Whether they devour YA books regularly or only check them out when a hot new title like The Hunger Gamesor The Fault in Our Stars hits bestseller lists (or movie theaters), there’s a young adult novel for every reader on your list. Remember, there’s no rule that someone has to be a Real Actual Teen to enjoy a young adult novel; these are all great picks for adults looking for well-written and entertaining stories as well as teen readers.
Fans of historical fiction who enjoyed books like Code Name Verity will enjoyOut of the Easy by Ruta Septys which is set in1950s New Orleans. Josie, the daughter of a high class prostitute, has supported herself from a young age by working in a bookstore and dreams of going to prestigious college on the East Coast. Her goal seems to be in sight when she’s drawn into a murder investigation. The intricate plot and deep character development will appeal to those who might be skeptical about reading young adult novels.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is perfect for anyone who spends hours each day on Tumblr or would rather be writing fanfiction than attending holiday parties. Cath is a college freshman who is having trouble fitting in, dealing with her twin sister who wants to strike out on her own, and complicated family issues. Her escape is writing Simon Snow (a fictional universe similar to Harry Potter) fanfiction. This heartwarming story is fun for teens who will soon be going off to college or for anyone who wants to remember those struggles. (Rainbow Rowell’s adult novel,Attachments, and first 2013 young adult release, Eleanor & Park, are also great reads).
For the dedicated Nerdfighter who LOVES John Green, Wingerby Andrew Smith would make a great gift. This novel follows Ryan Dean, a book smart but socially awkward 14-year-old advanced student at a boarding school in the Northwest. Peppered with hand drawn illustrations and diagrams, this laugh-out-loud story of rugby injuries and trying to make a girl see him as more than just a little brother type has an ending that packs an emotional punch.
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider would also be a great pick for fans of the kind of smart kid contemporary fiction John Green is known for. This story follows formerly popular tennis star Ezra, who is now reconnecting with childhood friends who are decidedly nerdy. He even joins the debate team, where he meets Cassidy, who seems to be his very own manic pixie dream girl. The reader knows from the beginning that their relationship won’t survive, but the story is in discovering why their romance is doomed. Snappy dialogue and very current pop culture references will make this a hit with nerds of all stripes.
Those who loved The Hunger Games but are looking for a new twist on a dystopian future will enjoy the action-packed book All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Em is imprisoned in a secret military base with nothing but the voice of the boy in the neighboring cell and a list of instructions written in her own handwriting she discovers hidden in the drain of the cell. All options have been crossed off except the last: “you have to kill him.” Each successive attempt to travel back in time and prevent her former best friend from plunging the world into a war-ravaged nightmare have failed, and her last mission is to kill him before he can build the machine that has made time travel possible and destroyed the world. A gripping emotional ride full of danger and romance, this is a book any reader would have a hard time putting down.
If time travel isn’t their thing, consider The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Instead of time travel, it’s an alien invasion that has brought on the apocalypse. Like The Hunger Games, Cassie is struggling not only to survive, but is searching for her younger brother. In a world where the enemy looks exactly like you, it’s difficult to know who to trust. This novel is full of action, but also explores larger philosophical issues about what it means to be human.
If you’re shopping for someone who prefers their fantasy to be of the epic variety or is anxiously awaiting the next installment of the Game of Thrones series, consider buying them the complete set of the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, and Quintana of Charyn. This sweeping epic fantasy has a similar medieval feel to Game of Thrones, a hint of magic, an enormous cast of characters who are all equally compelling, and engrossing and richly descriptive language. In the first installment, Finnikin is searching for a homeland for the displaced people of Lumatere, who are trapped outside of their kingdom by a curse. He hears of a young novice who walks the dreams of those trapped inside Lumatere for the past ten years who may hold the key to breaking the curse and uniting the Lumateran people. Full of adventure, this is an emotionally satisfying story that might also surprise those who are skeptical of the young adult category.
If you’re still not sure, consider buying the reader in your life an ereader, which they can use to access tons of titles through the library, for free! The library offers books that are compatible with all devices and we’ll be happy to show them how to check out digital books. You can read more about how that works on our website!