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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. Characters can feel more innocent, 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

    SHOUT

    Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before.

    SHOUT Book Cover Picture
  2. 2

    Turtles All the Way Down

    In reality, this entire list could be dedicated to John Green books. From An Abundance of Katherines to Looking for Alaska, Green writes in a way that is completely delightful to read as an adult, and his latest piece is no different. The story of a sixteen-year-old who gets swept up in her own investigation of a mysterious billionaire fugitive, Turtles All the Way Down explores how we balance our own pursuits and tendency to get sucked into our own thoughts, while still trying to be decent to everyone around us.

    Turtles All the Way Down Book Cover Picture
  3. 3

    What to Say Next

    High school is a harsh place. Perhaps more than any other social sphere, it’s all about playing the game, and being “in” with the right people. So when popular gal Kit and relative unknown David make a connection over his bluntness about her father’s recent death, everyone is more than a little surprised. When tragedy strikes, the way you see the world can shift, and sometimes that’s the best way to find new people to get you through. Not just your average “teen rom-com” read, this book deals with a number of darker themes that raise it above others in its genre.

    What to Say Next Book Cover Picture
  4. 4

    Dear Martin

    This timely and compelling debut tackles the issue of race relations in the U.S. with heart-stopping accuracy – i’s no wonder it became an instant New York Times bestseller. The main character, Justyce McAllister, is a top-performing student that left a rough neighborhood in hopes of pursuing his dream of attending an Ivy League. Everything comes crashing down when Justyce and his best friend, Manny, experience the wrath of a white off-duty cop. Why? Because they were playing their music too loud. Shots are fired, and when the smoke clears, it’s Justyce who faces hate from the media.

    Dear Martin Book Cover Picture
  5. 5

    An Ember in the Ashes

    Y.A. novels may be “easier” reads, but that doesn’t mean they don’t explore very difficult topics. Tahir’s series is an exploration of freedom and humanity — big things Tahir deals with by creating her own world inspired by the Roman empire. You’ll find correlations with real history and mythology while turning these pages, and the changing perspectives from chapter to chapter will allow you to really invest in and connect to the brave and inspired lead characters.

    An Ember in the Ashes Book Cover Picture
  6. 6

    The Sun is Also a Star

    Natasha is not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. But maybe fate has something much more extraordinary in store… This story is beloved by many and worth reading before the movie hits theaters soon!

    The Sun Is Also a Star Movie Tie-in Edition Book Cover Picture
  7. 7

    The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1)

    The author of the Golden Compass series has done it again. Set in a spin-off world from Compass, Pullman has created a new series so immersive you may start to imagine demons around you when you look up from the page. If you’ve been hoping for a way to go back to Lyra’s story, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

    The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) Book Cover Picture
  8. 8

    Jane, Unlimited

    When Jane loses her beloved aunt, she feels like she’s lost herself as well; until a visit to a mysterious mansion offers her a number of possibilities, each one with its own consequences. Feeling directionless is a common theme for young people, especially in novels written for them, but Cashore takes it one step further by incorporating what can only be described as a type of “choose your own adventure” style into her novel. A mesmerizing read, you’ll be just as taken in by each option as Jane.

    Jane, Unlimited Book Cover Picture
  9. 9

    Otherworld

    Author Kirsten Miller and the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ actor/author Jason Segel have teamed up again, this time to write a work of sci-fi. Otherworld is the first book in their new series set in a world entirely immersed in technology that you don’t only see and hear, but can also taste, smell, and touch. But it’s not a game—it’s the future. This book is the perfect YA read for adult sci-fi lovers.

    Otherworld Book Cover Picture
  10. 10

    Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday

    Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday Book Cover Picture
  11. 11

    How to Make Friends with the Dark

    From the bestselling author of Girl in Pieces comes a novel about love and loss and learning how to continue when it feels like you’re surrounded by darkness.

    How to Make Friends with the Dark Book Cover Picture
  12. 12

    Warcross

    In this sci-fi thriller, Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all. When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

    Warcross Book Cover Picture

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