4. Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill

It seems too good to be true when Daniel Tate, missing since he was ten, turns up on a snowy street in Vancouver six years later. And it is. That boy isn’t Daniel Tate. But he wants to be. A young con artist, this impostor has stumbled onto the scam of a lifetime: every comfort and privilege with a family that loves him. Until he realizes that maybe Daniel isn’t missing at all. Maybe someone knows what really happened to the boy he’s pretending to be…and if he can’t uncover the truth—he could be next the next Daniel Tate to disappear.

5. The Sisterhood by A. J. Grainger

When Lil sees a girl lying in the road near her house she thinks for a heart-stopping moment that it’s her missing sister, Mella. The girl is injured and disorientated and Lil has no choice but to take her home, even though she knows something’s not right. The girl claims she’s from a peaceful community called The Sisterhood of the Light, but why then does she have strange marks down her arms, and what—or who—is she running from?

6. Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Stella Gordon is forced to make a fresh start in Thunder Basin, Nebraska when she witnesses a violent crime and becomes part of the witness protection program. She can’t tell anyone who she truly is, not even Chet Falconer, the one boy who makes her want to reveal her true self. But danger is fast approaching, and Stella may have made the one mistake that could lead the cold-blooded men hunting for her right to her doorstep.

7. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Seventeen-year-old Cat Agatta is a hacker — specifically a gene-hacker, living in a world where people are implemented with technology to recode their DNA, and the world is beset by a devastating plague. But it’s possible her father found a cure. The only problem is he’s dead —  and he’s hidden it so only Cat can find it. Please trust me when I tell you this book has the single most buckwild plot twist in the history of plot twists. I screamed out loud!

8. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

The cops say June’s ex-best-friend Delia burned herself to death, a gruesome suicide. But June doesn’t believe it. Before the night a year ago that changed everything, June and Delia were closer than anything. June knows Delia didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. Now June just has to find out who did it — a truth that is more complicated than she can imagine, and will totally shock you.

9. See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Then, they were four — Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. (Venus. Earth. Moon. Sun.) Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system. Now Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by lies, deception and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever. Told in alternating timelines, this debut will have you turning the pages to figure out just what happened then to make Ellory so broken now.

10. The Place Between Breaths by An Na

Sixteen-year-old Grace’s mother struggled with schizophrenia for years until, one day, she just disappeared. Ever since, Grace and her father have been consumed with finding a cure. And one day, they make a breakthrough. Grace stumbles across a string of code that could be the key. But something inside Grace has started to unravel. Mesmerizing and disturbing, this book is unputdownable.

11. The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow, where two centuries ago three sisters were sentenced to death for witchcraft and drowned in the waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return — stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls and luring boy into the harbor to drown them. Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year something’s different — a boy named Bo Carter has arrived, unaware of the danger he’s stumbled into.

12. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, and no misery: humanity has conquered all of those things. Humanity has conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life — and are commanded to do so, in order to keep the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice the honorable Scythe Faraday, a role neither wants, and that will put them into the midst of a political battle that neither one is prepared for.

13. Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

When Sasha’s best friend Xavier gets back together with his cheating ex, Ivy, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. So she poses as a guy online to lure Ivy away. But Sasha’s plan for petty revenge goes sickeningly wrong. And she soon learns to be careful of who you pretend to be, because you might be surprised by who you become. Lynn Weingarten is the queen of twisty books, and her latest will leave you reeling.

14. I’ll Never Tell by Abigail Haas

Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends have jetted off to Aruba for Spring Break of their senior year. It’s meant to be fun, exciting, and debaucherous. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, accused of the crime. But who really did it? After all, doesn’t everyone seem guilty if you look closely enough?

15. Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. Daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they’re the perfect all-American family — on the surface. Beneath the façade, each sister has her own dark secrets. Secrets that aren’t meant to be kept. Pretty soon it’s obvious neither sister can handle it alone, and one of them must step up to save the other. The only question is — who?

16. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When Clary heads out for a night of dancing at the Pandemonium club, she’s not expecting to witness a demon slaying. With that, Clary’s thrown into the world of the Shadowhunters, elite warriors who hunt the monsters of the world. When Clary’s mother is kidnapped, she must turn to the Shadowhunters to get to the bottom of it all. Another true shocking twist is at the end of this book — if you want to see my actual-real time reaction, check out my post about reading City of Bones for the first time here!

Friends. Romans. Countrymen. I have a confession to make.

I have never actually read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

I know! Shock! Betrayal! How could I — a YA lover, a Riveted eboard member, a noted urban fantasy fan — have never read City of Bones? How could I have made such a massive error? That’s what my friends and fellow Riveted staff all asked me — and they were right! It was an error. This book is so embarrassingly in my wheelhouse that the fact I haven’t gotten around to it is astonishing. But no more. No more living in shadows. No more not getting all of your probably excellent Shadowhunters jokes. For today is the day where I finally read City of Bones — and write about it, for you all to enjoy.


