Hidden Gem’s Best Young Adult Books of 2019… so far!
Young Adult books remain one of the most popular and exciting genres of fiction, and subscribers to Hidden Gems were in for a treat during the first quarter of this year; with some awesome YA novels offered to them. Here are the top-ranked Young Adult books of 2019 so far – and if you’re interested in reading books like these for FREE, plus titles from 15 other genres, you can sign up to become a member of our review program!
Sword and Shield by Holland C. Kirbo
Author Holland C. Kirbo’s The Legends of Aewyr series has shades of C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia to it – with the author creating a vividly-realized fantasy world that mirrors the values of Christianity. In Sword and Shield, the series continues following the exploits of strong female protagonist Lakyn, as she prepares to face the vengeful god Maal as he prepares to conquer the continent of Perravia.
Reviewer John raves about this series, writing in his 5-star review: “Holland Kirbo’s latest, SWORD AND SHIELD not only builds on her brilliant blend of love, intrigue, action, suspense and romance but goes even bigger and better with her character development and the growing storyline. Of many books I’ve said, quite sincerely, that I ‘couldn’t put it down’. Of Kirbo’s latest I say that I truly never wanted to put it down. There’s a definite cadence to her writing. You’ll fall into it’s blended, rhythmic progression quite easily and enjoy the power of her description as it blends into swirls of emotion, action and depth of passion expressed in the relationships between the main characters. The only bad part of the book is that when it ends you’ll very much like to read it again. I read her first of the series TWICE and I’m reading this one a second time as well. Well done!”
The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty
The course of true love never runs smoothly – especially in high school. That’s the premise of this fast-paced and fun young adult romance in which teenager Livy finally reaches the end of her tether with best-friend Jessie – who she’s been in love with for years – and finally tries to teach him a lesson by making him jealous with a stand-in boyfriend. But Chase Mitchell, star of the school soccer team, might have a more complicated agenda behind this deception; and things don’t work out exactly as Livy imagined they might.
Jessica Sotelo from Angie & Jessica’s Dreamy Reads – a Top 1000 Reviewer – loved the book, writing a 5-star review in which she said: “What is it about teenage drama and high school romance that turns me into a mushy, giddy crazy person? There’s just something so delicious and sweet and innocent about this plotline and I honestly can’t get enough of it. I have become such a big fan of Emma Doherty’s because she just NAILS the drama and tumultuous emotion I crave in high school and college love stories… and she seriously wacked it out of the park with The Stand-In Boyfriend. The fake relationship trope is one I’ve always been kind of indifferent to. It’s cute and enjoyable, sure, but I can’t say it’s one I’ve actively sought out. But Emma Doherty just gave me a HUGE reason to LOVE IT wholeheartedly with the complicated dynamic between Chase, Olivia and Jessie. The Stand-In Boyfriend oozes with sweet flirtation and heavy emotion, fun banter and a deep romance that these characters don’t anticipate. It was so fun to read but it’s peppered with heartache and teen angst in all the right places. I seriously loved this book so much.”
New Earth by Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo
New Earth is a dense science-fiction novel which sees 45-year-old Soren cast into the unknown when he’s reverted to a 16-year-old version of himself, and then tasked with seeking out powerful artifacts that hold the key to existence itself. Along with three friends at an interplanetary academy, everything is at stake as Soren tries to accomplish his desperate mission.
Reviewer James Haydon gave the book 5-stars, writing: “A unique sci-fi story with a bit of a fantasy vibe to it. Soren loses everything when he somehow is changed from his actual age of 45 to a 16 year old. He’s invited, along with three others,to attend the New Earth school where they all discover they are irrevocably linked and the fate of all existence depends on them learning to work together. Plenty of action and the characters learning to somehow work together will keep you hooked.”
Imogen’s Journey by B Fleetwood
World-building is one of the talents of British author B Fleetwood, and she demonstrates that in the second tale in her Chroma Trilogy series – which continues the adventures of 17-year-old Imogen, who discovered her life on Earth was a lie; and was subsequently thrust into an intergalactic adventure with daunting stakes.
In his 5-star review, Greg writes: “I must admit that I enjoyed Imogen’s Journey even more than the first installment, Imogen’s Secret. The author has a smooth writing style and keeps the reader engaged. The story blends action, romance, fantasy and science fiction – it has something for everyone. Seventeen-year-old Imogen is on a mission to save her father and Leo and the reader is transported to a another world (Holis) that is beautifully drawn by the author. Imogene can self-heal and read Chroma (invisible aura revealing a person’s true colors). How did she get these powers? And why? Can we trust Araz? This second book weaves some backstory and answers some questions while still leaving the reader thirsting for more, which I’m sure will be revealed in the third installment.”
