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5 Books Every Young Adult Needs to Read

Updated on June 5, 2017

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

'Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.'


The story focuses on Charlie, a teenage boy starting freshman year after some time off to deal with his mental health. An honest, relatable, hard hitting novel, Charlie is an extremely relatable character, trying to keep his depression at bay while navigating this new year, and capturing the attention of his english teacher for his talent, and new friends Sam and Patrick. It's such a beautiful coming of age story, perfectly portraying the way teenagers experiment with relationships, sexuality and personality in a captivating, immersive way.

This Song Will Change Your Life by Leila Sales

'Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.'


Throughout life, you'll experience many ups and downs, especially your teenage years. If you've ever felt alone, outcast or rejected, then this book is perfect for you. It follows Elise Dembowski starting her sophomore year, with some part of her still hoping to shed some of her social toxicity, but, as expected, it doesn't go to plan. She turns to self harm, and her parents find out, but no amount of psychological support or time away from bullies could help her make friends. The story isn't like others - Elise isn't seeking popularity or adventure, she simply wants to be friends with somebody, anybody, which is something I'm sure a lot of young people can relate to, including myself.

During one of her many sleepless nights, Elise decides to sneak out of her house to go on a late night walk. One night, she happens to stumble across two young women named Vicky and Pixie, who give her one last drop of gleaming hope after referencing a band she likes, The Cure. They lead her to Start, an underground nightclub, where she meets new friends and discovers her talent for DJing. The story manages to avoid all of the stereotypical clichés you'd expect from such a novel, presenting the story in a very honest, open way, relating to some of your most private pains, showing how great feeling part of a community and finding like minded people can be, and how it can happen at the most unexpected times.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

''Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?'

For disgraced TV presenter Martin Sharp the answer's pretty simple: he has, in his own words, 'pissed his life away'. And on New Year's Eve he's going to end it all . . . but not, as it happens, alone. Because first single-mum Maureen, then eighteen-year-old Jess and lastly American rock-god JJ turn up and crash Martin's private party. They've stolen his idea - but brought their own reasons.

Yet it's hard to jump when you've got an audience queuing impatiently behind you. A few heated words and some slices if cold pizza later and these four strangers are suddenly allies. But is their unlikely friendship a good enough reason to carry on living?'

Filled with extremely inspiring quotes and (sometimes dark) brilliant comedy, A Long Way Down is a riveting, inspiring novel following Martin, J.J., Maureen and Jesse, four people of completely different ages and backgrounds brought together by one slightly strange meeting - on the roof of a suicide hotspot on new years eve. So the four talk and go back to Martin's house, and a new bond is formed. The story follows each of their individual lives, and reveals the chain of events that lead to the moment on the roof in a compelling, memorable way.

Get the book here:

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

'All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she's almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts, there's only one thing left to tick off her list...

But relationships can mess with anyone's head - something Evie's new friends Amber and Lottie know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won't tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?'

'A very funny and poignant look at OCD, secrets, feminism and friendship.' - The Telegraph

Topical, thought provoking and relevant, this book tackles the subjects of mental health and feminism in an entertaining, very powerful way, absolutely demolishing the stigma as it follows Evie, a young girl suffering from OCD. It challenges the mixed messages directed by society towards girls; analytical, insightful and intelligent, without being too preachy. I honestly recommend this book to everyone, as it truly shows how it feels to suffer from OCD, but also all of the relatable, sometimes inconvenient quirks that come from being a teenager.

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Skellig by David Almond

'Michael steps into the crumbling garage. What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before? The only person Michael can confide in is Mina. Together they carry the creature into the light, and Michael's world changes forever...'

When his baby sister becomes ill and his family move house, Michael's world suddenly becomes much harder to navigate each day. But while his sister is slowly fading away in hospital, Michael stumbles into the crumbling garage of his new home and finds an unexpected resident hidden amongst the dust. With help from his new friend Mina, Michael nurses this mysterious creature named Skellig back to health, which kickstarts a chain of events, starting with Skellig helping Michael to breathe life back into his sister. A beautiful, critically-acclaimed novel, Michael Morpurgo calls Almond 'a very special writer,' and The Guardian describes it as 'powerful and moving.'

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