Top 5 Best Young Adult Books

Anne Rutherford, Reporter

As a person who loves books, and has read countless, I have come up with 5 books I believe are essential to young readers. These books most likely won’t be part of an English school curriculum, but are still important reads that contain important themes and life lessons valuable to anyone, not just the adolescent. 

 

1. The Lord of the Rings 

Written by acclaimed author J.R.R Tolkein, the enormous popularity of the books expanded the demand for fantasy fiction. The Lord of the Rings has inspired, and continued to inspire films, books, artwork, music, games, etc. Numerous authors such as George R.R Martin (Game of Thrones) and J.K Rowling (Harry Potter) have stated that they were heavily influenced by Tolkein’s work. Even some of the most celebrated films such as “Star Wars” have derived some of it’s themes and characters from the works of Tolkein. Without the ingenious mind of J.R.R Tolkein, pop culture today would be unrecognizable

 

2. The Hate You Give 

Angie Thomas’s debut novel tells the story of Starr Carter, a 16 year old black girl from a poor neighborhood who becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnessed a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. A predominant theme in The Hate You Give is racism, and especially how it manifests in violence and police brutality. Another major theme is the unjust justice system. The themes are important and relevant today and should be explored and discussed amongst the youth. 

 

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age novel written by Stephen Chbosky. The novel addresses themes related to adolescence, including introversion, sexuality, mental health, drug use and rape. Because of these themes, the book was banned in some American schools for its content. The book is extremely heartfelt and real and the characters are very complex and relatable. The novel does a great job of navigating between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood, and having to deal with the real life obstacles young people face. In recent years, it has come to be more accepted and encouraged by literary critics to be read

 

4. Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda 

Written by author Becky Albertalli, the coming of age story focuses on the title character Simon Spier, a closeted gay high school boy who is forced to come out after he is blackmailed. The book not only addresses important themes like the importance of sexual equality and self acceptance, but also has a beautiful message, that everyone deserves a great love story. The book also gives readers something to think about regarding society’s view of sexual orientation. Our title protagonist wonders why only gay people have to come out. Why is being straight the automatic norm? Hence the second part of the title, “the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” since it applies to everyone regardless of sexuality.

 

5. The Outsiders 

The Outsiders is another coming of age novel written by Viking Press when she was 16 years old. The book details the conflict between two rival gangs, the “Greasers” and the “Socs”.  Divided by their economic status, the two groups turned against each other in animosity. The book is narrated by 14 year old Ponyboy Curtis, who is a part of the working class “Greasers” along with his brothers and friends. Over the course of the novel the reader sees how unnecessary conflict does more harm than good and the consequences can be more severe than anyone could predict.