  • All these reactions happened in real time — this is not a retrospective post, this is my live, up-to-the-minute commentary in blog post form.
  • In the interest of appealing to my fellow YA-lovers who have yet to pick up City of Bones, I’m keeping this spoiler-free! My reactions are largely context removed, but they are tied to specific chapters up until the end. All that said, if you’re one of those people who thinks even knowing a twist exists counts as a spoiler, or that knowing anything going in is spoiler-y consider this an Official Warning.

What I knew about City of Bones going in: 

  1. It takes place in New York City
  2. Everyone loves Jace
  3. Clary is totally awesome
  4. I am like 90% sure vampires show up at one point
  5. Everyone has these really cool tattoos that look super goth and awesome.

And that’s it! So without further ado, here it is — my reactions to my first time reading City of Bones.

Chapter 1:

Simon, at a club, not dancing and making sarcastic commentary — deeply and unbelievably relatable.

Fun fact! I once took our “Who’s Your Shadowhunter Boyfriend” Quiz and got Alec! So even though I know literally nothing about him at this point, I have decided to stan. That’s my boy!

Isabelle having a whip is VERY COOL and VERY GOTH. I stand by my goth assessment from before I started.

Chapter 3:

Alright y’all, I know Jace is your boy but . . . he seems kind of like a jerk? I’m hesitant. Then again, all great broody heroes start off as jerks, so I’ll hold my judgments.

Alec is also a jerk, but since I have already decided to stan him, I will overlook this for now.

Threatening to kidnap girls is BAD FLIRTING! Don’t do this!

Chapter 4:

I am only 50 pages in and this is an emotional roller coaster.

Chapter 5:

Do Isabelle and Clary become best friends? I want them to be best friends. I have decided, and I will speak this into existence.

Alec: Isabelle hails from one of the greatest Shadowhunter dynasties. [Clary] hails from New Jersey.
Yes atta girl kill him with your Brooklyn rage!!!! GO METS BABY

City of Bones, AKA: Why Is Everyone Being So Mean to Clary She’s Having a Very Traumatic Day Will Someone Please Give This Girl a HUG.

Chapter 6:

Jace doing something incredibly reckless with only 90% certainty it will work is RELATABLE

Clary: *slaps Jace*

 Chapter 8:

I love that Clary just refuses to take Jace’s crap. You go girl!

That said, 115 pages in I am reluctantly warming up to Jace.

Also, every time Jace’s hair is described this is what I picture:

Chapter 10:

Now that we’re getting into the backstory I’ll say this — the idea that a lot of characters who are currently pretty good people were involved in evil stuff in the past is one of my absolute favorite things that stories do. People aren’t good or evil inherently — it’s a choice, and you can always walk away from the dark side.

Jace doesn’t lie?? My favorite trope is “Character Who Refuses to Lie?” How dare he make me start to like him! Frankly.

 Chapter 12:

Magnus Bane has had three lines is already in my top three favorite characters.

 Chapter 13:

“Sorry, your angst isn’t the result of your magic past, it’s just, like, standard teenage angst.” Cassie Clare, you are after my own heart with this writing!

Magnus is extremely deep and also somehow very silly and if that is not the #aesthetic we as a society should be aiming for then I don’t know what is.


A RAT!!!!

A RAT!!!!

Chapter 14:

[mild spoiler] I KNEW vampires showed up at some point!!!

Jace’s ability to maintain witty dialogue under dire straits has officially upgraded him to a Character I Kind of Like. I am sorry, past me, to have disappointed you this way.

Chapter 17:

I am having . . . emotions



Chapter 19:

Jace Wayland slamming Staten Island mid-battle is when I truly and officially fell in love with him. You win, City of Bones, you win.

As for how I’m feeling about the rest of this chapter:




Chapter 20:

What’s up I have been reduced to an absolute disaster by the second half of this book.

The Rest of the Dang Book:

(I won’t lie, I lost track of chapters because the book became officially impossible-to-put-down at this point.)

Look, I don’t have any witty comments for the last two hundred pages of this book. I am alternating violently between:

Wait, I’m sorry — sister?

. . . Sister?

S I S T E R???? 

I need a minute

I need a hundred minutes

I am . . . LOSING IT


Final Thoughts:

I read this book in, like, two (kind of long) sittings. Once I was hooked I was hooked.

I started off hating Jace and by the end I’m fully like

I love all of my children — all of my beautiful, demon hunting children.

If you have not read this book what are you waiting for honestly go read it and then come and bug me in the comments here and we can cry about it together.

