The Best Of: YA Standalones #1

I’m not much of a standalone reader as I always find myself picking up series without meaning to. I am very much a lover of fantasy however when it comes to standalones I am definitely a contemporary fan. I would love to see what your favourite standalones are in the comments below as I am always looking for recommendations.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


I had wanted to read A Monster Calls for a while before I picked it up in May last year. It has been over a year since I read it and I still think about it from time to time. I do not often find myself being as emotionally affected by a book as I did this one. It broke me. Going into the book I only knew what I had seen from the movie trailer. There’s a boy who meets a tree looking monster that only he can see. That is it. But there is so much more to the book than just the ancient elemental being. 

I found that I could not put this book down which resulted in me reading it in just two short nights. It is equally heartbreaking as it is moving. I would more than recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a read that tugs on the heartstrings and will possibly leave you sobbing like a baby. It will do that, trust me.  

Goodreads synopsis: “Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.” 

Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott


I really love this book. I did not know much about cystic fibrosis before reading and actually found it be a very enlightening read. I did do some research to make sure that it is an accurate representation of the disease and will say that it is done well. 

This is definitely a tug on your heartstring kind of read, however not necessarily in the way you would think for a book about disease. I found myself heartbroken over the relationship between Stella and Will, simply for the fact that they knew it could never work but they loved each other anyway.

Goodreads synopsis: “Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?”

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia


This was my most recent read and I actually wrote a full review which can be found here.

For the most part, this is a very fun and easy read, especially if you have the edition of the book with the graphics. I loved that you could see the drawings that Eliza had been working on. 

It does have some darker moments however these add an emotional edge that takes the book from average to something special. 

Goodreads synopsis: “Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster. In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try. Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.”

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 


When I first starting reading The Night Circus I really did not know what to think of it. At the time I did not realise that it is a non-linear story, something which I never read. Do not be put off by this fact, I know a lot of people do not like non-linear books however The Night Circus is fantastically beautiful. The descriptions are like poetry and the world-building is immense. 

If you are looking for a book where you can lose yourself in the setting then this is definitely for you. 

Goodreads synopsis: “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.”

Let me know some of your favourite standalones in the comments!


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  1. Gosh I just loved reading the Night Circus and now The Starless Sea – this non-linear kind of magical realism is just up my alley and I am a huge fan.

    You have reviewed all the books here with great analysis and I am now curious about Six Feet Apart.

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