The Best Of: Standalones

In recent years I’ve become much more of a standalone reader. Which would have shocked and appalled series-binger teen me. I’m not sure why this shift in reading habits has happened, but I’m not mad about it. Don’t get me wrong I still read series just as often, but I tend to read much more these days, which is probably because of the standalones.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

This was my first read of 2021 and what a way to start out that year. I loved this book, a lot. I’ll be the first to admit that the stunning cover is what drew me to it, but that’s not always a bad thing, right?

Retellings, well this is more inspired by Cinderella, of fairytales are some of my favourite books to read and this was one is really interesting. Dystopian sapphic Cinderella? Yes please!

Synopsis: It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Ok, so this isn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, but it really sang to my musical theatre-loving heart. I was one of those people that auditioned for the school musical every year and this book made me feel quite nostalgic. 

It’s definitely not for everyone, and it very much reads like a teen story. So if you’re more into mature YA reads, then this is not for you. It is quite fun though and its a pretty quick read if I’m remembering correctly. 

Synopsis: Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

Princess of Souls by Alexandra Christo

This is my most recent read on this post. I was very kindly given an ARC of Princess of Souls and after reading and loving To Kill A Kingdom I was super excited for this.

It has pretty intense worldbuilding and a really interesting magic system. I loved the sense of adventure this book has and the characters were all complex and grew a lot over the course of the book. 

I’ve just realised I mentioned Princess of Souls in my retellings post a few days back, apparently, I’m really hyping up this book at the moment.

Synopsis: For sixteen years, Selestra Somniatis has been trapped in a castle on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as King Seryth’s right hand. Tied by blood to steal souls for the immortal King of the Six Isles, the Somniatis Witch foretells the deaths of participants in the Festival of Predictions. To outrun your fate is to save your soul and steal the King’s immortality. But if you die, your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.

As a soldier in King Seryth’s army, Nox Laederic is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but he has no plans to die at the hands of the King or his witches. His plan is more akin to violent revenge: steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra herself.

But when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, she sees her own death alongside his–their fates are unmistakably intertwined, and Selestra is no longer safe in the only home she’s ever known. Nox and Selestra will have to enter a turbulent alliance in order to survive long enough to free the Six Isles from King Seryth’s clutches and escape the new fate that hunts them.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: The Best Of: YA Retellings #3

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