Recommended Reading for Young Adults (Ages 13 & up)
If you’ve been keeping up with Bella and Edward’s escapades in the recent Twilight series, or still love to pick up S.E. Hinton’s 60s classic The Outsiders, you’re not alone. A local paper recently featured an interesting commentary on the lure of teen books for adult readers. If many of us are guilty of “cheating” on the literary novel with the young-adult novel, it’s only because the teen literature genre is a veritable goldmine – not just for teens but for adults as well. This is the only genre in our kids’ bookshelves that appeals to our mature sensibilities unlike our other favorites in toddler and tween kid lit. The best young adult books weave in powerful stories and with plot elements that are clear and compelling. Most of the contemporary YA books feature protagonists in their teens. While most of the recent award winning young adult books fall in the realistic fiction genre, many popular classic and contemporary young adult books belong to the science fiction, fantasy and other categories as well.
Here’s our list of 101 recommendations of classic and contemporary young adult literature (in no particular order) for you and your teen kids (and/or students). Another great place to visit is this catalog of award-winning books from the US, UK, Canada, & Australia (look out for the winners in the young adult category). You could also browse through SmartBean’s picks for young adults in our bookstore. The list below is a fairly exhaustive compilation of well-loved and well-regarded books that span decades, even centuries. Many of these titles and authors have won awards. Incidentally, a fair number of books recommended for college-bound kids by College Board and listed in SAT prep guides also feature here. We’d welcome suggestions for additions to this list.
[Note: (1) This post has been authored with the help of guest contributor, Sidhanth Venkatasubramaniam. (2) While most of the books in this genre deal with the challenges of adolescence and are coming-of-age novels, some are more "edgy" and touch upon more mature themes like violence, sexuality, drug use, and physical and emotional abuse. Parents (and teachers) must try and vet the content for suitability for their children (and/or students) based on their age and maturity level.]
Popular Contemporary YA books (all genres)