10 Young-Adult Books to Read This Summer

Give YA a chance. You won't regret it.
Give YA a chance. You won't regret it.
Abhi Sharma/Flickr

Young-adult books have gotten a bad rap, if you ask us. Yes, sometimes YA fiction lives up to all of its negative stereotypes with angsty teenagers trying to figure out what makes them special, dejected kids trying to find their place in the world, and star-crossed, mildly masochistic lovers (ahem, Bella and Edward) fighting all odds to be with each other.

But sometimes YA books transcend the stigma of their genre and speak to themes and issues that any adult can relate to. Because, if we're honest, feelings of loneliness and helplessness, confusion and doubt of one's worth, and the magic of falling in love don't end after one has reached full-blown adulthood, whatever that is.

We're sure there are countless books that fit the bill, including obvious ones like the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series that we are skipping because everyone should have read those already, but here are 10 young-adult books that every grownup should read, in no particular order.

See also: Laurie Notaro's 10 Rules for Writing a Book (WARNING: Violence Ahead)

10. The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

Yes, we are starting out with what could be seen as a downer, but we will not apologize. We could talk about how Hazel, the protagonist, was based on a girl that author John Green knew, or how moving it is to watch young love, born from a chance meeting at a cancer support group, flourish despite grim circumstances, or how the highly-anticipated movie adaptation comes out next month. We could mention all of those reasons, but it is Green's ability to tell the story of a young girl fighting cancer using incredible candor, wit, and sincerity that made us absolutely fall in love with the story of Hazel and Augustus. There is no sugar-coating in Hazel's world, and the reader doesn't get that privilege either, which is completely fine with us.

9. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock By Matthew Quick

Leonard Peacock has decided that for his 18th birthday he wants to shoot his popular jock of a classmate, Asher Beal, and then himself. But first, he has to say some goodbyes. We know, this sounds super sad, but Matthew Quick, author of Silver Linings Playbook, has created a protagonist so genuine, caring, and troubled that you can't help but wish that you could somehow insert yourself into the story and save Leonard. It's more than the heart-wrenching, page-turning story that got us with this one, though. Quick highlights the crucially important role an adult can have in a young person's life, if they are simply willing to pay attention and reach out, as well as the tragic consequences that can come if they don't.

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