TOP TEN TUESDAY | BOOKS FOR ADULTS NEW TO THE YOUNG ADULT GENRE

Top Ten Tuesday - New

 

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is: Ten Books I’d Give Someone Who Has Never Read X. X being a genre, author, type of book, books on a certain topic etc. Hmmm. This is a tough one! There are so many things I could pick – magical realism, books about readers, classics… but I think I’ve got a better idea. There has been a lot of chatter in the past few months about adults reading young adult books and whether this is something we should be ashamed of or even be doing in the first place. As you know if you read my response post to that infamous article by Ruth Graham on the Slate magazine, I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading YA as an adult. So, I’ve decided this week I’m going to list the top ten books I’d give to an adult who is skeptical about reading books intended for younger audiences.

1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

Ideal for: Readers of contemporary, deeply emotional plots with humorous narrative and magnetic characters. Though I haven’t read Jodi Picoult’s novels, I watched the movie based on My Sister’s Keeper and this might be a YA version of this type of novel, only with a bit more humour. All My Puny Sorrows also comes to mind, though obviously it is much heavier than this. However it similarly deals with heavy topics with levity and provides characters you really connect to.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Ideal for: Those who enjoy transformative, character-driven plots, coming-of-age stories and novels about down-trodden characters looking for a way to escape a miserable home. Though the plot is not similar, the sense of social alienation does bear some parallels to The Catcher in the Rye.

3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan (cut cover)

Ideal for: Fans of contemporary and LGBT fiction, character-based drama and humorous narrative with emotional depth.

4. Reality Boy by A.S. King

Reality Boy - A.S. King

Ideal for: Readers who enjoy character-driven narrative, particularly those centreing on self-discovery and escaping negative home environments and overcoming childhood trauma. If you liked The Silver Linings Playbook, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

5. The Razorland Trilogy by Ann Aguirre

Enclave Series - Ann Aguirre

Ideal for: Those who love a good dystopian drama featuring intense battle and survival challenges. Think Walking Dead, 12 Monkeys, The Hunger Games and Divergent (only much better written than the last two).

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl - Rainbowy Rowell (original)

Ideal for: Readers of romantic contemporary novels and coming-of-age stories. If you enjoyed The Rosie Project, you might find a similar sense of a character who doesn’t really fit in, but who finds people to connect to. Likewise of Bridget Jones’ Diary got a yearly re-read, this will likely be up your alley.

7. The Harry Potter Books

Harry Potter Books Covers

Ideal for: Fans of intense world-building, excellent prose and fantasy-based fiction. If you’re into magic and rooting for a few wonderful characters who are facing seemingly insurmountable odds to battle evil, this will be for you. The characters are all complex, multi-faceted and the plot twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat. You’ll rarely come across a series of books this well planned or this hard to put down at bedtime!

8. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

Ideal for: Fans of class struggle and social study – or musicals like Grease and West Side Story.

9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Ideal for: Readers of issue-focused period dramas, particularly those with an interest in human rights and equality or US history. For those who read Underground to Canada and The Diary of a Young Girl in their younger days and The Autobiography of Malcolm X as adults.

10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Ideal for: Fans of psychological thrillers such as Gone Girl. And I am not going to say anything else about this book because trust me, it’s better if you don’t know anything.

There are so many more I think would be great for this list but can’t include because I haven’t read them myself yet – Laurie Halse-Anderson’s books, Melina Marchetta’s, David Levithan’s solo work, Code Name Verity, and classics like A Separate Peace. I’d love to hear which books you guys would recommend to adults making their first foray into YA, and which adult books bear similarities to them!

40 thoughts on “TOP TEN TUESDAY | BOOKS FOR ADULTS NEW TO THE YOUNG ADULT GENRE

  1. M.

    Oh cool! Will head over and check out your list now. As April pointed out, To Kill A Mockingbird may or may not fit into the YA genre – but either way, it's definitely an important book for everyone to read at some point. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  2. M.

    Oh cool! Will head over and check out your list now. As April pointed out, To Kill A Mockingbird may or may not fit into the YA genre – but either way, it's definitely an important book for everyone to read at some point. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  3. M.

    I'm so glad you found some of the books you've read and enjoyed on the list! I haven't read Ask the Passengers yet either, but it's on my list and I've heard amazing things. Reality Boy wasn't what I expected at all, but in the end it was one that really stuck with me and gave me a really good impression of King's skills as a writer – so I am looking forward to reading more of her work!

  4. M.

    Me too! I picked up TFIOS about a year and three months ago, and it was the start of a conscious effort to read YA books. Before that I'd read the odd one here and there, but definitely didn't know what was out there. I've found it to be an entertaining, educational and eye-opening experience getting to know the genre, and I'm certainly hoping other adults will give it a try too!

