Tuesday Top Ten – Underrated YA Book Series

So I was  browsing around Facebook yesterday when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the 29 Underrated YA Book Series. Of course I had to click on it.

And while I love several of the choices on that list, no rx I thought, try I should do my own list. There are GREAT series on there, but a lot of them aren’t what I would call underrated or unnoticed. Percy Jackson? Huge. HUGE. And they got two movies. Infernal Devices? Again. HUGE. All Souls? Incredibly popular and not YA right? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t read them. I know they aren’t shelved with YA. The Chicken Soup series? Didn’t everyone have those when I was in middle school/high school? And so on.

So that brings us to today’s Tuesday Top Ten…my favorite YA series that just don’t get enough attention. Which is why I’m talking about them. So they get more attention. Because I’m just awesome that way.

Let’s do this.

Oh, I’ll add one more thing. All of these get GREAT reviews, and have received an abundance of praise and accolades and all the huge reviewers and all that love them. By “underrated” I mean, by the masses that tend to enjoy YA. The people that don’t much more than Hunger Games and Divergent and that sort of thing.

Moving on…

10. The Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

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I love love love this series. Beth Revis takes humanity, sticks them on a space ship and gets them lost for centuries. Humanity has basically all but disappeared on this ship until one of the humans who was supposed to be frozen until they arrive at this “new” earth awakes…and chaos and romance and all sorts of things erupt. Its fantastic. There is just SO much about this series that is so good. I have a hard time finding people who have read it and I get so excited when I do!

9. The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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So JLA was on this BuzzFeed list, but with the Lux series. That series, the Wait for You series and the Dark Elements series…they’re all fairly popular. They are the ones that I feel like people talk about when it comes to JLA. But my absolute favorite of her series is hands down The Covenant series. SO freakin good! Alex and Aidan are hot as hell, they have a steamy and intense and fun romance, and their world is chaotic and full of action and drama and …more intensity. And its Greek mythology with a new twist and I love every single bit of it.

8. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot is not exactly underrated but she has so many series that often times some of them get lost underneath the ones she’s really known for like The Princess Diaries. This is one of my absolute favorites by her. It has ghosts! And a girl who likes to beat them up when they don’t want to cooperate. And a super hot Spanish ghost that’s a really great kisser. Its just awesome. The entire series is just SO flippin good. Meg manages to write this amazing paranormal romance that also makes you laugh again and again and again.

7. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

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This series was actually on the list and it was one of the few that I really agreed should be on this list. I first picked up this list when my ex told me to pick out a book and I thought the cover was beautiful and then I proceeded to consume the entire series in a matter of days. Its so beautifully written and it has everything you could want in a book. It has romance and action and politics and action and humor and discovery and uncertainty and god…everything. I can’t speak highly enough of this series. Its legitimately one of my favorites ever.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

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UGH. God. This series. I’m meeting Libba for the first time this weekend at YALL West, and I legit can’t handle that kind of pressure. I’m going to cry or something. I actually accidentally picked up the second book first (whoops) but rectified and continued on to enjoy this beautiful trilogy. It takes place in Victorian English countryside at a boarding school that is hiding all sorts of secrets. Its so dark but funny at the same time and its full of a new kind of magic and I love every bit of it. I need a re-read of this soon actually…

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson

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Let’s put it this way: I would not drive all the way to Vegas (about a 4 to 5 hour drive) just to meet her for one day if I didn’t think this series was that amazing. What makes this great is that its this sort of Chosen One story but the Chosen One is the last person you’d expect. Elisa is fat and uncertain and unsure and you kind sit there and think, her? Really? But its just so great. And the world building and the magic and the evolution of the main character throughout the three books…my little book loving heart just can’t handle the beauty of this trilogy.

4. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

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There WAS a series by Tammy on the list but I chose this one for a huge reason: its the first series of the epicness of the Tortall world. The one they chose is the third one and kind of…spoils the first two series for sure. haha. Plus let’s face it…Tammy has a handle on this YA fantasy since the early 80s and just not enough people are reading her. She’s amazing. Her writing, the characters she creates, the way she manages to keep the world of Tortall alive after so many decades…its impossible not to absolutely love her. This series is about a girl who disguises her gender for YEARS in order to become a knight, and then basically does whatever the hell she wants once everyone finds out. YES. I want to shove all of her books down all of your throats. Sorry. Not really.

3. The Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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Why, yes, I did pick two Meg Cabot series. This is another one that kind of disappears when it comes to Meg. But its legitimately my favorite. Besides Princess Diaries. Because its just SO weird and bizarre and I love it. Em Watts dies…but not really. At the same time as her body dies, supermodel Nikki Howard as a brain aneurysm. Doctors save her life by implanting her brain into Nikki’s body, but she has to live her life as Nikki and no one can know that she was once Em. Its seriously the most bizarre thing ever, especially once you realize there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. And its just straight up hilarious.

