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10 Young Adult Novels That Will Make You Feel Like a Teenager Again

From epic fantasies to swoon-worthy love stories and page-turning thrillers, these books are must-reads. 

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If you’re looking for a book with a rich character arc and relatable life drama, you may be surprised to learn you can find it — and more — in a Young Adult (YA) book. This genre is geared toward younger audiences, but plenty of adult readers pick up these books. In fact, research shows more 74% of YA readers are adults. And many best-selling authors of books geared toward adults have also broken into the YA genre, from James Patterson to Jennifer Weiner and more. Whether you’re a regular reader of YA books or are new to the genre, we’ve rounded up 10 YA books adults will love read.

What makes YA books so popular?

Young adult (YA) is an umbrella term for any book whose main character is in their teen years. The genre also has plenty of sub-genres, such as fantasy, historical fiction, romance, dystopia and more, making it appealing to all readers. For younger readers, YA books provide an easy-to-understand escape from their everyday life as well as a realization that many of their struggles are universal. For adults, YA books provide a hit of nostalgia, taking them on a trip down memory lane. These books are so widely appealing that many have been made into popular movies and TV shows, including The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars and more.

Ready to check out some of these compelling reads? We’ve rounded up some our favorite YA books. Happy reading!

American Royals by Katharine McGee

American Royals by Katharine McGee

From best-selling author Katharine McGee comes a fun and flirty novel about America’s royal family. While Princess Beatrice is preparing to become America’s first-ever queen, her sister Samantha is off causing a ruckus with the media. Elsewhere, Nina is nursing a broken heart, and Daphne is trying to figure out a way to crawl her way up the social ladder. What follows is the perfect blend of scandal, intrigue and family drama.

What readers are saying: “Filled with romantic messiness and love triangles, family drama, backstabbing, but also beautiful relationships, American Royals was a fun and engaging read, and I can’t wait for the next in the series…talk about an ending!”

Running Mates by Emily Locker

Running Mates by Emily locker (best YA books)
Bancroft Press

In this Romeo & Juliet retelling, an impassioned Annabelle Morningstar is shocked when she runs into Gabe Delgado — the quintessential all-American boy — at her favorite bookstore. The two high schoolers are on entirely different sides politically and have to start training for their cross-country competitions together. Will they be able to put their differences aside and open their hearts to love? Only time will tell.

What readers are saying: “If you want a light, heartfelt and funny read, I recommend picking up Running Mates. It is a really funny and heartwarming read that YA and romance readers alike will enjoy.”

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
Dial Books

Drama, secrets and romance abound in this novel — the first in Krystal Marquis’ The Davenports series. In 1910, the Davenports are one of the few Black families of great wealth in a changing United States. The story is told from the points of view of Olivia and Helen, two of the Davenport children; Amy-Rose, a family friend and servant; and Olivia’s best friend, Ruby. A tale about high-society and love. Fans of Bridgerton will delight over this story!

What readers are saying: “I didn’t expect to get as sucked into this novel as I did! I absolutely love every one of the characters and found myself completely emotionally invested in them. I cannot wait for the next book.”

Fake Famous by Dana L. Davis

Fake Famous by Dana L. Davis (best YA books)

Fun and lighthearted, this is a story about two opposites swapping lives. Red Morgan’s future lies on her family’s farm in Iowa. But when a video of her singing online goes viral, Brooklyn-born pop star Zay-Zay Waters sees the video and is shocked by how much Red sounds and looks like her. Tired of the spotlight, Zay-Zay concocts a plan to switch places with Red for a week. Are they in too deep, or can they pull it off?

What readers are saying: “I wasn’t sure if Fake Famous was going to be my cup of tea, but before I knew it I was hooked. It’s a fresh take on a fish-out-of-water tale that finds an Iowa country girl galavanting around as a double for a pop star. It had me reflecting on the heartbreak and heart swells of the teenage years.”

The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

The Reappearance of Rachel Price
Delacorte Press

Holly Jackson’s latest novel features secrets, lies and scandal. Ever since Bel’s mom, Rachel, disappeared 16 years ago from the car they were in together, Bel has been trying to remember what happened. Now a high-schooler, Bel agrees to share her story in a true-crime documentary. Then Rachel returns, with a wild story about what happened to her. If only Bel believed it.

What readers are saying: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson is one of my favorite books, so I couldn’t wait to read this one!” says Carissa Mosness, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “I couldn’t put this down and I was floored by the twist!” 

Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Cruel Prince by Holly Black (best YA books)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A captivating and magical adventure unfolds in this novel by best-selling author Holly Black. Jude was 7 years old when she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite being human. But the fey don’t like humans…especially Prince Cardan, the smart, wicked son of the High King. Will Jude ever be able to find her place in the High Court of Faerie? To do so, she has no choice but to defy Cardan…and face the consequences.

What readers are saying: “Besides the romance crumbs, which so far are making for a marvelous enemies to lovers, the plot and the world building were wonderful! I was immediately invested from page one and I truly had no idea where this was going on more than one occasion. I’m really excited to keep following the journey!”

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press

With unforgettable characters, a dystopian world and a page-turning competition, The Hunger Games — the first book in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling series — is a favorite with teens and adult readers alike. After volunteering to compete in the deadly Hunger Games to protect her younger sister, Katniss Everdeen is transported to the Capitol alongside fellow competitor Peeta Mellark. But only one of the 24 tributes can win — the will die. Katniss has the skills to win, but soon love begins to complicate everything.

What readers are saying: The Hunger Games grabbed me from the first page and held me until its bittersweet end. I started it at 10 o’clock at night and finished the novel the next morning. And trust me, you don’t need to like YA to enjoy The Hunger Games.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The first of Rick Riordan’s beloved series follows a 12-year-old kid named Percy Jackson. Percy has always struggled to fit in. Then his pre-algebra teacher turns into a monster and tries to kill him. Now Percy must travel across the country on a quest to prevent a deadly war from breaking out between the Greek Gods. A groundbreaking, wonderful adventure.

What readers are saying: “I’ve read this one probably 10 times in the last 15 years and every time, I get sucked back into this world. Percy Jackson is often my go-to when I want to get out of a reading slump and once again, it’s sparked my love for reading”

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (best YA books)
Square Fish

High-stakes adventure, lovable outcasts and exhilarating schemes meld wonderfully in this novel by best-selling author Leigh Bardugo. When criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a heist that could make him rich beyond measure, he knows he can’t pull it off alone. He recruits a band of six gifted misfits — from convicts to spies to runaways — to plan and execute one incredible heist. An unforgettable tale about the opportunity of a lifetime!

What readers are saying: “The book is filled with action, adventure and plot twists that kept me engaged. The dynamic between the characters was full of comraderie and tension, with each member of the team having a different role to play in the heist. This group is the epitome of a found family!”

Call It What you Want by Alissa Derogatis

Call if What you Want by Alissa Derogatis

This sweeping debut novel follows hopeless romantic Sloane Hart, who is navigating the grief of her parents’ divorce. She decides to avoid romance and focus on graduating college and living out her dreams. But when she meets handsome, mysterious Ethan Brady, everything changes. What follows is a battle of strength, love and finding yourself.

What readers are saying: “This debut novel was buzzing all over social media, from BookTok to Bookstagram,” notes Melissa D’Agnese, FIRST Senior Editor. “So I finally picked it up. Though this is a college-set story, its messages of self-love and self-worth are universal.”

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