9 Young Adult Books Every Kid (And Grown Up) Should Read
Kids today do not have it easy. They’re coming of age during a tense political and social climate. Racism, climate change, school shootings, threats from global superpowers and neo-Nazism are just a few of the clouds hanging over their heads.
On top of all of that, they still have to go to school, deal with friends, social pressure, classwork and the dreaded required reading.
Thankfully, there are books just for young adults (better known as “YA books”) that speak to the truth of what it’s like to be a teenager in the world today. These stories (especially some of the most recently published) are diverse, honest, emotionally compelling and inspiring, and they’re helping teens face the challenges ahead of them while teaching us grown-ups how to understand the young people in our lives.
I wish I had these novels in my backpack when I was in high school, to give me the language and courage I needed to understand the world around me and express myself. But there’s no reason I can’t enjoy these stories as a grown-up. In fact, 55 percent of young adult books are consumed by people over the age of 18. And today, there are over 50 book festivals dedicated just to YA literature that cater to fans of all ages.
There’s a need for these types of stories to be told and heard. YA books have tugged at my heartstrings, made me laugh, made me cry and most importantly, helped me see the world through someone else’s eyes and see my own life more clearly. Below, I recommended some of my favorite recent YA reads that changed my life and that every kid and adult should read to learn something new about the people and experiences around us.
What it’s about: Monday Charles doesn’t show up to school for several days and only her best friend, Claudia, seems to notice or care. Claudia is left to face the harsh reality of life without her best friend and must solve the mystery of Monday’s disappearance on her own.
Why you should read it: This book is a tragic-yet-entertaining love letter to Washington, D.C. and to the thousands of Black and Brown girls who go missing without a trace or any concern from the public. It’s both heartbreaking and empowering.
Favorite quote: “In this life, you don’t always get what you want, but you must dance through it.”