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Best Young Adult Novels

Updated on October 10, 2014

A Growing Trend in Fiction

Young adult novels are among the most popular picks at the bookstore. Most bookstores have a whole section devoted to the genre and despite the title of young adult just as many full grown adults frequent these shelves. Even though I am well past my high school years, I find myself addicted to the young adult books available today. In particular, many of the stories span several novels, allowing for more in depth plots and further exploration of characters. Theres an infinite number of possibilities, but here are a few of my favourite young adult novels.

Image from Free Domain.

The Maze Runner

I first saw this book while I was perusing the young adult table in the bookstore. I was intrigued, and while I didn’t buy it that day, I didn’t forget about it. When I did get a copy and started reading, it didn’t take long for me to be hooked. Like many young adult novels, The Maze Runner is part of a series. The first book is shrouded in a great deal of mystery, so I will try to steer clear of any spoilers.

The Maze Runner begins with Thomas, a teenage boy, waking up alone in a dark elevator. He has no memory of anything about his life. When the elevator doors open, he finds himself in The Glade, a meadow surrounded by high stone walls. Living there are The Gladers, a group of about fifty teenage boys, also with no memories of their former lives. Thomas soon discovers that the stone walls make up a giant maze which seems to have no exit. The Gladers have been trying to solve it, but with no success. Each month a new boy is delivered in the elevator. However, the day after Thomas arrives, another person arrives, and this time it is a girl, the first girl in the maze. With her arrival comes a chain of events that will forever change The Gladers’ way of life.

Following the action first novel, readers can look forward to the sequels, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure and, as an added bonus, author James Dashner has recently released a prequel, The Kill Order. I have to admit that The Scorch Trials is my favourite, but all of the books are fantastic and are a must read for any fan of young adult novels. In particular, The Kill Order answers a lot of questions from the first books (and raises some new ones) and gives some great insight into the world Dashner has created.

The Maze Runner Books

If you haven't picked these books up yet, you definitely should. They are by far among my favourite books. The first movie is out and the second is on its way, so get reading!

The Maze Runner Take a look

The Maze Runner movie is long anticipated by fans of the novels. Daschner created a complex world and story that will keep you guessing, whether you opt for just the movie or dive in and read the series. The movie follows the first book pretty closely with only some minor changes, so if you're not sure if you want to read the books, watch the movie trailer.

The Hunger Games

Much better known than The Maze Runner is The Hunger Games trilogy. Taking place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic dystopia, the first book tells the story of Katniss Everdeen and her battle to save not only her sister’s life, but her own life. Very little is revealed about what caused the end of civilization as we know it, but the world that exists is now very different from our own. All that is left of North America is Panem, a prosperous, gleaming capital city that is surrounded by twelve districts. Each of these districts has a different function and each serves the Capital. Every year, each district must send one male and one female tribute between the ages of 12-18 to fight in The Hunger Games, a vicious battle to the death with only one survivor. Primrose, Katniss’ sister, is chosen to fight and Katniss immediately volunteers to replace her. She knows it is likely a death sentence, but is willing to fight anyway. The reader follows Katniss on her preparation for the Hunger Games and joins her as she enters the arena to fight for her life.

The first instalment of The Hunger Games trilogy is phenomenal and is followed by the equally wonderful Catching Fire. Fans are divided on the third book, Mockingjay. There seems to be a “love it or hate it” attitude towards the conclusion of the series. While it is very different from the first two books, I personally still enjoyed it. In particular, I found the ending to be rather poetic and probably the best example of irony I have ever seen in literature. However, I won’t divulge spoilers…

The Hunger Games Books

The Hunger Games delivers on both action and drama. The plot keeps moving and gives an in depth look to the characters that Collins creates. The world of Panem is fascinating and keeps the reader wanting to know more.

The Hunger Games Trailer

While it is well worth reading the books, it doesn't mean the movies aren't fantastic! Here's the trailer for the upcoming Mockingjay (part 1). It promises to be just as good as the first two movies.

Harry Potter

One of the most well known and loved young adult series, of course, is Harry Potter. While the first two to three books fall more into the children’s literature category, the become progressively more mature. By the final book, the story is even bordering on inappropriate for children.

The books were first released in England in 1997 and arrived in North America in 1998. The popularity of the books quickly grew and eventually became a phenomenon, making author J. K. Rowling one of the wealthiest women in the world. I have to admit that I had never heard of the books before the first movie came out. I was talked into seeing the Philosopher's Stone and immediately loved it. I still didn’t read the books until after The Chamber of Secrets was released in theatres and still cannot understand why I didn’t pick them up sooner.

I won’t spend time discussing the plot or characters since they are so widely know. Quite honestly, if you are reading this and thinking, “What is Harry Potter?” then you have probably been living under a rock for the past couple of decades. However, I will say that if you haven’t read the books, you need to go buy them! The movies are fantastic, but the books are much richer, with more characters, more storylines, and more magic.

Harry Potter Books

As wonderful as the movies are, the Harry Potter books are much better. The movies have obvious time constraints, and because of this many plots are diminished or even deleted. If you haven't read the books yet, this is the perfect time!

What's your favorite young adult series? Let me know here!

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    • rhodacks profile image


      4 years ago

      I am not really on YA but your lists seems good.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      I love young adult novels, so I will check all of these out! Pinned to my novels board.

    • opatoday profile image


      5 years ago

      what a neat lens


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