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These YA Books Should Be on Every Adult’s Reading List

Who says young adult novels are just for kids? Reading YA offers adults a world they don’t often find in more grown-up novels. The settings can be more fantastical, and the emotions can feel downright nostalgic. Whatever your reason for diving in, here are some YA reads that can easily be appreciated by an older audience.

  1. 1
    The Conference of the Birds Book Cover Picture
    The Conference of the Birds Book Cover Picture

    The Conference of the Birds

    by Ransom Riggs

    With his dying words, H—Jacob Portman’s final connection to his grandfather Abe’s secret life entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly con­tacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor—Save the future of all peculiardom. With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to find V, the most enigmatic, and most powerful, of Abe’s former associates. But V is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found.
    The Conference of the Birds Book Cover Picture
    The Conference of the Birds Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $14.99

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  2. 2
    This Is My America Book Cover Picture
    This Is My America Book Cover Picture

    This Is My America

    by Kim Johnson

    Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time–her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?
    This Is My America Book Cover Picture
    This Is My America Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $17.99

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  3. 3
    Watch Over Me Book Cover Picture
    Watch Over Me Book Cover Picture

    Watch Over Me

    by Nina LaCour

    Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a teaching job and a place to live on an isolated part of the Northern California coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home—a real home. The farm is a refuge, but it’s also haunted by the past. And Mila’s own memories are starting to rise to the surface.
    Watch Over Me Book Cover Picture
    Watch Over Me Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $17.99

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  4. 4
    The Cousins Book Cover Picture
    The Cousins Book Cover Picture

    The Cousins

    by Karen M. McManus

    Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious. Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them.
    The Cousins Book Cover Picture
    The Cousins Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $19.99

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  5. 5
    Every Body Looking Book Cover Picture
    Every Body Looking Book Cover Picture

    Every Body Looking

    by Candice Iloh

    When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family—and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her sexuality, she also begins to wrestle with her past—her mother’s struggle with addiction, her Nigerian father’s attempts to make a home for her. Ultimately, Ada discovers she needs to brush off the destiny others have chosen for her and claim full ownership of her body and her future.
    Every Body Looking Book Cover Picture
    Every Body Looking Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $11.99

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  6. 6
    Dear Justyce Book Cover Picture
    Dear Justyce Book Cover Picture

    Dear Justyce

    by Nic Stone

    Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center. Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce–the protagonist of Dear Martin–Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure.
    Dear Justyce Book Cover Picture
    Dear Justyce Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $18.99

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  7. 7
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture

    The Sun is Also a Star

    by Holly Jackson

    Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town. But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer? Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $10.99

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  8. 8
    American Royals Book Cover Picture
    American Royals Book Cover Picture

    American Royals

    by Katharine McGee

    When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.
    American Royals Book Cover Picture
    American Royals Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $10.99

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  9. 9
    Lovely War Book Cover Picture
    Lovely War Book Cover Picture

    Lovely War

    by Julie Berry

    They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
    Lovely War Book Cover Picture
    Lovely War Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $11.99

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  10. 10
    They Wish They Were Us Book Cover Picture
    They Wish They Were Us Book Cover Picture

    They Wish They Were Us

    by Jessica Goodman

    They Wish They Were Us Book Cover Picture
    They Wish They Were Us Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $10.99

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