  5. M.

    Thanks! Yeah, I can see that. I waffled a bit about including it. It (along with The Outsiders to a certain extent) pre-dates the genre, so it's hard to decide where it fits. Classic? YA? Literature? In the end I mostly decided to include it because A) it's often assigned to teenagers to read in school (or they come across it around that age on their own as I did) so it's definitely appropriate and enjoyable for that age group and B) I felt like including it might lend some familiar ground to adults who haven't read contemporary YA and aren't really sure what to make of it. It's a book everyone knows of even if they haven't read it, and by equating more mature YA books with it I'm hoping some of those knee-jerk responses might be quelled. However, I certainly think it's valid to consider it outside the YA genre – this is totally a subjective list!

  6. M.

    Thanks! Yeah, I can see that. I waffled a bit about including it. It (along with The Outsiders to a certain extent) pre-dates the genre, so it's hard to decide where it fits. Classic? YA? Literature? In the end I mostly decided to include it because A) it's often assigned to teenagers to read in school (or they come across it around that age on their own as I did) so it's definitely appropriate and enjoyable for that age group and B) I felt like including it might lend some familiar ground to adults who haven't read contemporary YA and aren't really sure what to make of it. It's a book everyone knows of even if they haven't read it, and by equating more mature YA books with it I'm hoping some of those knee-jerk responses might be quelled. However, I certainly think it's valid to consider it outside the YA genre – this is totally a subjective list!

  7. M.

    I feel like those are the ones I'd probably recommend most forcefully out of this list, just based on how much adult readers would get from them. Which is surprising because of the HP series starting out more middle grade than YA. But I never tire of reading it, and I felt like they were so well written that I didn't find them juvenile at all!

  8. M.

    I feel like those are the ones I'd probably recommend most forcefully out of this list, just based on how much adult readers would get from them. Which is surprising because of the HP series starting out more middle grade than YA. But I never tire of reading it, and I felt like they were so well written that I didn't find them juvenile at all!

  9. M.

    I love these kind of lists myself! There are a lot of great “YA for Adults” posts out there – so there should be lots to help you out! πŸ™‚

  10. M.

    I love these kind of lists myself! There are a lot of great “YA for Adults” posts out there – so there should be lots to help you out! πŸ™‚

  11. M.

    I only recently read Gone Girl myself, so the comparison was pretty obvious. It's certainly not what I expected going in, and I'm glad I knew so little about it before I started reading! I tried to include a good variety of books for people who are into different genres rather than all just contemporary, so hopefully there's some inspiration. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  12. M.

    I only recently read Gone Girl myself, so the comparison was pretty obvious. It's certainly not what I expected going in, and I'm glad I knew so little about it before I started reading! I tried to include a good variety of books for people who are into different genres rather than all just contemporary, so hopefully there's some inspiration. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  13. For the Love of the Page

    As an adult that reads YA this is a great list and there's only a couple that I haven't read! Fangirl, The Razorland trilogy, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and A.S. King. I would really love to read an A.S. King book! I have had my eyes set on Ask the Passengers. πŸ™‚

  14. For the Love of the Page

    As an adult that reads YA this is a great list and there's only a couple that I haven't read! Fangirl, The Razorland trilogy, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and A.S. King. I would really love to read an A.S. King book! I have had my eyes set on Ask the Passengers. πŸ™‚

  15. M.

    I've only been reading YA for about a year, and I was really lucky to get stuck in to a bunch of really great ones to start – most of which are on this list (though I tried to vary it so there'd be something for most everyone, so it's not *just* a list of my faves!). We Were Liars was not at ALL what I was expecting going into it, so it was quite a shock. You definitely don't want any spoilers, but just don't go into it expecting a cheerful contemporary YA – it's got an edge, for sure! Very quick read, and one you won't want to put down. It took me just a few hours to get through. Let me know what you think of it!

  16. M.

    I've only been reading YA for about a year, and I was really lucky to get stuck in to a bunch of really great ones to start – most of which are on this list (though I tried to vary it so there'd be something for most everyone, so it's not *just* a list of my faves!). We Were Liars was not at ALL what I was expecting going into it, so it was quite a shock. You definitely don't want any spoilers, but just don't go into it expecting a cheerful contemporary YA – it's got an edge, for sure! Very quick read, and one you won't want to put down. It took me just a few hours to get through. Let me know what you think of it!

  17. M.

    It really was, but it also had a LOT more depth than the cover, synopsis and title would lead you to believe. I was on the fence about reading it and only did so because of Eleanor & Park – but was really glad I did!

  18. M.

    It really was, but it also had a LOT more depth than the cover, synopsis and title would lead you to believe. I was on the fence about reading it and only did so because of Eleanor & Park – but was really glad I did!

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