Goodreads Blog
Goodreads Blog posts (showing 1-10 of 1,186)
12 Spooky Listens That Young Readers Will Love
Posted by Marie on October 12, 2018



This post is sponsored by Audible.

Scary stories come to life when they’re read aloud! If you’re looking to get your young reader into the Halloween spirit by discovering more ghoulishly fun tales, we have just the treat. This roundup of audiobooks includes some of the most frightening favorites including Roald Dahl’s The Witches and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Each of these spooky picks puts the "super" in supernatural with an average four-star average rating from fellow readers (and listeners!) on Goodreads and Audible. Which ones will you be adding to your Want to Read Shelf?

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Which spooky audiobooks would you recommend for young readers? Let us know in the comments!

For more inspiration, check out the Goodreads' audiobooks page, brought to you by Audible.

Check out more recent blogs:
The Best Audiobooks of 2018
16 Top Essay Collections You Need to Listen To
We Asked, You Answered: Is Listening to Audiobooks 'Reading'?

Susan Orlean's Library-Themed Reading Recommendations
Posted by Cybil on October 10, 2018

Susan Orlean, the author of The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession and staff writer for The New Yorker, is back on bookshelves this October with The Library Book—her investigation into the largest library fire in the history of the United States as well as a love letter to the beloved institutions.

In honor of her new book, Orlean is sharing her favorite library-themed reading. Library lovers, be sure to add her new book to your Want to Read shelf.



Rate this book
Clear rating
If you are looking for a handy setting to use in your book, may I recommend a library? Besides being one of civilization’s finest achievements and the repositories of all the knowledge in the world, libraries’ utility as a literary device is almost endless.

Think of it: The metaphorical weight of libraries, bursting at their seams with stories, is enormous. Their omnipresence is convenient; in the United States alone, there are 120,000 libraries, which allows you to set your book almost anywhere you’d like: rural, urban, East Coast, West Coast, or, for that matter, anyplace in the world. And because libraries are open to anyone and attract everyone, you can introduce any kind of character into them and it will ring true.

But most of all, the appeal of libraries is universal, so your readers will be happy. And as an additional value-add, libraries have nooks and crannies and stacks where things—all sorts of things—can happen.

Locations, such as libraries, are unacknowledged but important characters in works of literature. They set a tone; they inflect the story. Sometimes they function just as a backdrop, but often place is intrinsic to the tale and enriches the storytelling.


Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating
A book containing a library as an important setting has the additional virtue of being marvelously meta. Like a Russian nesting doll, the library featured in a book is nestled in a book that will, undoubtedly, be nestled in a library. A reader of a book might be reading a book that describes a reader reading a book. It’s just delicious.

The library as a setting in literature isn’t a gimmick. In every instance where they appear, the role the library plays seems necessary to the story. It is hard to imagine Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo without the library (not to mention Miss Franny Block, the fearless librarian who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace). It is impossible to think of Middlemarch without Dorothea borrowing “learned books from the library.”

The list of books that feature libraries prominently and significantly is long and deep. Possession by A. S. Byatt; Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett; The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai; The Archivist by Martha Cooley; All the Names by Jose Saramago; The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken; The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe; Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; Fingersmith by Sarah Waters; Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng; Winner of the National Book Award by Jincy Willett; The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager; and The British Museum Is Falling Down by David Lodge, to name just a few.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating



Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

And so many children’s and young adults’ books include a library as an important setting, including Matilda by Roald Dahl; Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein; and all the Harry Potters. There are even children’s books about library cats and library lions and library mice.

Libraries are wonderful to write about because they are magical and a little mysterious. They are full of voices, and they call out questions. Who wrote all these books? you can’t help but wonder, And what were they thinking when they wrote them? Each individual book has its origin story, its reason for being, its journey into the world.

What’s more, each book in a library develops its own history, made of the legion of readers who have borrowed it. That history is almost like a fingerprint, unique to each volume: a map of travels that we can only imagine, places the book has visited that we will never see. Books in a library create a connective tissue among the readers who have shared them. When libraries used paper cards to keep track of checkouts, it was possible to see who else in town had borrowed, say, Gulliver’s Travels before you did.

