In honor of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s upcoming release, we have made a ranked list of our favorite JLA novels. Check out JLA’s newest book, The Burning Shadow, out on October 8th!
Note: since JLA is a writing goddess, she has a lot of books, most of which are series. For the purposes of this list, we grouped her series together instead of listing out individual books. For example, JLA’s novel, Half-Blood, is group with the Covenant series, etc. Also, we are only ranking JLA’s YA novels, though, she has written many romance and New Adult books if those are more your speed!
Claire had the honor of meeting JLA at her YA/Romance book convention, Apollycon, and she was the sweetest human! JLA is one of our favorite authors and all of her books are worth checking out. We hope you enjoy them the way we have!
1. The Covenant series
Covenant was the first JLA series we both read, and trust us when we say it is fabulous! Claire ranks this series in her top five favorite books of all time. The series is a mix of action, Greek mythology, and romance. What would happen if Greek gods and mortals produced children? Well, in this story, it is definitely possible, and their descendants are called hematoi.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandria is a half-blood, the daughter of a pure blood hematoi and a human. Alexandria attends the Covenant, a special school for pure bloods and half bloods, located in North Carolina. Half-bloods can either train to become Sentinels who hunt daimons or become servants in the homes of pure bloods. After her mom– a pure blood– is captured by daimons, Alex will stop at nothing to get her back. Along the way, she falls for her hunky instructor, Aidan (*Swoon*) and discovers she has some crazy freaky powers. As it turns out, Alexandria’s fate was written by the Gods, and her life changes forever once she discovers the secrets behind her powers.
This series is action packed from start to finish! You will find yourself completely immersed in the story, and we guarantee each book will leave you dying for the next. The romance in this series is A+++, and Aidan is one of Claire’s top YA love interests of all time. The ending to the series was also beautiful. Do yourself a favor and definitely pick this series up!
2. The Dark Elements series
The Dark Elements series is a New York Times Bestseller…and for good reason! Layla is a half-demon, half-gargoyle, living with Wardens, a race of gargoyles who hunt demons. One of her housemates is Zayne, her protector, whom she also happens to be in love with. The only problem is that he thinks of her as a little sister that needs constant protection. Why? Because Layla has powers no other Warden possesses, and demons will stop at nothing to hunt her down. Layla’s kiss will kill anyone with a soul. Her sheltered life is changed forever when she meets Roth, a demon harboring major secrets. Together, Layla and Roth work to stop a violent demon uprising…while falling in love along the way.
This series is excellent! Arguably JLA’s most popular series, The Dark Elements novels have excellent characters and plot. In fact, the series was so popular that JLA made a spin off series focusing on Zayne (spoiler alert: Zayne does not come out on top in this love triangle– sorry!). Roth is hands down one of the best YA love interests, and, like all of JLA’s love interests, he is witty and broody– the best combo!
3. The Origin series
The Origin series is a spin-off of the Lux series (to be discussed below). The series tells the story of Evie Dasher, a seventeen-year-old who is caught in a raid at a club for humans and Luxen, an alien race who has settled on earth. Evie is rescued from being arrested by Luc, the club’s mysterious owner. Evie thinks he is a Luxen, but he is much more powerful than she ever thought. After students at her high school are found murdered, her town thinks the Luxen have begun attacking students. When the killer targets Evie, she finds herself drawn closer to Luc for protection. As the two work to find the killer, Evie discovers secrets about her past that will change her life forever.
The Origin series is well written and, for being a spin off series, does an excellent job of world building without assuming the reader is familiar with the Lux novels. The romance between Evie and Luc is fantastic, and, in usual JLA fashion, Luc is totally swoonworthy. Evie was also a total badass, and we found ourselves relating to her on many levels. We prefer this series (although unfinished) to the Lux novels because the latter series got very cliché as the books went on. We hope this series does not follow the same path!
4. The Dead List
The Dead List tells the story of Ella, an average American teen trying to finish her senior year of high school in one piece…quite literally. There is a killer on the loose, and he is after Ella. This novel can best be described as IT meets Criminal Minds, and we could not be more about it.
We definitely recommend this book for the mystery lovers out there. To top it off, the romance in this book is top notch! You will find yourself swooning…and then running to make sure every window and door is locked. Fun fact about this book: JLA originally published the story for free on Wattpad, but fans were so obsessed with the story that they demanded she publish the book! So yeah, the story is that good—trust us!
