Monday, October 17, 2011

What books do you recommend most often to non-YA readers?

Over the past three years, I've been slowly but surely converting my "adult" friends and family to YA novels, or at least adding them to their reading repertoire. One recommendation at a time, I'm convincing people that young adult literature isn't "just for kids."

Depending on the person's genre preferences, I've found myself going back to the same handful of books that I feel showcase just how awesome YA can be and that also seem most appealing to adults.

(Seriously, I don't think my set of the Hunger Games trilogy has actually been on my bookshelf for more than a month of the past year, I've passed it around so much! I call it "the gateway book.")

Below is some of my go-to list (though it's nowhere near complete), and I love expanding it. What's on yours?

Urban Fantasy
White Cat by Holly Black

Looking for Alaska by John Green
If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Paranormal Romance
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Free Verse
Karma by Cathy Ostlere

High Fantasy/Adventure
Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Contemporary Romance
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Dark Humor
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Gothic Horror
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey


  1. The Hunger Games is a huge hit with my friends. I've had some luck with The Book Thief, Chaos Walking series, Libba Bray's books (though I haven't actually read them yet myself) and Mary E. Pearson's books.

  2. Great choices. I don't have many friends other than authors who like to read YA. So I mostly share recommendations with my daughter and her friends of new dystopian books because that's what they're into.

  3. YAY! Awesome choices!!! I loved ANNA , The Hunger Games and White Cat!

  4. I passed my Divergent copy to my best friend. He is so hooked he texts me in the middle of the night with reactions. haha. I'm not able to sleep either. :D

  5. @Lenore -- THE BOOK THIEF is a great suggestion!

    @Natalie -- You reply's via email!

    @Miss Page-Turner -- ANNA doesn't have that same "adult book" feel of some of the others, but it's so darn well-written that everyone loves it!

    @NeuroHormone -- DIVERGENT's a great one, too! I've been thinking of getting my husband to read it.

  6. Hunger Games, Hunger Games, and more Hunger Games! Also, not strictly YA, but Percy Jackson has been a big hit with the adults I've recommended it to.

  7. I've sold plenty of copies of Hunger Games (the whole trilogy, actually) to adults who say they want to read it for themselves. So I think it's catching on, Donna!

    And I've also recommended Divergent and Forest of Hands and Teeth to adults.

    Great post!

  8. I always recommend Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. But the more I read the harder I find it to differentiate between adult and YA. I don't think you can judge it based on story or subject matter. I think if it's well written then there's probably something in it for everyone, but if it's relying completely on a brooding vampire hero to cover up a thin plot and total lack of depth then there are probably as many teens who'll dislike it as adults.

  9. Good choices!

    I also recommend The Hunger Games, Between Shades of Grey, and The Book Thief.

    I've only read one John Green book but I often suggest him too.

  10. @Kristen & @Joanne - Your replies are via email!

    @Overdue - Awesome choices! And I totally agree with you -- no matter the genre or age group, a great book is a great book, and I continue to find awesome ones in unexpected places. But I've definitely found that certain books are better to help people get over their anti-YA prejudice more than others.

    @theprettybooks - I've never read Between Shades of Grey, but I'll definitely check it out!


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