Five #RealYA Books I've Read in 2015

#RealYA emerged as a trend in the YA Twitter community earlier this week. YA authors, bloggers, and readers posted about their #RealYA experiences in comparison to the high school tropes that are so often seen in contemporary young adult literature. Cliques, jocks, nerds, absent parents, and YA's obsession with top tier schools were among the topics discussed.

These are a few of my favorite examples from the conversation:  




As a pre-highschool teenager, I would read so many books with these tropes and wonder if this is what high school was really like. Spoiler alert: It wasn't. Now that I'm nearly a year and a half out of high school. I identified with so many of the #RealYA stories that I read as I scrolled through the thread. So today I want to share some of the best #RealYA that I've read in the last year. 

*Note that these aren't all necessarily 2015 releases 


THE START OF ME AND YOU by Emery Lord


Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances. 
It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live? 
*This book has it all -- overlapping friend groups, overprotective parents, Quizbowl, and a nice jocks. All paired with Lord's beautiful storytelling. I devoured it in one sitting. 





ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers 
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.  
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? 
*This is one of the most important books of 2015. Period. 



MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything. 
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? 
A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another. 
*Again, I'm a sucker for YA that's family focused. 



I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell 
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. 
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. 
*This one DESTROYED me the first time I read it. 


BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N




High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.


*I think I love this book so much because I related to Ally so much on a personal level. JUST VISITING is on my TBR.

What are some of your favorite #RealYA books? Let's keep the conversation going! Follow me on twitter @mleekanterr12 and tweet me some of your favorite #RealYA books and you'll be entered to win a choice of one of the five fabulous books I've featured! Spread the word!