YA Book That Will Change Your Life

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The Perks of Being A Wallflower

This astounding novel follows fifteen-year old introverted boy named Charlie through his freshman year of high school through a series of letters addressed to an unnamed person. Charlie takes us through the firsts of teenage life: first dance, first date, first kiss. The portrayal of high school is not ordinary– instead; it is raw and frank depictions of real problems such as drug abuse, mental health issues, teenage pregnancy, and suicide. The one line that I have learned to live by is, ” We accept the love we think we deserve.” The more inclusive and honest people are, and the more accepting they are of each other, the more harmoniously everyone will be in the long run.


4 YA Books Being Made Into Movies in 2018

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1. The Hate U Give

Two worlds. Sixteen year old Starr Carter lives in two vastly different worlds- one which consists of upper-crust suburban people who she attends her prep school with. The other being a poor neighborhood in which she grew up in. Both of her worlds are shook when she witnesses the police shooting her childhood best friend, Khalil, who was unarmed. After the incident, the murder receives national attention for all the wrong reasons. Khalil is given the reputation of having been a gangbanger, drug dealer, and thug. Starr is tore between the two worlds she inhabits but is determined to speak only the truth and uphold racial justice to fight for Khalil.


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2. Crazy Rich Asians

When Rachel Chu takes an international trip with her longtime boyfriend, Nicholas Young, to go his best friend’s wedding in Singapore, little did she know that she was in for a big surprise. As it turns out, her boyfriend comes from rich ( seriously ridiculously rich ) family and is considered as one of the country’s most elite bachelors. With this surprise comes a test of Rachel’s ability to withstand all the pressure from strange relatives, envious socialites, and –most of all– from Nick’s controlling mother.

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3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Spier is a 16 year old mustering the courage to unveil the truth about himself to his close and loving friends and family — the truth about his sexuality. Things take a change of path; however, when a blackmailer threatens to out his secret to the entire school when they find Simon’s exchange of emails with the anonymous Blue whom he has fallen for. Now, Simon must find a way to step out of his comfort zone while trying to discover the identity of Blue.


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4. The Darkest Minds 

After her life completely changed when she became ten years old, Ruby has stayed in a brutal government detainment camp, Thurmond. While she is there, she survives a disease that kills of a majority of the children; however, she and the others comes out with something far more dangerous– terrifying abilities. She is on the run from the captors and joins other runways to find their safe haven- the East River. They must escape their pursuers who are attempting to take away their future and fight together by combining their unique powers.


2 Books That Will Inspire You To Be An Activist

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I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Not many 16-year olds can say that they have fought the Taliban over the issue of not allowing girls to receive the education they need. There is one amazing woman who stood up against this group of overpowering, terrifying men and her name is Malala. Even though having lived in a small town in Pakistan’s Swat Valley with her illiterate mother and father who owned a school, she had a natural gift of speaking up for herself and the other females and children around her. This book shows you that it is possible to get through periods of hardship and have the motivation to surpass anything while having a burning passion in your heart for the thing you love. Malala displays this to us with her courage and strength to stand up for her right to education as a female in her society.

” When the whole world becomes silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai, activist

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I Will Always Write Back

In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin Alifirenka , an all-American 12-year old girl, and Martin Ganda ,14-year old boy who lives in Zimbabwe, recount how they became best friends –and better people–through letters. Their exchange of pen pal letters begins a six year correspondence between the two. Through this, they learn of each other, their life conditions, and their respective countries. When Caitlin gets to know of the difficult life Martin and his family lead, she does all she can to make it better and give him the chance to accomplish his dream- study at an elite university in America. Their story will inspire readers to look beyond their own lives and wonder about the world at large and their place in it. The book will hopefully instill a feeling of kindness into the reader’s hearts and inspire them to look outside their own lives and expand their own horizons.

4 of John Green’s Bestselling YA Books

By Sanchya Kansal

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Since a friendship had formed at age nine by an odd incident, Quentin Jacobsen had been in love with the idea of the magnificently dauntless Margo Roth Spielgelman – however- he admired her from afar. Nine years later, Margo Roth Spielgelman comes knocking on his bedroom window and whisks Quentin away for a night full of revenge on her “friends’ ” and mischief. Returning to school the next day, Quentin discovers that that the mysterious Margo has disappeared and is now determined to go on a quest for her using the clues she has left behind. The closer and closer he gets, the more he gets to know about the real Margo; not the one he is in love with.

