10 YA Books That Prove Some Things Are Worth Your Patience
by Laura Lambert
Patience is a virtue. Our 21st century, always-on digital culture can make it feel like now is the only option. But soon also has its place. In a while does, too.
Along with “Patience is a virtue” comes the aphorism “Good things come to those who wait.” These 10 YA books can help teens understand that even if things aren’t perfect right this moment, they might work out in time with hope, a little luck, and a whole lot of patience.
The Valley and the Flood
A road trip interrupted. When Rose Colter’s car breaks down between Las Vegas and San Diego, she finds herself in the town of Lotus Valley. As she waits for her car to get repaired, it becomes clear that she is not there by accident. It’s here that Rose’s tragic past — the death of her best friend Gaby — collides with the surreal present. “Part allegory, part psychological thriller, this suspenseful debut is a moving study of grief, regret, and PTSD,” says Publishers Weekly.Preorder from:
Watch Over Me
How long must a foster child wait for their true family? Watch Over Me follows 18-year-old Mila from foster care to a farm in remote Northern California, where she’s secured an internship working with other foster youth. But alongside those kids, other interns, and the couple who run the farm, ghosts coax Mila to confront her past. “I feel like we’re all surrounded by ghosts all the time, whether or not we want to look at them,” LaCour told BookPage. “Ghosts of who we once were, ghosts of the people we’ve lost or lost touch with, ghosts of what might have been if our lives had moved in different directions.”
How It All Blew Up
“A story of coming out and coming-of-age in a post–9/11 world,” says Kirkus Reviews. Anyone who has anxiously planned and plotted how to come out — especially to a conservative family — waiting for the “right” moment can be one of the most challenging parts. In How It All Blew Up, 18-year-old Amir Azadi flees the U.S. for Rome to avoid being outed but then finds himself forced to come out in the most unlikely of places: an airport interrogation room.Preorder from:
The Kingdom of Back
In this historical YA fantasy, Nannerl is the other Mozart — the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A gifted musician in her own right, who aspires to be a world-renown composer, she waits and watches as her brother’s fate rises while hers, as a woman in 18th century Europe, leaves her resigned to little more than marriage. Then a mystical prince from a fantasy world makes her an offer that could give her everything she wants — but at what cost?
For fans of Lu, The Kingdom of Back will be a departure. “This novel is unlike anything else she’s published. It is historical fact transformed into a fairy tale and twisted into a tragedy,” says Tor.
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come
In the final book of the 40-year saga featuring the Logan family of Mississippi, Cassie Logan’s story arc is punctuated by key moments in the civil rights movement — itself a long time in the making.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club
This coming-out story blossoms in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s. It’s no safe haven for queer women or Chinese immigrants, but for 17-year-old Lily Hu, who is second-generation Chinese, that’s the backdrop against which she slowly finds her true self — and love. “I wrote Lily and Kath’s love story in the way I felt it would naturally develop in real life,” Lo told We Need Diverse Books. “I didn’t think of it as a slow burn romance in that trope sense; rather, I thought of it as a coming of age story.”
Tess of the Road
Every journey requires some degree of patience — in particular, those voyages of self-discovery. In Tess of the Road, written by beloved YA fantasy author Rachel Hartman, Tess — twin sister of Jeanne and sister of Seraphina — runs away. “Tess does not strike out in search of adventure — she's a deeply wounded young woman struggling to survive the wreck of her life,” explains NPR reviewer Amal El-Mohtar. “Her time on the road is a sustained project in outgrowing the painful, intimate traumas that have defined her up until this point.”
Bridge of Clay
Sometimes patience is the backdrop for the creation of the book itself. By the acclaimed Australian writer Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, Bridge of Clay is a book two decades in the making. “Such perseverance is awe-inspiring but risky, for all the reasons this new novel makes plain,” writes Ron Charles for The Washington Post.
Bridge of Clay is a sprawling family saga about five brothers abandoned by their parents — the mother, to cancer, the father, to grief — and their long healing journey.
Holding Up the Universe
Libby Strout — once known as “America’s fattest teen” and Jack Masselin — who has personal challenges of his own — struggle to find their places, not just in high school, but in the world itself. And that’s no easy process. A high school prank lands them both in counseling and community service, where they begin to embrace their whole selves. “That is why I wrote Holding Up the Universe — to let readers know that big, small, tall, short, pretty, plain, friendly, shy, they are wanted,” Jennifer Niven wrote in Bustle. “They are necessary. They are loved.”
Girl in Pieces
The road to recovery is never short. Seventeen-year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Davis, who has endured more loss and trauma than most people can bear, finds herself in treatment after a suicide attempt. And her journey from self-harm to healing is gritty and evocative.
“Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together,” says Kirkus Reviews.