Young Adult Fiction is one of my favourite genres ever. It has been since I first picked up a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower when I was in secondary school. It’s a genre that will always hold a special place in my heart, no matter how old I get.
The Hunger Games trilogy cemented by love of fiction and encouraged me to read more during my teenage years, even though all I wanted to do was watch Glee and look at photos of McFly on Tumblr.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve broadened my taste in books but that hasn’t stopped me from scouring through the YA shelves in my favourite bookshops. They are full of encouraging, hopeful and moving stories that are often overlooked because they’re for ‘teens’, but they’re not. Anybody can read YA books. And if you don’t then you’re seriously missing out. Some of the strongest and most gripping books I have had the joy of reading over the years have been aimed at young adults.
I decided to share five of the best YA books to help encourage more of you to pick up a YA book.
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
This stunning story is bound to break your heart into tiny little pieces and educate you about the struggles people with Cystic Fibrosis face on a day-to-day basis.
Can you love someone you can never touch? Stella Grant likes to be in control- even though her totally out-of-control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. What Stella needs to control most is her distance from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No expectations.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. In one week he’ll turn eighteen, and then he’ll be able to unplug himself from all these machines and go see the world.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. But now six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment. What if they could steal back just a little bit of space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The story of a girl, a boy and the universe. This one is a fascinating and eye-opening read that is so much more than a teen love-story.
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store- for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Without a doubt, the most heart-achingly beautiful book I’ve ever read.
Theodore Finch wants to take his own life. Violet Markey is devastated by her sister’s death. They meet on the ledge of the school bell tower, and so their story begins. It’s only together they can be themselves.
But, as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?
Me, Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
I’m sure you’ve seen the touching movie based on this book, but you need to read the story to appreciate it in full.
It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out: the answer to the basic existential question, how is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours.
Then Greg’s mother forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
If there is one book you decide to read on this list then please choose this one. It is SO important and an essential read for everyone.
Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.