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52 Books That Hooked Readers on YA

Posted by Marie on July 11, 2018
The breadth of the young adult genre has only grown wider since the days of The Outsiders and Sweet Valley High. Now there are plenty more YA heroes to choose from: heroes who fight in dystopian arenas, navigate treacherous faerie courts, explore alternate realities, and more.

And while the main characters may be teens, that doesn't mean they won't appeal to all readers. So if you’re curious about the genre but aren’t sure which books to read first—we’ve got you covered.

We asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook to tell us which books hooked them on YA and made a list of some of their most popular responses. Since YA books come in all kinds of flavors, we divided them into subgenres for easy browsing.

Don't forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!


Fantasy
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Contemporary
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Science Fiction & Dystopia
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Romance
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Mystery & Thriller
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 122) (122 new)


message 1: by J.N. (new)

J.N. 30, enjoyed the majority of them. Most of the others are on my TBR as well.


message 2: by Cindy (new)

Cindy As an almost 40 year old woman, I am so glad that this genre has come so far since I was a teenager. There just wasn't much that was great when I was the target audience for YA. I am an avid reader of YA now and find that it is interesting that when I was a kid I read mostly adult fiction as the genre was so lacking and now it is the opposite for me. YA is coming so far in improving representation of all people and telling stories that resonate for all readers. So, I guess I just want to say thank you to the authors who have brought this genre into the forefront.


message 3: by Lidia (new)

Lidia Graceling, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Legend and The Maze Runner are one of my favorite books! Just excellent storytelling and characters! Loved every part of it! :)


message 4: by Mwanamali (new)

Mwanamali two harry potter rip offs and you don'r even add it?


Sarah⭐ The Ultimate Book Hoarder. I'm surprised that The Fault in Our Stars by John Green isn't here haha.


message 6: by Colleen (new)

Colleen It's sad that Twilight is listed instead of Harry Potter. Yes, I have read it before Goodreads was even around. Harry Potter is much better.


message 7: by Booklover925 (new)

Booklover925 I’ve read 18


message 8: by Booklover925 (new)

Booklover925 The Hate U Give is amazing


message 9: by Kay Dee (last edited Jul 11, 2018 05:11PM) (new)

Kay Dee so years ago (amazing the book is that old now!) my work book club leader picked The Hunger Games. (Thanks Tess!) most of us were like "ugh, a kiddie book. oh wait it's a teen book. sigh." i mean, it had been over 20 something years since i read a"YA" book. i started reading adult books in middle and HS. and by HS just adult novels. so we all read it. 98% of us loved it and read the entire series.

then i binged on a bunch of YA dystopia. eventually i ventured into other YA. mostly funny coming of age stories featuring boys. i listened to All American Boys last year or the year before. it was the One Maryland, One Book for that year. a coworker said it was a terrific audio and a great book in general. that got me started reading similar books like The Hate U Give and Dear Martin.

so i no longer turn my nose up at YA. after all it stands for Young Adult. i may not be young but i am an adult. ;-)


message 10: by Kay Dee (new)

Kay Dee Harry Potter isn't considered YA. the first books were considered JF and are located still in the children's section of libraries and bookstores, not the teen section. then as the kids got older in the books, it became more YA. but by then it was being read by all ages. so now you might find them in the adult, YA, or JF section of libraries and bookstores.

Twilight at first was in the YA and then moved to the adult. still varies where you'll find it. but where i live it is mostly in the YA section.


message 11: by Amber (last edited Jul 11, 2018 05:37PM) (new)

Amber Um, when I was younger in middle school (2000-2002) I got hooked onto YA with The Sweep series by Cate Tiernan, The Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine (the old school ones), The Devouring Series by Simon Holt and more. They were all pretty good.

I was never into Twilight or anything but the Harry Potter series was awesome!


message 12: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Kay Dee wrote: "Harry Potter isn't considered YA. the first books were considered JF and are located still in the children's section of libraries and bookstores, not the teen section. then as the kids got older in..."
A lot of people on Goodreads consider Harry Potter as YA. It is just one of those series that can be considered either or depending on what one you are reading. If you look at the lists on Goodreads and then Harry Potter it comes up as both... just one of those series that's like that. I know the first two especially were for children.

