21 YA Books that are Actually Worth Reading

OK it’s time to get real for a sec…I’m so sick of sappy YA novels. HOW MANY MORE WAYS CAN WE TELL THE SAME STORY, PEOPLE?  I know I’m unique in my views on YA literature and I know a lot of you bookworms actually really love YA books and I think that’s awesome! But if I have to read one more book about a teen dying of cancer or losing the love of their life, I’m just gonna lose my damn mind.

What I DO love are YA books that are honest and real. Books that put it all out there and make you uncomfortable and make you question your beliefs. Books that talk about things like race, gender, religion, and friendship in a way that feels relatable, not sugar-coated. Not everyone comes from a broken family…hell, not everyone even has parents and siblings. We all don’t get the chance to tell that guy from homeroom that we like him…and not all of us can relate to the “popular” click that so often rule the school.

Throughout my years as an English student, I’ve read my fair share of YA lit…and I’ve gotta tell ya, a lot of it was rough…but there were a few books that really stood out to me as novels that were relevant and important. These books taught me something and made me think…some even pissed me off. Some were just a delight to read and are on this list just because I firmly believe their existence makes the world a better place.

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So if you are one to dive into YA lit now and again, I highly suggest you check out some of these titles if you haven’t already. What other books should make this list? Let me know in the comments below!

21 YA Books that are Actually Worth Reading

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
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The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
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The Giver, Louis Lowry
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The Hunger Games Series, Suzanne Collins
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Lord of the Flies, William Golding
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The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
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HOLES, Louis Sachar
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The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
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To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred D. Taylor
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Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
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His Dark Materials Series, Philip Pullman
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Wonder, R.J. Palacio
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The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
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A Separate Peace, John Knowles
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A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne
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Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
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Watership Down, Richard Adams
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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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