School’s back in session! But who says reading is only done inside the classroom? Often containing educational themes while being simultaneously gripping, Young Adult novels are a great way to entertain, unwind, and maybe learn a little at the same time (😉). This month, I’ve compiled a list of page-turning YA fiction that is great for teens and adults alike!
- “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Horror Fantasy
Glamorous in elegant gowns and perfect lipstick, Noemí Taboada isn’t necessarily cut from detective cloth. But when her newlywed cousin sends her a mysterious letter, she decides to travel to the couple’s house, High Place, set in the distant Mexican countryside. While her cousin can lean towards the dramatic side, she is unsure what to make of her Englishman husband since he’s both intimidating and captivating. Furthermore, Noemí finds his father strange and the house even stranger as her dreams are eventually overtaken with dark visions of High Place. It seems that she will only find solace in the family’s youngest son, but is he too hiding secrets of the family’s past? Both entranced and terrified of the family and High Place, Noemí begins to question if she’ll ever really be able to leave. Intriguing and spooky, this is a great YA read for fall!
- “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton – Bildungsroman
Told over two weeks of his life, Ponyboy begins these weeks proud of his status as a greaser. According to Ponyboy, there are two types of people in life: greasers and socs. Greasers, like himself, see themselves as outsiders and are ready to defend one another to the bone. Socs, on the other hand, see the privileges of life such as money and status. These two gangs can never see eye to eye. But when the rivalry gets out of hand one night, Ponyboy suddenly learns that pain is a universal feeling and is forced to examine life with a new perspective. “The Outsiders” has become a modern classic in the YA genre with its enduring themes and relatable characters. Read “The Outsiders” and remember to “stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.”
- “American Royals” by Katharine McGee – Romantic Alternate History
What if George Washington hadn’t accepted the title of president but instead was named king? “American Royals” follows the descendants of America’s royal family through the present day and gives readers a glimpse of what royalty on U.S. soil might look like. First in line, Princess Beatrice has always been prim and proper, preparing herself for her role as America’s first queen regnant. But when her parents begin forcing her to consider matrimony to eligible nobles, her attentions are suddenly diverted by someone unexpected. Her younger siblings, twins Samantha and Jefferson, are caught up in their own drama. Samantha seems to always find herself in the tabloids but for all the wrong reasons, while Jefferson is the swoon-worthy prince that many still desire to be king. If you can’t seem to get enough of Britain’s royal family, definitely check out “American Royals” and read the sequel, out this month.
- “Feed” by Matthew Tobin Anderson – Dystopian Sci-Fi
With ever-advancing technology, it sometimes seems as though we aren’t too far off from having little internet chips inside our heads so that phones and computers are rendered unnecessary. Well, this is precisely the futuristic world Anderson displays in “Feed.” With the implants constantly displaying a never-ending “feed” of information such as ads, music, and chats, in everyone’s brain, Titus finds it odd when his feed suddenly stops after an attack from a hacker. After the cyber attack, he meets a young girl named Violet who discusses life without the feed and proposes ideas about what it’s doing to them. But when you have a chip inside your head at all times, are you really safe expressing individual and original thoughts? “Feed” cleverly uses satire and the dystopian genre to examine where the consumerism, technology and data collection of today might be heading.
- “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer – Sci-Fi Retelling
“Once upon a time, there lived a young cyborg girl who lived in the distant future of Beijing and was the most gifted mechanic of them all. Little did she know, this was just one of many extraordinary talents.” This isn’t quite how this futuristic Cinderella story begins but hopefully, this gives you an idea. Cinder believes that she is an ordinary girl, except for the fact that she is a cyborg and is the most sought-after mechanic in all of New Beijing. But after an encounter with the handsome Prince Kai, Cinder’s world begins to tilt. She never in a million years expected to be going to the ball, but after learning secrets of the deadly plague ravaging the country and the plans of an evil, yet powerful queen, she decides to save the prince in a harrowing journey to the ball — even if that means defying her domineering stepmother. The first book in the “Lunar Chronicles” series, these futuristic retellings combine science fiction with some of your favorite fairytale heroines: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
- “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi – Modern Retelling
For the kids who love the classics or maybe want to dip their toes into a classic story but don’t know where to start “Pride” is definitely a good jumping-off point. Based on Austen’s beloved “Pride & Prejudice,” this novel follows Zuri, a young girl who loves her Brooklyn neighborhood, her Afro-Latino heritage, and her bustling family with her four tightly-knit sisters. But she worries that her neighborhood will no longer be the place she has grown up in as it quickly becomes gentrified. When the Darcys move across the street, Zuri tries to steer clear of the two wealthy sons around her age. While her sister, Janae begins to fall for Ainsley Darcy, Zuri’s is forced to try and find common ground with his haughty brother, Darius. But can they come to an understanding when she’s in the midst of applying for college, flirting with a boy named Warren, and navigating her ever-changing neighborhood?
- Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline – Sci-Fi Fantasy
This year has pushed technology to its max as we’ve come to rely on digital communication and virtual connection more than ever before. But “Ready Player One” takes this to the extreme and allows readers a glimpse at what virtual reality could be. Set in the year 2045, this dystopian novel follows Wade Watts and his journey in the OASIS, a virtual society that has become more stable than the real world due to global warming and a poor economy. Wade is a “gunter”: a person hunting for the hidden easter egg buried in the OASIS by the society’s creator, James Halliday. The finder of the egg not only becomes the inheritor of Halliday’s fortune but also unlocks control to all of the OASIS. An expert on Halliday, Wade (going by the name of Parzival in OASIS) is the first person to begin unlocking keys to find the easter egg. But big business, Innovative Online Industries (IOI) has a lot more resources and is willing to go to extreme lengths to gain control of the OASIS; they have their own plans as to how they’ll use the VR society to benefit business. Wade and his friends become determined to preserve the OASIS, but how can they ensure their success when the threats of IOI seep into the real world?
- “The Astonishing Color of After” by Emily X.R. Pan – Paranormal
Leigh Chen Sanders feels extremely guilty; guilty about kissing her best friend, Axel, and possibly ruining their friendship. But more than that, she feels guilty that the night she kissed Axel, her mother committed suicide and Leigh wasn’t there. At 16, Leigh feels muddled and struggles with her despair, but when a red bird appears with a message, she decides to travel to Taiwan to connect with her grandparents whom she has never met before. Determined to forge a relationship with grandparents as well as to find traces of her mother, she begins to work through her grief and dives into her art. As she allows the colors of her art to begin healing her, she comes to learn that the lines between reality, magic, past and present are all blurred. “The Astonishing Color of After” is about a young girl finding the truth and herself through family, art, romance and grief.
For more YA reading recommendations, stop by the library, chat with a librarian on our website, or get a personalized reading list with our new service Your Next Read. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for additional YA books during the month of September. #splreads #humansofspl