Inventive YA Novels

Each of the following suggestions is an inventive and original concept with lots of running, hiding, seeking, fighting, and sometimes a little magic. Every Day in particular starts a series with amazing implications for our understanding of time and consciousness. -Cinda

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The City of Bones | Cassandra Clare

Summary: Suddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizarre world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster.

Recommendation: There is so much to unpack here! Secrets and curses, runaways and escapees, orphans and newly discovered elements of magic, tomes, spells, monsters, and demons. Plus it is the story of a teenaged girl amid her new friends (who are pretty awesome) and the possible romance she isn’t certain about (Clary’s got a lot on her mind, really). Clare wrote up an urban fantasy for modern witches and surprised many with how beautiful her world is (there are three books in this set).


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The Knife of Never Letting Go | Patrick Ness

Summary: Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World. Also captured in the 2021 movie Chaos Walking with Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.

Recommendation: Todd is the last of the children about to become an adult (at 13, wow) from the Prentisstown settlers. His parents have a plan for him – rather than going before the mayor upon his birthday to learn ‘a version of the truth’, they send Todd on an escape to a distant and unfamiliar settlement that has different rules, trying to keep him from being followed or discovered. This getaway leads to discoveries that he might not have believed except his parents gave him his birth mother’s diary complete with a map. The secrets within secrets are numerous and chilling.


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Every Day | David Levithan

Summary: Every morning A wakes in a different person’s body, in a different person’s life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon.

Recommendation: As a concept, Levithan blew me away with the story of A. A is the individual who rides other peoples’ bodies (a different one every day) as their normal existence. Changing their lives for the better is A’s way of doing good when they never know who they will appear as next. It’s mindboggling. What mischief would you get up to if your consciousness were transported to another body while you slept?


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