Now the process of book borrowing is far more private, but the aura of sharing still lingers; you are aware, when you take a book home from the library, that it has been in many other hands. Bookstores—cousins to libraries, in a sense—are marvelous enterprises, too, but they are an outflow-only enterprise. What makes libraries resonate so deeply is how we share them, and how their books circulate like lifeblood in and out of the library, in and out of every corner of the city.

When the Library of Alexandria was in its heyday, it filled the Egyptian people with wonder and a touch of fear. The cumulative power of the knowledge it contained struck people as being almost unworldly. The library contained more information than any one person could master; it surpassed the capacity of the human brain.

We may no longer be cowed by the contents of a library, but we still feel awed: A library vibrates with humankind’s intellectual and artistic achievements in a way that makes it feel alive with possibilities and triumphs.

What distinguishes humanity from other animal life is that we tell each other stories, and we record those stories so they can be told again and again, time without end. The library is our big, deep, bottomless well of those stories, a source so rich that it fills us with delight and wonder and amazement. May it never run dry.

Susan Orlean's The Library Book will be available on October 16. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.



In Praise of Totally Awesome '80s YA
Posted by Cybil on October 09, 2018



Gabrielle Moss has charted the history of ‘80s and ‘90s YA novels, from The Baby-Sitters Club to Wildfire, in Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction. Here she takes us through hidden gems from the era.


If you were a tween girl in the ‘80s or ‘90s, you almost certainly have it: that box of pastel paperbacks, tucked away in your mom’s basement.

Inside each volume was a story about well-adjusted, well-groomed suburban teens, engaging in various all-American activities (Baby-sitting! Riding horses! Fighting over some guy named Steve!). Series like The Baby-Sitters Club, Wildfire, Sleepover Friends, Sweet Valley High, and The Fabulous Five turned young adult literature into big business in the ‘80s and ‘90s. In 1985, Sweet Valley High Super Edition #1: Perfect Summer became the first YA novel to fight its way onto the New York Times bestseller list, and other series that never made it that far still had hundreds of thousands of copies in print, as well as official tie-in videos, dolls, notepads, board games, and lip balm to their name.


Rate this book
Clear rating
But while these books were popular, they weren’t acclaimed—parents and educators alike were often disappointed that tweens had dropped the “serious” novels of Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, or Richard Peck, in favor of books about how, you know, sleepovers were fun. We absorbed these messages, too, and by the time we reached adulthood, most of us viewed these books as guilty pleasures, at best. Those books seemed silly and superficial, not to mention exclusionary—searching for stories about girls who weren’t white, straight, and middle-class in these books felt next to impossible. It seemed like they were best left up in the attic.

But I’d like to encourage you to dig them out (or, if your mom threw them out when you left for college, buy them on eBay). Because, as I learned while researching Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction, though these books were very imperfect, there was also more to them than meets the eye. They didn’t just help create the YA market that gave us Harry Potter and Katniss—they made us the women we are today.

Take, for instance, teen romances. The first YA series to appear in the ‘80s was Wildfire, a romance series which had two million books in print by 1982. Parents protested that Wildfire and its imitators taught girls to be shallow and boy-crazy—they even got a tie-in teen magazine pulled from production in 1981! But while some of the early YA romance featured teen characters chastely swooning and giving up what little agency they had, others suggested that love was something shared between two equals. Contemporary teen romances like Wildfire’s Nice Girls Don’t, historical romances like the Sunfire series, and even supernatural romances like the Windswept series said that the real Mr. Right would never ask you to make yourself small. In an era of great social change for women, these books could be lifelines for girls growing up in families that didn't yet believe a woman was entitled to her own identity.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating



Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

And while the ‘70s are remembered as the era of the teen social issues novel, plenty of YA books in the ‘80s and ‘90s brought up social issues in a naturalistic way. Marie G. Lee’s middle grade novel, If It Hadn’t Been For Yoon Jun, examines transracial adoption and small-town racism alongside bullying and the cruel politics of middle school popularity. Cynthia D. Grant’s Uncle Vampire is both a spooky gothic horror novel and a sensitive exploration of how incest victims cope with the horror of their abuse. A. M. Stephenson’s Unbirthday walks confused, curious teens through every step of getting an abortion, while also spinning a sweet romance about a high school relationship.

