Five YA books to add to your reading list


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If I'm being honest, I used to avoid young adult (YA) books at all costs. I am a 28-year-old professional woman! I should read more challenging books - books that make me think and expand my horizons beyond the normal scope of my reality. YA books are for kids! Right?

Wrong. YA books are not just for young adults (which, according to the dictionary, includes people in the teens or early 20s). For a while, I would argue I was still in either my early or mid 20s, but I can't get away with that argument anymore. Twenty-eight is definitely late 20s. But, I digress.

I do firmly believe in reading challenging literature and stepping outside your comfort zone (current read: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - highly recommend), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading YA if you are not a young adult. Sometimes it's nice to read books for the sake of entertainment (gasp!) and give yourself a break from thinking too hard (but honestly, sometimes these books make you think in ways you haven't truly allowed yourself to think before - The Hate U Give did that for me). Plus, there are some incredible YA authors and books out there, and these books deserve your attention.

Here are five YA books on my list (I have read one of them).

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I recently finished this book, and I tore through it faster than a kid opens presents on Christmas morning. It was captivating, awe-inspiring, and it challenged my biases and opinions more than I thought possible. The Hate U Give centers on 16-year-old Starr, an African-American girl who lives in a poor neighborhood but attends a fancy suburban school. When Starr witnesses one of her childhood friend's death at the hands of a police officer, she is pulled between both worlds in which she lives and must decide how she will handle herself as she navigates her two communities - both at home and at school. 100 percent recommend this one, and it's going to be made into a movie.

*4.62 out of 5 on Goodreads

2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Speaking of movies, Wonder is set to release in theaters on Nov. 17 (starring Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts). Wonder follows a young boy named August who was born with a facial difference that kept him out of school until the 5th grade. Once he starts attending public school, August is faced with bullying by his classmates and a struggle for acceptance that he so desperately desires. According to the Amazon synopsis, the book is told from August's perspective at first, but it then switches to his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend and other perspectives. I'm sure this one will break my heart, but it seems like an incredibly important book to read.

*4.43 out of 5 on Goodreads

3. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

What would you do with your time if you knew there was a chance "time" could be obliterated at any moment? That is what four seniors in high school (and the rest of the world, really) are faced with as an asteroid plummets toward earth and threatens the future they have all worked toward their entire lives. Would you care what people in high school think of you? Would you try a little harder to gain the attention of a love interest? This book explores what it truly means to make the best of the present and stop worrying so much about the future.

*3.63 out of 5 on Goodreads

4. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Picture this: a brainiac, the homecoming princess, a criminal, an athlete, and an outcast all in detention together. The following day, Simon (the outcast) planned to reveal secrets about his four classmates who attended detention with him. He can't reveal said secrets, though, because by the end of detention, he's dead, and his four classmates are automatically suspects in his death. Thriller + YA? I'm all in.

*4.07 out of 5 on Goodreads

5. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Have you ever considered the pain and guilt you would feel if you sent a text your friend checked while driving, resulting in a deadly car accident? Jeff Zentner's work Goodbye Days explores this notion after the protagonist, Carver, sends a text that would lead to an accident that kills his three best friends. So much more than guilt is at stake for Carver, including his freedom.

*4.29 out of 5 on Goodreads

Have you read any of these books (no spoilers, please!) or do you have any YA faves to add to my list? Let me know!

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