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8 Young Adult Books You Should Try

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When adult readers hear the phrase “YA”, they often hear the words, “for teenagers only.” This is unfortunate. From fantasy to current events, YA books are, so to speak, on it. They focus on culturally relevant themes and strike emotional chords. Because of this, many adults already read YA literature. But for those of you who don’t, I’ve selected a few titles that might change your mind.

The Book Thief Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375842207
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 11th, 2007

Set in 1939, this historical novel centers around a young girl who steals and shares the one thing she can’t resist – books. Replete with well-rounded characters and honest narration, this is one of the best fictional WWII books out there.

The Grisha Trilogy Boxed Set: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250113474
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Square Fish - September 27th, 2016

This trilogy could easily exist and outstrip anything in the adult sci-fi and fantasy section. Set in what is reminiscent of a future dystopian Russia both blessed and cursed by magical “Grisha”, Bardugo weaves a world of beauty and brutal truths. Not to mention characters you won’t ever forget. Start with SHADOW AND BONE and you won’t be able to stop.

Trell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763692759
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - September 12th, 2017

Amid outcries about wrongful imprisonment and Black Lives Matter comes a book dealing with all of those topics, written from the standpoint of someone living out both. Set in the 1980s and based on the true story of a young man’s wrongful imprisonment, TRELL is both timely and gripping. Written by Dick Lehr, who investigated the true story for the BOSTON GLOBE, this book is sure to spark conversation and controversy.

Eleanor & Park Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250044990
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - January 1st, 2020

If you loved John Hughes movies, or coming of age romances in general, you’re going to love ELEANOR & PARK. Set in the 1980s, these two unlikely lovers find that sometimes the greatest obstacles to love are even darker and more dangerous than we anticipate – and they’re so close to home that they live there.

The Giver (Giver Quartet #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544336261
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - July 1st, 2014

I’m sure some of you remember THE GIVER, but for those who don’t, this is a classic future dystopia where our feelings and emotions have been limited and withheld. One human is chosen to carry the memories of what the rest of humanity can’t remember. Needless to say, it’s a revelation that is both dangerous and revolutionary.

Monster Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064407311
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad - December 14th, 2004

This novel experiments with form, choosing to present itself as a screenplay instead of traditional prose and following a sixteen-year old boy in jail shortly after his involvement with a robbery and murder. It deals in themes of truth – what is it? – and the pressures of conforming to certain types of masculinity.

The Merciless Cover Image
ISBN: 9781595147233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - June 9th, 2015

Stephen King may be the scariest of writers, but Danielle Vega’s THE MERCILESS doesn’t pull any punches. This straightforward and dark horror tale was so successful it’s now on a third installation. Make sure you tell all the girls in your book club coven.

All the Bright Places Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385755917
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - September 13th, 2016

With all the stresses of being a teenager today, it’s difficult to tell when someone is being “dramatic” or genuinely needs help. This beautifully written tale covers romance and mental illness deftly. Read it before the movie comes out and read it so that you, too, can be more aware of ways to help.