Wednesday, 1 January 2014

YA Yeah Yeah Year-Ends Day 7: Best Romantic Couple and Best Overall Cast

Please note: The 'Best Romantic Couples' list has a couple of spoilers for Wereworld 1-5. You might want to skip it if you haven't read them. (Or even better, rush out and read them all, THEN come back to this post.)

Best romantic couples

Dwayne and Misha (Black Sheep by Na'ima B Robert) - After taking a while to get used to Dwayne's voice, which is heavy on the street slang, I ended up falling in love with the two narrators of this. The contrast and chemistry between posh Misha and much less well-off Dwayne, whose words 'dance and jive and shimmy', is incredible.

Esteya and Skizi (Love In Revolution by BR Collins) - Like Dwayne and Misha, there's a class divide between this pairing - an even worse one, as Skizi's a Zikindi, shunned by most of society. The forbidden love between them and the pressure they come under during the revolution make this one of the most enthralling reads of the year.

Gretchen and Trent (Wereworld: War of the Werelords by Curtis Jobling) - I love Drew and Whitley as a couple, but for me the relationship between Gretchen, who's gone from a spoilt vixen (literally... sorry, couldn't resist!) to a brilliant heroine, and Trent, who's turned from a misguided antagonist into a truly heroic figure, edges them out.

Isaiah and Rachel (Crash Into You by Katie McGarry) - McGarry has now written three novels featuring mismatched pairings of dual narrators falling for each other. Not only has she kept the three of them, and the six voices, really distinct, but she's also managed to inject sizzling chemistry into all of them.

Kendall and Payton (The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer) - I'm sure I said that I wasn't including NA books in the character awards, but really, how could I not pick this pair of best friends trying to work out their feelings for each other? Wonderful.

Best overall casts

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry - I'm not sure how many people McGarry has left who she hasn't written about in a central role (book 4 centres on West, I'm begging her on Twitter to do book 5 about Abby, so there's two!) but the shifting focuses in these companion books are wonderful. For a start, it's great to see old favourites like Echo and Noah return, but the new characters are always just as interesting. McGarry also writes the adults - parents, guardians, teachers and social workers - superbly.

Flappers: Diva by Jillian Larkin - Three wonderful central characters in this series and a selection of brilliant love interests as well. This is one of the ones I'm most sorry to see finish. As much as I loved Wereworld, Gallagher Girls and LIGHT, they all seem to have reached a fairly natural stopping point. (Curtis, if you're reading this, this DOESN'T mean I've stopped hoping for a prequel!) While Larkin gives us a great conclusion here, I'd be thrilled if she announced another book.

LIGHT by Michael Grant - And so it comes to a close. One of the best series of recent years, with wonderful character development throughout, wraps everything up brilliantly here. Everyone gets at least one great moment, even if not all of them get what they deserve. I love that Grant did such a superb job of making the non-powered characters just as important as those with strong powers, as well.

United We Spy by Ally Carter - The core four at the centre of this series - Cammie, Bex, Liz and Macey - are a wonderful quartet of friends and the relationship between them is brilliant. However they also have a massively interesting bunch of teachers and antagonists.

Wereworld: War of the Werelords by Curtis Jobling - I was asked for an epic fantasy recommendation earlier today and wanted to describe this as "6 books containing about 15 wonderful character arcs" but wasn't sure if they'd think I was exaggerating. If anything, I may have under-estimated there. In this book alone, we get brilliant development and stunning conclusions to the stories of Drew, Hector, Whitley, Vega, Gretchen, Trent, Shah, Casper, and a host of others.

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