Although none of the books in the Jessica Darling series are technically YA, most of the readers of these novels, especially the first two, have an appreciation for Young Adult literature. We are two of those readers. Below are our further recommendations of outstanding YA novels:
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga — This novel is smart, disturbing, and sympathetic. It follows a high school student through his senior year as he copes with the trauma and aftermath of being sexually abused by his middle school teacher. Ask Emily what the author wrote in her copy.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart–Frankie plans elaborate pranks and tricks an elite all-male secret society at her preppy boarding school into doing her bidding. What more do you need to know?
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell — This love story, set in the 1980s, expertly deals with class, body image, bullying, mix tapes, and sex. Its narrative is smart and emotional, and, once it’s over, you’ll be so happy to have read it and so sad that you can’t keep reading it. And the cover art is so beautiful!
Looking for Alaska by John Green — Although this is Anna’s personal favorite of the John Green novels, you can also consider this a recommendation for any and all of his work (Emily’s favorite is An Abundance of Katherines because it’s the only novel she’s finished in Italian. She also thinks it’s pretty great in English). This novel follows Miles Halter through his first year at boarding school, a setting that almost always promises great YA literature. Please note: the Alaska of the title is not the state, but (of course) a girl.
Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan — If you’ve used the internet before, you mostly likely are familiar with the Fug Girls and their brilliantly hilarious website. Here, in the sister novel of their debut, Spoiled, they put their years of practice in observational snark to great use. Ask Anna about the time she went to their reading and all of her dreams came true.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — The novel’s collection of letters to a friend who will understand follows Charlie in his freshman year of high school. It celebrates outcasts, zines, mix tapes, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It also gave us two of the most beautiful of all literary quotes: “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite” and “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Note: For uniformity, the links for these novels are to their Amazon page. Please consider borrowing them from your local library.