Do you miss reading?
For many people I’ve talked to, when you get to college and out the other side, reading for pleasure often suffers collateral damage.
Most of us are optimistic that we can once again own the appellations of “avid” and “voracious” reader, but the post-college years pile up quickly, strewn with job applications and insurance bills instead of books.
Eventually I had to come to grips with the uncomfortable truth that I’d lost some of my youthful love for literature. I put a 4-point action plan in place to read more books, and in the last several months I’ve charted more new worlds and revisited more old friends than I had in the last several years.
I found that reading and re-reading young adult novels was the secret sauce for getting me hooked on books again. Young adult literature, if done right, supplies depth while still being highly engaging.
If you want to rekindle a latent love for reading, burn through a couple of young adult novels before trying to tackle the Anna Kareninas and David Copperfields on your list.
Here are six young adult novels that are particularly good. If you have never read these books, you are in for a treat!
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives in a decrepit castle in England where she journals voraciously, celebrates Midsummer, and swims in the castle moat by moonlight. I’m not sure how to describe to you what it’s like to discover I Capture the Castle, but I promise you it’s a story you will treasure for keeps.
P.S. Be sure to read the first review on this book’s Amazon listing. The reviewer shares a letter she received from Dodie Smith, the book’s author!
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The military takes nine-year-old genius Ender Wiggin to an orbiting Battle School to train with other child prodigies. Their mission is to lead the fight against earth’s greatest enemies–strange, bug-like aliens from a far-off galaxy. This science fiction classic had a huge influence on the genre and on young adult literature. After you read it, you’ll see echoes of Ender’s Game everywhere.
Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
If you love Anne of Green Gables, you will adore the Emily trilogy! It is more autobiographical than the Anne books, and a little more bittersweet, but exquisitely beautiful. Emily Starr is an orphan in less happy circumstances than Anne Shirley, but she finds comfort in the lovely New Moon Farm, in her circle of three dear friends, and in her writing pursuits. (Book 2 is Emily Climbs, book 3 is Emily’s Quest.)
Christy by Catherine Marshall
A longer novel that’s meant for an older audience, Christy tells the story of an idealistic 19-year-old who leaves her home in Asheville, North Carolina to teach school in the Appalachian highlands. The story is loosely based on events in the life of Catherine Marshall’s mother.
Breeder by K. B. Hoyle
This is a dystopian story about a girl called “Seventeen” whose role in the Unified World Order is to birth genetically perfect babies. If you want an exciting page-turner, this is it! Breeder is streamlined and flawlessly executed, with gradually unfolding mysteries that will leave you intrigued and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. (Criminal comes out later this year.)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I know there are endless fairytale retellings to choose from these days, but this one helped to start the craze, and is a Newberry Honor book for good reason. It’s a really fun twist on the original story, but still feels like a classic–no revisionist tinkering.
Read these novels and let me know what you think! And I’d love to hear about your best-loved young adult books, too!
P.S. When June hits, check out these 16 young adult books that ooze summer with every line of ink.