Young Adult Literature (YA lit) hit the big time with The Twilight Saga. You remember that one, right? Vampires became all the rage in 2008 with Stephenie Meyer’s lovelorn Bella and Edward pining for a life of eternity together. There was a resurgence in night walker heartthrobbing that had not been seen since Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire hit the theaters with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt starring as Lestat and Louis. This new vampire krewe was even more fabulous because they could walk in daylight and sparkle. And then Robert Pattinson stepped in to play Edward Cullen. Adult women (and some men) began to take interest.
Enter the new readers of young adult literature. Grown ups.
I confess, I am one of them. I read just about everything you can find on a book shelf. I am a self-declared sci-fi/fantasy junky but also read historical fiction, psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, horror, British literature, southern gothic literature, and a dabble of romance here and there.
The thing I find intriguing about YA lit is not the dialogue, which in most cases, is basic and mostly predictable. No, the intriguing thing is the creative depths that these writers are stirring in an upcoming group of grown ups: “Young Adults.” These are children who grew up on Harry Potter. They are expecting characters to evolve and grow just as they are evolving and growing. They want a good plot line, some danger & excitement, and a bit of romance. They do not want predictability, but they do want happy endings.
So, with all of this in mind, here is a list of recommendations (in no particular order) that parents may want to take a look at for their young adults and themselves. Like with all fiction that walks on this child/grownup line, I suggest reading it before handing it over to your budding adult. Some of it is a bit more risqué than others. I can’t guarantee unpredictable dialogue or plotlines every time, but I did read each and every one of these and liked them.
10 Books to Read Before Your Young Adult
1. Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
2. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
3. The Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown
4. The Tearling Series by Erika Johansen
5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (trilogy) by Ransom Riggs
6. Night and Nothing Series by Katherine Harbour
7. Mysterious Benedict Society Series by Trenton Lee Stewart
8. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R .Carey
9. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
10. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The list is heavy on sci-fi/fantasy. It is hard to find Young Adult Literature that doesn’t have a twist of the bizarre. Please keep that in mind. In any case, I hope you enjoy discovering the book world’s hybrid offspring of grown up literature and fairy tale.
And just in case you are wondering why The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series are not on this list, it’s because you’ve probably already read them and didn’t even realize they were YA Lit.