Some series were obviously crafted to teach young girls that independence and creativity were cool—Ann M. Martin told The New Yorker in 2016 that “I certainly had a feminist perspective” when creating The Baby-Sitters Club. But while other, lesser-known series about groups might not have had such political motivation, looking back at The Gymnasts or The Pink Parrots makes their messages clear: It’s fulfilling to have your own passions, to work for the things that matter to you, and to find your tribe while you do it.

Of course, this isn’t to say that every book from this era was covertly progressive or empowering—many series had no higher agenda than selling books, and even series with ideals often fell short when it came to showcasing any kind of real diversity. But while this era wasn’t perfect, it’s still worth remembering. ‘80s YA was marketed directly to tweens, rather than teachers or librarians—which means that the books were about what they actually wanted to read, rather than what adults thought they should want to read. Without that, who knows if we’d have gotten Harry Potter, or The Hunger Games, or any other series fueled more by reader tastes than what your 7th grade teacher thought was proper.

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction is on sale October 30. Don’t forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf!



The Best Young Adult Books of October
Posted by Marie on October 09, 2018

Welcome to the world of irresistible young adult fiction! Every month, our team takes a look at what books are being published and how they're resonating with early readers. We use this information to put together a roundup of soon-to-be-beloved favorites, from contemporary tales set in the suburbs to fantasy epics in realms of mystery and mischief.

For October, we've got many buzzy titles including a highly anticipated collaboration from bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments!


Rate this book
Clear rating
After a dreamy meet-cute and several disastrous dates, Arthur and Ben can’t figure out what the universe has in store for them. Is their budding romance meant to be?

Release Date: October 9

Check out Becky Albertalli’s must-read list of inclusive love stories.


Rate this book
Clear rating
Blanca and Roja are sisters bound by blood and a generations-old curse. In the end, only one of them will remain human, while the other will be trapped in the body of a swan.

Release Date: October 9



Rate this book
Clear rating
In a post-9/11 world, Muslim girls like Shirin are tired of being stereotyped. Then she meets Ocean James, a boy who somehow slips past the walls she’s built around herself.

Release Date: October 16



Rate this book
Clear rating
On the island of Sawkill Rock, an insidious monster lurks in the shadows. For decades, no one has been able to stop its reign of terror—until Marion, Zoey, and Val arrive.

Release Date: October 2

Check out our interview with Claire Legrand here.


Rate this book
Clear rating
Cast as the lead in Shakespeare’s newest play, Lady Katherine has the perfect opportunity to complete her mission: assassinating Queen Elizabeth I.

Release Date: October 23



Rate this book
Clear rating
Since the drought, Alyssa’s neighborhood has become a war zone. When her parents don’t return, she realizes she must make impossible choices in order to survive.

Release Date: October 2







7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on October 09, 2018

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day.

To create our list, we focused on the top books Goodreads members can't wait to read, which we measure by how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves. All these highly anticipated titles are now available! Which ones catch your eye?


Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like: Mysteries, In the Woods, old family secrets, skulls in the garden, haunting revelations, what people are capable of

Check out our interview with French here.


Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like: Literary fiction, Norwegian Wood, troubled artists, surreal quests, musings on love and loneliness, precocious children



Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like: Historical fiction, The Forgotten Garden, sagas that span generations, love affairs and murder mysteries, missing heirlooms

Find Morton's book recommendations here.


Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like: Cookbooks, Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, bookish puns, cocktail parties, drinking games



Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like: YA fiction, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and They Both Die at the End, LGBT love stories, Broadway musicals



Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like: American history, Presidential Courage:, politics, once-classified national security documents, illuminating reflections on leadership



Rate this book
Clear rating
You should read this book if you like:Contemporary fiction, Barefoot, Caribbean escapes, living a double life, intrigue and romance, beach adventures




Discover These Hot New YA Series
Posted by Marie on October 08, 2018



This post is sponsored by The Rule of One by Amazon Publishing.

