I saw an article on Facebook yesterday about 5 great children’s/young adult books or series to enjoy as an adult. And it got me thinking about how much I love YA fiction and how it gets such a bad rap to read it as an adult.
Maybe I’ll change my feelings as I get older, but I’m going to be 24 soon and I absolutely love YA. Call me crazy, but I don’t feel like that’s something to be ashamed of. I’m not saying I don’t also enjoy adult books/fiction, because I definitely do. However, there are some absolutely amazing YA books out there that are well written and have some great messages behind them…and the characters just happen to be young adults. I have this theory that the YA genre of fiction gets a bad rap because people think those books just deal with themes like boyfriends and dating. And while they do (and that’s the guiltier pleasure side of my obsession with these books) not all of them do. Not even the vast majority do, to be honest, and the fact that these books exist means that they need to. As a child and young adult, and even into adulthood, reading has been my escape from things that I can’t handle. It’s a therapy tool for me, much like writing, and I will never be ashamed to admit that there are several books and series out there that have helped me through some really rough times in my life. I have actively sought out books that help me deal with the situations I’m in, and there are some wonderful YA books out there that have helped me-in young adulthood, and adulthood.
So, without further ado, let’s go to Amber’s List of Seriously Amazing YA Books That You Should Buy Now and Read:
1. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
This one should come as no surprise to anyone reading this who knows me in real life. I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter since I was 8 years old and first started reading the series as it came out. HP is the first books that I really remember reading and falling in love with, despite knowing that there were several hundred books that I enjoyed as a younger child. These books transported me to places that I never thought I could go. Hogwarts is still a very real place in my adult mind. “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
2. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
You may have heard of this more now because of the relatively recent film (which was fantastic, by the way) but this book had a cult following from its publication in 1999. It tells the story of Charlie, a quiet wallflower who has difficulty making friends and alludes to dark problems in his past. It deals with serious themes and issues that absolutely have nothing to do with being a teenager and all about finding yourself and overcoming hard stuff. If this seems slow at first, give it a shot. I did the same thing and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Charlie’s letters to an unknown third party will, I promise, move you.
3. I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier
This one…took some coaxing from myself to make the list. I read this book this year, after my best friend brought it up and how she was still confused after reading it in middle school. I downloaded it on my iPad and read it in, like, six hours. It kind of sucked me in even though half the book is really confusing. It was really well written, though, and even though the ending will piss you right off, it was definitely worth the read.
4. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. This is probably one of the best YA books I’ve read recently, and this reminds me that I definitely need to check out Matthew Quick’s newest book. He’s kind of an amazing writer, and he wrote the novel Silver Linings Playbook (if you haven’t heard of that also flawless Oscar-award winning film, then get out from under the rock) which I also really enjoyed. Anyways, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock follows a boy named Leonard who has decided to kill himself, but first he wants to say goodbye and give presents to five important people in his life. It was hilarious while being so heartbreaking at the same time, and really had you rooting for Leonard. READ THIS BOOK PLEASE.
5. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Ugh. THE FEELS THESE BOOKS GAVE ME, THOUGH. I was a huge skeptic of these books and didn’t read them until about four months before the first movie came out. But I was hooked pretty quickly. I had totally denounced all things dystopian at one point in my life-I thought they were too science fiction-y for me, because I don’t enjoy science fiction-until I read The Hunger Games. For those of you living under the rock, Katniss Everdeen lives in a society where the country is broken up into 12 districts which are all responsible for the manufacture of an individual good (for example, district 12 is the coal mining district) and every year, as a reminder of the war, the government chooses a boy and a girl from each district to participate in the hunger games, a fight to the death gladiator arena type deal where only one victor is left standing. Great YA at its best.
6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. What can I say about this book? It has me written all over it. It’s great fantasy, it’s got awesome scary monster-type things, it’s got children with magical powers, a creepy old house, a time loop, a lady who can turn into a bird, and it’s all set in Wales. This book was pretty awesome. Jacob’s beloved grandfather’s dying wish was for Jacob to solve this puzzle which leads him to an island with his father, where he discovers peculiar children…who may not be safe. I have the sequel but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. There’s talk of a movie, but I haven’t heard much in a while.
There you have it. 6 amazing YA books that are not entirely about romance and boys and french kissing and getting drunk on the weekends. I’m not going to say those things are absent but they are all genuinely amazing books that will make you think and leave you wanting more. If you ever want more awesome book recommendations from me (why wouldn’t you?!) check out my Goodreads page.
I almost might make you read about my favorite adult books. Because this is my blog and because I can.