I Read YA

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | 73 comments


Summer is coming. Thank goodness you can put the books down for a few months, right?

No! Are you kidding? This is the BEST TIME to read.

Why, you ask? Because now you can read whatever you want!

It isn’t a classic? So what – read YA!

It isn’t on your reading level? So what – read YA!

It isn’t on your teacher’s approved reading list? So what – well, you know the drill. Read YA!

Here are some of my favorite YA reads of the year…



The Living by Matt De La Pena

When Shy took a summer job on a cruise ship, it’s only to earn a few extra dollars and maybe enjoy the girls in bikinis. He never anticipated the Big One earthquake which hits off the coast of California and sends shock waves into the ocean. Suddenly, Shy is in a fight for his life, and even remaining among the living, doesn’t mean you’ve won…






Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

Danny Wright enlisted in the Idaho National Guard because he wanted to serve his country. He certainly never intended to fire the shot that brings down the United States of America. Gripping, tense, and with far too many comparisons with the real world, you won’t be able to put this book down!





Nil by Lynne Matson

I confess that I haven’t read this yet, though it’s at the top of my to-read list and one I am sure I’ll love. Here is the tease from Goodreads: On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.

Yep, that’s enough for me. I’m in!





Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversgmdt

These 15th century stories of assassin nuns are clever, romantic, and dangerous. The third book of the trilogy will be released this fall, so if you haven’t been reading these, it’s time to get caught up now!


All righty dear readers, I’d love to hear what you’re reading, YA or not! Let’s get those recommendations rolling!


  1. I’m usually immersed in reading MG, but some of the YA that I really want to get to this summer is The Coldest Girl in Cold Town and Snow Like Ashes.

  2. Although, Snow like Ashes will have to wait for Fall as it doesn’t release until October.

  3. Thanks for the list…though I might finish it before summer actually starts….
    Have you been writing lately?

    • Writing always, Danielle – I’m just here to take a break from it right now, actually. Trying to finish up edits on A NIGHT DIVIDED (my Berlin Wall story for fall 2015) before it starts on the REAL work with my editor. Thanks for asking!

  4. My family (ages 12-22) love your books! We listen to books on CD for long trips to Arizona from Idaho! And I have told anyone who will listen about the false prince series! Some other books that we have liked are the Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans and the Lunar Series (Cinder, Scarlett, Cress) by Marissa Meyers. Your suggestions came at the perfect time since we have a long trip to Seattle next week and I was wondering what books to get! Thanks so much! Cheri Cook

    • Cheri – For a family trip, consider checking out “One For the Murphys” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, “Almost Super” by Marion Jensen, “Dangerous” by Shannon Hale, or “The Seven Wonders” series by Peter Lerangis.

      • are you making another book?

        • Absolutely! For more details, see Here: http://jennielsen.com/archives/1182

          Then next February, I’ll also release a new series beginning with MARK OF THE THIEF, which takes place in Ancient Rome with an escaped Roman slave, some stolen magic, and a battle to control the fall of an empire.

          I get to release the cover for MARK OF THE THIEF sometime next week! I think you’ll love it!

      • seven wonders is an amazing series! i seriously recommend it too!

  5. I’m about to start reading the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo and Penryn and the End of Days (Angelfall) series by Susan Ee. After that I’m reading the Clockwork Trilogy by Cassandra Clare (I bought the box set). Some of my favs I’ve read so far this year are:
    1. Lunar Chronicles By: Marissa Meyer
    2. School for Good and Evil Trilogy (the 3rd isn’t out yet thought)
    3. Miss Peregrine’s By: Ransom Riggs
    4. The Archived duo logy (not sure if I spelled that right).
    IDK if I was supposed to put in all that stuff, but yeah…. We’re giving recommendations and saying what we’re reading this summer right?

    • OMG!!!!!!! (Sorry about that too-exited online scream) I read most of those books, and they’re awesome. I loooooooved Shadow and Bone, it’s really good. I don’t know how old you are, but I’d say you should read The Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas next. Enjoy summer reading!

      • Thanks! I actually just read Shadow and Bone and loved it! I gave it 4 stars, but I have a feeling I’m going to give the sequels 5 because I feel like the first book set up a lot of awesomeness to come! Any other books you’d recommend? Have you read the Of Poseidon trilogy? I’d heard it’s good and wanted to check it out.

    • hi, do u know who wrote the The Archived duo logy? i want to read it and i cant find it at the library so can u tell me the authors name? thanks,:)

      • That’s Victoria Schwab – you can learn more about her and that book on her website: http://veschwab.wordpress.com/books-at-a-glance/the-archived/ Happy reading!

      • Sorry Jennifer beat me to answering! I hope you manage to find and read The Archived! It’ll be worth tracking it down in the library.

        • yeah i dont mind, i just put it on hold, cant wait!!

          • Oh my gosh!!!! Hope you love it!

  6. I don’t CARE if it’s above my reading level (by a lot… because I almost never read books on the 5th grade level) I WANT TO READ THEM ALL!!!

