Feb 15, 2014

Guest Post! Top 5 YA books of 2014 (so Far) with Author Margo Bond Collins

Kicking off 2014 with a YA Bang: Top 5 YA Books of 2014 (so far)

By Margo Bond Collins

2014 has only just started, and already I’ve read a whole pile of excellent YA books! Here are just a few of my favorites from the first six weeks of 2014, in no particular order:

Untethered by Katie Hayoz  

This book was recommended by another book blogger as the best YA book she had read in 2013, and as soon as I started reading, I figured out why. Hayoz’s prose is flawless and her characters engrossing—even when I wanted to kick Sylvie, the astral-projecting protagonist, I believed in her completely.  I was so deeply involved in this book that I completely forgot to cook dinner one night; I looked up and it was almost midnight!

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner    

LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are from different worlds, but when their starship crashes and they are stranded together on an apparently abandoned planet, they must learn to work together if they are going to survive—and if they are going to discover the source of the whispers and visions that haunt them in this strange place. I’m rarely taken completely by surprise when reading, but These Broken Stars did just that—it’s a haunting story, and I’m anxious for the next entry in the series.

Scintillate by Tracy Clark 

The end of this book left me gasping and wanting more—what starts out as a fairly traditional paranormal romance quickly turns into an amazing mystery/romance/thriller. Cora Sandoval, whose life-threatening illness leaves her with the ability to see auras, heads out to find her long-lost mother and discovers a whole world of power and magic. I can’t wait for the sequel!

Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout (a pen name of Jennifer Armentrout) 
 Purchase on Amazon

 In this novel, Romeo and Hamlet take a trip through the underworld in order to find Romeo’s love, Juliet. This novel delighted me, in part because I’m a college professor in my other life and have taught both Shakespeare and a whole slew of traditional heroic tales. Trout draws on and transforms literary tradition in entertaining ways in this book.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black  

 I actually read this book for the first time at the very end of 2013, but I re-read it almost instantly in January because I love it so very much. I adored Black’s short story of the same name and was initially a little disappointed to discover that the novel was not, in fact, a continuation of the same story but rather a new story set in the same world. But that disappointment quickly disappeared as Black’s novel drew me in. Black has called this novel her “love letter” to vampire novels, and the vampires here are horrifying—being the single (potential) exception to that rule makes the love-interest vampire equally terrifying and attractive, adding up to the kind of vicarious adrenaline rush that draws me to vampire tales in the first place. 

Honorable Mention:
World After by Susan Ee  
This is the sequel to Ee’s amazing Angelfall, a post-apocalyptic story of humans struggling to survive in the days after an attack by an angelic host. This second novel is in some ways even darker than the first, but it does a good job of continuing the story and setting the reader up for the next novel.

My own YA novel, Fairy, Texas, was released in February. 
Purchase on Amazon


Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.

Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.


Fairy High could have fit into one wing of my old school. The three-story, red brick building looked like it had been around for at least a century—it actually had carvings over two of the doorways that read “Men’s Entrance” and “Women’s Entrance.” I was glad to see that none of the kids paid any attention to those instructions.
            “Counselor’s office,” I muttered to myself. At least I wasn’t starting in the middle of a term—though given the fact that there were fewer than 500 students in the entire high school, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go unnoticed, even in the general bustle of the first day back from summer vacation.
            I walked through the door marked “Men’s Entrance,” just be contrary, and faced a long hallway lined with heavy wooden doors. The spaces in between the doors were filled with lockers and marble staircases with ornate hand-rails flanked each end of the long hallway. Students poured in behind me, calling out greetings to each other and jostling me off to the side while I tried to get my bearings. None of the doors obviously led to a main office; I was going to have to walk the entire length of the hallway. And people were already starting to stare and whisper.
            God. I hated being the new kid.
            I took a deep breath and stepped forward. I made it halfway down the hall without seeing anything informative—all the doors had numbers over them and many of them had name plaques, but neither of those things did me any good since I didn’t know the name or office number for the counselor. I was almost getting desperate enough to ask Kayla, but of course she was nowhere to be seen.
            I turned back from scanning the halls for her and caught sight of the first adult I’d seen—and almost screamed. As it was, I gasped loudly enough for a guy walking past me to do a double take. The man standing in the open doorway was tall, over six feet, and way skinny—so emaciated that it looked like you ought to be able to see his ribs through his shirt, if his shirt didn’t hang so loosely on him. He had white hair that stuck out in tufts, thin lips, a sharp nose, and pale blue eyes that narrowed as he watched the kids walk past—and all the kids gave him a wide berth without even seeming to notice that they did so. He stood in an empty circle while students streamed around him in the crowded hallway.
            But none of that was what made me almost scream.
            For a moment, just as I’d turned toward him, I could have sworn that I’d seen the shadow of two huge, black, leathery wings stretched out behind him.


About the Author
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.


Connect with Margo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Be sure to add Fairy, Texas to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19502285-fairy-texas


  1. I love YA reads - you gave me some new titles to take a closer look at here ;)

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  3. Sheila: Enjoy! I will be talking about new YA books all year long; feel free to swing by my blog & check them out sometimes! :)


  4. So happy to see you loved The Coldest Girl in Coldtown! I loved it as well. Holly Black's writing is different and lovely. :)

  5. Oh! I LOVED These Broken Stars and World AFter too! Haven't read Coldest Girl yet BUT EXCITED