My Dirty Little YA Secret

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A couple of years back I gushed a little bit about how much I enjoyed many of the books that were on my high school’s required reading list. I have to confess, though, that there’s a little more to that story than I originally let on.

See, the thing you have to understand about me is that I read pretty much everything if it a) sparks my interest or b) someone else tells me it it’s good. When I was younger, that sometimes meant diving into books that were maybe a little age inappropriate. Now that I’m a little (ahem) older, my reading choices still don’t always match my age.

Ok, so maybe young adult fiction isn’t your thing. Authors like Jaclyn Moriarty (Feeling Sorry for Celia, The Year of Secret Assignments) and Jerry Spinelli (Star Girl), though, might change your mind- both are sharp, witty, and write books with characters who seem mature beyond their years. (Can we talk about Jaclyn Moriarty for a second, though? For me, she brought the epistolary novel into the current century. Feeling Sorry for Celia, for example, is told through notes that Celia’s friend and her mother leave for each other on the refrigerator door.)

Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman also feature characters (and subject matters) that stretch far beyond the teenage years, despite the fact that they’re more commonly marketed to adolescents. (Please watch the film version of I Capture the Castle with a super-young Henry Cavill and Rose Byrne. Also, did I mention Henry Cavill?)

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YA fiction is also the only place where fantasy, action and the contemporary world combine seamlessly- series like Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) and the Lorien Legacy series (which starts with I Am Number Four and spans five more titles) feature way more action and suspense than a lot of fiction I’ve read that’s intended for older audiences. The fact that they’re willing to get creative with fantastical and science fiction elements doesn’t hurt, either. The Divergent series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) by Veronica Roth is actually one of the more intelligent science fiction series you’ll come across, and I had to include Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series (which totals six books including the first, City of Bones) because it’s such a flipping good romance. (Shout-out to all the others who got their hearts broken when they found out Shadowhunters was cancelled on Netflix.)

What are some of the YA titles you’ve read and loved but were kind of afraid to confess to reading up until now? I’m thirty-something and I spilled; I’d love to hear your suggestions too! Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. We can keep your dirty YA secret just between you and I.

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.