Recently, young adult literature has been getting more
attention than ever — and not just from young adults themselves, either. There’s
a good reason. From some of the most diversely representative characters ever
before featured in YA plots, to a cast of leading young ladies that even the unstoppable
Hermione Granger would be proud of, the books written with teens and tweens in
mind this year offered readers a whole lot of literary goodness.
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven't always been the biggest fan of the adults reading YA trend — and if I'm being totally honest, the young adult section is rarely the first section I’ll browse upon walking into my local
bookstore. But, as a books lover, even I can recognize that every once in a while a YA title comes
along that speaks to readers of all ages and become a must-read for the year. And I’m not one to ever turn down a
good book, no matter what genre it might be shelved under.
Here are eight YA titles from 2015 that need to be on every
woman’s bucket list. Check ‘em out before 2016 rolls around, and your list gets
Stewart and Ashley’s lives are in chaos — or so it seems.
His mother died of cancer, Ashley’s father’s coming out late in life resulted
in her parents’ divorce, and now Ashley’s mother and Stewart’s father are
getting married. Despite the shared transitions, the two young teens feel like
they have nothing in common, and want almost nothing to do with one another. A
story of love and loss
, family and friendship, and acceptance of ourselves and
others, We Are All Made of Molecules
is YA gold.
At 17-years-old Madeline has never left her house. She is,
as she describes, allergic to the whole world — or so she’s been told. Then
Olly (you know the type: tall, dressed in all black, hair you want to run your
fingers through) moves in next door and Madeline finally discovers something —
or rather someone
— willing to risk
stepping outside for. All about the risks we take to fall in love, Everything, Everything is, well,
everything you’d want in a YA romance.
As much as teen Violet Markey lives for her well-planned
future, Theodore Finch lives only for the thought of death. He spends his time ways
he might kill himself, but always finding a reason not to, while she plans for
life beyond graduation, when she will leave her small town and never turn back.
All the Bright Places
finds these at
an epic crossroads
in each of their lives and explores the lessons each could have
only learned from the other.
When Sora, a Japanese teenager living in Kyoto, is diagnosed
with what he terms “an old man’s disease” (Lou Gehrig’s) he finds himself
turning to the past as much as the present for strength, wisdom, and
determination. Filled with the weighty tradition of the ancient samurai and the
busy fervor of modern-day Japan, The Last
Leaves Falling is a must-read about friends, family, and discovering who we
really are before it’s too late.
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The totally cry-worthy My
Heart and Other Black Holes
tells the story of two teens who find one
another through a suicide partnership website — and plan to accompany one another
through their shared desire to end their lives. But as teens Aysel and Roman
begin to open up about the difficulties of their young lives, Aysel beings to
realize if there may be a better way out than death: life.
Resonate with the same energy that made West Side Story a
classic, Dream Things True
another unforgettable face to the immigration debates in the United States,
with the story of Evan and Alma.
He’s the nephew of a Georgian senator, she’s
an undocumented Mexican immigrant living in the South. Naturally, the two fall
in love before Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows up, threatening to
ruin Evan’s and Alma’s lives forever. This book is a sad, beautiful, and honest
story about what home and belonging really mean.
Violet is a dancer who couldn’t be more free. Amber is an
incarcerated teen living in a juvenile detention center. And Orianna? A
mysterious, otherworldly figure who connects the two young women, and seems to
be the only one who has the answers to the questions that could change both
girls’ lives forever. Melding the real world with the supernatural
, The Walls Around Us
demonstrates how true
justice — or injustice — can really change lives.
Embark upon a Kerouackian journey of epic proportions with
the unforgettable protagonist of Mosquitoland
Mim Malone — a teenage girl who is sent to live in the “mosquitoland” of
Mississippi after her parents separate and her family falls apart. Mim isn’t in
Mississippi long before she finds herself aboard a cross-country Greyhound, on
her way to the mother and hometown that she loves. You’ll enjoy every minute of
this bumpy, life-changing ride.