Katiebird reviews two favorite YA books from this year

Young Adult books are not always what you think they will be. I struggle sometimes with reading the genre, because there is this stigma that I shouldn’t be reading it. I mean, marketing tells me that it’s for people much younger than me, but it’s written by people who are my age, so…

I get that the genre of Young Adult means that the main characters are “young adults”, not that it is technically written for them specifically. When I start a book that is young adult, I know that it might not have all of the intimate scenes that New Adult books do, but that doesn’t mean that it is not going to be an amazing book.

I recently read two incredible YA books, that I want to share with everyone. If you are not sure that YA books are for you, please put your misconceptions aside, and read these books. You won’t regret it…

We are the Goldens cover

We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

Katiebird's review

I adore this book for a couple of reasons. I am a sister, and this book is written in letter form from one sister to another. Nell is the younger sister of Layla. Being a sister, whether you are older or younger, means different things to different people. For me being the older sister, it means responsibility.

If I learned anything about being a sister, it’s that you have to look out for your sibling. There is more to it when you are a sister to a girl, because you want to protect your sister from the mistakes you’ve made. Even though, Nell is the younger one, I related to her immediately because I am the quiet thoughtful one like she was.

I don’t know how to make this any clearer. From my surprise birth to my mistaken name, Nellayla, to all of the nights we slept in the same room to all of the days we’ve been each other’s only constant—it could be Mom’s day or Dad’s, but we were almost always together—to my arrival at City Day, where I joined your soccer team, I could go on and on.

Our lives were intertwined.

This is another way of saying I love you, Layla. I love you, and what you do matters to me, but more than that it matters for me.

We are the Goldens, but we aren’t perfect. We’re going to have some hard times, and I wanted to calmly and wisely say some version of this to you. I am your sister, I’m here to help, we’re close, our lives are intertwined, you can trust me.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The other reason I loved this book is that it got me thinking about scandals. You know the ones you read about on line or TV, where someone seen as an authority figure is found out that they are having an inappropriate relationship. This story is in the perspective of the family and how it can effect more than just the victim.

The ending surprised me, and I know some readers won’t care for it, but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book. I still highly recommend it.

I gave this book 5 blew me away stars, and put it on my “books that own me” and “top shelf fantastic reads” shelves on Goodreads.


The Vault of Dreamers cover

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Katiebird's review

This book was not the typical dystopian book for me. I get the comparisons being made, but it reminded me more of The Host, because of the psychological aspect.

Rosie barely makes it past the cuts on the Forge Show to become a student at Forge School. She doesn’t really have much talent to me, but I still liked her because of her curiosity about what was happening behind the cameras and when the students are forced to sleep. The relationships and alliances that she forms are what kept me reading. The author did an amazing job with the atmosphere. The lines blurred for me when reading about Rosie’s dreams and her reality.

The second book in the series, The Rule of Mirrors, is coming out next fall. It will be interesting to see what direction the author takes this story.


I gave this book 4 amazing stars and put it on my “top shelf fantastic reads” shelf on Goodreads.


****I was given ARC copies of these books from NetGalley for honest reviews. The excerpt is from that copy.***


About katiebird

I am a huge reader of young adult, new adult, and paranormal romances. I also have an acute fondness of Robert Thomas Pattinson. I love that I get to share with everyone my love of reading.

One thought on “Katiebird reviews two favorite YA books from this year

  1. Lucia says:

    We Are the Goldens sounds amazing! I love YA books, I am deifnitely adding that one to my TBR


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