There are so many books to read in the YA genre, but which ones have the most impact for high school students and for those who have experienced loss, betrayal, abuse, and neglect? This list of books presents readers with a selection of entertaining, enjoyable novels that will also leave a positive impact on the reader:
1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
This novel is perfect for any high school reader because the author beautifully illustrates the challenges, joy, and romance that comes with everyone’s high school experience. From depression to the horrors of a family-related death, Niven makes sure that there are characters that virtually any teen can relate to in some way or another. While this novel is very intense and at times frustrating, readers can expect to gain hope and understanding for those who deal with mental illness, which is very eye-opening for young adult audiences. With plenty of comedic and heart-warming moments, All the Bright Places is a novel that will impact readers and dare them to wander and to appreciate those around them.
2. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a breathtaking novel that every teen should read because of its hilarious plot and its themes about accepting who you are, no matter what. Becky Albertalli magnificently crafts Simon, a gay loner, who seeks the affections of his online boyfriend, who helps him to survive having to hide his sexuality from the rest of the world. With plenty of wit and deep moments, this novel is able to portray to the reader the importance of acceptance and the power of love and friendship.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky
Stephen Chobosky’s debut novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, may have been released in the year 1999, but that doesn’t mean this YA classic is not still applicable today. The author brutally discusses topics such as rape, abuse, homosexuality, and teen drug use, which is what really is the draw for this novel. Teens want to read about what they are going through or about topics that they don’t fully understand, and Chobosky delivers. Every teen can relate to Charlie’s struggle to fit in or Patrick’s secret that is slowly eating him up inside. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most honest teen books out there, and it’s sure to be cherished by anyone who has ever felt alone, been abused, or endured the sting of having to say goodbye.
4. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
In the novel More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera perfectly captures what it is like to have to hide your sexuality from the rest of the world. Teens will find this sentimental tale of passion and loss to be truly impactful and heartbreaking. This book is specifically deep and meaningful for teens because the basic storyline is based off of some of the author’s own life experiences and challenges, which brings the story and characters to life. Even though More Happy Than Not is a painful tale about losing yourself and about the challenges of being different, it also contains a story that is beautiful and ultimately hopeful.
5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything, is a powerful and original book that not only depicts a lovely romance between two neighbors, but also portrays the terrible and horrific attributes of human nature. With plenty of adventure and comedic moments, teens are sure to find this book extremely enjoyable. The one element that makes this book so original is the fact that it has illustrations throughout that make the reading experience much more enjoyable. Nicola Yoon has done wonders with this novel and is sure to be a new and fresh voice in the YA genre.