When it comes to irresistible series, the YA world has you covered. There’s no shortage of heroic teens ready to rebel against monstrous faeries, dystopian governments, and everything in between. So if you’re looking to start a new adventure (or are recovering from a book hangover), this list is just for you.

For this roundup, we focused on the biggest YA series that kicked off this year, narrowing down our list to the ones that have been added the most to Goodreads members' shelves. From there, we only included books that have a minimum 3.8 star rating. Which ones will you be diving into? Don’t forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!



Rate this book
Clear rating
Winning a place in the treacherous High Court of Faerie seems impossible for a human like Jude. But to save herself and her sisters, she’ll take any risk—including defying Prince Cardan, her most hated enemy.

Series: The Folk of the Air

Check out our interview with Holly Black here.


Rate this book
Clear rating
Something sinister lurks in the halls of Ellingham Academy, a private school for the world’s best and brightest. When a classmate goes missing, first-year student and true-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is determined to solve the case.

Series: Truly Devious



Rate this book
Clear rating
Conscripted to fight the living dead, all Jane McKeene wants is a better life. But choices are scarce for a young biracial woman in the post-Civil War era. Everything soon changes when she stumbles upon a conspiracy more terrifying than zombies.

Series: Dread Nation

Check out our interview with Justina Ireland here.


Rate this book
Clear rating
The very existence of Ava and her identical twin sister, Mira, is a violation of the Rule of One: a one-child policy that’s brutally enforced by a dystopian U.S. government. Hunted as fugitives, they’ll discover just how far they’re willing to go to survive.

Series: The Rule of One



Rate this book
Clear rating
In this reimagining of Peter Pan, Wendy Darling is an orphan who wants nothing more than to be the captain of her own ship. Her wish is granted when England’s secret service faces its most formidable threat yet: magic.

Series: Tales of the Wendy



Rate this book
Clear rating
Among the privileged circles of Orléans, “Belles” like Camille Beauregard are a highly sought-after commodity. Their magical talents may transform ugliness into beauty, but at a price that’s far more than skin deep.

Series: The Belles

Check out our interview with Dhonielle Clayton here.


Rate this book
Clear rating
The beloved author of the Song of the Lioness series returns to the fantastical world of Tortall. Here three student mages forge a bond of friendship that will one day change the fate of the kingdoms forever.

Series: The Numair Chronicles

Check out Tamora Pierce's on-the-road reading list.


Rate this book
Clear rating
Zélie remembers when magic once thrived in the world of Orïsha. Now she has a chance to bring it back. In her quest to regain what she lost, she realizes the greatest danger isn’t the ruthless monarchy, but the powers she struggles to control.

Series: Legacy of Orïsha

Check out Tomi Adeyemi's diverse book picks.


Rate this book
Clear rating
Gods and monsters walk the earth once again in the wake of a climate apocalypse. Enter Maggie Hoskie, a hunter who must rely on her supernatural abilities to track down an ancient and terrifying power.

Series: The Sixth World



Rate this book
Clear rating
Zera is an immortal soldier who is forever bound to the witch who holds her heart—literally. Against all odds, she is presented with one chance at freedom. All she has to do is retrieve the heart of a beloved prince and exchange it for her own.

Series: Bring Me Their Hearts



Rate this book
Clear rating
On the space prison Sanctuary, superpowered criminal teens go in…and hostile aliens attack. Now the guards and prisoners must form an uneasy alliance. But the surprise invasion raises unsettling questions when they discover who was behind it.

Series: Sanctuary



Rate this book
Clear rating
Of all the things Eve thought she would find in the floating junkyard she calls home, an android boy isn’t one of them. Their fateful encounter leads them across irradiated deserts and towering megacities to unlock the dark secrets of their pasts.

Series: Lifelike



Rate this book
Clear rating
Reformed street thief Kazi uses her legendary reputation to play a game of cat and mouse with Jase, the heir to an outlaw dynasty. Sent to spy on him on the orders of the queen, she comes to find out that the young man is not at all what he seems.

