As young adult literature picks up speed and expands, there's so much to choose from. It's a great problem to have, don't get me wrong, but sometimes the choices can be a bit overwhelming. How do you know what to go for in that massive, deep bookstore shelf — and know that it's going to be good? I think you should just read the first page!
The initial page of a book is a great way to judge if the novel you've chosen is the right one for you. I like to picture it as if the first page is the bait and it's the author's job to reel you in. If the author does it well, that first page should grab your attention, making you want to sit down in the middle of that bookstore aisle and read the entire thing right there.
The books on this list have that effect. They'll hook you from the moment you start reading, and will keep you tied up right through the end. If you're a YA devotee, you'll be so glad you've read them, and if you're new to YA, these are the titles that will get you totally hooked on young adult lit.
From dystopian futures to the most realistic portrayals of reality, here are nine absolutely amazing YA novels that will catch you from the very first page:
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This is how it all begins. With Zephyr and Fry — reigning neighborhood sociopaths — torpedoing after me and the whole forest floor shaking under my feet as I blast through the air, trees, this white-hot panic.
When I first picked this book up, I was hesitant to see the opening line being the cliched "This is how it all begins." However, Jandy Nelson knew what she was doing as she threw her readers into this whirlwind of a first page. This book captures the story of two twins, Noah and Jude, who lose each other and themselves as they grow up, both trying to appease their parents in different ways. Written in artistic points of view, along with a heavy dose of superstition, this book will astound you from page one.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn't happen.
Susie Salmon is one character that will never leave your heart. The Lovely Bones is Susie's story of her life after death. As she watches her murderer get away with the crime and her parents struggling to work through her disappearance, she realizes just how unfinished with life she was. This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and the first hundred-foot drop is on page one.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
“hey say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.
If you've already read The Lovely Bones, Before I Fall should be next on your list. When Samantha Kingston dies, she still wakes up the next day. Over the course of the next few days, she realizes that by making different decisions, she might just have more power over her life than she originally believed. If you're a fan of massive character development and intriguing plot lines, then this is the book for you. Click here to buy.
The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I was born with water on the brain. Okay, so that's not exactly true. I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull. But cerebral spinal fluid is just the doctor's fancy way of saying brain grease.
With an opening line like that, this book will never fail to surprise you. Sherman Alexie brings you the story of Junior, a Spokane Indian who dares to be one of the youngest Indians to leave the Reservation to attend an all-white middle school. While Junior chases after his dreams, you can't help but cheer him on. Paired with some incredible comical art by Ellen Forney, this book is sure to win you over right away.
The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
The carnival at Bray stood braced against the rain on the rocky coastline of the Irish Sea, the pink and green lights of the old-fashioned Ferris wheel winking and dissolving in the reflection of the waves.
If you're longing for '90s nostalgia and a really amazing book, The Carnival at Bray is the perfect solution. During 1993, as the grunge movement rises and Kurt Cobain is the unstable leader, Maggie Lynch is forced to uproot from Chicago and from everyone she loves most to move across the sea to Ireland. The first page of this book will bring you back in time, and you'll love every moment of it.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.
If you have yet to read this book, I strongly encourage you to do that ASAP. The entire first page of this heartbreaking novel introduces you to Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl who loves reading and has a rare, but somewhat treatable form of cancer. And when she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, they fall head first into love. You'll fall in love, too, and cry more tears than you can imagine.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. I’m sixteen now, so you can imagine that’s left me with quite a few days of major suckage.
What would you do if you realized you hadn't lived a day in your life, but were now sitting on your deathbed? While this concept may not be new, Libba Bray brings a whole new twist on it in Going Bovine, the story of 16-year-old Cameron who is diagnosed with "mad cow disease." This unconventional novel is written in ways that will keep you wondering if what's happening is real or not, but it will also hook you in faster than you're prepared for.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.
With a name like Blue Sargent and a life-long prophesy given in the first line, you know this is going to be an interesting read. This novel doesn't include a classic story arc, but instead includes a twisted adventure in search of a lost dead Welsh king and a friendship group unlike any other. I couldn't put this book down, so it's a really great thing that this is the first of a four-book series.
Feed by M.T. Anderson
We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.
I love a first line that shows me I'm in for a snarky main character, and that's exactly what Titus is. When he and his friends go on a fun spring break trip to the moon, things turn sour as a hacker hacks into everyones brain chips and leaves them mindless for days. Fighting back against the "feed" and a consumer-based society makes this sci-fi book one of the best. If you're into dystopian futures and technology, Feed will probably become your new favorite book.
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