10 New YA Books You Don’t Have to Be a Teen to Love
YA novels: They’re just for kids (err, young adults), right? Wrong. With inventive plots, richly drawn characters and intelligent, thought-provoking themes, the following ten novels, while written for a younger audience, have something to offer everyone, regardless of age. For more must-reads, check out our book club board on Pinterest.
The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers
Cammi’s mom is a famous telenovela actress and her dad is a successful voice-over actor in Mexico City. But when her mom gets a part on an American TV show, the family moves to L.A. and everything changes. Cammi enrolls in a fancy-schmancy private school, and her classmates assume she’s on scholarship—not someone who’s accustomed to chauffeurs and private planes. Instead of correcting them, she goes along with it, and learns more about herself along the way than she ever expected.
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Ready for a fast-paced thriller? (Trick question. Of course you are.) Seventeen-year-old Flora is an amnesiac who has no long-term memories past the age of ten. Relying on the notes she leaves herself, she struggles with trusting others. But when she shares a forbidden kiss with her best friend’s boyfriend on his last night in town, she wakes up the next day to discover she can remember the kiss. Thinking this boy might hold the key to unlocking her fractured mind, she sets off to find him.
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis
Fast-paced and told from multiple perspectives, McGinnis’s latest is kind of like a YA Game of Thrones, complete with power struggles, betrayal and themes of duty and fate. Be forewarned: There is a bit of violence, but compared with GoT, it’s practically vanilla.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
In the 18th century, Monty, a young bisexual British lord, embarks on a Grand Tour of Europe with his best-friend-slash-secret-crush. At first, the most stressful thing on his mind is whether his crush likes him back (#relatable), but soon the two find themselves in the middle of an intense manhunt across the continent.
The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
Vaguely reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, The Unlikelies sees five diverse teens who have become unlikely hometown heroes, and who form an unexpected alliance to continue bettering their world. Funny and wise, Firestone’s sophomore novel sends a good message without being too earnest or dismissive of reality.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Meet Tash, a 17-year-old vlogger who has turned her love for Tolstoy into a web series adaptation of Anna Karenina (awesome). Suddenly, the series goes viral, and Tash is thrust into the spotlight and forced to contend with overnight success, lavish praise and all the grown-up drama that comes with worldwide notoriety. Ormsbee’s prose is unique in that it features a protagonist who identifies as a romantic asexual, to which we say here-here.
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Iris and Malina are twin witches with the ability to bring forth and manipulate beauty. Their mother forces them to keep their powers a secret and forbids them from falling in love. Then, their mother is attacked and the twins begin to wonder if their powers are less of a gift and more of a curse that their mother had been protecting them from all along. With rich descriptions and characters that will stay with you, this standout debut novel makes Popovic one to watch.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Sal is a Mexican-American teenager living in El Paso. Adopted as a toddler by a gay man (who’s also Mexican-American), Sal can only remember being surrounded by love. Then, when a classmate hurls a gay slur at him, Sal responds by fighting, which scares him. Did he inherit his biological father’s temper and propensity toward violence? In each journal-like chapter, Saenz explores Sal’s internal struggles as well as the roller coaster of emotions that anyone who’s been a teenager will remember well.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
A love letter to the written word, a large part of Crowley’s plot surrounds a bookstore on the verge of closing. As a teenager, Rachel developed a massive crush on her childhood friend Henry. When her family moved away, she wrote Henry a love letter and left it in the pages of his favorite book at his family bookshop. Henry never responded, meaning that when Rachel returns back home three years later to work at the store, he’s the last person she wants to see. What follows is a sweet ode to second chances that’ll have you grinning from ear to ear.
Because You Love to Hate Me by Ameriie
In this fun and unique anthology, 13 acclaimed YA authors (including Nicola Yoon and Renée Ahdieh) team up with 13 booktubers (for those of us not in high school, a “booktuber” is someone who has a vlog, or video blog, about books) to reimagine classic fairy-tales from the perspectives of the oft-misunderstood villains. The entertaining and thought-provoking results will definitely make you look at your favorite childhood books a little bit differently.