Series: Dance of Thieves



Rate this book
Clear rating
After her family was killed by the corrupt warlord Aric Athair, Caledonia Styx was left to chart her own course. She assembles an all-female crew aboard her own ship, the Mors Navis, to fulfill one mission: Take down Aric’s armored fleet once and for all.

Series: Seafire



Rate this book
Clear rating
On a freezing world where everyone knows the date they’ll die, three teens will try to escape their deathdays by leaving the planet for good. The only way to do so is to hide their shared bond as they compete for a coveted spot on a mission to space.

Series: The Raging Ones



Rate this book
Clear rating
There’s a black market demand for the bodies of supernatural beings—and Nita’s mother delivers. Then a deal goes wrong and it’s Nita who has to pay the price. It’s just too bad that she also happens to be a supernatural being herself.

Series: Market of Monsters



Rate this book
Clear rating
Jetta has a dangerous secret: She can bind departed souls to her shadow puppets. The young shadow player sees this forbidden power as a curse, but others see it as their war-torn country’s only salvation from a mad king.

Series: For a Muse of Fire



Rate this book
Clear rating
Whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers will be granted any wish—and it will be up to Yumeko, a half human and half fox, to protect it with her life. With an army of demons at her heels, she must put her trust in Kage, a mysterious samurai.

Series: Shadow of the Fox







Our Readers' Favorite YA Books of the Last Decade
Posted by Marie on October 08, 2018



The 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards is presented by Audible.

From Katniss Everdeen to Starr Carter, the last decade of YA heroes and heroines has captured the hearts of readers of all ages. Their willingness to take a stand, whether it’s in a dystopian regime or a divided community, not only makes these young teens admirable, but unforgettable.

With the 10th annual Goodreads Choice Awards just around the corner, we decided to round up the last ten years of “chosen ones” from the Young Adult Fiction and Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction categories. How many of these have you read? Don’t forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!



Rate this book
Clear rating
Nights are the only time Auden can escape the ugliness of her parents’ divorce. Enter Eli, a fellow insomniac who’s running away from problems of his own as he becomes her tour guide to the nocturnal side of town.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2009)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Katniss barely survived winning the Hunger Games, but the Capitol isn’t done with her yet. Her victory has fueled a growing unrest throughout all 12 districts, and it will be up to her to either stop the fire…or keep it burning.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction and All-Time Favorite (2009)



Rate this book
Clear rating
“Cupid Day” should have been the perfect celebration of valentines and roses for popular high school senior Samantha Kingston. Then she dies in a terrible accident, only to wake up the next morning and relive the same day over again.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2010)



Rate this book
Clear rating
The revolution is drawing to a close, and its success hinges on Katniss' willingness to be a political pawn no matter what the personal cost. Can she put aside her anger and distrust to change the future of Panem forever?

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2010) and Favorite Book of 2010



Rate this book
Clear rating
The sequel to the bestselling novel If I Stay takes place three years after Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever. When an encounter in New York brings them together once more, they take a chance to revisit the past and open their hearts.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2011)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Every year, those who come of age must choose one of the Five Factions that make up their seemingly perfect society. It’s an initiation that changes everyone—Tris Prior, most of all. Her choice will determine not only her status, but also her survival.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011) and Favorite Book of 2011



Rate this book
Clear rating
Hazel already knows how her story will end. Her terminal illness has defined everything in her life, including its final chapter. At this point, she’s not expecting any miracles…until a gorgeous plot twist in the form of Augustus Waters joins her support group.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2012)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Tris may have chosen her faction, but now she must choose sides in the coming war. The unspeakable horrors of her initiation day have led her to a dangerous crossroads, one where she could lose herself and everyone she loves.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2012) and Best Goodreads Author (2012)



Rate this book
Clear rating
They say you never forget your first love. Over the course of a school year, two misfits named Eleanor and Park will learn just what it takes to give someone their heart and what it takes to keep a promise.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2013)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Society as Tris knows it has been shattered. Now she’s offered a chance to explore the world beyond the boundaries of factions. But will the path forward be more dangerous than the one she’s leaving behind?

