5 YA Books That Can Nourish Your Soul When The Going Gets Tough

YA was huge for me when I was a teen. I read it, I wrote it, I loved it. Obviously, as the author of a YA book (it's called First & Then , and you should totally read it!) it’s still a big part of my life now. But it was incredibly formative for me in my own young adult years.

Growing up, writing was an incredible means to express myself. It allowed me to work through things that I was struggling with. It helped me get outside myself, imagining what it would be like to be someone else. But reading was just as important to me. I remember coming across a line or passage in a book and thinking, That’s it! That’s exactly how I feel!

There's an incredible magic to finding that someone else out there in the world has managed to put together the exact right words to describe something you feel so implicitly. YA reminded me that I wasn’t alone — that there are many shared experiences, feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears among us. For that reason and more, YA is something I go back to time and time again when I feel a little worn or frayed around the edges. Here are five of the YA books that have nourished my soul time and time again — and I have a feeling they'll do the same thing to yours, too, especially when the going gets tough, or you feel totally depleted.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

As a somewhat shy and awkward college freshman myself, Fangirl hits particularly close to home! I think it’s an absolutely wonderful story about finding your place in a new environment, and learning to adapt while staying true to yourself.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Not everyone may relate inherently to being fated to lead a revolution or save humanity. But stories like The Hunger Games deliver on themes of survival and strength in the face of adversity that really serve to motivate!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

When I need a little food for the soul, I love a story about love. Anna and the French Kiss is particularly heartwarming because it’s such a well-told story. It’s not pat by any means, but a surprisingly layered look at finding first love, and the often winding road it takes to get there.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The core characters in Six of Crows are the very definition of resilience. No matter what they’ve faced in their pasts, they find the strength and determination to keep moving forward, and I find that so inspiring!

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has it all — friendship, love, loss, sacrifice and triumph. Harry goes from being the kid living under the stairs to saving a world he didn’t even know existed. The journey gets heavy at times, but ultimately it’s such an uplifting story.

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