Five YA Books Worth Reading

By Ella Napton

Recently I have picked up reading for fun again--something I said goodbye to around ninth grade for various reasons. I didn’t have time. I didn’t have energy. And I didn’t even know where to start. But this semester I had the opportunity to take a Young Adult Literature course that has reintroduced me to reading for fun and to a variety of great titles to read. Below are some of my favorite titles as of late, from class and from my personal reading:

1. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

This book follows one singular day of two characters: Daniel and Natasha as they spend the day together. It is a modern love story (in my opinion) that tackles hot-ticket societal topics such as immigration, deportation, and racial tension.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

You have probably heard of this book, and I am certain that it is on almost any “must read” lists after its publication date, but I can’t leave it off this list. It follows the main character’s, Starr’s, journey post-seeing her childhood best friend shot by a police officer and the dissonance between her life at home and life at school.

3. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez

This book has got it all: LGBTQ+ characters, immigration, mental health discussion, and grieving death among many other things. It does take a little bit to get in to but is certainly worth the read if only for the story. It follows life for the main character--Julia--after her sister dies in a freak bus accident and how she finds her identity in life without her sister.

4. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Y’all, I cannot deal with how good this book is. And I highly suggest that you listen to the audiobook version of it. Why? Because Michelle Obama herself reads it to you. I have learned so much from this book about life, love, and post-college careers. And it is all from the most reputable source, in my opinion. The novel is a memoir written by Michelle Obama and outlines how she came to be where she is today.

5. Boy Meets Boy by David Leviathan

This book follows the life of Paul--a gay student in high school--navigating the trials and tribulations of a normal high school student. And that is what makes it such a gorgeous book--Paul’s narrative is not centered around his being gay, unlike many other LGBTQ+ comings of age novels.