5 Must-Read Young Adult Books

Ella Sherry, Online Editor

“Stargirl” 

by Jerry Spinelli 

“Stargirl” is a coming-of-age novel about being different at school (and in other aspects of life). 

The story idea is simple—the new girl at school is unique and so different from the norm that students feel uneasy and uncomfortable in her presence, except for one boy who is increasingly intrigued. 

The novel also deals with teenagers discovering themselves, and who they are in the world. 

It’s a well crafted story with charismatic characters and an important message.

 

“The Catcher in the Rye” 

by J.D Salinger

“The Catcher in the Rye” is a coming-of-age novel that was published in the 1950s. 

The main character, Holden Caulfield, recalls leaving his boarding school in Pennsylvania. He decides to go to New York on his own before going back home. The book tells of his adventure. 

It’s an interesting and engaging read, with entertaining characters, but some of the scenes may be inappropriate to some readers. The eccentric writing style also may be confusing to some readers. 

Overall, it’s a great book and will definitely interest some readers with its themes of loss of innocence and teenage angst.

 

“Inside Out & Back Again” 

by Thanhha Lai

This novel, inspired by the author’s experience in the United States, is written completely in verse (poetry), and won multiple awards, such as the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and a Newbery Honors award. 

This book tells the story of a girl who was forced to flee Vietnam due to the Vietnam War with her family, and her journey to Alabama, where she lived with her mother and brothers. 

The novel is well-written and interesting, but the writing style might be difficult for some readers to understand.

 

“The Hate U Give” 

by Angie Thomas

This novel, following a teenage girl in her experiences through high school, is, at its core, a story about racism in America and one teenager’s struggle against it. It’s a very of-the-moment book, and has gained a lot of popularity since it was published. 

It has an engaging plot and well-developed characters, and teaches about racism through the eyes of a teenager, which can impact young readers more than if it were written primarily for adults. 

Although some scenes may be inappropriate and the novel has profane language, it’s an important book that has a vital message.

 

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

by Ransom Riggs

This book, the first installment of a 3-book series, is a fantasy-adventure novel. 

The story is about a group of children at an orphanage who exhibit special “powers”—such as super strength and the ability to float, among other things. They are constantly in danger of being discovered by hollowgasts, monsters that are determined to hunt down peculiars. 

While it’s a unique idea and an intriguing story, it may scare some readers.