“Renegades” by Marissa Meyer

Growing up, all of the books and novels we read focused on the heroes, the ones that ultimately won in the end. Good and evil had clear distinct lines. But what happens the main protagonist of a novel is a villain? What happens when they are the ones trying to take down a superhero organization? Marissa Meyer’s book, Renegades follows Nova, an anarchist with an agenda to abolish the Renegades and exact revenge. Joining the Renegades as a spy, Nova poses as a superhero with the ability to survive without any sleep, a seemingly passive talent. Little do her enemies know that she is actually the villain, Nightmare, with the special ability to put people to sleep with a touch. The added bonus of not needing sleep is a result of a traumatic event in her childhood – something she blames the Renegades for. Throughout the book, she forges friendships with her enemies under the guises, but what happens when she’s kept her enemies too close and starts to develop feelings for a certain Renegade? Will she put behind her life as a villain to help others, or will she continue on her mission, dedicated to the fact that the Renegades do not deserve to lead the city?

As an avid reader, I can not count the times that a book covered the stereotypical hero’s journey, and to be honest, it made me want to stop reading books about magical powers. This book, however, captured my interest instantly. Not only is it as well written as Meyer’s wildly successful series The Lunar Chronicles, but it also has the moral complexity and plot twists that you want in a novel. Renegades leaves you wondering which side is good and which is evil, and the internal conflict Nova faces as she strives to carry out her goals is the character development every novel should strive for. For anyone out there sick of cliches and ready for a well-written book with relatable characters and a unique plot, Renegades is the first book I would recommend. It truly is one of the best YA novels out there.