Once upon a time before I started Loving Life Moore back in 2013, I was the proud owner of a young adult (YA) book blog. I started it as a project while at the University of Utah, and reviewing YA books became a passion for me, despite the fact that, on paper, I was an adult. Over time I learned that there are actually a lot of YA books adults will love – despite the fact that their genre states a young adult range.
I’m not-so-humbly proud to say that, to this day, friends will still randomly text me asking for book recommendations, and most of the ones I have in my back pocket are YA books. After being a book blogger for five+ years, my shelves are lined with them, my heart is full of them, and I can’t wait to pass them onto my children someday when they’re ready. But for now, I wanted to share the wealth and round out 20 YA books adults will love (regardless of your age!)
Hate List by Jennifer Brown – Raw, real and extremely emotional, this book launches into a topic that’s all too familiar in our society today; school shootings. Following Valerie in the aftermath of her boyfriend’s school shooting, we watch, feel, and learn as she works to make amends and move on with her life. It’s a powerful, evocative story that brought me to tears.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone – Real and captivating, this debut novel follows the story of Justyce. Hailing from a rough neighborhood, he’s set to take on the Ivy League world, but faces prejudice, if only because of his race. In this day and age, it’s a story every young adult and adult should read.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – If you love fantasy, a story of strong women, and a bit of a moral gray area, this book is for you. The story of magical triplets each vying for the throne in a battle of life or death, it’s like The Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones. I’m obsessed.
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly – Everybody knows the story of Cinderella. But do you know the story of the stepsisters? Isabelle is one of them, and this follows her own story of how she tried so hard to fit in that she lost herself in the process. It’s a story of redemption and beauty, and it’s a totally unique character journey.
Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount – If you want to watch a terrified victim of sexual assault bloom into a warrior in her own right, this book is for you. You’ll read Ashley’s journey from both hers and her brother’s sides of story, giving you a different perspective on how one views sexual assault. Patty Blount absolutely soars with this novel. Trust me. You need to read this.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – Set just one year after 9/11, we follow the story of Shirin, a teenage Muslim girl who’s become victim of constant stereotypes. She’s built up walls to protect herself until one person, privy to the power of white privilege, might just send those walls toppling down. This book transcends its setting and rings all too true today.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I love a good fantasy novel, and this. is. it. Think Oceans Eleven mixed with magic, a cast of thieves, runaways, spies, and deadshots, and you’ll have the story of Kaz. If you’re up for an adventure, this is one hell of a tale.
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby – If you’re looking for a book that doesn’t fall into just one category or genre, this is it. Throwing genres and tropes out the window, this is the story of two brothers, Finn and Sean, who live with the lovely Roza in Bone Gap until, one day, she disappears. Alternating POVs, it’s part magical, part mythological, and wholly captivating. You have to read it to believe it.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – I’m not big on love triangles, but this one does it right. This is the story of Lennie in the aftermath of her sister, Bailey’s, death. Torn between two boys, each offering her something to hold onto in the depths of despair, Lennie’s story of loss, heartbreak, and reality is powerful, honest, and completely poetic.
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter – Haunting. Painful. Real. Uplifting. This book is all of these things and more. Institutionalized against her will at 16, Cassie is released at 18, newly-emancipated, and trying to find herself again. Issues of mental issues, abandonment, abuse, and more, it’s a powerful story about rediscovering the past and finding a new future.
Honestly, I have dozens of additional recommendations of YA books adults will love to share, but I wanted to whittle this list down to 10 that any adult might love to read. Do you have any recommendations of YA books you love and always recommend?