I love reading the Young Adult genre. Sure, it’s aimed at people younger than me but so many of them are written in such a way that people of all ages can enjoy them. They’re stories of characters who are just coming out from under the umbrella of their parents and learning not only who they are as a person but their place in the world. They struggle deeply, love fiercely and aren’t afraid to take a risk. Over and over, I find myself lost in their world, albeit the real one or a fantasy one of the author’s making.
So, without further ado, here are my some of my current favourite books/series/authors in the Young Adult genre. Click on the covers for more details.
The Gifting (series) – K E Ganshert
“If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.”
I love this series. I know, I rave about it over and over. But it’s for a good reason, promise. They’re amazingly written, easy to read, totally captivating and are a really confronting reminder (hidden in a super sweet romance) of the unseen war daily going on around us and how powerful prayer really is. Okay, now I want to read them again…
A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
I spotted this one on Instagram and, hearing it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, immediately tracked it down at my library. I wasn’t even finished it before I went and got my own copy. Loved the way it retold the well-known fairytale in such a novel way but also the strength of Harper, the main character, and the way she proved over and over that disabilities only hold you back if you let them.
The second book in this Cursebreakers series was great too. Looking forward to the third!
River of Time (series) – Lisa T Bergren
What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?
TIme travel, archaeology, romance, handsome knights and strong female leads – what’s not to love? These five books are written from the point of view of two teenaged sisters who accidentally fall back in time while exploring their parents’ archaeological site, and end up in medieval Italy. So beautifully written it feels like you’ve been tugged back in time along with them.
The Ravenwood Saga (series) – Morgan L Busse
Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood—and to a powerful ability. But it comes with a dark secret. Is she willing to pay the price for the path she chooses?
It’s hard to put into words how much I love this series. I love the journey Lady Selene takes to discovering who she is, her purpose in life and how much bigger God’s dream is for her than the one she’s been brought up to believe in. I wrote quotes from this one in my Bible and find myself constantly encouraged and challenged by it. The romance is pretty sweet too, but, in a very rare occurrence, I actually liked Selene’s journey more than the romance. Which is saying a lot!
Jenny B Jones (author)
There You’ll Find Me (pictured) is my favorite of Jenny’s young adult books but she’s written lots and all of them are incredible. These are contemporary and deal with very real issues – family breakdowns, grief, eating disorders, faith crises, gritty relationships – but in a way that’s just really beautiful and really shows the hugeness of God’s grace. Warning though, I cry every time I read There You’ll Find Me. I laugh too, through lots of really funny scenes, but yeah, bring tissues.
Kasie West (author)
One of my absolute favorite YA authors. Her books are all standalone (although occasionally a character from one book will sneak in to another!), super sweet, romantic and fun but dealing with some pretty deep issues facing teens today – foster care, broken families, friend troubles, bullying, peer pressure, image, social media, fear, anxiety/mental illness, living up to expectations…
Melanie Dickerson (author)
Melanie Dickerson has written heaps of books in the young adult genre (although these are totally for all ages!). Her fairytale retellings are so vividly beautiful, my favorites being The Warrior Maiden (Mulan), The Healer’s Apprentice (Sleeping Beauty) and The Merchant’s Daughter (Beauty and the Beast). If you love fairytales, the medieval time period, action stories, romance or retellings, you’ll love these.
Wonderscape – Jennifer Bell
This one I bought because I loved the cover and it sounded like something fun to read to/with my kids. It totally exceeded my expectations! We read a few chapters each night and it took all my willpower not to read ahead each day. It’s a story of three young teens who get pulled into a futuristic computer game, only to have to get through each level (to find their way back to their own time) by meeting and working with real-life heroes from the past to solve problems. Adventure, gaming, friendships, history, fact, imagination – this book had it all and had me captivated from first page to last.
Robin Jones Gunn (author)
What can I say about Robin Jones Gunn except that she’s truly amazing and one of my biggest inspirations. Oh yeah, and she writes great books for teens 🙂 I started reading her Christy Miller series as a young teen and grew up with the characters – following them through high school (Christy Miller series books 1-12, Sierra Jensen series books 1-12), college (Christy and Todd: The College Years, Katie Weldon series), marriage (Christy and Todd: The Married Years), kids (Christy and Todd: The Baby Years) and beyond (The Havenmakers series). There are a couple of spin off series too, in case all those weren’t enough.
