A new favourites post! I had a brainwave and decided to write a post on my fave ‘quiet’ YA standalone novels. When I say quiet, I don’t mean that they aren’t popular or fly under the radar (though some featured on my list are absolutely underrated), but I mean that they’re pretty simplistic and low drama. ‘Low-drama novels’ may not sound very entertaining but I really enjoy novels like this, as I think they tend to focus more on the characters as opposed to the plot, and that’s a thing I really enjoy in fiction. So, here are four of my favourites! In no particular order…
1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This novel focuses on Puck Connolly, who plans to participate in the annual Scorpio Races in an attempt keep her brother Gabe from leaving the island of Thisby for the mainlands. However, this race is extremely dangerous, as not only does it feature regular horses, but capaill uisce – stronger, bloodthirsty horses that emerge from the sea, can also participate in the race. One racer who owns such a horse, is the four-time winner of the races Sean Kendrick, who offers to help Puck and her horse Dove train for the race.
I love the vague, vintage setting of this novel. I love the magical element. I loved seeing the character’s developments, and also seeing a relationship form between Puck and Sean. Also think this novel is pretty underrated so I definitely recommend this novel – I think it makes a great Sunday afternoon read!
2. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Lucy is obsessed with the anonymous artists Shadow and Poet, who leave graffiti art and poetry scattered all over their Aussie city. While celebrating finishing high-school, Lucy and her friends bump into Ed and his friends. When Ed’s friend Leo mentions he knows Shadow and Poet personally, Lucy is determined to meet them both – Shadow especially – and the two friendship groups spend the night travelling around looking at Shadow’s graffiti art while trying to track them down.
I love this novel so much! Much like The Scorpio Races, its focus is more on the individual characters and the forming relationship between the three girls and three guys. Not to mention Crowley’s gorgeous writing! So underrated, and it’s quite a quick read too.
3. A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon
Straight Line centres on Tiffany, who bags a work-experience job at her local paper after finishing high-school. Initially, she’s excited to start working there, but her excitement fades fast when she realises that working there is nothing like she expected it to be. This novel shows us a very pivotal week in Tiffany’s life, as experiences a lot of highs and lows as she enters a new chapter in her life.
Again, this novel focuses deeply on characters and relationships and I remember that reading this novel was such a lovely experience. Also another novel set in Australia!
4. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Macy Queen feels incredibly despondent following the sudden death of her father, and has since focused her efforts on being the perfect daughter for her hard-working mother. Macy is not looking forward to a summer spent working at the library and her mother’s office, but when she is asked to help out with the understaffed and overwhelmed Wish Catering at one of her mother’s business events, Macy risks it, and finds that she really enjoys helping out.
Sarah Dessen just had to feature on this list! I would say that every Dessen novel I’ve read (five of them) would just as easily and appropriately feature on this list, but I settled on this one. I like that it focuses on Macy leaving her comfort zones in favour of new experiences with a bunch of new friends. I thought it was really sweet.
Honourable ‘Quiet YA’ Mentions:
Please Ignore Vera Dietz – A.S. King
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz
This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen
What are your thoughts on my quiet YA recs? Do you have any to recommend me? I’d love to hear them!