Some books were written solely for children, and some were written for adults. Others somehow manage to blur those lines. Here are 7 young adult books that can be read at any point in your life and the themes will still hold true:
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone’s life revolves around logic. He knows every prime number up to 7,057 but hates to be touched. This young boy with high-functioning autism goes on a journey to solve the murder of a neighborhood dog. This touching novel challenges our most basic understanding of developmental disorder, family relationships and love. Although written in short and simple chapters, there is something for everyone in this novel.
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Smart and witty, this autobiographical novel is entertaining for all ages. The book recounts the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist, growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. In order to take control of his future, Junior attends an all-white high school where the only other Indian is the mascot. Hilarious and heartbreaking, the coming-of-age story narrates some aspect of every reader’s adolescence.
3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
One of many ambitious students at Manhattan’s prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, Craig Gilner overexerts himself to keep up with his classmates. When years of stress take their toll, Craig hits rock bottom and ends up in an institution following a suicide attempt. The novel looks at our tendency to lose sight of what really matters in life. And we all know that problem doesn’t just apply to one generation….
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A crowd favorite, The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany, narrating the life of a young girl named Liesel Meminger. Liesel and her brother are left in the care of foster parents, and she starts reading as a form of escapism, searching for books anywhere she can find them. Haven’t we all had those moments where it seemed like the only solution to our problems was to turn to a book?
5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
After her father dies, Kit Tyler is forced to move in with her puritanical relatives in Connecticut. Unable to fit in, Kit befriends Hannah Tupper, an older woman suspected of practicing witchcraft. The novel explores topics like isolation and struggling to find a place in the madness that is our world. It also centers around friendship and empathy – two of the guiding forces in everyone’s life.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This coming-of-age novel follows Charlie, a wallflower, through his freshman year of high school. He is slowly drawn out of his shell as he befriends other misfits and is exposed to situations that make him take control of his own destiny. Being on the fringe offers Charlie a unique perspective on life, an experience that we can all relate to at one point or another.
7. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
As a young Latina, Esperanza, the heroine of our story, struggles with her identity throughout The House on Mango Street. The novel follows her day-to-day life, detailing the struggles of adolescence, poverty, and identity, as Esperanza becomes a more complex character by the second. Throughout our lives we continue to develop these aspects of our personality, never fully understanding our identities.
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