Best Book Ever: Older Teens (Mature YA)

Welcome to Best Book Ever!  Each week a group of authors, bloggers, and book lovers come together to give a shout out to their favorite books based on a specific theme.  This week our theme is:
Week 14: Older Teens (Mature YA) 

My BBE for Older teens would have to be the Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton. They are unequivocally my favourite books in a long time.
My partner recommended them to me because his boss at work was reading them. So I picked up A Kiss of Shadows (book 1). I will admit that it took me around the first 50-70 pages to get into it. I wasn't used to LKH's style of writing. But once I got past that first little hurdle, I was in love. I then went out and bought the rest of the series in one go and have now been dying for another installment since Divine Misdemeanors.
I love the whole world that LKH created. It is so absorbing and magical.
They do come with a warning from me though, they contain a fair bit of sex - they are certainly not for the faint hearted.   

I read all four books in Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl series very recently -- I tore through them back-to-back and adored every minute. The series takes place on the campus of Eli University, a fictional Ivy League college, but it was so well developed that I could almost believe it was real. I wanted Rose & Grave -- the secret society that taps the heroine, Amy-- to be real. And I wanted to be able to go back to my college days so I could join... if they'd have me.

I loved Amy. She was a heroine with opinions and she wasn't afraid to share and act on them. She rescues others more often than she needs rescuing, grows over the course of the series, and is so relatable, flaws and all. Amy's struggles to balance friendships, relationships, and her education, while worrying about her future AND dealing with the challenges of her secret society were so true to that period of life. Throughout all four books and the different Rose & Grave dramas, the books stayed fun-- they'll go on my re-read pile, and I bet they'd earn a spot on yours too. 
Tiffany Schmidt, debut author of Send Me a Sign (2012 by Walker- Bloomsbury) 

Even though Brenna, the main character, is a sophomore, Double Clutch is definitely a novel older YA can relate to. There's some heavy-duty stuff going on in this story, as Brenna tries to navigate public high school and all the ensuing drama. (She was homeschooled her freshman year, because she lived in Denmark). The year away was enough to change a lot of Brenna's former classmates, and as she settles into "her spot," she finds some surprises. Like being a great natural runner and being placed on the school's team. And the sweet boy Jake she meets at the technical school, who steals her heart but has a mysterious past involving dark, brooding Saxon (who has his own pull on Brenna). There are situations in the book more suitable for older YA readers, and I think they'll be able to relate to Brenna's struggle to figure everything out even if she is only a sophomore.
Rebecca @ A Word's Worth

 Thinking of all the books Ive read lately, and picking from my favorite YA reads. I think what I would consider the BBE for an older YA audience is Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. This book is defiantly not for the younger crowd just because of the content inside its pages. That being said Forbidden is one if not the top book that has left its mark on me. Its such an emotional powerhouse of a book. Even though the basis of the story is a big taboo, the way Tabitha wrote her tale, you tend to overlook what is going on and focus on the love. If you want to be moved by a book, read Forbidden.

This week's topic was surprisingly difficult. I wasn't sure if "Mature" or "Older" YA was meant to refer to the age of the protagonist or books with themes and subjects suitable for older readers. Here's the thing: Every book I thought of that might apply to the latter, I quickly decided could and should be read by young adults of all ages. I tend to give readers a lot of credit in that department. And it turns out there isn't much YA out there featuring older teens. I thought of recommending some "adult" books that would appeal to older teens, who would be reading up anyway, but decided to compromise and recommend Tempest by Julie Cross, one of my favorite recent reads.
Tempest features a 19-year-old protagonist, Jackson Meyer, who can travel in time. He spends much of the book alternating between the years 2009 and 2007, and trying to pass himself off as his 17-year-old self in the past. In addition to being an intriguing and tense science fiction adventure, it's also a mystery (how do Jackson's powers work, and why are shady government types after him and his friends?) and a romance (Jackson's focus is Holly Flynn, before she started dating him at 17 and when they're a hot and heavy couple at 19). Though Jackson is a little older than we see in most YA, the book isn't too mature for younger readers; there's some violence, but the book is overall very thoughtful and readable for a wide readership. I loved the twisty plot in this one and think it's well worth a look if you haven't discovered it yet!
E.C. Myers, debut author of Fair Coin (2012 Prometheus Books)

So what do you think?  What is your favorite YA book that may be considered more mature?  We would love to hear your ideas and comments below!

Come back next week- we will be talking DRAGONS!

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