10 YA Books Adults Will Love Too

Casey Nugent
July 2 2018
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It’s time to face facts: young adult literature has some of the most diverse, interesting writers tackling simply amazing stories. And yet it gets a bad rap, with a lot of people knocking it down as “lesser” than adult literature. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s ridiculous. As a person who is both over the legal drinking age and spends at least half her reading time investing in the plights of fictional teens, I can assure you that there is plenty of young adult literature that appeals to adults, too. According to our friends at Publisher’s Weekly over half of YA readers are adults, so I’ve rounded up some of my favorite titlesa primer on how to break into YA if you don’t know where to start. Check it out, and then get to reading!

This post was originally published on GetLiterary.com.

Scythe
by Neal Shusterman

In a future where death has been eradicated, the population is controlled by Scythes who have the power to gleanpermanently killanyone they wish. Teenagers Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice Scythe Faraday, throwing them into a political battle neither one is prepared for, and that will dramatically alter the world they live in.  

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Scythe
Neal Shusterman

Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

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The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent is a non-psychic in a family of psychics who’s been told all her life that when she kisses her true love, she’ll kill him. Richard Gansey III and his friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah are Raven Boysa nickname for students at the ultra-wealthy Aglionby prep schoolon a quest to find a dead Welsh King. When Blue is drawn in to their quest, it sets all of them down a path that will irrevocably change them.   

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The Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent is a non-psychic in a family of psychics who’s been told all her life that when she kisses her true love, she’ll kill him. Richard Gansey III and his friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah are Raven Boysa nickname for students at the ultra-wealthy Aglionby prep schoolon a quest to find a dead Welsh King. When Blue is drawn in to their quest, it sets all of them down a path that will irrevocably change them.   

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All American Boys
by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Sixteen-year-old Rashad is just looking for a bag of chips at the bodega when police officer Paul Galluzzo mistakes him for a shoplifter and brutally beats him. There were witnesses: Quinn Collins, Rashad’s classmate—who was raised by Paul—and a video camera. Quinn doesn’t want to believe that Paul is guilty of any wrongdoing. But the video exists, the town is taking sides, and tensions are threatening to explode.  

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All American Boys
Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature.

In this New York Times bestselling novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this four-starred reviewed tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken directly from today’s headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.

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City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray’s life is totally normal and totally boring until the day she witnesses three tattooed teens kill a mana man they claim was a demon. This is her first introduction to the Shadowhunters, a group of elite warriors who track down demons in the human world and slay them. Clary’s sure none of it is realuntil her mother goes missing, and she’s forced to turn to the Shadowhunters for help.   

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City of Bones
Cassandra Clare

Discover the world of the Shadowhunters in the first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly). City of Bones is a Shadowhunters novel.When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three people covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. And she’s more than a little startled when the body disappears into thin air. Soon Clary is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. And Clary is introduced with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster. How could a mere human survive such an attack and kill a demon? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before
by Jenny Han

Lara Jean Covey has been in love exactly five times. Each time she’s written the object of her affections a love letter, sealed it, and put it away in a hatbox in her room for safekeeping. But when her letters mysteriously get sent to the boys she’s loved before, Lara Jean’s love life goes from nonexistent to totally out of control.  

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Jenny Han

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Save the Date
by Morgan Matson

If you love Father of the Bride or Sixteen Candles you’ll love Morgan Matson’s latest novel about a wedding weekend gone totally awry. Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married in the family home, and Charlie can’t waitit’ll be the first time her family is all back together in the house in years. But Murphy’s law is in full effect as Charlie must juggle a series of escalating disasters, her complicated feelings for two different guys, and the oncoming changes she and her family are about to face.  

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Save the Date
Morgan Matson

“The cinema-worthy rom-com of your summer reading dreams.” —Bustle Father of the Bride meets Sixteen Candles in the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Matson.Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect. The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge. There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute. Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

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When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah is dying to escape from under the thumb of her parentsparticularly her overbearing mother, who’s on a quest to find Dimple the “Ideal Indian Husband.” The summer program for wannabe tech developers like her is the perfect distraction. Little does Dimple know that Insomnia Con comes with its own surprisesmainly Rishi Patel, the boy who Dimple’s parents have secretly set her up with in a suggested arranged marriage 

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When Dimple Met Rishi
Sandhya Menon

A New York Times bestseller

An NPR Best Book of 2017
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2017
A School Library Journal Best Young Adult Book of 2017
A Bustle Best YA Novel of 2017
A PopSugar Best Young Adult Novel of 2017
A Book Riot Best Book of 2017
A Paste Magazine Best Young Adult Novel of 2017

“Utterly charming.” —Mindy Kaling
“Effervescent.” —Chicago Tribune
“Full of warm characters and sweet romance.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Get ready to fall in love with Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel.” —HelloGiggles

The rom-com everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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Emergency Contact
by Mary H. K. Choi

Penny is ready for college in Austinthousands of miles from her hometown and her deeply embarrassing mother. Sam is stuckliterally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. When these two cross paths, it’s less meet-cute and more unbearably awkward. Still, they decide to swap numbers and stay in touch via text, soon becoming digitally inseparable. But can a text-only relationship ever overcome the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other? 

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Emergency Contact
Mary H. K. Choi

“Smart and funny, with characters so real and vulnerable, you want to send them care packages. I loved this book.” —Rainbow Rowell From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind. Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

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The Last Magician
by Lisa Maxwell

In world where magic has been all but eradicated, Esta is a thief with a magical talentshe can travel through time, pilfering goods from the past. All her training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order, a sinister organization that’s brought magic to the brink of extinction. All Esta has to do is stop the Magician who destroyed the book from doing so. But Old New York is not what Esta thought it would beand neither is the Magician. 

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The Last Magician
Lisa Maxwell

An instant New York Times bestseller! “Will keep you guessing until the last page.” —Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times bestselling author A girl travels back in time to find a mysterious book that could save her future in Lisa Maxwell’s “splendid series opener” (Kirkus Reviews).Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future. In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives. Esta is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all with an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two first meet, it seems like they have nothing in common. But they start hanging out and develop a truly special friendshipthe kind that changes lives.  

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common, but as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

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