Another of my recommendation series, this time, for standalone books! As great as it can be to marathon an epic series with tons of books, sometimes we just need a break and to read something different. That’s what these recommendations are for. I hope you find something in your favourite genre on this list.
#LoveOzYA: The Reluctant Jillaroo by Kaz Delaney
Harper Gage has won the opportunity of a lifetime – ten days at Winmaroo Jillaroo and Jackaroo school. The camp could give her the recommendation she needs to go to the exclusive Agricoll for years 11 and 12. But when an accident leaves Harper hospitalised, her twin sister, Heidi, goes in her place. The only problem is that Heidi is not much of a country girl – not like her sister. And to make life even more complicated, her sister’s biggest rival Trent is going to be there. Will she be able to fool him?
And then the reality of the school hits Heidi hard. It’s all dust, snakes and heat – a million miles away from the surf she loves. When she meets the fun and handsome Chaz, life at the school suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, although with Trent acting up and trouble brewing with the other students, Heidi’s not sure how long she can keep her identity secret. And if her secret is revealed, will Chaz ever be able to trust her again?
I read this book earlier this year and fell head over heels! Strangely relatable, completely hilarious, with an adorkable OTP, if you love YA contemporary romances then this book is definitely for you.
Fantasy: The Princess and the Captain by Anne Laurie Bondoux
Malva is the princess of Galnicia, destined to marry the Prince of Andemark. Or so her parents think. On the eve of her wedding, she escapes at dead of night from under her parents’ noses, little realising that she is letting herself in for a life of peril and adventure, including being shipwrecked in a huge storm and captured as part of a harem.
This book was one of the first epic fantasy adventure novels I ever read so it has become a personal classic for me and I reread it almost every year! Full of action and unexpected twists and turns, you’ll struggle to put this book down.
Thriller: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.
Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there…and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.
But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?
I don’t read many YA thrillers, but if they are all as amazing as this, then I am absolutely going to pick up more. My eyes were practically glued to the pages and I an extremely late night reading this because I was literally too scared to put it down (and turn the light off, because the dark can still be scary for almost adults)! And the setting undoubtedly added to the atmosphere and suspense.
Fairy Tale Retelling: Entwined by Heather Dixon
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.
This retelling is far more spine-chilling than the traditional tale! The Keeper is one of the scariest villains I’ve ever read but he is only one of the reasons this is an amazing book. As a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, there is a focus on familial relationship and it explores how much one can sacrifice for their family. And, of course, there is a little romance, too!
Paranormal: Fateful by Claudia Gray
Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.
Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.
Going into this book, I thought “I know the story of the Titanic; I know how this is going to end” and boy was I wrong! Although, thinking this, my heart was in my throat the whole time hoping that the inevitable wouldn’t happen. There are so many characters who you grow to love as you read this novel and it completely broke my heart knowing that not all of them will survive… or do they? You’ll never guess what is going to happen next with werewolves on the Titanic!
Contemporary: Night Owls by Jenn Bennett (Also The Anatomical Shape of a Heart)
Meeting Jack on the Owl—San Francisco’s night bus—turns Beatrix’s world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive…and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists.
But Jack is hiding a piece of himself. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is.
Before getting my hands on a copy of this book last year I didn’t typically read many contemporary YA novels. But this book changed that. I always just assumed that contemporary books were just fluffy teenage summer romance books, but Night Owls is so much more, dealing with serious issues like disability and death.
Historical: The Pearl Hunters by Kim Wilkins
In the warm waters of the Indian Ocean Alexandre dives for pearls – but they are not his to keep. His talent are far greater than the ability to hold his breath longer than all the other divers. He is an artist, and when he meets the young and beautiful Constance Blackchurch he also finds hope that one day, his life will be different.
I read this book in high school as I was falling deeply in love with historical fiction as a genre. Little did I know, the author would become one of my professors at university and I would love this book even more.