Editors note: I’m happy to publish this guest post by YA book blogger Zoe Strickland.

A few months ago, Robert asked me if I would contribute a blog post where I mention some books I’ve read and enjoyed. Though I have a lot of favorite books, I’ve chosen three of them to talk about in this blog post. So without further ado, here are three of my book recommendations.

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

This book is no stranger to praise. Since its release nine weeks ago, it has maintained a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List. I’m a huge fan of Green’s novels and “The Fault in Our Stars” is perhaps my favorite of them. It follows 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, a girl who was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at the age of 12. She meets Augustus Waters during cancer support group. He’s intelligent, obsessed with metaphors, and in remission. Together, Augustus and Hazel ponder life, death, and the sickness that has plagued them both.

I always have some apprehension when reading books involving cancer. I’ve found that very few authors are able to effectively write a book about cancer that doesn’t fall into the “cancer book” stereotype. John Green’s novel doesn’t fall into that stereotype. “The Fault in Our Stars” is so real. Green makes you feel for every one of his characters. This has become one of my favorites, and I recommend it to anybody who’s looking for a good book.

“Bittersweet” by Sarah Ockler

“Bittersweet” is the best winter-themed book that I’ve read in a while. My opinion regarding this book is slightly biased, seeing as I’m currently Ockler’s intern. However, I read “Bittersweet” before I became her intern. “Bittersweet” follows Hudson as she tries to cope with her parent’s separation and her newly canceled figure skating career. However, after Hudson agrees to coach the high school hockey team to be better ice skaters, her ice skating dreams start looking up.

This book is adorable. The characters are developed really well. I enjoyed watching Hudson mature throughout the novel. “Bittersweet” is a fun, fresh, adorable novel that I really liked reading.

“Break” by Hannah Moskowitz

“Break” has been out for a while. I read it 3 years ago, but I still think about it and re-read it quite frequently. “Break” is about a boy named Jonah who’s on a mission to break all of his bones. Jonah hears that if you break your bones, they grow back stronger. He figures that if he breaks all of his bones, he will become stronger, which is what he needs. Jonah is full of stress, particularly stress regarding his home life. His brother Jesse is allergic to nearly everything, his parents aren’t getting along, and there’s a new baby in the house. Jonah’s bone-breaking obsession begins to spiral out of control, and he eventually hits rock bottom.

Moskowitz is an amazing writer. She captures the dynamic between Jonah and Jesse perfectly. Jonah was a moving character, and I really liked his thought process. I found it interesting finding out his reasoning behind breaking his bones. As someone who reads a lot of books geared towards teen girls, one of the things I enjoyed most about “Break” was how gender neutral it is. “Break” is the type of book that I would recommend to any teen- boy or girl. It’s fast-paced, interesting, and incredibly intense. “Break” is awesome.

Zoe Strickland is the teen behind Zoe’s Book Reviews, intern of young adult author Sarah Ockler, and co-coordinator of the YA division of the Sonoma County Book Festival. When she’s not reading or writing, Zoe enjoys watching TV, drinking tea, and playing with her adorable dog. When she gets older, Zoe would like to be a book agent or publicist in New York City.


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