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Grown-Up Reads

Not Just for Kids:
5 YA Novels Adults Will Love

by Iva-Marie Palmer

Image credits: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, Volume 1) by Leigh Bardugo; The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart; I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga; Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle; Ten by Gretchen McNeill.

Being a grown-up. Yup, that’s a sentence fragment but it pretty much says what it needs to.

Being a grown-up is HARD.

Maybe that’s why those young adult shelves at the bookstore call out to us. (Don’t lie, you know they do.) And if you haven’t yet delved into a YA book, what’s stopping you?

There’s a lot to love in the world of YA, so don’t dismiss its offerings as all sparkly vampires and heavy melodramas. These young adult novels are just the kind of quality escapes that make grown-up life feel a little less…grown up.

It’s a good thing.

If you like Game of Thrones, try…
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, Volume 1) by Leigh Bardugo
If you’ve devoured all of George R.R. Martin’s series (and are waiting for the next book), Bardugo’s trilogy could be what helps tide you over. Set in the fictional world of Ravka (which borrows from 20th Century Russia), the trilogy centers on Alina Starkov, a soldier in the Second Army, which battles against Ravka’s many enemies. Flesh-eating monsters, encroaching darkness, and an addictive love story interweave with Alina’s quest to understand her own untamed powers.

If you like James Patterson thrillers, try…
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Like fast-paced, gripping suspense? You probably can’t do better than Lyga’s tale of Jasper Dent. The son of a famous serial killer, Jasper played witness to some awful crimes, and now he wants to make up for it by assisting the police in their hunt for a new killer. This is no kiddie mystery, so be prepared.

If you love an Agatha Christie-style whodunit, try…
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
While chock-full of paranormal romance and dystopic sagas, YA sometimes comes up short in the horror and mystery departments. (Funny, since young adult books took off with the works of horror maestros R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike.) McNeil is quickly establishing herself as queen of the OMG scary stuff, and Ten is a heart-gripping retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, in which ten teens at an exclusive island party begin to be picked off one by one. Try to not read it in one sitting…

If you like dystopic fiction like Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, try…
Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
Named one of the best YA books of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, Coyle’s post-apocalyptic page-turner deals with some pretty heady stuff: religion, capitalism, and identity. When Vivian Apple returns from a party to find that her recently devout parents have left through holes in the roof as part of the Rapture, she and her best friend Harp set off on a truth-finding road trip. Coyle doesn’t deal in the same old end-of-the-world tropes, and Vivian herself is a charming, thoughtful, and funny companion to take readers on a wild ride.

If you like wise, witty women like Jane Austen…
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
No doubt Ms. Austen would have loved E. Lockhart’s Frankie Landau Banks. With a sharp wit and a big brain, the done-wrong Ms. Banks sets out to take down her school’s all-male secret society. Frankie’s mischief with meaning is inspiring, whatever your age. (It might even give you a few ideas.)