Finally, 2018 is upon us, and while everyone else is celebrating the end of the year that was basically the worst time ever, for book-lovers, the new year means the start of brand new reading resolutions and a totally updated TBR pile — at least, that’s what 2018 means to me. And, if you’re a fan of young adult lit, that means putting together the ultimate 2018 YA reading plan; because if YA fans know one thing, it’s that just because a book is shelved in the young adult section of the bookstore, it doesn’t mean you have to be a teen yourself to love it.
In fact, an article published last month by The Atlantic noted that over half of today’s YA readers are over the age of 18 (a whopping 55%, in fact) — and in terms of writing quality and content, the line between young adult literature and regular ol’ grown-up-person fiction is, well, basically non-existent. But whether you credit the shift to the relatability of coming-of-age stories at any age, the desire for “escapist” fiction, or the fact that the Harry Potter series totally broke the barriers between adult and young adult fiction, the fact remains that readers of all ages love their YA — and this 2018 reading plan for YA fans will help you get as much of it in the new year as your bookish heart desires.
Here are nine tips for having the best year in young adult reading yet.
1. Curate your TBR pile from recent YA book award winners.
Though they don’t always get as much buzz as other yearly book awards, there are actually plenty of ways young adult literature is recognized every year. As you’re putting together your YA TBR pile this year, consider checking out recent winners (and nominees!) of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Printz Award, the William C. Morris Award, the Young Adult Library Services Association Award(s), and others. Recent winning titles include Far from the Tree by Robin Benway, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and more.
2. Check out these titles before their films hit theaters.
There is a great lineup of YA book-to-film adaptations making their way to theaters this year, and you’ll definitely want to be sure you’ve read the books before cozying up with your popcorn and Sno-Caps. A must-see (and read) list includes: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Every Day by David Levithan, and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
3. Find out what your fave YA writers are reading.
One of my favorite ways to discover new reading is by checking out what books are piled up on the nightstands and bookshelves of the writers I already love. Head over to Twitter or Instagram, where plenty of YA authors are busy sharing their own #shelfies, or check out recent interviews with the writers you love, where they love to buzz about their own creative inspirations.
4. Upgrade your Instagram.
Young adult authors are active all across Instagram, and giving your favorites a follow is a great way to keep tabs on what they’ve been up to — and to stay totally up to date on what new books you’re going to need to save room for on your shelves. (And to reiterate point three, it’s also a great way to find out what they’re reading — and loving! — themselves.)
5. Revisit the bookshelves of your own YA days.
Oh Sarah Dessen, what would I have done without you all those years? This year, reignite your YA fire by taking a trip down memory lane, via some favorite reads from your own YA past. Whether a revisit of authors like Judy Blume and Madeline L’Engle is long overdue, or you’re ready to dive into the Harry Potter series (for the hundredth time) nothing beats curling up with the books that got you through grades 8-12.
6. Treat yourself to a YA book box subscription.
Not that we book-lovers need much help stocking our already-overflowing shelves, but if you’re looking to add more YA to your literary diet in 2018, there’s no easier way to start stacking a TBR pile of must reads than by having them delivered directly to your door. Courtesy of YA book box subscriptions like LitJoy Crate, OwlCrate, Uppercase Box, Quarterly YA Fiction, and others, you’ll enjoy brand-new books (and usually some bonus goodies too) monthly or quarterly, all year round.
7. Make sure you didn’t miss any Bustle Book Club reads.
2017 was a year of total YA obsession over at Bustle's American Woman Book Club, and with authors like Zinzi Clemmons, Sandhya Menon, Ibi Zoboi, Gabby Rivera, and others featured throughout the year, you’ll want to make sure you didn’t miss a single one. It’s never too late to catch up with all the great YA reads we spent last year buzzing about.
8. Don’t stick to just one genre.
Sure, young adult lit is a genre all its own — but how often do you consider the sub-genres beneath the YA umbrella? Chances are, when you think of YA reads, it’s YA novels that most often come to mind. But there are also tons of other great young adult books that aren’t prose fiction. Think: YA memoirs (like: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl, or I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda) or YA books in verse (like Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds or Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson) or YA graphic novels and memoirs (like: Tomboy by Liz Prince and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi).
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, $9, Amazon | This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl, $3, Amazon | I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda, $4, Amazon | Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, $11, Amazon | Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, $8, Amazon |Tomboy by Liz Prince, $13, Amazon | Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, $15, Amazon
9. Ask the experts.
Finally, the best way to get a feel for all the YA you’re going to want at the top of your TBR pile this year? Ask a YA themselves! Know a niece/nephew/cousin/neighbor who loves to read as much as you do? Take a page (or an entire book) from their shelves this year.