Often, media such as books can portray a message or a story better than anything else. Sometimes you read a book and the impact of it stays with you long after you have read the final page. Here are five brilliant books just like that which I believe every young adult should read.
Angie Thomas’ debut novel went on to become one of the most talked about books of the year and a highly anticipated film. It was for good reason too. THUG tackles prevalent issues in a raw and poignant way. The novel is told through the point of view of Starr, a girl whose identity and race have long since been considered intertwined. The beautifully written narrative built personalities and emotions behind the Black Lives Matter Movement in a hugely effective way. I was familiar with many of the movements or ideas within the novel but reading the story provided me with a much better understanding than any news article or sensationalist headline has. Heartbreaking but also full of hope this book is a must read!
Think John Green mixed with Rainbow Rowell and you’ll have Jennifer Niven. With alternating narration between its main characters Finch and Violet, All The Bright Places is a story about connections. Finch is battling with his mental health and Violet is still grieving her sister when the teenagers meet but their journey of trust and love is unique.
All The Bright Places is not your typical teen romance. Niven highlights the marks we leave behind to those around us and trust me when I say All The Bright Places will leave its own mark. While this novel is utterly heartbreakingly it truly is worth the read.
I could rave about Cecelia Ahern all day and her debut young adult novel is no different. Flawed is set in a dystopian future but a great deal of that future mirrors elements of our current era. Flawed follows Celestine North as she questions what she has always accepted and what happens to be all society will accept. The narrative is a cleverly woven story of our obsession with perfection and the lengths we will go to in order to attain it. Fans of the hunger games will adore this novel. Even better, the sequel Perfect was released last year.
This is another debut novel by an extraordinary author. The Art of Being Normal follows David who wants more than anything to simply be a girl, only for David it’s not that simple at all. It also follows Leo who is running from the reveal of his greatest secret and whose whose past has left its mark. The Art of Being normal is a beautifully honest and refreshing insight into a unique friendship and the journey of the two main characters. Williamson writes about loneliness and vulnerability in such an emotive way that the reader is fully immersed in the story from the beginning.
Often when you study a novel in school, teachers will request that you highlight important quotes. Every single chapter of asking for it had lines or even entire paragraphs that were so cleverly expressed that if I wasn’t so against desecrating books I would have highlighted the whole thing!
Set in an area of Ireland where everybody-knows-everybody Asking For It is the provocative tale of 18 year old Emma and her battle for the truth about what happened “that night”. O’Neill does not skirt around the issue of consent but she does tackle it in a fresh and thought provoking manner. What I found unusual but also highly effective was that the main character Emma is an unlikeable character and yet the fact I still empathised with her proves just how brilliant O’Neill’s writing is. Asking For It examines the topic of consent in a new and unique way.
When it comes to books every young adult should read, this definitely tops the list.
Are there any books you think every young adult should read?