5. Don’t Look Back
Don’t Look Back tells the story of mean girl, Samantha, who wakes up from a horrible accident with amnesia. She has no idea how she came to be involved in the horrible accident that led to the death of her best friend, Cassie. Before the accident, Samantha had the perfect life: the hottest boyfriend, endless wealth, and a posse of friends. After she wakes up, Samantha tries to reinvent herself, and grows closer to Carson, her brother’s best friend, while the two try to piece together the night of Cassie’s death.
This book had a very shocking ending, and, like The Dead List, was superbly written. The mystery was engaging and left you dying (pun intended) to piece together the night of Cassie’s death. We also loved the romance between Samantha and Carson. Definitely snag this one if you are looking for an excellent thriller with an equally stellar romance!
6. The Lux Series
If you like sci-fi, then this is the series for you! The Lux series tells the story of Katy, a teenager who just moved to the middle of nowhere West Virginia. Katy is your average teenager…until her new neighbors, Daemon and Dee, change life as she knows it. You see, Katy’s neighbors are not human, they are Luxen, an alien race that has resettled on earth after their planet was destroyed by a rival alien race. The Department of Defense resettles Luxen among the human population and ensures they live “normal” lives undetected. While being attacked by a stranger in a parking lot, Daemon comes to Katy’s rescue, and soon Katy finds herself sucked into the dangerous life of the Luxen.
This series is great, and it definitely will fulfill all of your swoon-worthy romance needs! The only real issue, though minor, is that the last two books of this series were on the cheesier side. However, the banter and character development in these books is top-notch and more than makes up for it!
7. If There’s No Tomorrow
Lena is ready for her senior year of high school. Her biggest problem is that she is in love with her best friend Sebastian and she doesn’t believe her feelings are reciprocated. Then one night after a fight with Sebastian, Lena makes the decision to get into a car with a drunk driver. One decision changed her life forever and she can never take it back.
Armentrout teaches an important lesson on consequences of actions. Lena has to live with her bad choice forever and learn how to move on. We liked the character depth in this book, especially the relationship between Lena and Sebastian. If you’re looking for a super happy book, leave If There’s No Tomorrow alone. If you want to read about real issues teens face, pick this one up and get ready for an emotional roller coaster.
8. The Harbinger series
The first book in the Harbinger series, Storm and Fury, was recently released in summer 2019 as a spin-off to the Dark Elements series. The Harbinger series focuses on Zayne, the loser of the Roth-Layla-Zayne love triangle from the the earlier series. We admit, this was not our favorite of JLA’s series simply because we are not the biggest Zayne fans. We found him to be a bit boring, and thought he lacked the same broodiness and wittiness that Roth had. That being said, this is still an excellent book and will be sure to entertain you!
Trinity is a seventeen-year-old teenager, who is also going blind. Despite her vision impairment, Trinity has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. In an effort to keep her special ability under wraps, Trinity has been hidden on a secret Warden– gargoyles who protect the world from demons– compound. Trinity’s powers make her susceptible to a demon attack, and after demons breach the compound, she is forced to work with Zayne to uncover the secrets behind her special powers.
9. The Problem with Forever
The Problem with Forever is a standalone novel set in Baltimore, Maryland about a teen named Mallory, who, after years of homeschooling, decides to take the plunge and attend public school. All her life, Mallory has kept her head down, developing in a quiet and shy teen. While at school, she reconnects with Rider Stark, her childhood friend and protector from her days in foster care. But Rider has dark secrets, secrets that risk changing Mallory’s life forever. Mallory’s adoptive parents hardly approve of her budding romance with Rider, but Mallory is determined to help him no matter the cost.
The Problem with Forever is a solid standalone novel, and it is one of JLA’s more serious books, as Mallory and Rider were part of the foster system and both have troubled lives. Though the story deals with serious topics, a very sweet romance develops between Mallory and Rider. If you are a fan of sweet romances, this is the book for you!
Cursed is the one novel by JLA that we did not love–like, at all. The story centers around a teenage girl named Ember McWilliams, who, after surviving a fatal car crash, discovers she has the power to kill people with her touch. Ember meets Hayden Cromwell, who thinks her curse is a gift and offers to get her powers under control with the help of his adoptive father. The only problem is that Ember gets major creeper vibes from Hayden’s adoptive father, as she thinks he is singling out children with special abilities for his own evil devices.
To be honest, the romance between Ember and Hayden was lackluster, and the character development was sub-par. Overall, this novel was super boring, and lacked the certain charm that all of JLA’s other books have. The story had so much potential (special powers, hot boys– who wouldn’t want to read this?!), but the approach was flawed. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one!