At least twice I’ve told someone I have a friend who does ___etc , only to realise it was actually a character from one of Robin’s books. Oops. What can I say. They’re just so real!
The Library of Lost Things – Laura Taylor Namey
This was another book I picked up knowing nothing about the author or book but being intrigued by the title and premise. And loved. It was a lot of fun to read but also had a surprising amount of depth in it for a YA book. I cried a couple of times – once, because the best friend was just so beautiful, and once because I could just feel how much the main character hurt. I also loved that the issues didn’t just all magically disappear by the end of the book. Made it feel very real. Again, really looking forward to reading more by this author.
Krista McGee (author)
Easy reads, beautiful characters, real issues, sweet romances.
First Date, Right Where I Belong and Starring Me are my favorites of Krista’s (although she’s also written a sci-fi series for YA which was fascinating). If you’re looking for subtle Christianity, don’t go for these but if you’re wanting to be stretched and challenged in your faith, these are great! I love the spiritual conversations speckled throughout these.
Chronicles of Narnia – C S Lewis
Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil…
Hard to go past Narnia for incredible storytelling and a world I find myself pulled into time and time again. I once read this whole series in one week. I think it took about a month following to find my way back to reality. Recommended for all ages 🙂
How to Speak Boy – Tiana Smith
I’ve decided lately that I really enjoy stories where the two main characters get to know (and appreciate) each other through anonymous letters, while not particularly liking each other in real life. It makes for a really fun story with an extra level of depth/amusement/intrigue since you, as the reader, know who the letter writers are as you’re reading the letters but the characters themselves don’t. I also found the debate/public speaking aspect pretty interesting. They weren’t your typical sporty high school characters.
Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
I love finding great, new (to me) authors and Brigid Kemmerer definitely made it on to that list for me this year. I loved her Cursebreakers series (see above) so started working my way through her backlist. This one took a little bit of courage to work up to (again, not a big fan of sad stories or ones that that break my heart purposely) but I’m so glad I read it. It was absolutely incredible. This was another one of two people writing letters anonymously to each other (told you I liked them!) and helping each other despite not liking each other in real life – which was done so well. What I loved most about this one though (and seems to be what I love most about all this author’s books) was how even the minor characters had a captivating story. They all added so much to the main characters and their journeys. Very real, incredibly well written.
Umblemished (series) – Sara Ella
Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength? And that was only the beginning…
Epic is the word which comes to mind thinking about this trilogy. One of those ones you get pulled into and struggle to find your way out of – in a good way. Warning: from the second book onwards, there are a LOT of details and storylines to keep track of. Liked it the first time, pretty sure I’ll love it even more the second.
The Selection Series – Kiera Cass
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare.
Dystopian world meets Biblical Esther in the Bachelor show of a lifetime as a prince tries to narrow down his choice of a bride from thirty-five potentials, in a challenge just as much political as it is romantic. I loved this series – the romance/s, the characters, the storyline, the ‘moments’. I’m not usually a fan of love triangles but I really enjoyed this one.
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Tris has a secret, one that could kill her if anyone finds out. But it might also be the one thing that can save everyone she loves.
Another dystopian trilogy, another strong female lead with the power to save the world – at her expense – and the choice of what to do with it. This is a trilogy but while I love the first book (Divergent – pictured) and read it over and over, I didn’t like the others quite as much (or the ending at all, sorry!). But yeah, love the first book!
Daughters of Peverell (series) – Hannah Currie
We all know how royals are supposed to act, but what happens when they don’t quite fit the role? When they don’t feel like they belong, or struggle with anxiety and being out in front of a crowd, or (horror) hate wearing heels? What happens when they choose to follow a faith that’s against the law? In so many ways, they’re just normal people, and yet, the entire world is watching their every move.
I know I wrote them but I really love these three books and the characters in them. Written for teens but enjoyed by women of all ages.
So there you have it, my current favourite Young Adult books. How about you? What would you add to the list? What amazing YA books have I totally missed? Any recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them!