The 5th Wave Movie Tie-In
15-year old Cassie is on a quest to find her younger brother in an alien-infested landscape where it’s become nearly impossible to differentiate ally from enemy. Cassie might be a teenager, but nothing about The Fifth Wave lacks in maturity or presence, and this novel stands as one of the best books in both Young Adult and Post-apocalyptic fiction.
The question of whether you’ll like this space adventure has less to do with the age of its protagonists and more to do with its out-of-the-box storytelling technique through the perspective of documents, IMs, and, at times, an automated consciousness. The payoff is a story that is both ridiculously fun and incredibly heartfelt.
Salt to the Sea
In the winter of 1945, four teenagers converge on the Wilhelm Gustloff, seeking escape from war-torn Prussia and the incoming Soviet forces. As a fictional retelling of the deadliest maritime disaster in history—one that few have even heard of—Salt to the Sea poignantly gives voice to a moment of history that is often forgotten.
I know what you’re thinking. You swore you would never read a vampire novel from a young adult perspective ever again. I did, too. But the vampires in Peeps are far from the sparkly variety; they’re more like parasites. A carrier for the disease without outward symptoms, Cal has to track down the people he’s infected during the past year…namely, his ex-girlfriends. Expect romance to take a backseat as you receive a rather intensive crash-course on parasites instead.
I Was Here
After her best friend, Meg, commits suicide, Cody must go to Meg’s dorm room to pack her belongings. There, she uncovers a side to Meg’s life that she had never imagined. From the author of If I Stay, comes a story of grief and acceptance as Cody is forced to come to terms with such unspeakable tragedy.
I Am the Messenger
After an underage cab driver stops a bank robbery (by accident), he receives an ace in the mail. The playing card, and the cards that follow send him across the city and into the lives of complete strangers. Zusak is the author of the highly acclaimed The Book Thief, and while I Am The Messenger is very different kind of story, it still tugs at your heartstrings in all the right places.
The Falling Kingdoms series has been likened to a toned-down version of Game of Thrones, with all the betrayal, politics, and war that you could ask for. And when you consider that most of the protagonists of the Song of Ice and Fire books are technically teenagers anyway, there’s no real reason to write Falling Kingdoms off because of something silly like age.
The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
The story of orphaned Mary Lennox, the discovery of a secret garden that she finds in her new home, and the friendships she makes along the way have long been a children’s classic. The Secret Garden is a delight whether you are returning to it as an old favorite or experiencing it for the first time.
The Serpent King
High school senior Dill Early is struggling under the shadow cast by his father, the serpent-wrangling pastor who now sits in prison, leaving him and his mother to fend for themselves in their rural Tennessee town. As the year unfolds, Dill and two of his closest friends will be faced with tough choices that will shape the rest of their lives.
Young Adult books have gotten a bad rep among older readers, perhaps because the name of the genre suggests that these books are only meant for teenagers and people in their early twenties. And maybe these books are marketed that way, but the main distinguishing factor between YA and adult books is simply that the main characters in young adult books are, well, young adults. Meanwhile, the quality of writing and the depth of storytelling still remain as accessible to adults as they are to teens, especially since all adults were young once. These 14 titles represent some of the best of the best, YA books that are also adult-friendly.
Featured image: diografic/Twenty20.com