Best YA Books of the Decade!

As we come swinging to a close, getting ourselves ready for the Roaring Twenties, I’m doing what I’ve seen a few bloggers and vloggers do, which is wrap up the decade with their top 10 favourite books from each of the years between 2010 and 2019. I initially spotted this idea on PeruseProject‘s YouTube channel, so definitely go check her out. (I’m in love with her weekend vlogs, like I can’t get enough! I would highly recommend.)

Let’s get to it!

BEST OF 2010: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I mean, come on. It has to win! The entire The Hunger Games trilogy is very near and dear to my heart. What started off as a recommendation from a friend quickly became an all-time favourite that I’m very excited to read again in the new year (especially with the up and coming prequel! 🤩)

In 2010 I was still in high school, still learning so much and so little. I buried my head in books to avoid people, (starting with Twilight, of course) and this was one of the many books that took me through that hard time. It’s also the first series that I saw in the cinemas after reading! It’s also one of the first few series I’d read back then, excluding Twilight and Vampire Academy.

Another book published in 2010 that’s worth mentioning is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. A book that was very popular on Booktube for a long while (and was the reason I picked it up!).

The Hunger Games Description:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


BEST OF 2011: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Another classic that picked up my heart and ran away with it. Though I must admit, that this book was read in a time where my heart was slowly beginning to part with reading, so I can’t say that I found the rest of this series as appealing as the first. (Don’t worry, the reading slump didn’t last too long!– 2 years)

I was very into the whole ‘the world is going to hell’ sort of plot. You know, just the traditional dystopian novel, it truly knew how to win over my noggin’. So this is the book that I’m crowing as ‘the best’ for 2011, because, duh, it is!

Another really good book published in 2011 was Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. It’s the spinoff/companion series to Richelle Mead’s six book series, Vampire Academy (which I’ve already commented on how much I loved as a teen!).

Divergent Description:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


BEST OF 2012: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

IT’S MY FAVOURITE SERIES OF ALL TIME!

Okay, I know that I’m one of those people that finds something I love and OBSESS over it. Throne of Glass is that book for me. I love the characters and the plot and the nifty way that Maas can throw in a plot twist without you realising and how she can foreshadow four books in advance. It’s just UUUGHH, so good!

This book also hit at a crucial time in my life — the last year of high school — and was such an improvement on my mood. I loved it so much, and couldn’t get it out of my head. I think all along I just wanted to read a book about a girl that’s got so much badassery but still knows how to control it. And don’t get me started on the rest of the series, I just love it all so much.

A few other books that won my heart (that were published in 2012):
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (fairytale retelling series)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (though I wasn’t obsessed with this book, I think it’s a very important read detailing some of the history of the LGBT+ community)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (It felt really nice to be apart of a book community again. Because of all the hype, there were so many fans that I could interact with.)

Throne of Glass Description:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


BEST OF 2013: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Remember how I mentioned a 2 year reading slump? Well this is the badboy that snapped me out of it. I believe Throne of Glass was one of the last few books I read before my love of reading went on vacation. I remember reading Throne of Glass the year is was released and was BUMMED when I went back to the bookstore only to discover that 1) the cashier didn’t even know who Sarah J Maas was – like, could you imagine that now? And 2) I would have to wait a WHOLE FREAKING YEAR.

But this isn’t about Throne of Glass (though I like to mention it as much as I can), this is about the beauty that snapped me out of it. I remember hearing so many good things about John Green (and I know what you’re thinking, ‘what the hell does John Green have to do with this?’, but I’m getting there), that when I saw his little review on the front of Fangirl I decided to pick it up. So yes, instead of picking up a John Green book, I chose one by Rainbow Rowell instead that John Green recommended, because that was my logic back then, and thank the heavens for that! (Not because John Green is bad, but because Rainbow Rowell is SO GOOD!)

I remember crying and pacing when I read this book. I had so many emotions running through me. I’d forgotten how much reading can affect a person. How involved you can become within those words and my own imagination. You have no idea how much I recommend this novel. It’s one of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read.

Another book that I love that was published in 2013 was The Archived by V.E Schwab. I just love the concept of being able to shelve souls like books. How cool is that?!

