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From Fantasy to Romance: Young Adult Books Worth Reading

Updated: Jan 3

Although I'm no spring chicken, I have a passion for finding captivating Young Adult (YA) books and eagerly passing them on to friends of all generations. While Young Adult novels target an audience of readers between the ages of 13 and 18, I find them irresistible for a multitude of reasons. They offer a unique glimpse into the world of the younger generation, evoking a sense of nostalgia for my own past, and sparking engaging conversations with the teenagers in my life.


Three people looking at a book while sitting casually on a blanket
Young Adult Books to Read

In this collection of Young Adult books, you'll find RomComs that will make you laugh, mysteries that will draw you in, and fantasy novels that will develop such a robust cast of characters and believable locations that it will open your eyes to alternate worlds.



Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter is a perfect example of a book that can be appreciated by all generations! Teens can relate to the main character, Liz, while adults can bask in the memories of the music and movies mentioned throughout the novel. It's a perfect Rom Com with a HEA (Happily Ever After).


Liz is in her senior year of high school and everything is hitting her different. Her mom died when she was younger, and it's really hitting her hard missing her with all of the "last" activities.


Prom is right around the corner and Michael, Liz's childhood crush, has returned to town and he's hotter than ever. The problem is that Michael still views Liz as she was years ago, not as dating material.


Liz sees an opportunity to get Michael's attention by going through Wes, her next door neighbor. Liz and Wes have been enemies forever, with Wes having picked on Liz for all of their life. Liz barters with Wes that she'll give him the coveted parking spot IF he helps get her truly seen by Michael.


As she spends more time with Wes, she realizes that he's not as bad of a guy as she's thought. But he's still not her dream … she wants Michael. Is that really who is best for her, though?



A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson is the first book of a very popular trilogy. This clever mystery is a must-read for fans of YA and crime fiction alike.


The story follows the determined protagonist, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, a high school senior who decides to investigate a murder case that happened five years ago in her town. The alleged killer was her classmate, Sal Singh, who was found dead after being accused of murdering his girlfriend, Andie Bell. However, Pippa suspects that there is more to the case than meets the eye and decides to investigate the case herself, using her analytical skills and tenacity to uncover the truth.


The plot is cleverly crafted, with twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the very end.


While the characters are well-developed, and Pippa is a relatable and likable protagonist who is easy to root for, my only slightly negative comment would be that it was almost too many characters to keep straight. BUT each character did have a purpose and was needed in the plot and I highly recommend!


It ends on a cliff hanger, so I would also encourage reading the second book Good Girl, Bad Blood as that was equally exciting. I continued reading the trilogy with the third book As Good As Dead, but due to the change in direction of the series, I wasn't a fan. Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts if you've read these books - I'm curious to know how you felt about the change on the third book!



Slammed by Colleen Hoover is a book I just HAD to read as I was going through a CoHo (Colleen Hoover) phase and gobbling up everything that she's written. Her YA books are just as well done as her other novels. Slammed is the first book of the trilogy and is a great book about some of the trials and tribulations of being in high school. It was short, full of emotion, love, passion and even sadness. I love the characters - Layken "Lake" is such a strong young woman, and Will ... wow, he's so resilient and wise beyond his years, and the best friend Eddie who has been through so much in her life but fills a room with positive energy! I also love that it incorporated poetry (that's the reference to slam - it's all about free flowing writing).


Point of Retreat picks up very well from where Slammed left off, filling in any gaps with quick, efficient summaries. Will and Layken are still adorably in love, living as neighbors and complimenting each other in their parenting skills and scholastic endeavors.


LOVE the new neighbor, Keirsten, who is almost a "mini Eddie" at 12 years old and has a fantastic mother as well.


Some big ups and downs with the story. I read this one in one day - easy reading!


This Girl is the final book of the trilogy and I must say that I was highly disappointed. I still can't believe I'm gave a Colleen Hoover book a 3⭐.


This was a complete rewrite of the original Slammed book. Literally. Play by play. Layken and Will revisit their most memorable moments during that first year - and this time it's told from Will's POV (Point of View). Nothing original except final Chapter and Epilogue (which I will say were very good).


My suggestion - don't waste your time. Reread Slammed if ya liked it!



The Caster Chronicles features a series of four southern gothic fantasy romance books with a magical world that's right under everyone's noses. I loved every single one of them: Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption.


In this series, you'll learn all about Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate as they meet and share so many experiences together. It's rare that I read a book where one of the main characters is a teen male and I enjoyed seeing them evolve together.



The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is a novel that stands the test of time. It should be read by people of all ages, but be warned, you'll need a box of tissues for this contemporary work of fiction. It explores teen love but also hits on the very difficult subject of cancer.


Augustus and Hazel meet in a cancer support group as they both have a form of cancer (Augustus has bone cancer and Hazel has lung cancer). The two have more than cancer in common, they both share a love for a favorite book. Together, they take a journey to meet their beloved author, learning many lessons along the way.


 


If you haven't read some of these, I hope that you are able to add them to your TBR list and start reading them right away! You won't be disappointed :)


Looking for more book recommendations? I curated a list of books that are all about social media - this selection has both rom coms and thrillers and the main character is a media influencer in some way. It's so interesting to see how authors are bringing the real world into their pages!


Happy Reading!!!



 


Looking for the perfect way to keep track of your reading?

This Reading Journal invites you to rate, review, and immortalize key thoughts and memorable quotes for up to 100 books as you devour them. Stay organized and manage your lists all in one convenient journal. Convenient compact size of 6"x9", ensuring portability without compromising on ample writing space. Please be sure to leave a review!





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Note: At no additional cost to you, you will find affiliate links in this blog to loved products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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13 Comments


Guest
Oct 16, 2023

I recently gotten back into reading and needed some new recommendations! Thanks for this selection!


- Komal Means Delicate

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

You are welcome! Hope that you enjoy them :)

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Guest
Sep 04, 2023

There are some really good books listed here! I haven't read any of them yet, but they are quite popular ones for sure. I've been on a Colleen Hoover phase too.

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Guest
Aug 28, 2023

I love all of these esp., books by John Green!

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Sep 01, 2023
Replying to

He does have a number of good works!

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Guest
Aug 28, 2023

I never considered but sometimes I just love reading certain authors for their unique writing style. I'll check these out!

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Sep 01, 2023
Replying to

I hope you like them as much as I do!

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Guest
Aug 28, 2023

Great ideas! I never consider reading YA novels, but I'm a big reader and always looking for recommendations so I'd love to check some of these out!

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Sep 01, 2023
Replying to

I'm actually in the middle of another Lynn Painter one right now - called The Do-Over - and it's super cute.

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