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Ficiton (2013)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Among a group of four friends, no one knows who’s telling a lie and no one knows who’s telling the truth. In their world, it’s best to keep your enemies close and your secrets even closer.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2014)



Rate this book
Clear rating
In the final book of the Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends face the greatest evil yet: her own brother. With the fate of the world at stake, the Shadowhunters must journey deep into the demon realms, from where no human has ever returned.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2014)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Theodore and Violet both want to escape their suffering. When they meet on the ledge of the school’s bell tower, it’s unclear who saves whom. All they know is that when they’re together, they can stop counting the days and start living them.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2015)



Rate this book
Clear rating
As the rightful Queen of Terrasen, all Celaena wants is to regain everything that’s been taken from her—including her kingdom. To do this, she’ll have to confront the demons of her past and the demons of the court that destroyed her people.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2015)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Thousands of refugees flee East Prussia as World War II draws to a close. Here the lives of Joana, Emilia, and Florian intertwine as they board the Wilhelm Gustoff. Just as freedom is within their grasp, tragedy changes their course and alters their destiny.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2016)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Feyre may have survived Amarantha’s cruelties, but the scars run deep. Though she may have the powers of a High Fae, her heart remains human. Against her expectations, it’s the fearsome ruler of the Night Court who offers to make use of her gifts.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2016)



Rate this book
Clear rating
Starr Carter belongs to two worlds: her poor neighborhood and the suburban prep school she attends. Her worlds violently clash when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fiction (2017)



Rate this book
Clear rating
A dangerous king threatens to bring all of Prythian to its knees. The only thing standing in his way is Feyre and the Night Court. Together they must rally the other High Lords to their cause to save both humans and faeries alike.

Winner: Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2017)






Which YA Goodreads Choice Award winners have you read? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:

Discover These Hot New YA Series
Laini Taylor Reveals the Allure of Forbidden Love
The Ultimate Fall Reading List for YA Book Fans

Laini Taylor Reveals the Allure of Forbidden Love
Posted by Marie on October 08, 2018

YA fantasy author and Goodreads Choice Awards finalist Laini Taylor is an expert at creating lush worlds, rich characters, and the heartbreaking circumstances that keep her young lovers apart. Here Taylor talks to Goodreads about the allure of forbidden love and its significance for YA books, plus answers some of our questions about her latest sequel Muse of Nightmares.



Rate this book
Clear rating
What is it about forbidden lovers? Why are their stories so delicious, and why do I keep writing them? You might think I’d know, but my fascinations rise up from my subconscious while I’m fixated on story and character, and I often don’t even recognize them until later—usually when someone else points them out (and then I pretend like I knew all along). But I’m going to figure it out right here, right now. Let’s do this.

The term “star-crossed” comes from the prologue of Romeo and Juliet—everybody’s favorite secret child marriage slash double suicide—and refers to the idea that fates are determined by the position of the stars, e.g. factors beyond the lovers’ control. I have some issues with the "romance" of Romeo and Juliet, but the trope is undeniably powerful. It boils down to this: forbidden love between two people on opposite sides of a divide.

The idea of a connection so irresistible that you’ll defy everything to be together? It’s the ultimate swoon. Part of what I find so alluring about it is the idea of seeing someone, really seeing them and being seen in return, cuts through layers of bigotry, hatred, and social conditioning. Because with forbidden love, we’re usually talking about people who’ve been raised to hate, fear, or scorn each other as an enemy. And the notion that it’s possible to unlearn all that and see through it? It’s big.


Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating
In Romeo and Juliet, the divide was feuding families, but it might be war, social class, religion, race, proscriptive sexual mores, or any number of other things. There’s huge breadth for a writer in setting up that divide, and huge depth too, because the things that divide us are at the molten core of human experience and are endlessly rich. Not just with storytelling potential, but with scope for exploring elemental human themes like oppression, otherness, identity, and justice, to name just a few.

Forbidden love doesn’t just tap into our headiest romantic feelings. It’s also the perfect springboard for a compelling, high-stakes deep dive into the quagmire of human conflict, asking the question of whether closed minds can be opened, cultures changed, and hate unlearned.