2. The Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody

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The finale of this trilogy just released less than two months ago and I’m still reeling from it. I can barely express my emotions about it. Sigh. Anyway. This is a series that’s absolutely incredible and seriously does NOT get enough credit. I want to see more of those purple books in people’s hands. Seriously. I can’t even explain how great this trilogy is. Its like…Bourne Identity but with a super badass girl instead of Matt Damon and it has superhumans called Ex-Gens and time travel and cool technology and romance and action and its just amazing. There are not nearly enough people reading it and you guys need to be reading it. Now. Go.

1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I love Leigh from the bottom of my heart to the tip top of my head all the way to my little toes. She’s AMAZING and her series just proves that. She has had SUCH success with it, but its nothing to the extend that a ton of people know about it and I want to change that. Her trilogy is perfection and its such a great example of how AMAZING YA fantasy…and YA in general…can be. She’s a terrific writer and a fabulous storyteller. This is another series that needs a re-read soon because now all I can think about is how much I love these books!

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YALL Fest Interview: Cinda Williams Chima

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In a little less than two months, approved an amazing event is taking place in Charleston, South Carolina called YALL Fest. A ton of wonderful young adult authors are descending upon Charleston for this one day, FREE event, and I am envious of any and all people who are attending the event. There are going to be some seriously amazing authors going to be there like:

Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Rae Carson, Cinda Chima, Rachel Cohn, Ally Condie, Melissa de la Cruz, Gayle Forman, Kami Garcia, Lev Grossman, Shannon Hale, Michelle Hodkin, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Lisa McMann, Alyson Noel, Lauren Oliver, Stephanie Perkins, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Rossi, Veronica Roth, and so many more.

This is sure to be an absolutely incredible event.

I am lucky enough to be part of the blog team to promote this as much as possible. Over the next few weeks, there will be a couple dozen of us posting interviews with some of these authors, and telling you more about this seriously awesome event.

Just a note: these interviews are all the same, and they will be on several websites. These are NOT exclusive interviews, and I did not copy this from other sites. We are all working together to promote this!

Now, I am excited about this first interview because the author is someone that I admire greatly, greatly, greatly…Cinda Williams Chima.

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She is a young adult fantasy writer, with two series under her belt. Her completed Seven Realms series is an epic fantasy, taking place in a beautifully built world and following the story of a headstrong princess Raisa and her efforts to keep her queendom together and the quick and clever Han, who discovers a secret about himself and has to conquer it. Her Heir Chronicles series contains, so far, three novels that are contemporary fantasy, following various characters like Jack and Ellen, Seph, Madison, and more on their adventures to discover their different powers and to take down the tyrannical leaders that rule over them all. Her fourth installment in the series, The Enchanter Heir, will hit bookstores on October 1st, 2013, and she’ll embark on a tour for this book (and she’s coming to California!). The Enchanter Heir can be read as the fourth book or it can be read as the first book.

You can find her at her website here.

Enjoy this short interview!

Q: What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Cinda: A computer

Q: Describe your book in 5 words

Cinda: Wizards misbehave, magic goes mutant.

Q: What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

Cinda: Usually the lines in between.

 Q: Best writing tip you ever received?

Cinda: Give yourself permission to write badly.

 Q: Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

Cinda: 1.       I am a twin.

2.       I am named after a character in a novel.

3.       I didn’t really start driving until I was 27.

4.       I am descended from Puritans and scoundrels.

5.       I used to be in a folk music band.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

Cinda: On a balcony overlooking the ocean.

Q: What are you working on now?

Cinda: I’m writing The Sorcerer Heir, the fifth book in a trilogy.

Q: At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

Cinda: When I’m finished with a full-length novel.

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I hope you enjoyed that short and sweet interview and come back for more coming soon!

Don’t forget to check out my interview with Cinda Williams Chima, from back in June, and also don’t forget to enter my current giveaway, where you can win a SIGNED Advanced Readers Copy of The Enchanter Heir!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Fictional Schools

Welcome back to school everyone! By this point, order most everyone has started school, more about and its just that time of year to buy pretty new school supplies and tell yourself that this semester is going to different, and you’re going to get your act together this year. I’m with you guys, this is your year! Bring home those A’s on the report card!

As you guys have noticed the last few weeks, my creativity level on the Tuesday Top Ten has been…well, basically nonexistent. My dad has totally come up with the ideas the past few weeks and this week is no different. Thanks Dad. Seriously, my creativity is all tapped out haha.

But anyway, now that school has started, I feel like this is a great way to start it off, and a great Tuesday Top Ten. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in class, looking bored like Britney Spears in Baby One More Time, and wished I was in a different school. So that’s where this list comes in. Check it out!