Killer Among by S. E. Green
S. E. Green has written a dauntingly stark and violent crime thriller aimed at young adults, and won rave reviews for it – with Crimespree Magazine writing: “The ending literally left me with my mouth hanging open-not only was it shocking, it was more than a little gruesome and bloody. In a word, perfect.”
Amazon’s reviewers were big fans, too – with Amazon Customer writing: “OUTSTANDING BOOK, ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING. Since I’m a reader and not a writer all I can say is read this book and if you do, you will end up like me wanting more Lane. Highly recommended” and Sandra’s Book Reviews calling the book “Quick, easy, and captivating!” and writing “Readers will be entranced by Lane’s time-ticking search, and, oddly enough, they will root for this killer-killing killer and her kind of justice, even if her justice was a little too violently graphic at times. Her heart may not be pure, but it bleeds for the innocent victims and secretly lurks beneath a load of wicked darkness. Her need to “re-balance and unbalanced world” was altruistic. However, was this true justice…or just a killer among? And who were the real monsters? Quick, easy, and captivating!”
Mage’s Apprentice by Sean Fletcher
The brand-new Mages of New York series started off incredibly strong with this first installment, easily earning a place in our list of the best young adult books. Reluctant thief Aspen finds herself recruited to the role of a mage’s apprentice, in an alternative version of New York City inhabited by Vampires, Shifters, Fae and more otherworldly creatures.
Reviewer Kaye gave the book 5-stars, writing: “Man, Talk about fireworks, this bad boy is hotter than an erupting volcano. Step back, take a breather and jump right in. You won’t know what hit you until your head snaps forward once again. This little jewel is definitely one riveting read. Sean draws us into her imagination and weaves a world around us so tight and consuming until everything else ceases to exist. A whirlwind of emotions and events really pulls those heartstrings and make for one incredible experience. All twists and turns, ups and downs, along with a few glitches and bumps here and there pull you deeper into this raging story line and hard hitting plot. Throw in all the drama, intrigue, uncertainty, fear, danger and suspense and you have one intense, page turning bombshell that grabs your attention and holds it from start to finish. The characters are complex, believable and realistic with such depth it demands respect. The scenes are so graphically detailed and descriptive it’s easy to picture each scenario as they play off one another perfectly. Sean did a remarkable job bringing this read to life brilliantly. Remarkable job Sean, thanks for sharing this bad boy with us.”
The Queen of England: Grand Tour by Courtney Brandt
Set in an alternative, steampunk England, the Queen of England series sees young Juliette take the throne when Victoria is killed in an airship accident. Fortunately, that doesn’t deter the new Queen from taking to the air herself; and dirigibles are just one of the many exciting and fantastical technologies embraced in this fast-paced second entry in the series.
In a 5-star review, VLB writes: “What a page turner! This novel moves very quickly but not so fast that the reader loses sight of where the characters are going. And what wonderful characters they are, helping us to understand what the monarchy was like during this time period. The story continues with the young queen working to keep her subjects safe, find a prince to marry, save her beloved unicorn and refine her skills with Excalibur. All while traveling on her Grand Tour through Europe during a time of great uncertainty. Will she prevail in these tasks? Is there a prince charming in her future?”
Alice’s Anger by C.J. Persson
Norse mythology and Swedish fairy tales inspired this book, which is the first in the Alice Andersson series by Swedish author C.J. Persson. It sees young, feisty Alice on a desperate adventure to save her father – encountering all manner of otherworldly and mythological creatures on her travels.
Reviewer do not do the up sneak raved about this book, giving it 5-stars and writing: “It’s been a little more than two years since the last time I enjoyed a debut novel this much. I just hope I don’t have to wait that long for the next book in this series. I cannot recommend this book highly enough; I was delighted with it from start to finish and am eagerly looking forward to Mr. Persson’s next release.” He focuses on the quality of the writing, saying: “I read a LOT. And a lot of what I read is urban fantasy/magical realism – the real world that you and I really live in, with just a bit of a twist. There are a lot of things in the genre that are easy to get wrong. This remarkable book gets almost everything right. First of all, it’s believable. Okay, believable in the sense that I really think there are boartaurs and giants and fairies flying around the world? Of course not, that would be ridicul… well… Okay, let’s just say that MOST of the time I don’t really believe any of that, but having just finished this book I am, for at least the next hour or so, willing to file that under “It COULD Happen, You Don’t Know!”