Popular YA Books That I Haven’t Read

I love YA novels. It’s my favorite genre and it’s the type of story that I consume the most. However, there are a lot of really famous YA novels that I’ve never read. Some of them I haven’t read because they’ve just been on my TBR for YEARS and I can’t find the time to actually read it. But there are others that I haven’t read simply because they don’t seem to have lived up to the hype and my friends said the sucked. So, I figured this would make for a fun post.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.

She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I’ve only ever heard good things about Cinder. I had a friend back in high school who adored this series, and my sister has been reading it recently, too. This book is on my TBR (along with the rest of the series), and I’m actually very intrigued by the way this book seems to flip so many fairy tale cliches upside down.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war—and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Shatter Me was one of those YA dystopian books that was part of the 2012 book craze. At least, that’s what my brain has decided. I’d planned to read it for years, but never got around to it. Recently, I’ve taken it off of my TBR because one of my friends mentioned that it’s actually…really bad. She said the whole book is poorly written and plotted, which immediately made me cringe. So, as a result, I’ve decided not to read this one, but I fully support anyone who read and enjoyed it.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

I remember hearing about City of Bones and The Mortal Instruments back when it was really popular. However, this is also one of the stories I don’t plan on reading. I love the premise, but the whole “is it my brother or can we be lovers?” plot point felt really…bad? Gross? Blah? Yeah, so it really turned me off to the series, which is why I won’t be reading it (even if I do have the movie adaptation on my Netflix list).

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I cannot tell you how many memes, tweets, and general buzz I’ve seen around The Raven Boys. It seems to be one of the most popular YA novel series…but it’s just never seemed appealing to me…and I really don’t know why. Okay, that’s probably a lie because the clairvoyant part of the blurb is an immediate red flag for me, but like…the entire blurb just doesn’t really intrigue me that much. Like, I’m curious, but not so much that I’d go buy the book and read it in one sitting. So, maybe I’ll listen to the audiobook on Libby someday, but this one just gives me big “meh” vibes.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This is a world divided by blood—red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance—Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

I’ve been in love with this book cover ever since I saw it (which probably was on Goodreads, if we’re being honest). But for some reason, I still haven’t read it. I don’t know why because the blurb is SUPER intriguing and the stakes have never been higher. I mean a society that’s divided by blood? Stream that right into my eyeballs, please! So, long story short (love you, Taylor), I really need to read this one and finally take the dive into the bestselling fantasy book that people have been screaming about for like YEARS.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…. But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fanfiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… and she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I feel like everyone’s read this book, but I…have absolutely no desire to read it. The blurb is really boring to me and there don’t seem to be any REAL stakes. I get that the fandom life can take over your real life, but this just…doesn’t seem interesting to me. Maybe it’s because I’m so unbelievably late to the hype, but I don’t even really know if this one lived up to the hype anyway, so I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Let’s Talk!

Have you read any of these popular YA books? What did you think? Which popular YA books have you never read, whether it’s on your TBR or you just don’t want to read it? Let’s talk all things popular YA in the comments!

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Bree Dawn is a voracious book dragon who believes in the power of stories. As a young girl, she always begged her parents to let her read “one more chapter” before bedtime. As an adult, she uses this same passion to craft dark stories with hopeful undertones for young adults who seek a glimmer of light in this dark world. Bree is currently working on her dystopian fantasy novel while consuming as many stories as possible.

14 thoughts on “Popular YA Books That I Haven’t Read

    1. Totally agree I read the series and that plot still makes me cringe it was not good and made me really uncomfortable even knowing the outcome. Definitely in their for shock value and doesn’t add to the story line but I feel takes away from it

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The only two from this list that I’ve read are Cinder and Red Queen. I *adored* Cinder and all the Lunar Chronicles novels. Can’t recommend them enough. Marissa Meyer’s other books are great, too. I highly recommend Red Queen, as well! Especially if you like big books, because they get nice and fat into the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah those two are definitely on my TBR. Part of me feels like I kinda missed my window of opportunity for Cinder because they give big 2012 vibes, but Red Queen is just really intriguing, so I’ll probably read that one for sure.


  2. City of bones I had to actually after seeing the movie do some research on that plot line it disturbed me lol I was like that’s weird and I can’t get behind it did my research you don’t find out until I think book 4!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I didn’t plan on reading them so I read the Wikipedia plot summaries (I usually do that for books or movies that intrigue me, but aren’t something I plan to read/watch), and saw the resolution of that particular plot thread. I still don’t like it though because it feels like a bad plot device for tension, but that’s just me. 🤷‍♀️


  3. I love love love The Lunar Chronicles!!! It actually changed reading for me. I use to read passively as a kid, but since The Lunar Chronicles I have been so obsessed with reading and books and fandoms and the reading community. It has a very special place in my heart. And I didn’t read it when it was super popular either. I didn’t know how popular it was until after I read the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cinder ABSOLUTELY lives up to the hype. Definitely definitely worth a read. Gah so good. And Fangirl was not bad, imo!! Pretty chill and definitely not a crazy high stakes fantasy, but pretty sweet and sort of bittersweetly relatable if you’re into fandoms and reading :))

    Liked by 1 person

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