If you have read it, I hope I brought back some fun nostalgia for you, or at least you laughed at what an utter fool I was going into all of this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go track down a copy of City of Ashes. No one speak to me for a week. At least.


Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about social justice in the world. More and more youth are becoming active in their communities, attending protests, getting involved in local politics, and generally standing up for what they believe in. With this new wave of civic engagement, there are a ton of new books about social issues and social justice cropping up, and I absolutely love it.

For all you budding activists out there, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite books that feature social issues as a main plot point. Let me know what your favorite social justice books are, and how reading has inspired you to get active in your community in the comments below!

LBTQ+ Issues

Draw the Line by Laurent Linn— activism against homophobia

Read the extended excerpt ofDraw the Line by Laurent Linn!

Adrian Piper, a gay, artistic sci-fi geek, is content being invisible in his Texas hometown until a hate crime turns his world upside down. Features awesome LBGTQ characters, a super touching romance, and beautiful interior illustrations.

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins— bullying and suicide; activism against homophobia


Ellen Hopkins is one of the best authors these days actively talking about those difficult-to-discuss subjects in YA. Rumble follows Matthew, who’s dealing with the aftermath of his brother Luke’s suicide. Matthew can’t help but blame himself for not paying more attention to Luke and the bullying he was enduring. That blame threatens his relationship with Hayden, the love of his life. But outside forces are at work too when Hayden’s father begins pressuring the school library to ban books with homosexual content. A fantastic book that tackles many issues — including the complex issue of banning books. Read it for Banned Books Week, coming up this September! 

Rape Culture and Other Feminist Issues

I Have The Right To by Chessy Prout— rape culture, bullying 

This nonfiction title’s not coming out until March of 2018, but I am so excited for it that I have to put it on here. It’s the memoir of Chessy Prout, a teenage girl who was the victim of a sexual assault at her elite prep school in New Hampshire. Chessy chose not to stay anonymous and instead told her story, starting the anti-rape culture social media campaign #IHaveTheRightTo. Chessy is a personal hero of mine, and I am so excited to read this book!

Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell— rape culture, homophobia, sexism

kaleidoscope song

A lot of titles on this list center on the United States, but people all of the world are engaged in activism. Kaleidoscope Song, which comes out on September 19th, is an amazing story about two teen girls in Africa who fall in love. Dealing with both homophobia and the horrifying practice of corrective rape, this book is a heartbreaking and wonderful read. 

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali — rape culture, Islamaphobia, sexism

Saints and misfits

SK Ali’s debut book stars Janna, a Muslim teen dealing with the usual issues of awkward high school politics and unrequited crushes. But she’s also dealing with the fact that she was sexually assaulted by a member of her mosque who’s held in high regard. Will Janna be able to overcome her own self-blame and reveal the Monster for who he really is?

Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed — rape culture, sexism


Nowhere Girls is one of my most anticipated fall reads (it hits shelves October 10th). New girl in town Grace is horrified to learn her new house used to belong to the family of a girl who was chased out of town for accusing some popular boys of raping her. She recruits fellow misfits Rosina (a bisexual girl from a Mexican immigrant family) and Erin (who has Asperger’s) to form the Nowhere Girls, an anonymous female collective that’s out for justice, and to challenge the culture they live in. 

Cherry by Lindsey Rosin — feminism, sex positivity


Social justice books can get a little dark, so lets throw some light, breezy reading on this list. Cherry is about four female friends who make a pact during their senior year to lose their virginities. Funny and fresh, Cherry is also refreshingly sex-positive, allowing its main characters to be as fun, flirty, and frank about sex as the boys get to be.


Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez – police brutality, racism

In the tradition of Jason Reynolds and Matt de la Peña, this heartbreaking, no-holds-barred debut novel told from three points of view explores how difficult it is to make it in life when you—your life, brown lives—don’t matter.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely — police brutality, racism 

All american boys

Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two of my favorite writers, collaborated on this title that takes a stark look at the reality of racism, police brutality, and white complacency. Sixteen year old Rashad just wanted to find a bag of chips, but instead he finds Paul Galluzzo, a cop who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter and beats him for “resisting arrest.” The only witnesses are the video camera at the store and Quinn, Rashad’s classmate and Paul’s cousin. When the tape gets out and Paul is accused of racial profiling, Quinn refuses to believe that his cousin is guilty of anything but a mistaken identity. But soon enough the town starts taking sides, and both Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they never considered before.

Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle – racism, civil rights, environmental protection

Margarita Engle’s childhood straddled two worlds: the lush, welcoming island of Cuba and the lonely, dream-soaked reality of Los Angeles. But the revolution has transformed Cuba into a mystery of impossibility, no longer reachable in real life. Margarita longs to travel the world, yet before she can become independent, she’ll have to start high school.

