In honour of UKYA day today I have compiled a list of my favourite YA reads, from old classics to new releases.
1) Perks of Being a Wallflower
There wouldn’t be a list to compile if I didn’t include Perks. It sparked my YA literary awakening and introduced me to the YA community. Its frank depictions of issues such as sexuality and mental health highlighted many issues that teenagers face on a daily basis, and is even relevant now, 16 years after it was first published.
2) Looking for Alaska
Looking for Alaska was my first John Green book and it broke my heart. It looked at unrequited love, loss and the importance of friendship (as cheesy as that sounds.) It taught me about grieving and that it’s okay to move on. Also, Looking for Alaska has my favourite John Green quotes in it.
3) Only Ever Yours
Even though I’m only halfway through it, Only Ever Yours has become one of my favourite books. As a feminist, I felt this book highlighted some incredibly important issues and problems that face young women even now. Even though parts have been exaggerated to highlight O’Neill’s point, it was very truthful and insightful, and should be read by everyone.
4) The Outsiders
Highlighting the class struggles of an unnamed city in 1965, SE Hinton was only 16 when this was published (badass alert!). It tells the story of a group of working class boys who go up against the wealthy ones (the socs) and the aftermath that ensues, which is shocking and heart-breaking at the same time. Published 50 years ago, it is still relevant today.
5) Eleanor and Park
Set in 1985, the story follows new girl Eleanor and shy guy Park as they embark on a friendship, and later relationship. This is one of my favourite books because I relate to both characters – a lot. I know what it’s like to be the new girl and I know what it’s like to just want to survive in high school (I’m still doing it now.) I love how both characters were realistic and they didn’t fit the majority stereotype – Eleanor was fierce and worried about a lot of other things other than whether Park liked her or not and Park was definitely an unconventional romantic hero. It also highlights prejudices faced upon young girls in a little detail when girls make fun of Eleanor for her weight and dress sense and shows that you don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors.
So there you have it folks, my top 5 YA reads (I have loads more, but these are the ones that stood out to me). Hope you have a great UKYA day and tell me your favourite YA reads!