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unsung ya aka the best ya books you haven’t read. January 21, 2010

Posted by Katie in community.

So, maybe you’ve heard of this super awesome secret project run by Kelly of YAnnabe. Maybe you haven’t. She pulled me in by asking if I blogged, if I had LibraryThing, and if I had rated books there. Then, she sent me this in an email.

I would love for you to join me in a one-day blog post blitz titled “The Best YA Books You Haven’t Read.” You would pick 5 or 10 YA books you LOVE (or however many you want) to highlight in your post. The goal is to highlight YA books that haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. These books may not have made a splash when they were first released, so we’re going to make a splash for them.

I immediately said yes.

Kelly came up with a way to see which YA books we loved (using our LibraryThing ratings) that were unsung (using LibraryThing to determine how many people owned/rated/reviewed the books).

I’ve chosen to highlight five books today from my LibraryThing account!

Old Magic

By: Marianne Curley

Originally published: 2002. (You know, when I was in high school.) Republished: December 22, 2009.

The facts: Kate is a psychic. Jarrod is the new kid. Freaky things start to happen. Kate knows they’re related to Jarrod. Magic. Romance. Australian author.

I wanted this book desperately when it first came out. Saw it in Waldenbooks, but was saving money for college. So I didn’t buy it. Fast-forward to 2007 when I started my YA librarian position and weeded YA fiction. Found this book and the rest is history.

I’ve worn out a purchased copy already, folks. Just bought the re-cover and the Nook edition.

This book reminds me of exactly what I loved about YA fiction as a teen. I fell into the story so easily and just went with it. Paranormal romance from before “Twilight” was even a thought in someone’s mind. It’s definitely more of a light read, but I absolutely adore it. And might go re-read it once I post this.

Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire…Maybe

By: Kimberly Pauley

Originally published: 2008.

The facts: Mina’s got a problem. See, her parents are vampires and she’s not supposed to know about them. Now she’s got a choice: become a vampire and stay with her parents or have her memory erased.

Guys, this was my first ever ARC. That’s got nothing to do with how much I adored this book, but I wanted to mention it. Full disclosure and all.

What I loved about this book was that it was such a refreshing break from traditional vampire books. There’s no mystery, no horror, and no deeply troubling vampire-human romance. Mina’s a smart, witty, funny character and I loved watching her as she made her decision.

Additionally, there is a sequel coming and I cannot wait until it’s out. The ending is wrapped up, but open, and I’ve missed Mina since I finished this book.

How to Be Bad

By: E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle

Originally published: 2008.

The facts: Three girls. One road trip. Unforgettable memories.

I’m truly surprised that this book hasn’t gotten a lot of press. Not only are all of the authors of this book well received in the YA world, but it’s just a wonderful teen book. A great road trip story full of twists and turns, the characters are dynamic, and it’s one of my favorite collaborative works.

I’ve already written a classic review of this title on the blog which you can read here: “Classic Review: How to Be Bad.”

Prom Dates from Hell

By: Rosemary Clement-Moore

Originally published: 2007.

The facts: Maggie Quinn’s a teen reporter for her high school. So when something dark and nasty starts happening to kids at her school — you can bet she’s on the case. Even if it means going to prom…

I read this one in my YA literature class during supernatural/horror week. I had to run out and purchase it because it was a debut and only in two libraries in the system. So glad I did because it was my favorite book of the class.

Part mystery, part supernatural/horror, part romance, all humorous — this is a read sure to keep you up until you finish it (like it did for me!). The best part about it is that it’s totally a series, too. “Hell Week” and “Highway to Hell” round it out and I can only hope there’s more on the way.

The Black Sheep

By: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

Originally published: 2007.

The facts: Kendra’s sick of her parents. So, she signs up for a reality television show to switch places with another teen who’s also sick of her parents. Imagine her surprise when she’s actually chosen…

A light, fluffy read that I read while driving up the California coast (from L.A. to San Francisco) on a road trip. I might have really enjoyed the book because I was in California (where the book takes place), but I think I just enjoyed a great ride.

Kendra really grows up in the book and it’s a great book for tweens crossing into YA for the first time. It’s a quick read, but worth it.

And that’s the end of my unsung YA list for this time around. I’ll definitely be participating with this if Kelly ever wants to give it another whirl!



1. Kelly - January 21, 2010

Love the idea of including the originally published dates in your list! These all sound so great, I can’t believe I’ve only heard of ONE of them.

2. Audrey/brizmus - January 21, 2010

Ooh! I remember seeing Old Magic and desperately wanting to read it and then forgetting about it.
As for How to Be Bad, I actually, oddly, thought it was a terrible book.
Although I, too, wonder how it didn’t get more press, what with the authors being who they are and all.

3. Fyrefly - January 21, 2010

I’ve never heard of Old Magic before, but it absolutely looks like the kind of book that I could pick up and re-read on lazy Sunday afternoons when I’m not feeling well and just want something familiar. But I guess I should probably read it before I start re-reading it, eh? Off to the wishlist…

4. Abby - January 21, 2010

I loved Prom Dates from Hell! I read the sequel, too, and I keep meaning to pick up the latest one…

5. Kelly - January 21, 2010

Audrey, I wasn’t a huge fan of How to Be Bad, on the whole, either, but there were parts I really liked. I think for me it was personal preference because I tend not to connect well with books told in alternating viewpoints.

6. sandy rideout - January 21, 2010

Thanks for “singing” about us! We appreciate the kind words.

7. Sarah - January 21, 2010

Good suggestions! I know that How to Be Bad and Sucks to Be Me go out constantly in my teen section. I’ll have to check into the other titles.

8. historyofshe - January 21, 2010

Ahh, I remember reading Old Magic while in high school as well! I think I still have it on my shelves. . .

9. Erin - January 21, 2010

I’ve been meaning to read How to be Bad for awhile now! I’m a big fan of Sarah Mlynowski and I just recently discovered E. Lockhart Ruby series.

The vampire book looks cute. Reminds me a bit of Thirsy but M.T. Anderson.

10. Whitney - January 21, 2010

Ooh, I definitely want to read How to Be Bad!

11. melissa @ 1lbr - January 22, 2010

I haven’t read any of these! I will definitely have to check them out.

12. Lauren (I Was A Teenage Book Geek) - January 22, 2010

Some great looking titles there that I’ve never tried, thanks for sharing. I love Old Magic too, that’s a fantastic book.

13. Anastasia - January 22, 2010

Sucks to Be Me does sound cute. The teen vampire-who-isn’t-a-Dracula-kind-of-vampire is pretty prevalent nowadays, but more on the angst-y side of things. Lighthearted comedy would be refreshing!

14. Laura (Reading and Rooibos) - January 23, 2010

Sucks to Be Me has been on my to-read list ever since I got a little taste of it when putting together a brief bibliography of read-alikes for teen BtVS fans. Thanks for mentioning it. Maybe I’ll snap it up during my next library adventure. 🙂

15. Melissa Walker - January 24, 2010

Great list! I can’t believe I haven’t read HOW TO BE BAD yet–I love those authors!

16. November 2010 Wrap-Up: Books and Reviews « Fyrefly's Book Blog - December 1, 2010

[…] – Old Magic by Marianne Curley (Katie from Read What You Know’s fault) […]

17. Marianne Curley – Old Magic « Fyrefly's Book Blog - September 23, 2011

[…] come from? One of the last books I bought at my local Borders before it closed. Why do I have it? Katie’s post on Read What You Know as part of the Best YA Books You Haven’t Read event a year and a half ago. How long has it […]

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