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(Photo by Samantha English)

By Samantha English
Jones College Prep

The Young Adult genre is booming these days, with novels like Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” and Cassandra Clare’s “City of Bones” hitting the big screens running. Did you find yourself loving “The Fault in Our Stars,” but were the last one of your friends to read it? Are you ready to be the local YA hipster? Here are our six YA books to read before they’re famous, so be ready to go grab these titles off your local bookstore’s shelves; they will be blowing up the Barnes and Noble teen section before you know it.

“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer

The Grimm Brothers meet apocalyptic worlds meet robots—that’s what you can expect from Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder,” the first book in her series “The Lunar Chronicles.” Cinder is a cyborg, working as a mechanic in New Beijing and living with her evil stepmother and her ill stepsister. When she finds herself in situations with leader Prince Kai, she is thrown into a universal battle that leaves the fate of the world in her hands. Cinder is a new twist in the practice of retelling fairy tales that will appeal to Disney and sci-fi fans alike. Also make sure to check out Meyer’s sequels, “Scarlet” and “Cress,” before the fourth book, “Fairest,” reaches stores.

“Why We Broke Up” by Daniel Handler, with illustrations by Maira Kalman

Min Green is dropping a box on Ed Slaterton’s doorstep. The box is filled with every piece of their relationship and a letter explaining why it ended. This book is the box. From first date movie tickets to rose petals from the final day, Min tells Ed their love story and why it was doomed from its start. Enchantingly written by the author of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and highlighted by quirky illustrations, “Why We Broke Up” is a relatable story not only to anyone who’s ever been heartbroken, but also to anyone who’s struggled with who they are.

“The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey

If “Divergent” was the new “Hunger Games,” then “The 5th Wave” is the next “Divergent.” Yancey takes readers to the post-apocalyptic world of Cassie, a teenager who was lucky enough to survive to tell the tale. Cassie runs from the murderous Others with the belief she is the last human alive. That is until she meets Evan Walker, a mysterious boy who reveals that Cassie’s brother might still be alive. Entertainment Weekly says it “is a remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances book”; Sony has recently picked it up as a movie starring Chloe Moretz. Dark, thrilling, and even funny, The “5th Wave” is the book dystopian lovers need to pick up before it’s the next young adult franchise.

“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell

There is nothing quite like Eleanor and Park, even though it has many of the elements of the common YA contemporary. It may be your average “boy meets girl” story, but the boy and girl certainly are not average themselves. Eleanor is the Big Girl, Park is the Korean Boy, their 1986 world says they should never be together, and yet, there they are. John Green, author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” raves about this novel— in his book review for The New York Times, Green says it “reminded [him] not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.”

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

Fantasy lovers need look no further for their next blockbuster than “Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” the first of Laini Taylor’s trilogy. Karou is an art student in Prague, going about her normal daily motions, but everything about her is abnormal. She disappears for hours at a time, she can’t seem to remember her childhood, and her hair is naturally blue. When she meets the gorgeous Akiva, her story is revealed, and Karou must face the truths of her past. A fresh twist on the angels versus demons storyline, this beautifully-constructed book will end the search for the next great magic novel.

“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

Seventeen-year-old Mia has too many choices—her dedication to music over her dedication to her friends, her love of the cello over her love of her boyfriend—until a family car ride gone wrong dwindles those choices down to one. “If I Stay” follows Mia’s out-of-body experience while she lies in a coma surrounded by terrified friends. As Mia comes to terms with the consequences of the accident, she relives memories that lead her to decide whether to wake up to a life more difficult than she can imagine, or leave grief to her loved ones left living. A New York Times bestseller and upcoming fall movie, “If I Stay” belongs at the top of every summer reading list—make sure to pick it up before August 22 rolls around.

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free each Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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