10. Sweet Valley High from Sweet Valley High Series

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These were some of my favorite books when I was a kid. In hindsight, they probably weren’t the best things for a 7 to 9 year old to read, but my reading level was advanced, if nothing else, and my aunt gave me basically the whole series so there you go. But I always loved the absolute drama of Sweet Valley High. As a kid, high school seemed a thousand years away, and it was…magical, if that makes sense. High school was ALWAYS going to rock in my mind, and my mentality came from this series. Sure, there dramatics and all that, but it kept things all interesting and things always worked out in the end. You would have a nice car, be insanely attractive (the awkwardness of youth disappeared), get the hottest guys and have the best friends. Elizabeth is the dorky one but she’s still editor of the newspaper, fairly popular and has the hottest boyfriend in the school. Although, Todd, really? What kind of name is Todd?

9. Constance Billard/St. Judes from Gossip Girl 

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I think I’d want to go to Constance Billard for the pure enjoyment of the drama that comes down with being a part of the Gossip Girl show. There are a lot of things that are mostly guaranteed if you go to a school like Constance Billard, and its sister school, St. Jude. One, you’re rich. Let’s face it, its THE school to go to on the Upper East side, and its where you’re either made or unmade by Gossip Girl. Two, you probably have the best clothes in the entire world because either you can afford them or you’re a fashion genius Jenny Humphrey and you make it work. You have access to the coolest parties, and the dances, like Homecoming and Prom are OUT of this world. There are all kinds of amazing things about this high school that NEVER happened in real high school. Black and white balls, cotillions, all kinds of fun stuff. Sure, there is the ridiculous amount of drama and pressure but I still say that going to this school might have made high school a little more bearable.

8. Degrassi High from Degrassi: The Next Generation

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When you think about, I don’t know why I would want to go to Degrassi. People get shot and stabbed and get addicted to drugs, or become alcoholics or get in major car accidents or are in abusive relationships or get pregnant. I mean, this is NOT a happy school. But I LOVE this show. Its absolutely ridiculous and its completely dramatic and the amount of characters it goes through, and the amount of drama that takes place there…its all just so ridiculous. But I think its the same sort of thing with Constance Billard…it would be INTERESTING to go here. I think that it would have been crazy and dramatic and I’m sure I would ended up with some medical affliction or some sort of addiction but again, interesting.

7. Xavier’s Institute from X-Men 

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I know that in the comic and the shows and the movies that mutants aren’t accepted and that they are kind of hated because they’re different. I get that, and that sucks and it will be this ever growing fight in that universe and its kind of the whole point of it, besides the fact that they fight bad guys. But you have to admit, a school where everyone has a sort of mutation that makes them be able to do cool stuff like read minds or control weather or hop through walls? I honestly feel like I couldn’t hate school if I went to a school like that. There’s no way. Plus it would be really cool to have an awesome superpower that I was just born with, and I didn’t have to get bitten by an icky spider or anything. I like Iceman…I don’t know why but ice powers have always sounded really super awesome. I could be Icegirl and I would rock the hallways of Xaviers.

6. St. Vladimir’s Academy from Vampire Academy Series 

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I don’t want to be a vampire. I’ve never really had the desire to be a vampire unless I could become a vampire and become Simon Lewis’s girlfriend for eternity. But even then. However, I would become a dhampir. For those of you who are unaware, a dhampir is half human, half vampire, warriors trained to protect Moroi vampires from Strigoi, which are immortal, evil vampires. The main character is Rose, who attends St. Vladimir’s to eventually become an official guardian to protect her royal best friend Lissa. I always love a kickass female character, especially when they come paired with a delicious character like Dimitri, and I love this school. I love that, since they’re vampires, they go to school and party and do all their stuff at night, and sleep during the day. But because the novel is so well-written, you don’t even notice half the time, and so it’s not cheesy. I love that the classes are anything from magic (because the vampires have powers over different elements) and warfare and strategy and combat. That sounds like a really awesome school. Way better than learning chemistry and math and stuff like that.

5. The School of Idris from The Mortal Instruments series

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I have no idea if that is what its called but I call it that for now because no one has really named it yet. I want to go to Idris because it is the home of the Shadowhunter. No matter if they live there, grew up there, or grew up in an Institute or work in an Institute somewhere in the world, it is the home of the Shadowhunter. Like Mecca is to the Islams or Jerusalem is to Christians and Jews (and Islams too). It is a beautiful city, sort of old fashioned in the way that it is made, sort of like any other place in Europe, and it all seems so otherworldly and wonderful. I really want to see the Glass City part of it, with the demon wards, and the fountain, and the beautiful dances and wonderful parties. But I want to go to school in Idris because I want to be a Shadowhunter. Shadowhunters are preordained to protect the earth from demons; they’re born warriors. They don’t necessarily choose it but I think most of them would choose it. I want to be one. I want to have seraph blades, and a whip like Isabelle and I want to Mark my skin to help me fight. I would love training to be a Shadowhunter because it would be so different than our normal schooling.

