Young Adult Book Recommendations
by Maria Judnick
I've been a member of a monthly YA book club at my favorite independent bookstore for nearly seven years now and it's hard for us to find books we all (mostly) agree on out of the dozen books we read each year. Some of us are writers, many of us are teachers, but all of us love to endlessly discuss books. This top 10 list offers a wide range of the genres we've explored -- historical fiction, contemporary fiction, romance, science fiction/fantasy, autobiographical fiction, magical realism, and graphic novels. In this list, check out the links to hopefully find a great pick for you too!
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas -- If you love this contemporary novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, you can also watch the film.
- Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri - This book - which has won many, many awards - is a heartbreaking, beautifully written story told from the perspective of a young refugee living in Oklahoma.
- What I Carry by Jennifer Longo -- This book is probably the best book on the foster care system I’ve ever read.
- My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows -- I haven’t laughed out loud reading a book in a long time but this historical fiction is pure fun.
- All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater This gem of a book about a family who can perform miracles is filled with magical realism elements.
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner -- I’ve never been to rural Tennessee but this book will transport you there...and you may end up crying.
- Scythe by Neil Schusterman -- While the premise is bleak - a “perfect” world in which death is controlled by leaders performing systematic culling - it’s a suspenseful, powerful read.
- Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys -- I love a good book about WWII and this one is inspired by the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, one of the largest disasters in maritime history.
- Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston -- Need a break from divisive politics? Read this LGBT romance between a president’s son and a British prince.
- March: Books 1-3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell -- I cannot praise enough these graphic novels that give the first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis as he worked for civil rights and social justice.
Maria Judnick is a Lecturer in the Department of English. Besides tweeting a daily haiku since Jan 2021, Maria contributes book reviews to Heavy Feather Review and other literary publications. She also serves as the Social Media Editor for The EcoTheo Review. Maria enjoys reading YA novels when she isn't happily re-reading But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton to her infant son.