Go Ahead, Read a Teen Book

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The super popular books Twilight and The Hunger Games might come to mind when you think of teen books. However, there is a lot more to the genre than fighting to the death or falling in love with vampires. Teen books are growing in popularity and now is a great time to come over to the Kids Library, specifically David J’s, and check some out. According to the Association of American Publishers, childrens and teen book revenues increased by 17.6 percent in 2012, while adult books only increased by 7 percent. Many authors of adult books have capitalized on the trend by crossing over to writing teen books, like James Patterson, Harlan Coben, Kathy Reichs, Philippa Gregory and Jodi Picoult.

Some adults are embarrassed to read teen books, but this attitude will cause you to miss out on an amazing genre. Avoiding young adult books because you aren’t a teen is like avoiding the Game of Thrones series because you don’t have a dragon. That said, there are some  books that will probably appeal to adults more than others. Here are some of my picks:

hunt killersI Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

This book would be great for adult readers who love thrillers and for fans of the TV show Dexter. Jazz is the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, “Take Your Son to Work Day” was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminals’ point of view. And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo’s Nod. Again. In an effort to prove murder doesn’t run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows? From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds.

just one dayJust One Day by Gayle Forman

Adult readers who like self discovery travel stories like Eat, Pray, Love will be swept away by this book. When sheltered American good girl Allyson first encounters laid-back Dutch actor Willem at an underground performance of Twelfth Night, there’s an undeniable spark. So when fate brings them together a second time, Allyson takes an uncharacteristic leap, changes course, and follows Willem to Paris. After just one day together, the spark bursts into a flame…until Allyson wakes up after a whirlwind day shocked to discover that Willem is gone. A life upended in one day turns into a year of self-discovery as Allyson embarks on a journey to break free from a lifetime of limits in order to find her true passions, and maybe even a true love. Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels.

white catWhite Cat by Holly Black

I recommend White Cat for adult readers who enjoy stories about crime families like the Sopranos and like twisty, turny plots. The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty–he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago. But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas– and a plan to con the conmen.

annaAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Romantic readers who like light, happy books like those by Sophie Kinsella will love Anna and the French Kiss. Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris- until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna has long awaited?

fightThe Fight by L. Divine

Urban fiction fans who like gritty, real life stories will enjoy this book. After a summer of bliss with boyfriend KJ, Jayd Jackson returns to South Bay High (aka Drama High) to discover that she’s been dumped, her former best friend is out to get her and KJ’s new girl is looking to knock her out. With drama at an all-time high, Jayd, with a little help from Mama and her mystical bag of tricks, is about to get some lessons in who’s really got her back – and, more importantly, when she’s got to watch it.

divinersThe Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners is a suspenseful fantasy book set in the 1920′s with a touch of romance and humor. Basically, it has something for everyone. Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.” When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

If you’re already reading young adult books, what would you recommend?

  • stephanie

    Valkyrie Rising was better than I expected.

  • Autumn

    I loved the Diviners and highly recommend it.
    I also really enjoyed the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel is the first book). Great List!

  • Lissa

    I read “Anna and the French Kiss” on Lena’s recommendation and I loved the sequel “Lola and the Boy Next Door” even more. Actually, I just checked, and there is a third book in this series coming out this fall!

  • Lena

    Thanks for the comments! I haven’t read Valkyrie Rising, but I’ll have to check it out. Autumn, I enjoyed the City of Bones series by Cassandra Clare and have been meaning to read the Infernal Devices series. Isn’t it a prequel series? Lissa, I’m excited for the third book in the series. Hopefully it’s as good as the others!

  • http://tscpl.org/author/eseeger/ Erin Seeger

    This is a great list, Lena! I loved “Anna and the French Kiss” and am excited to hear there’s two more in this series. For those who like Sophie Kinsella, another fun YA author is Sarah Dessen.

  • Miranda Ericsson

    Great post…you caught my interest on all of them. I’ve had my eye on “White Cat” for a while. Now I have more to add to my to-read list! :)

  • Abigail Siemers

    I recently picked up “The Fairest Beauty” by Melanie Dickerson and really enjoyed it. It was based on the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and it’s a fun story, particularly for readers who like to read re-imaginings of old fairy tales. I’m looking forward to reading her other books.

  • Lena

    Thanks for the suggestion, Abigail. I’ve never heard of that book before. I just started Divergent in preparation for the movie coming out soon. i’m loving it so far!