4. Oden’s Ford from Seven Realms Series 

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Oden’s Ford is where the school exist in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series. There is Mystwerk House, Temple School, Factor House, Merchant House, Isenwerk House and Wien House. What I love about this school is that it kind of reminds me of a fantasy college, if that makes sense. There are so many different schools there, schools for wizards and for trading and different crafts and that sort of thing, and the entire town seems built around the school. I love that. I love that so many people from all over the Seven Realms come here to learn a various number of things. I feel like you would get a real life experience here. There are people of all different races and religions and colors and shapes and sizes, and they’re all coming here to learn different trades, whether to harness their magics or become healers or warriors and that can really open one’s eyes wider to the world around them. You’re getting out of your bubble and you’re seeing what else is out there. I think that even though Raisa is sent here to escape the chaos that is going under her own roof, and that she is there under a false name, it really helped her become a better queen. She understood more of the way the world worked outside of her privileged life and it helped her. I also think it would be fun to live there because it is a place that is described so beautifully. So many bricks! I love brick buildings. SO beautiful.

3. Camp Half Blood from The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series 

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Okay, I recognize that this isn’t technically a school and a good amount of the kids that stay there in the summer go to normal schools during the school year. But I like to think of it as a school because these kids will never stop being demigods. This is an essential part of their life…their very being, and they have been in trouble for so long, and they will continue to be in trouble. They are attracting to danger, as the offspring of gods and goddesses and the skills that they learn at Camp Half Blood will aid them their entire life. So I do consider it a school of sorts. I would imagine that a demigod would learn more at Camp Half Blood during the summers than they do in full school years in regular schools. Despite all the danger, and all that, I think I’d much like to be a child of a god or goddess. Think of the stuff that comes from that. Think of Jason’s power with lightning and Percy’s power over water, Annabeth’s incredibly warrior skills and intelligence, Piper’s ability to charm people, Leo’s ability to tinker with just about anything and so forth. Its all so subtle but awesome. I think I’d love to go to Half Blood to learn all the things that they learn and ride a Pegasus and play Capture the Flag and have gods for teachers and centaurs for mentors. I would love to go on quests and learn to fight with a sword and live in one of the cabins. Camp Half Blood sounds like a great place to learn.

2. Jedi Academy from Star Wars 

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I want to be a Jedi. I think a Jedi is one of the things I want to be most in this life, other than a wizard (see below!) or a Shadowhunter. I have been watching Star Wars since I was a kid, and I have been a fan of it for so long. Princess Leia was always my absolute favorite character, but I was always kind of sad that she never got a lightsaber, because she wasn’t a Jedi. I love that in several of the books that have been written that take place after the movies, she does Jedi training and wields a lightsaber. I’m just saying, lightsabers are some of the best weapons that have existed in fictional world. I liked that the Jedis are trained for so much of their life because they are so disciplined and so committed to the life that they are born to live. They are there to protect the galaxy and keep the balance of the Force, and they commit their entire life for it. I like that they start off in an academy as children, where you learn with Master Yoda, before you become a Padawan to a Jedi Knight or a Jedi Master. I like that you have several teachers on the road to becoming a Jedi Knight, with the abilities to learn so much from different people. I also like that its not always a classroom type of experience, but you are taken out with your master to learn on an experience base, in the field, while you try to do your job. Its like an apprentice sort of thing, which is what the masters call them. I want to be a Jedi. If only to get a pink lightsaber. I’ll make it happen.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from Harry Potter Series 

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I guess it would be no surprise that this would be the first one on my list. I think this is one of the first places that existed in a book that I thought, I want to go there. This is a place that I wish actually existed, and it never can, which only makes me want to go there more. JK Rowling created a place where you go to learn, you go to love and hate, you go to grow up, you go to have adventures and to get in trouble and learn, and so much more. When she quoted at the final Harry Potter premiere, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”, I cried. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it. Because its HOME to Harry Potter; its where it all takes place in all seven works. It is the beginning, the middle and the end. It is where Harry Potter grew up and I would die to go there, to have adventures and to be a part of that world, a world that I have loved through the pages. Plus, I would love to take classes like that instead of the classes I take. I would love Charms and Transfiguration and Potions and Care of Magical Creatures. Hell, I think I’d even like History of Magic and Divination :) I would NOT complain like those guys! Hogwarts. The Ultimate best school ever.

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I hope you all enjoyed this edition of the Tuesday Top Ten. This one was an enjoyable one to write!

Don’t forget that you can always check out past lists here!

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What are some of your fictional schools? What would be some of your favorite fictional classes? As always, share in the comments!