With kissing.

Obstacles are a key element of all romance stories. What’s keeping the lovers apart? It has to be significant enough to shape a whole plot and it’s make or break for me as a reader. Nothing’s more propulsive than well-executed romantic conflict, when you’re breathless and aching right along with the characters to get to the part where they can finally, well, you know…

Be happy. Where they can finally be happy. Why, what were you thinking?

And there are a lot of obstacles to choose from. You can find whole lists of them online, running the gamut from "fear of commitment" to "doppelgänger." I wrote a story once where immortal lovers are kept apart by the fact that her soul is incubating inside a human girl and he has to wait for it to hatch, and another one where the girl accidentally kills the boy with her voice (oops) and has to fetch him out of hell, so I could add “soul incubation” and “fetch boy from hell” to the list of obstacles. But forbidden love is my favorite. The obstacle is built in. It’s ironclad.

Karou and Akiva. Lazlo and Sarai. They’re my forbidden lovers. Their obstacles are different and include death, war, evil gods, a creepy little girl, and more death. But at the end of the day, I can see that I was using both situations to explore questions about hate, cycles of violence, and hope. Especially hope, because here’s the thing: Lovers gonna love, and that goes for forbidden lovers too.

Quietly or boldly, on tiptoes or dragonback, they’re going to cross whatever barrier divides them, and when they do, it becomes…less divide-y. By seeing each other, they teach others to see. By turning passion into defiance, by daring to imagine a new way of living, they set something in motion that might eventually destroy the barrier. At least, that’s how I like to imagine it: impetuous youth remaking the world in the name of love.

____

Goodreads: So many readers are excited about Muse of Nightmares! We know you can’t reveal too much, but what can fans expect before reading the book?

Laini Taylor: Ah, thank you! I’m so excited for it to be read. I will give a couple of hints. While you don’t have to have read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, if you have, you will see and understand things you will otherwise miss. There are also new characters introduced, namely two sisters named Kora and Nova whose paths will crash into the story in a spectacular way.

GR: Let’s talk about Lazlo and Sarai. What struggles are they currently facing in the sequel?

LT: We pick up right where Strange the Dreamer left off, with both Lazlo and Sarai changed but with no time to come to terms with their new selves because of Minya. In fact, Minya is the dark heart of the story and gets at the question of whether cycles of violence and vengeance can be broken. That’s what faces Lazlo and Sarai: the impossible task of persuading a traumatized child to break the cycle. I won’t tell you whether they succeed; I’ll just say, it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever tried to do, narratively speaking.

GR: Tell us about their relationship. What odds are stacked against them?

LT: I think all of us have had the experience (especially in recent years) of arguing with someone who is unmoved by reason, whose mind is so fixed that there’s no hope of changing it. It’s not just maddening, it’s terrifying, especially when that person is in a position of power. So that’s what Sarai and Lazlo are up against: a mind that cannot be changed and an antagonist they cannot kill. What do they do? Read the book and find out!

GR: What do you enjoy most about writing their relationship?

LT: They’re so dreamy. Literally, of course, but not just literally. In spite of their circumstances, they’re so sweet and bashful and playful, and the unusual nature of their connection makes for such fun, dreamy set pieces. I was in heaven writing them. Where would you go on your first date if the only limit was your imagination? If you could rearrange the walls around you into anything, what would you make? Plus, they can share sensation—not just visions, but taste, smell, and feeling. Have you ever wondered what physical sensation is like for another person? They can share that with each other. It’s hot.

GR: You’ve been described as an expert on forbidden love stories. What would you say are the main ingredients of a compelling impossible love story?

LT: A compelling conflict, first of all. Impossible love needs an impossible barrier. I love setting up these situations, but inevitably in the middle I’ll fear that it actually is impossible and that I can’t come up with a solution for my characters! But when you’re in charge of a fictional universe, there’s always a way. You just have to stretch your imagination until you find it.

Besides your conflict, you need characters the reader will root for, and a plot that gives you opportunities to tantalize them with each other, along with reasons to deny them and keep them apart. It’s a dance, and you’re the choreographer, set designer, casting director, and everything else. It’s so fun.

