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Adult Books For YA Lovers Who Are Now Older Than YA Protagonists

I think many college readers have experienced a moment where you stare at a bookshelf and realize all of the protagonists are younger than you and many of the settings are in high schools that you haven’t been in in years. If you’ve ever experienced this, it might be time to upgrade your bookshelf.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn is the first book in the Mistborn Trilogy and is the perfect place to start for those interested in adult fantasy. The protagonist is a young girl named Vin who discovers she has special powers. She joins a group of outlaws that have taken a job to overthrow the dictator who has been ruling for a thousand years. The book is action packed with a slice of romance and wonderful relationships. It has all the fun of a YA novel while covering more complicated topics and building a more detailed world.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the unique story of Addie LaRue who makes a deal with a demon to live forever. The catch is that no one will ever remember Addie once she leaves their line of sight. Despite never being able to form lasting relationships, Addie continues living, mostly out of spite, until she meets a man who does remember her. This is a fairly easy read made interesting by the unique subject matter and loveable characters.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I’m not going to lie, this book is an intimidating read. It is long and the world building is rather complex, making the first few pages rather confusing. But I haven’t found a book more worth the effort. The Priory of the Orange Tree has been famed for its LGBT representation, but fans of YA will also be drawn to its representation, depiction of character flaws, strong world building, and a plot twists that can’t be anticipated.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This novel tells the story of the fiction old Hollywood superstar, Evelyn Hugo, tracing her life through seven husbands and causing the reader to wonder who her true love was and why she is opening up about her life now to an unassuming reporter, Monique. This is another LGBT read for fans of romance, glamour, and those who just enjoy diving into other people’s lives.

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War is the story of two lovers in World War I as told by through the eyes of the goddess Aphrodite to Ares and Hephaestus. It’s a thrilling combination of historical fiction, romance, and Greek mythology that doesn’t shy away from the hard topics in war. The book does not feel like a quick read, but you will finish it far faster than you would like to!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander is the perfect book for fans of romance, historical fiction, and those who love steamy books. It’s the story of Claire Randall, a former nurse in the British Army during World War II who falls through a magic stone and appears in the 1700s. There she meets and falls in love with Jamie Fraser, despite her best attempts to find her way home again. It’s another longer read, but is hardly a boring one. Between battles and sex, you will be turning the pages faster than you think.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

The Poppy War is often mistaken as a YA book, but it is really so much more than that. Rin is a girl from a poor province who is admitted to the most prestigious military academy in the Nikara Empire. As Rin and her classmates prepare for war, Rin discovers she has special shaman powers to call upon the Phoenix goddess. As a whole, the trilogy leans into the truth about the horrors of war, the complex impact of colonialism, and questions of morality. Very few characters exist outside of a morally gray zone, making it a delightfully complicated world where you aren’t always sure who you should be rooting for.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a fascinating story of lineages of two sisters in Ghana. One of whom is sold into slavery while the other marries a wealthy man in the area. The novel covers the lives of several generations after the sisters, one lineage in America and the other in Africa. It is a powerful novel on racism and the importance of one’s roots.

Adrienne Poissant

Gettysburg '22

Adrienne is a senior at Gettysburg College studying political science and religious studies. Besides being a Campus Correspondent, she is involved in the wind symphony, Model United Nations, and enjoys reading and writing for fun!
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