But there's a whole lot of books out there that isn't contemporary YA. There's fantasy, and historical and dystopias and science-fiction. But the genre within YA that I always thought I'd want to avoid are books involving paranormal creatures. There was always one or two creatures that I thought it best to avoid entirely (Let's be honest here - it was angels and fairies!).
And then I realised the other day that I actually love them all. And mostly this change in opinion happened by reading a really excellent book that just changed my opinion completely. And those books are what I wanted to write about today.
I'm pretty sure that Twilight by Stepanie Meyer was the first book about vampires I read. And following the success of Twilight, there was a whole slew of paranormal creatures falling in love within the pages of YA fiction. And while I read a fair few of these, there became a time when I thought to myself 'no more!' there's only so many books about sparkly or beautiful vampires that I can take!' and vowed off all vampire fiction that came along ... Until I bowed to peer pressure and picked up Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and fell in love with Rose and Dimitri and everyone else. I also love, love, love the new spin-off series involving Sydney and Adrian. When it comes to Richelle Mead, I need more vampire fiction in my life.
She brings us excellent and fast-paced storylines. She brings unexpected twists and surprises that makes me gasp out loud and wonder frantically what on earth can happen next?! And she brings wonderfully flawed and likeable characters.
Another book to mention, The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa!
I think my first introduction to werewolves happened at a very young age. It was the film Teen Wolf with Michael J Fox, do you remember? I thought of it as slightly silly and nothing more. Certainly not something I'd like to read more about. Then I saw Seth Green play Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and he turned werewolves into cool instantly! But I still didn't want to read about them...
I've since devoured all three books in the series by her and I cannot wait to read other books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes because I enjoyed these three so much. There was just something really great about the idea of a fragile human girl amongst a pack of werewolves and the way in which she found a place within that life. It was great stuff, I really recommend that series. Other books include Trial By Fire and Taken by Storm.
Oh, angels. I really, actively dislike a lot of angel books I've read. There's just too much concerning religion that can really put me off. I'm not a great believer in angels or in many organised religions. I think a lot of books that deal with angels can be a bit preachy and slightly cheesy and I just can't come to terms with them. I was very nearly going add 'angel books' to my list of books that I will never, ever read. That is...
The second book in the series? I even loved Hallowed more than Unearthly, which I didn't think was possible. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the UK publication of the third book, Boundless! You must read them.
And going from one of my least favourite paranormal creatures (angels) to another, let's talk about fairies. I hate the things. I really do. I've read a bunch of books about fairies and I find it all rather dull and not very interesting. Perhaps it's the fault of the individual authors that I've previously read? Or maybe genetically I'm just not the right person to read about fairies? I don't know.
What I do know is that if Julie Kagawa writes it, I will read it. I wasn't sure about The Iron Fey series when I first read about it. I thought to myself 'fairies, I hate fairies' but after some very strong persuasion from different people, I went ahead and picked up the first book in the series. And oh my god, I'm glad that I did.
I could write all day about how much I love this series. I love the setting of the Nevernever. I love the Summer and Winter courts as well as the different courts that appear in this series. I love the friendship between Ash and Puck. I love the romance. I especially love (LOVE!) Grimalkin. I'm so excited that we'll see more of the characters from the Iron Fey series in this new series starring Meghan's little brother, in The Lost Prince! Hurrah for that!
Which books changed your mind about paranormal YA? I'd love to hear your favourites!