    For girls I would recommend the entire
    Gallagher Girls series (I’ve read the 1st five).
    And some other books:
    The Maze Runner (and following series),
    How To Train Your Dragon series (YES IT’S A BOOK EVERYBODY!!! I love the books even more than the movies!!!),
    Gregor The Overlander series,
    The Cloak Society (I always forget about this one… but it’s REALLY good), and

    • I absolutely LOVE the Maze Runner and the Train Your Dragon series, too!

  7. I’m a huge fan and I love all your books but after reading the last book I think you shouldn’t abandon Carthya and Avenia and all those nations just yet. Maybe you could make a book about what happens after The Shadow Prince?

  8. I love the Ascendant trilogy a whole lot but after finishing the books several times I don’t know what to read. I would like books similar to The Ascendant trilogy but any help would be appreciated.

    P.S I don’t think you should abandon Carthya and Avenia an all the nations yet, but maybe you could create another main character that lived in another nation

    • Thanks, David. I’ll think on your suggestion. For other books, look at the Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans, “The Darkest Path” by Jeff Hirsch, or “Seven Wonders” by Peter Lerangis.

  9. My son was reading The False Prince so I idly flipped through it one night when he was in bed. I became hooked. I’m now going through the series a second time! I think my 15-year-old self is in love with Jaron. 🙂

    • Thanks, Christine!

      • Thanks! Just wanted to say I think you are a great author and I want you to keep writing great books!

  10. I read Divided We Fall last month. It was pretty good, though CERTAIN contents annoyed me.
    Lunar Chronicles. I’m still in the middle of it, waiting for Scarlet to return to the libraries.
    When I finish that, I’ll start The Mortal Instruments. Likely Divergent too, once the fame settles down.

    • Yes. Read the Lunar Chronicles, and don’t stop at Scarlet, trust me.

  11. my recommendation to you is the sorcery codes by Dima Zales its an awesome book hope you read it in Ur summer vacation.

  12. I am really looking forward to your new series that will be released in 2015 called The mark of the thief I really can not wait put my mom always says if ” what good has impatience ever bought?” i know i should be paitence but yeah im trying my best!

    • Thank you, Fajjar! I’m looking forward to the series’ release too. A cover reveal is coming soon!

      • ooooooohhh, a cover release!! i cant wait!!!

      • Cover release! Yay! *Squeal*


  13. You seem to really like survival stories… They’re my teachers’ favorite.

  14. One of my more reluctant sixth grade readers posted this on his blog this week:

    “Yesterday was Wednesday, and there was nothing special going on. I had a lot of homework and blogging assignments to do. I also finished the first book of the series called The False Prince. For a person that didn’t read a lot, I couldn’t put this book down. It was a great book. There was a lot of action, no boring parts, and always making you think.”

    Thank you!! This is why I am constantly promoting your series in my classroom. Every book takes us worlds away, but never once do we feel lost. 🙂

  15. Sounds like some interesting reads!

    Ah, I got a plethora of books waiting for me to dive into…okay maybe not a plethora, but I have a decently sized chunk.
    Now I just need to sit down and read them all (and by “sit down” I mean lock myself away for hours till I’m done.)

    Like a lot of others seem to be doing, I’m currently reading the Lunar Chronicles.

    • THE LUNAR CHRONICLES ARE AMAZING. I know we don’t know each other, but I just had to say that (#fangirling).

  16. Ms.Nielsen,

    i 100% ADORED your Ascendance Trilogy. i am literally clawing at my screaming WHY DOES IT HAVE TO END???!!! i will so miss Jaron and all your other characters(but mostly Jaron) i wanted to congratulate u on writing such an awesome series

    ps. can u pls pls pls pls (times infinity) pls write another series set in the same time and place as the Ascendance Trilogy? i am soooooooo nostalgic for the first time i layed eyes on the False Prince. i doubt the movie will be anywhere close to the book, so as a fan of your incredible series i ask u to write at least one more book.

    your loyal fan,RC

  17. I read A TON of young adult books! My favorite genres are historical fiction (especially WWII) and science fiction, so pretty much anything but the boring present X) I hope to major in English and become a writer like you.

    My favorite series are currently…

    The Insignia Trilogy by S.J. Kincaid: The Third World War is between the Indo-American and Russo-Chinese alliances. The Earth’s resources are gone, and soldiers have computers (called neural processors) implanted in their brains to fight for control of the solar system.

    The Unwind Series by Neal Shusterman: In the future, two issues are “solved”–abortion and the shortage of organ transplants. Between the ages of 13 and 18, children can be sent to harvest camps, where they are literally harvested for their body parts. Since 99.9% of their bodies live on, it is not considered murder, and medical advancement has ground to a halt.

    The Seeds of America Trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson: The Revolutionary War is depicted through the eyes of two African American teenagers. One is a girl who will stop at nothing to find her sister, who has been cruelly sold; the other is the servant of a patriot who believes in the American cause himself, and enlists in the Continental Army.