Fangirl Description:
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


BEST OF 2014: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Now, I didn’t read this one in 2014. In fact, I read it in 2017, so not too far off. I do believe I started reading it not too long before the third book was released. This was another one of those books that I picked up because of hype. There was so much noise about it that I needed to gather an opinion for myself, and it was good. I especially love the movie adaption for it! <insert heart eyes here>

It’s just such a cute and innocent little series that will melt your hard exterior away. Unlike a lot of contemporary novels that are tackling the harder issues like mental health, loss, abuse, racism, homophobia, and so on (though I do love these sort of books too), this one is just sitting here ready for a good time. There aren’t any underlying themes, it’s just there to let you have a good ol’ time.

Another good read published in 2014 is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. It was the first book of hers that I read, and it truly got me into the rest. Hook, Line, and Sinker.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Description:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.
But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.
As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. 


BEST OF 2015: Akarnae by Lynette Noni

Being a fellow Aussie myself, I love falling in love with books written by Australian’s. I also love a good urban fantasy. This one naturally is something I’ll love until the end of time, especially as with every book Lynette Noni publishes, they only get better and better.

I’ve been to every event that this woman has had in Brisbane, only because it’s so rare to have an incredible author right around the corner. So this author and this book have become close to my heart.

Other books that were incredible that were published in 2015 include:
Trick by Natalie Jaster (one of the first ever Indie published novels I’ve read)
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (these are incredible authors, and amazing people with heart.)
Night Owls by Jenn Bennett (Sooooo good.)

Akarnae Description:
Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.
While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.
An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?


BEST OF 2016: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

One of the first few audiobooks I ever listened to, and it was incredible. I still haven’t managed to get my hands on the sequels (though I really want to), this book is incredible on its own. I remember never wanting it to end as I listened. It wasn’t memorable in the sense I read it at the perfect time, or that its plot ‘spoke to me’. The truth of it is, it’s just a really good book.

Some more terrific books to put on your TBR from 2016:
When We Collided by Emery Lord (An incredibly fabulous contemporary)
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (This one made me sob a lot – it’s not a YA book either, I just really liked it)
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (a pretty fab historical fiction/crime novel!)

Ever the Hunted Description:
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.


BEST OF 2017: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

I love this novel. I love the adventure it took me on and the laughter and tears it gave me. I remember coming to the end of the audiobook, and walking the paddocks until it came to its unfortunate end. I love it so much, the characters, the plot, everything. I absolutely adored it!

It’s got all the hype it deserves. It’s such a good book! It holds a very near and dear place in my heart. I definitely recommend this one!

Other books that I highly recommend (that were published in 2017):
Missing by Kelley Armstrong (One of the first YA crime books I’ve read, and it was amazing!)
Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (Love a good crime/thriller, very unique to anything I’ve read before)
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel (An empowering novel about loss and the will to move on)
Black Witch by Laurie Forest (Despite my natural hate for politics, I actually really, really love this one)
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (one of the best sci-fi’s I’ve read in a long while)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Description:
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


BEST OF 2018: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I love Amie Kaufman, I truly do, and despite not being the biggest fan of Amie and Meagan’s first series together, I absolutely looove this series. I mean who doesn’t love a good puzzle? And this one deifitely had that. I have me gripping my boots for what would happen next. It’s a great adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns that had me falling in love with this book voer and over again.

Another set of great books released this year include:
What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (If you want to fall in love with a set of characters, this is the book to pick!)
Meet Cute by Various (A great selection of cute stories!)
I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman (If you’re searching for feels, this is a book to pick)
Whisper by Lynette Noni (remember how I said that her books only get better? This is a great example)

Unearthed Description:
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.
In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race… 


BEST OF 2019: It Sounded Better in my Head by Nina Kenwood

The last book of the decade!

This was a book I was fortunate enough to be offered an ARC of. (And I couldn’t be more grateful). This has no reflection on my opinion, it’s still very much my own. I just loved this book. It was sweet and heartfelt and offered all the right feelings when I read it. It made me feel younger again, and experience that first holiday after graduating. It’s truly a great book to tie up the decade.

What else did I read in 2019 that was amazing?
How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (If you want to cry a lot, I suggest reading this book. So good~!)
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (A great standalone fantasy!)

It Sounded Better in my Head Description:
When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.
It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.


And that’s all! I hope 2019 served you well, and that 2020 will only be an improvement!

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