A Step From Heaven by An Na — racism, sexism, immigration, parental alcoholism

A Step From Heaven

This classic Printz Award-winner by An Na follows Young Ju, who moves from Korea to Southern California at the age of four. The US isn’t the heaven she thought it would be, and the language barrier and cultural differences make it hard for her to make friends. Plus, her parents financial difficulties are unraveling their marriage, and her father seems to be turning to booze more and more.

 Missing in Action by Dean Hughes  — historical racism

Missing in action

Half-Navajo Jay Thacker is used to being called names. But he has a chance for a new life with his grandfather in Delta, Utah. A life where Jay hopes to convince people that his father, who’s missing in action as World War II rages on, is really a POW and a war hero, and not just a disappeared dad. But as the summer goes on, Jay has to deal with some hard truths — about his father, about his friend Ken, who lives in an internment camp nearby, and about himself. An excellent read for anyone interested in historical fiction.

Class Inequality and Homelessness

 Want by Cindy Pon — class inequality, environmental issues 


Science fiction loves to explore the ways our real social systems will wind up hampering or helping us in the future. Such is the case in Cindy Pon’s Want, where the have-nots (mei) are forced to breathe environmentally polluted air, and the haves are able to purchase suits that help them breathe. When Zhou, a lower-class mei, decides to infiltrate the lives of the wealthy to destroy this inequality from within, he winds up facing more than he bargained for. 

Freefall  by Joshua David Bellin— class inequality, environmental issues


In this upcoming sci-fi novel (out September 26th!) class inequality and environmental problems meet once again. Cam is a privileged member of the 1% who’s been chosen to go on a colonization mission to save the human race as Earth becomes inhospitable. When he accidentally learns about Sofie, the leader of a rebel movement of “lowerworlders” trying to get on the colonization mission, he instantly falls for her. But things are complicated in love and politics. Told in alternating timelines, this is a jam-packed and suspenseful sci-fi story.

No Place by Todd Stasser — Homelessness

no place

Dan has it all — he’s a baseball star, he’s popular, and his girlfriend is the hottest girl in school. Then his house is foreclosed on, and his family is forced to move into the city’s Tent City. As Dan struggles to adjust, he also gets involved with the people fighting for better conditions for the homeless who populate Tent City, against the people who want it gone. 

  Dime by E.R Frank — teenaged prostitution, homelessness, foster care


Dime is lost in the foster care system. All she wants is someone to love her. Which is why she jumps at the chance for a real family with daddy and his two “wifeys.” She’s even willing to prostitute herself in order to earn their love. But when a new “wifey” joins the family, Dime discovers the hard way that her “daddy” doesn’t love her the way she thought she did. Can she find the courage to escape her situation?

America by E.R. Frank — Homelessness


America is racially ambiguous — mistaken for black, white, Asian, Native American. He doesn’t fit in anywhere, and is shuffled around the foster care system for eighteen years. When his time in the system is up, he’s booted to the streets, and to the brink of despair.

Alright, now that you’ve gotten through the list, you’re probably pumped up to go out and get involved. Lucky for you we have some books that can help you get started!

Do It Yourself Activism!

Philanthroparties by Lulu Cerone — general nonfiction guide to raising money for young people


When Lulu Cerone was ten, she was deeply affected by the earthquake in Haiti. She set out to raise money by creating a lemonade “war” with her class, raising over $4000. Now 17, Lulu offers some tips for other people looking to get socially active, showing you how to have fun while giving back and raising money for others.

One of my favorite trends from the past couple years has been enamel pins. They’re a cute, fun, and relatively cheap way to spruce up a jacket, tote bag, or backpack. While I’m a fan of pins of all sorts, as a bookish person I’ve become particularly obsessed with book related pins. What better way to let everyone know you’re a bookworm than by proudly displaying it in pin format? Plus — these are super cute. I’ve rounded up 20 of my favorite bookish pins for you below! What do you think — adding any to your to-buy pile?

First off, get literal with this bookish pin:


Or one of these bookworm ones:




Or this vintage-tattoo inspired one:



Let everyone know what your happy place is with this cutie:



Celebrate banned books with this cute pin:



And here’s the perfect pin to wear to opening night of your favorite book’s film adaptation:



If you love libraries you’ll love this sweet set:



Or this one:



If you’re a writer, celebrate that with this vintage typewriter:



Or this pen that remains mightier than the sword:



Let everyone know how you plan to spend a long weekend with this one:



Celebrate fairy tales with this pin’s classic opening line:



Shoo away the interrupters with this beauty:



If you’re a coffee person, this pin is perfect for you:



There’s nothing more dangerous than a well-read person, as this pin suggests:



And who hasn’t spend many a night claiming this:



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