    The Ascendance Trilogy (:

  18. Is it okay if I make a small suggestion for a new book? I hope you decide to make another book,because your writing style is amazing.

    • Thank you, Mia – I already have more ideas than I’ll ever be able to write in one lifetime, but if yo’ve got a good one, I suggest you should write it! Because nobody will ever be able to create the story just like you could.

  19. Jennifer I want to know about the false prince movie whats happening I really want to know.

    • Nothing new, Isabella. I probably won’t have any concrete news until Feb 2015, I think. But if there’s anything to announce, I’ll shout it out first on this blog!

  20. Hi ms Jennifer I wanted to know a little more about the new series you will release soon I cannot wait for the book because of chemotherapy sadly

    • Chemotherapy sucks, Simone. I’m sorry, but you’re tougher than it is. Fight – like Jaron would fight, right? For the new series, I’ll release the cover and talk more about it tomorrow (I think)!

      • Thank you for incouraging me I am trying my best to fight back just wish me goodluck

        • Definitely! You’ll get through it and be tougher on the other end! Good luck, Simone!

  21. Simone stay strong you cant give up did jaron give up? No right so u can not either:)

  22. Jennifer, if the False Prince is made into a movie, what do you think the avenian and carthyan accents should sound like?

    • Hmm, I’d have the Carthyan accent be close to British, and Avenian be a little more Eastern Europe, though not as pronounced.

  23. I have so many books i love that I can’t even list them all… But here are a few:
    ~Legend (Marie Lu)-Legend-Prodigy-Champion
    ~Wings of Fire (Tui T. Sutherland)-The Dragonet Prophecy-The Lost Heir-The Hidden Kingdom-The Dark Secret-The Brightest Night
    ~Divergent (Veronica Roth)-Divergent-Insurgent-Allegient
    ~The Selection (Kiera Cass)-The Selection-The Elite-The One
    ~Dragon Slippers (Jessica Day George)-Dragon Slippers-Dragon Flight-Dragon Spear
    ~The Darkest Minds (Alexandra Bracken)-The Darkest Minds-Never Fade-In the After Light
    ~Cleopatra’s Moon (Vicky Alvear Shecter)
    ~The Healer’s Apprentice (Melanie Dickerson)

    HAGS!! 🙂

    • And I forgot to add these:
      ~The Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare)-City of Bones-City of Ashes-City of Glass-City of Fallen Angels-City of Lost Souls-City of Heavenly Fire
      ~The Infernal Devices (Cassandra Clare)-Clockwork Angel-Clockwork Prince-Clockwork Princess

  24. Jennifer, I’d love to do wome fanart on the Ascendance Trilogy, so can I ask a few questions?
    How long is Amarinda’s hair?
    What does the king’s ring look like?
    What colour are Amarinda’s eyes?
    What do you expect Darius to look like? It is never described in the books.
    Thank you 🙂

    • Cara, I’d love it if you did the fan art. The king’s ring is made of heavy gold, but I haven’t really defined it beyond that so feel free to take any liberties you want. Amarinda’s eyes are brown and very beautiful. Darius looks very similar to Sage, but taller with a thinner build and a little more stern.

  25. You know how there’s a map in the front of each Ascendance book? Did you get a say in it (towns, capitals, set out) or did the artist guy design it all ?

    • Actually Salvia, I designed the entire map in writing the first book, then an artist came in and make it look like an actual map. Thank goodness for artists!

  26. I had a few questions on the characters appearances.
    1) How tall are Tobias and Roden compared to Jaron?
    2) What did King Vargan look like?
    And then where did you get the name Sage?
    Also, does Roden ever find a girl?

    • 1) Roden is a little taller than Jaron, but not by much. Tobias is about a half-head taller.
      2) Vargan is tall but he’s got a bad back that causes him to hunch slightly. He has harsh wrinkles, and long thick hair that jargon describes as the color of coals on a dead fire.
      3) I thought Sage would be the perfect name that Jaron would choose. It’s earthy and un-princelike. It also has a double meaning, because Sage means “wise.”
      4) The question of whether Roden ever finds romance (and what she would be like) might be answered if I ever write a fourth book of the series. 😉

  27. And if so, what would she be like? Thanks!

    • That would be super cool if you could! Hope you find ideas!

  28. Hi Jennifer. It is so nice every time I hear that I am not the only adult ( I’m 32) that gets sucked into YA books. I love books so much I can pretty much read anything. I learned of the Ascendance Trilogy at Barnes and Noble. It was sitting out in a display that had a sticker saying some employee there recommended the series. So I said Ok and bought it. Loved it! Like I said I read a lot but some of the YA series I like most is The Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage, The Seven Realms by Cinda Chima Williams.
    Thanks for a magnificent read.

    • That’s awesome, Tonia! I love hearing how people discover my books, and thanks for your ideas on other great YAs!

  29. i think i have YA-phobia, i really need to be in certsin mood in order to really enjoy it. DIVIDED WE FALL sounds like a good story, i might try it. thank you

    • It is good, Maleeka, and the second book is coming out soon. Good luck!

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