Feel the wind in my hair. See the passing scenery. Experience the joy only the telling of a good story births in my heart, soul and mind.
Books too numerous to name have impacted me. Some of them changed my opinion or beliefs. Others resonated on a spiritual level. Many made me weep and many others made me bust out laughing.
Only a select few meet my desire for authentic characters facing realistic foes in a story line that offered just enough tension to keep me turning pages. Even fewer have all this and poetic prose that ignites my imagination.
I won’t say that the five books I’m mentioning here have all of those things. What they do offer: a thoughtful message in a bottle within a framework that makes it enjoyable to read.
The other disclaimer I have is that these are books I’ve read in the past two years. They don’t represent the most important literature every young adult should read. Nor are they the most amazing books from that genre I’ve ever read.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper
It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. This coming of age story paints a realistic portrait of small town life, sibling rivalry, friendship, single parenthood and the importance of being true to what you believe.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I’m not a fan of stories set during the Holocaust; they’re just too heavy. The original voice gives this book an edge over all the others. If it didn’t have a happy ending, it wouldn’t be on my list. The characters are tried by fire and come out refined.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Not just another Cinderella story, this book tackles important issues like discrimination, governmental controls, and defining the fine line between medical research and murder. If a person has some cybernetic parts, does that mean they are less than human? This is the only “fantasy” on my list.
Sound off readers of YA books. What books would you add from the YA category that you consider “must reads” for all young adult readers?