The 15 greatest YA books for academics and college students proper now
In a recent episode of the successful Apple + Show, Ted Lasso, the title character gave his rugged soccer players some surprising gifts – novels for young adults! No doubt many viewers felt their hearts swell as Lasso presented Roy Kent with A Wrinkle in Time and a copy of Ender’s Game to Sam Obisanya. Why Assign YA Books to Adult Professional Athletes?
Bookriot suggests that there is value in returning to these books as adults. They remind us “what it is like to be a child, to get a different perspective on the world and to broaden our understanding of different experiences and communities”.
Already a fan of YA books? You’re not alone! At the same time, however, it is easy to fall into the pattern of reading the same books year after year. The classics are obviously amazing, but there is a lot of great new content out there. Maybe it is time to freshen up your library with some newer versions. You can find new ways to connect with your students and the current problems they are facing.
1. Cool for the summer from Dahlia Adler
Why It’s Good Read: Following Lara as she processes her feelings for Chase and Jasmine can help you better understand your students’ own journey of self-discovery.
Buy: Cool for the summer
2. You have a match from Emma Lord
Why It’s Good Read: DNA testing is very popular right now, but some produce surprising results. This can help connect with a student who has learned difficult things about their family history.
Buy: You have a game
3. Be seduced by Ryan La Sala. dazzle
Why It’s Good Read: Do you have students who love Cosplay and Project Runway? This story underscores the importance of embracing our authentic selves and following our passions.
Buy: Be blinded
4. One breath too late from Rocky Callen
Why It’s Good Read: This book looks at life through the eyes of a young woman who died of suicide. The topics are sometimes heartbreaking and intense, but give a glimpse of how our life is a collection of beautiful and terrible moments.
Buy: One breath too late
5. Rachael Lippincott’s lucky list
Why It’s Good Read: Reading Emily’s story after losing her mother to cancer can help you get closer to students who have had similar experiences.
Buy: The lucky list
6. One of the good guys from Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
Why It’s Good Read: People who speak out and protest against social justice are putting themselves at risk – even teenagers. This book offers a close look at the human cost of fighting prejudice.
Buy: One of the good guys
7. The Girls I Was From Tess Sharpe
Why It’s Good Read: This story about a cheater’s daughter who needs to tap extensive survival skills to survive being held hostage during a bank robbery is compelling. It’s also being turned into a Netflix movie with Millie Bobbie Brown that everyone will be talking about (and who wants to be left out of this conversation?).
Buy: The Girls I’ve Been
8. Ebony grand piano by J. Elle
Why It’s Good Read: Override reality and dive right into this riveting fantasy that follows Rue, a Houston teen who discovers that she is both half-God and half-human and that native black children have been forced into a life of crime and violence. This book is great for encouraging students to step into their power, stand up for what is right, and embrace their true selves.
Buy: Ebony grand pianos
9. Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez
Why it’s good read: After fleeing her country, Catalina no longer has a home. The chances of survival are against her, but she had no choice. She had to flee. We have many students in our classrooms who have had similar experiences. This is one of the best YA books for compassionate immigration discussions.
Buy: Posted in Starlight
10. Happy Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Why it’s good read: Tessa loves romance novels, but rarely sees herself reflected in the characters. So she becomes the leading lady in her own writing! This book is perfect for starting a conversation about representation in literature and becoming a star in your own life!
Buy: Happy Ever Afters
11. Everything that burns from Gita Trelease
Why It’s Good Read: This sequel to All That Glitters tells the story of a young woman who must find a way to protect herself and her sister from government corruption and personal persecution. This topic may resonate with students who have felt attacked and threatened for being themselves.
Buy: Everything that burns
12. Tokyo forever by Emiko Jean
Why It’s Good Read: After growing up in a mostly white town in California, Izumi travels to Japan when she discovers she is the daughter of the Crown Prince. This is a wonderful novel to get in touch with biracial students from different cultural backgrounds.
Buy: Tokyo Ever After
13. Kristy Boyce’s hot British friend
Why It’s Good Read: Ellie Nichols takes the overseas trip after a humiliating public disapproval – and she has a plan to make her new crush jealous. It’s a great reminder of how confusing first relationships can be and how far we’ll go to impress someone.
Buy: Hot British friend
14. The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch
Why It’s Good Read: The openly gay Sky Baker’s secret offering plans are leaked by a homophobic anonymous hacker. Suddenly the child who was trying to be invisible found a reason to fight back. This book is great for understanding and realizing the cruelty and bullying of LGBTQ students and how to provide the right kind of support.
Buy: The Sky Blues
15. Firekeeper’s Daughter of Angeline Boulley
Why It’s Good Read: Native teenager Daunis Fontaine plans to enter college are put on hold due to a family tragedy. Ultimately, she realizes that it is up to her to root out corruption in her community. This is one of the most popular YA books right now. President Barack Obama’s and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, is adapting it for Netflix. It’s a great way to discuss the Native American experiences of this country, the difficulties of overcoming adversity, and how personal trauma can affect our ability to follow our dreams.
Buy: daughter of the fire-keeper