GR: What do you think are some common misconceptions about impossible love stories? Do you see this changing in YA?

LT: Hmm. Maybe insta-love is associated with forbidden love? Romeo and Juliet are certainly the poster children for it. I mean, at the start of the play, Romeo was passionately in love with Juliet’s cousin. But there are ways to forge connections between lovers, and the books I recommend below all find great ways to do it!

GR: Why do you think YA readers need to see relationships like this?

LT: Forbidden love stories often deal with bigotry, ingrained hatred, and preconceived ideas about others, and more importantly, with having the courage to defy and overturn those things. It’s a good framework to get young readers to question their own assumptions and believe that sweeping cultural change is possible.

GR: What books do you think are great examples of forbidden love?

LT: Here are some of my favorite YA forbidden love reads. Some of the obstacles they add to the romantic conflict lists are slavery; rival circus clans; one of you is the god of death; one of you is a bounty hunter from hell; one of you is a cyborg; and damn, she cut off his hand. Oh! And I just realized that one of the conflicts is actually doppelgänger! Read them all!


Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Which forbidden love story would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:

Discover These Hot New YA Series
Our Readers' Favorite YA Books of the Last Decade
The Ultimate Fall Reading List for YA Book Fans

50 Most Popular Horror Novels on Goodreads
Posted by Hayley on October 01, 2018

Goodreads Horror Week 2018

Horror Week is sponsored by Dark Corners, an Amazon Original Stories Collection.

"Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo.… It makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion."
-Clive Barker

Hear the scratching on the wall? Feel a chill run down your spine? The frightening thrills of our favorite horror novels have a way of reaching out from beyond the page—casting shadows, whispering in our ear, haunting us long after the story is done.

For Horror Week, Goodreads set out to reveal the most popular horror stories. To create our list, we focused on the books that have been added the most to Goodreads members' shelves.

From literal monsters to purely psychological terrors, these are tales of madness and pandemonium, retribution and absolution. Long heralded as the "Master of Horror," Stephen King reigns supreme, with five books on our list, but his son Joe Hill is not far behind, nabbing four spots. And along with classics from Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Kirkman's end-of-the-world comic, The Walking Dead, made the cut as well as an award-winning children's ghost story, The Graveyard Book, from Neil Gaiman.

And now we present the top horror books on Goodreads in alphabetical order. Proceed at your own risk—and then tell us how many you've read in the comments.


Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

How many have you read? Tell us in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Horror Week:
13 Terrifyingly True Tales
A Guide to the Ghastly Subgenres of Horror
The Most Popular Book-to-Scream Adaptations

What Are You Scared Of? A Guide to the Ghastly Subgenres of Horror
Posted by Hayley on October 01, 2018

Goodreads Horror Week 2018

Horror Week is sponsored by Dark Corners, an Amazon Original Stories Collection.

Genres can be defined by what's waiting around the corner. In a romance book, it's happily ever after; in a mystery novel, it's the culprit. For horror fans, death is always near—and knowing that is half the fun.

In order to uncover truly terrifying reads, we delved into the rich and grotesque world of horror subgenres, focusing on the mayhem makers that turn dread into an art form. We narrowed down our recommendations to the books that have been added the most to Goodreads members' shelves and that have at least a 3.7 average rating.
Something wicked this way comes, readers. Which books will you be adding to your Want to Read shelf?



A full moon reveals a flash of teeth and fur? It's a werewolf.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


Shifting walls with malevolent intent? It's a haunted house.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


A murderous lunatic hiding in plain sight? It's a psychopath.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


A decaying hand clawing at your shoulder? It's a zombie.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


An eerie menace stalking you across the stars? It's an alien.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


A tangle of guts and a decapitated head? It's a bloodthirsty maniac.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


A spooky apparition with unfinished business? It's a ghost.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


What's your favorite kind of horror story? Tell us in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Horror Week:
Let's Play: Conjure Your Worst Nightmare
50 Most Popular Horror Novels on Goodreads
The Most Popular Book-to-Scream Adaptations

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 118 119