The Young Adult realm can be a tumultuous area to venture into, and it usually is a hit-or-miss with the typical feisty heroines, brooding romances, chosen one prophecies and the occasional apocalypses that rest on the shoulders of a sixteen-year-old. These types of books can make for epic plotlines and evoke feelings of empowerment, especially in teenagers, the targeted audience.
However, even teenagers get tired of the same old trends that get recycled and reused over and over again. These days, it seems that readers everywhere are in dire need of a vacation from this genre. Although there are still many highly-anticipated reads in YA, there is also a swelling number of hastily written books with no originality. They are sold in mass quantity and raved about amidst the book community, only for readers to discover, with reoccurring disappointment, that there is nothing truly special about them.
If you’re currently in a reading slump, seeking a refreshing story apart from YA, or simply looking for new books to devour, here’s a diverse list of amazing non-YA books:
1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Journalist Monique Grant is sick of her mundane, stagnant life until she lands an interview with the iconic and elusive seventy-nine-year-old Old Hollywood star Evelyn Grant. However, what ostensibly is Monique’s chance to skyrocket her career turns into a rollercoaster of revelations that overturns Monique’s past, present and future. This book is rich with the incredibly complex character of Evelyn Grant, and trying to understand her choices through the prism of Monique’s perspective was a breathtaking journey. You will come out of this story with puffy, red eyes and a greater understanding of the ripping cost of fame.
2. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Tate Collins was in the process of moving into her brother’s apartment — temporarily, of course — when she encountered his friend, airline pilot Miles Archer, unconscious and drunk in front of the door. A not-so-savory start to a relationship becomes undeniable electricity between them, which escalates into something else far more visceral. This is not your typical fluffy romance, full of an aching tragedy that few have ever experienced in this world, as well as some steamy scenes that will have you crying and fanning yourself at the same time. Ugly Love is a book that will redefine what it means to acknowledge the past in order to embrace the future.
3. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Raw, lyrical, and devastating, The Book Thief transports you with stunning clarity to the 1940s during the Holocaust. Foster child Liesel Meminger is just a little girl whose life was cleaved apart by death early on, like so many other kids, and she finds solace in the forbidden books she scavenges. Zusak creates a poignant, heartbreaking story as Liesel struggles to accept the pain that surrounds her and her loved ones. Even against the backdrop of the Holocaust, you will see how light of all kinds manages to exist in the darkest hours.
4. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago was an exotic, elaborate event full of all the magic a child could wish for. Dubbed the White City for its notable ivory architecture, this avant-garde fair attracted millions upon millions of visitors … and victims. Because beneath its flashing festivities and jaw-dropping shows, a ruthless killer lurked in the shadows between all the glitter. Told through precise research and cutting artistry, Larson relays this true story by contrasting the fair’s grandeur with the grotesque truth. A dense, chilling story that will keep you up at night, this is a perfect book for history buffs and thriller/mystery fans.
5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is a coming-of-age memoir of Jeannette Walls’ very unique childhood. With an alcoholic, happy-go-lucky father and a selfish, free-spirited mother, Jeannette’s childhood was spent living a nomadic life along with her three siblings. While her life seems adventurous and exciting at first, painful realities are revealed as she matures, and she is forced to choose between her family or herself. At once brutal and jagged, heartrending and powerful, Jeannette guides you through the difficulties of living in poverty under negligent parents and the strength it takes to pursue your own future.
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