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Fault in Our Stars 

This iconic John Green classic details the life of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year old girl who has cancer which has spread to her lungs – making her a ticking grenade. Now cue Augustus Waters, another cancer victim at the Cancer Kid Support Group who meets Hazel, changing her life forever. Make sure to have a box of tissues nearby as this book will definitely change your life too. Follow these two lovers on their trip to finding the unknown.

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Turtles All the Way Down

Aza Holmes, age 16, suffers from terrible anxiety an obsessive-compulsive disorder which she channels through a self-inflicted wound on her finger which she constantly reopens to drain and sanitize. She has to fight the tightening swirl of thoughts in her head which overpower her and, sometimes, she is defeated. While this struggle is ongoing, there is a mystery regarding a fugitive billionaire Russell Picket who just so happens to be Aza’s old friend’s, Davis’, father. As she and her best friend, Daisy, investigate this, they discover Davis’ life along the way.

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An Abundance of Katherines 

When it comes to relationships, child prodigy Colin Singleton has a very particular taste- girls whose names happen to be Katherine. But when it comes to the Katherines, he does not have much luck. He gets dumped- nineteen times to be precise. Determined to solve this debacle, Colin and his friend, Hassan, go on a road trip on a mission to prove a mathematical theorem which is The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability that will help him predict any future relationships.

Book Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

By Nitu Girish Mohan

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All it takes is 54 minutes to flip someone’s world around

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is not an easy read. Yes,  it may be short and fast-paced but what the story contains is much bigger than what it seems. No matter your age, this book will leave you heartbroken, grief-stricken, and reflecting on real-world events.

Fifty-four minutes is all it takes for a small school in Alabama to be put through more terror and trepidation than one can imagine. Tyler Browne, a high school dropout, arrives at school with a gun in hand and no mercy in mind. He begins shooting at innocent students and faculty trapped in the school’s auditorium, and he doesn’t show any sign of stopping. All the while, the story is told from four different students’ perspectives: Claire (who heard the gunshots and ran), Autumn (Tyler’s sister who is in the auditorium), Sylv (who is with Autumn and has a close relationship with her), and Tomàs (Sylv’s twin brother who is outside of the auditorium but stuck inside the building).

Throughout the novel, Nijkamp’s utilization of metaphors sets This is Where it Ends worlds apart from the rest. “The auditorium isn’t a hunting ground; it’s a shooting range. It’s a morgue.” The English language becomes molded clay under Nijkamp’s hands: portraying terrible scenes in powerful and compelling tones. “A thunderstorm of bullets shatters any inkling of hope.” She uses metaphors as a path from reality to disaster and conveys through her words the intertwining of both.

Nijkamp also employs a first-person point of view for all of the characters. Every time the point of view changes, the reader is given a look through a different character’s eyes. “The next gunshot make my knees buckle.” From these rapid changes, the reader either feels fear or hope or pure dread within a matter of minutes. “I take a deep breath and caress the rice paper between thumb and finger. And I let go.” Based on the different setting each character is placed in – whether it be with the shooter or without – the reader experiences a multitude of perspectives, and this brings style to her writing.

This is Where it Ends falls in the same category as books such as The Hate List and Nineteen Minutes; but rather than speaking of the aftermath of the shooting, This is Where it Ends gives the reader a real-time experience of the actions taken during the shooting as it happens; watching the story unfold in play-by-play action and never missing a single detail.

In my opinion, This is Where it Ends is a book that is breaking all norms. One thing that stood out to me, personally, was that Nijkamp made sure that her cast of characters was well-rounded and diverse. There are a variety of races, ethnic backgrounds, and ages present throughout the whole story. The fact that the main topic of This is Where it Ends is seen in the world today, especially in the United States,causes readers to think and reflect on what they are reading. After all, sometimes the most tremendous books don’t originate from our own imaginations but from today’s headlines.

Through multiple themes of mental health awareness, fact vs. fiction, and love and sacrifice are discerned throughout the story, all of them work in Nijkamp’s favor in propelling This is Where it Ends onto many bestsellers lists. Though the book may be short, one will never stop thinking about it.

One last thing: you will cry.


4 YA Books That Will Make You Cry

These books will leave you sobbing for reason that only they can tell.

Salt to the Sea

  1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

This Is Where It Ends2. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkampe

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting. Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

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3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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4. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair… Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell. Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter. With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.



By Nitu Girish Mohan