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We asked a student to come up with her favourite young adult books and her list is surprised us with its variety and maturity. It also includes a couple of amazing young adult titles that you may not have heard of before.
John Green is a saviour to all our open and frail hearts, saving us with his Augustus Waters and his eloquence, which is beyond imaginable by any average, normal, teenage boy. But that’s just it, Augustus Waters isn’t a normal boy, and not just because he’s a cancer survivor, but because he’s worthy of Hazel Grace Lancaster. Hazel, much more than what her oxygen tank suggests, is stronger than one could imagine and when she meets Augustus she finally finds the hope she’s been looking for. The Fault in our Stars is a book that will have anyone in tears, both happy and sad.
We all know Malala’s story by now. A heart wrenching, empowering and emotional story that everyone in the world appreciates and respects. In I Am Malala, we can listen to her story again in incredible detail and through the eyes of the girl who started a movement to end educational injustice. This is one of the necessary young adult books for girls, one that will inspire and move anyone who reads it.
I do indeed have the dystopian novel disease that most of my generation is infected with. But how can we not? The Host is a wonderful example of how eerie and frighteningly beautiful the world can be, even when all hope is lost. When the earth is invaded by aliens who have deemed the planet their own, ‘Wanderer,’ one of the aliens, takes over a host body that was previously known as Melanie Stryder. Usually the memories and soul of the host body disappear, but not Melanie’s. Wanderer and Melanie share the same body and become one with each other, oh, and pretty badass too.
This bright book with its dark themes is definitely a must for all young adult girls. Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell’s first YA book, is captivating, enjoyable and lovable in every way. She challenges various themes such as body image and domestic and child abuse. Eleanor is a girl who learns to love and accept herself for who she is, with her character developing throughout the story. This book can help lots of girls who are struggling with trying to be someone they’re not. After finishing this book, trust me, you’ll want to apply some vanilla behind your ear as a tribute to how wonderful Eleanor is.
This haunting and mysterious book about the death of Hannah Baker will have you on the edge of your seat. 13 Reasons Why goes into the mind of Hannah Baker and dives into the reasons why someone would commit suicide and how it feels to do so. This book goes through mental illnesses, something a lot of young adult’s find themselves facing.
This book shows the racial segregation between black and white women. In Mississippi 1960, it was the norm for a white child to be raised by a black maid. One of those white children grows up to be Miss Skeeter, a lady who writes about the lives of Minny and Aibileen, two black maids, unveiling the hardships they go through. The Help is a humorous yet brilliantly written informative book about how life was back then for those of colour, something most young adults don’t know about.
Katniss Everdeen is basically an icon for all YA girls, because, how can she not be? Katniss defied the government and became a symbol of hope for people in a horribly dystopian world. She led a rebellion and despite her age, she was the strong pillar everyone needed. Who doesn’t love a badass female protagonist? The Hunger Games is an adventure and despite what you might say, we’ve all wanted to be a part of it, just to see if we’d win. This book will leave you hoping that you can be the ‘mockingjay’ of your own world, and will even convince you that you already are.
How would you feel if you were the reason for society collapsing? If you were the problem that needed to be eliminated? Well, just ask Tris, because even if she were all of the above, she came out above everything said about her and realized that we shouldn’t believe what others think of us, as we may be the reason for society to rebuild itself. Divergent is another dystopian novel that will refuse to be put down and will make you root for Tris and say “step aside Katniss Everdeen.”
Out of all the books in this list, A Time to Kill is definitely a book that will stick with you. With the rape of a 10-year-old black girl, the rapists being white, is the revenge of her father justifiable? This book tackles various controversial topics, all of which will linger in your mind, having you wonder if this same rape happened today, would anything be different? Or is there still a partition between races, one having the upper hand over the other? This classic book will have you reading non-stop, your heart yearning for little Tonya Hailey.
So this isn’t a young adult book but I still remember reading the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice on iBooks, because it was free, and then continuing to go and get the actual soft cover copy of the book because of how brilliant it was, and still is. There was just something about flipping the pages and reading this beautiful story, enveloping myself into the life of Elizabeth Bennet, who is still quite a legend to this day. Her wit and confidence was what I, honestly, strived to have. Jane Austen’s style of writing and Elizabeth Bennet’s style of wonder and defiance is why Pride and Prejudice is undoubtedly a gem.
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