Confession: I judge books by their covers. I can’t help it. It makes my job as a reader easier (am I in the mood for unattainable romance, or dystopian society? Just check the illustration on the front!) and helps me figure out what to read next. Plus, I appreciate good-looking books on my bookshelf. I’ve found that some of the most attractive (and explanatory) covers belong to young adult books.
Young adult books are so popular, they have their own section in the bookstore, and in my heart. According to a highly credible source (Wikipedia), 55% of young adult fiction is purchased by readers over the age of 18. Adults love young books, because coming-of-age tales are brimming with life and emotion and take you to places where feelings are fresh, real and raw. Characters fall in love, get hurt, fight change and believe in things! Yeah, hormones! YA isn’t all vampires and prep schools and vampires that go to prep schools. It’s about friendships and relationships and finding yourself, and I think that stuff is pretty cool. If you’re a young adult, you can relate to it. If you’re not a young adult anymore, it takes you back, and sometimes it makes you cringe, but mostly in a good way. #emotion
Where will 2014 take us in the world of young adult books? You’re already BFF with Katniss, you’ve cried your eyes out to The Fault in Our Stars and you’re counting down the days until you can relive Divergent in theaters. What’s next? There’s more where that came from. Here are 10 new young adult books you need to read now.
1. This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl
Like I said, you’ve already cried your eyes out to The Fault in Our Stars. But if you thought that was hard to stomach, brace yourself for This Star Won’t Go Out. Meet Esther Earl, whom John Green dedicated his best-seller to. After she passed away at age 16, her parents compiled her journals, fiction, sketches and photos to preserve story. You’ll cry your face off, but you won’t be able to put it down, because you’ll also be filled with love and happiness.
2. Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
The subhead of this book is (Harlequin Teen). Yes, with the parentheses. No, I’m not joking. Hi, add to cart. Heartbeat is the story of Emma, a girl coping with the sudden loss of her mother. Though her mother is brain dead, her is body being kept alive, because she’s—wait for it—pregnant. Twist! Everything that was once important to Emma is starting to slip away, until she meets a bad boy named Caleb. He manages to snap her back to life, but is a bad boy the right cure for grief?
3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
This is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but not like the Vanessa Hudgens movie Beastly. Cruel Beauty is the kind of book reviewers call “dazzling” and “spellbinding” and other plush, romantic medieval adjectives. Nyx’s fate is to marry the Gentle Lord, then kill him in order to free her people from his cruel rule. But she moves into his castle, gets to know him and when the time actually comes to do the deed… well, you can see where this is going.
4. Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
Two girls. One house. Completely different lives. Lady Charlotte longs to discover life outside The Manor, and grows envious of Janie the kitchen maid, who has everything she doesn’t: freedom and adventure. Janie longs to be more than a worker at The Manor, but finds herself developing a friendship with Lady Charlotte. When a family secret is revealed, and nothing will ever be the same.
5. White Space (Dark Passages, #1) by Ilsa J. Bick
White Space has been described as Inception meets Inkheart meets Memento meets The Matrix. If that doesn’t suck you in, I don’t know what will. Our second protagonist named Emma (hey, Heartbeat) writes a novel called White Space, which turns out to mirror an unfinished novel by a writer who has long passed. In the blink of an eye—literally—she finds herself stuck in the universe she thought she created. You’re guaranteed to be confused for the first hundred pages, but once you figure out what’s going on (a second read may be in order), rejoice—because there’s a sequel coming.
6. Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock
You can blame Love Actually, but I’m a sucker for books that narrate from alternating chapters. Before My Eyes switches between Claire, Max and Barkley. They’re all teens with their own issues, but Barkley’s are particularly troubling—including hearing voices in his head that lead him to make some particularly troubling decisions that affect them all.
7. The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams
The world outside The Haven is unsafe. But is the world inside any safer? Inside The Haven, your entire life is monitored. That’s just the way things are, and has been since 2020. But two teens, Shiloh and Gideon, remember the way things used to be. The more they begin to question authority, the more they begin to toy with the idea of rebellion.
8. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Coming March 2014
What would you do if you were diagnosed with leukemia? 16-year-old Alice spends her last days seeking revenge on the peers who wronged her. Then, she unexpectedly goes into remission. Twist! (I know that was my second use of the Liz Lemon “Twist!” in this article, but I found both instances super appropriate.) Now, Alice is left to deal with the repercussions of her actions.
9. Great by Sara Benincasa
Coming April 2014
Just in time for spring break comes a book that’ll make you long for summer. Great is The Great Gatsby of the modern day. Socialite-in-training Naomi quickly settles in to a summer in the Hamptons that includes secrets, scandal and major drama. I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
10. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Coming April 2014
Girl meets boy during a citywide power outage. Girl spends a magical night with boy, wandering the streets of New York City amongst the stars. Girl moves away, wondering if she’ll ever see boy again. As Lucy and Owen keep in touch, they wonder: can one night change the course of your life forever?
Happy reading, YA fans! PS, do you guys use Goodreads? It’s one of my favorite ways to find new books. If you do, let’s be friends! If you don’t, remedy that, because you’ll love it.
Featured image via Shutterstock, This Star Won’t Go Out via, Heartbeat via, Cruel Beauty via, Manor of Secrets via, White Space (Dark Passages #1) via, Before My Eyes via, The Haven via, Side Effects May Vary via, Great via, The Geography of You and Me via