But as a whole, most people on here do consider them as both. I consider them as both as well. I don't think it's technically wrong to say if they are young adult or children's.


message 13: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Colleen wrote: "It's sad that Twilight is listed instead of Harry Potter. Yes, I have read it before Goodreads was even around. Harry Potter is much better."
I agree. Harry Potter is better. I'm still regretting ever reading Twilight...and it's two sequels. I only did it for my sister and my best friend. Still, that's reading time I'm never getting back. Harry Potter, I stuck with it until the end and enjoyed every word of it. And people still love it. Twilight, meanwhile, is slowly fading away from existence. Sorry to anyone that still likes the book, but Twilight is just a trap that teaches all the wrong lessons. I could go on, but we would be here for hours. In short, Harry Potter should be here. Along with Percy Jackson and Inkheart.


message 14: by Rebecca ♥ Warner, Kishan, Magnus ♥ (last edited Jul 11, 2018 06:20PM) (new)

Rebecca ♥ Warner, Kishan, Magnus ♥ I've read 19. Not as many as I expected since YA is a major genre for me. But I do also read a lot of adult romance and adult sci-fi/fantasy which must take up more of my time than I realized. The Iron King is the one that hooked me for sure. But Divergent, Shatter Me, and Graceling also helped.


message 15: by Dana Al-Basha (new)

Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا Twilight will always be special for me... it's a gem.


message 16: by Katsuro (new)

Katsuro Ricksand Colleen wrote: "It's sad that Twilight is listed instead of Harry Potter. Yes, I have read it before Goodreads was even around. Harry Potter is much better."

Also, honest question--does anyone even read Twilight anymore? I know that these books still have fans, but it seems like a series that's only read by people who got into the books when they first came out.
I'm not saying the books are bad, or good; I'm saying that it seems like a book series nobody discovers anymore.


message 17: by Cindy (new)

Cindy As a librarian, HP is definitely junior fiction until you get to the later books. I have never put it in as young adult or thought of it as such. But then again I also think it is very highly overrated.


message 18: by Bailey (new)

Bailey I've read 16 and 5 are on my TBR list.


message 19: by Bridget (new)

Bridget For me, it was Twilight. I wanted to see what the fuss was and got hooked (when the first movie was about to hit dvd or had just come out onto dvd). I've read SOME of the others on this list.


message 20: by Audrea (new)

Audrea Mwanamali wrote: "two harry potter rip offs and you don'r even add it?"

The first Harry Potter is a middle grade level, not young adult.


message 21: by Sara (last edited Jul 11, 2018 08:40PM) (new)

Sara Jesus Colleen wrote: "Kay Dee wrote: "Harry Potter isn't considered YA. the first books were considered JF and are located still in the children's section of libraries and bookstores, not the teen section. then as the k..."

I agreed with you. Harry Potter is such more better that Twilight . I try once read that serie and I did not pass book one


message 22: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Redwall? The Golden Compass? The Secret Garden? No? Okay then.


message 23: by Scott (new)

Scott I have read four of these. Sabriel is the winner!


message 24: by Megan (new)

Megan I've read twelve from this list, and many of the others are on my TBR.


message 25: by lucky little cat (new)

lucky little cat 27, but I don't feel any pressure to go adding your selected titles to my list.

If this lackluster list is the result of your Twitter & FB feeds, maybe it would be worth polling your site users instead?


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I have to say that Pretty Little Liars really is one of the worst-written published books I've read. Twilight isn't a gem in writing style but the writing style is even better than this. I'm amazed it's on any list of recommendations.

Harry Potter starts out middle school age, but as the gang grows the books mature into YA later. It's nifty how the author accomplished this.


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy Mwanamali wrote: "two harry potter rip offs and you don'r even add it?"

Which books are Harry Potter rip-offs?


message 28: by Allen (new)

Allen The Outsiders was lit!


message 29: by Jenny (new)

Jenny I've read 41 of these! The rest are all on my TBR.

Twilight is what got me hooked into YA; right after I read the Hunger Games which cinched it!


message 30: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Katsuro wrote: "Colleen wrote: "It's sad that Twilight is listed instead of Harry Potter. Yes, I have read it before Goodreads was even around. Harry Potter is much better."

Also, honest question--does anyone eve..."


Maybe so, but a lot of people who have been reading YA for the last 5 or 6 years or so--this is the book that started their love.


message 31: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Cindy wrote: "As an almost 40 year old woman, I am so glad that this genre has come so far since I was a teenager. There just wasn't much that was great when I was the target audience for YA. I am an avid reader..."

Same!


message 32: by Stella (new)

Stella Thomas I'm so glad Everything, Everything on there! My friend had bought at a book fair 6 months ago and I totally forgot about it! It's now on the top of my to-read list!


message 33: by Allen (new)

Allen The Hate U Give is lit too. I can’t stop talking about that book with people


message 34: by KatForsyth (new)

KatForsyth Cindy wrote: "As an almost 40 year old woman, I am so glad that this genre has come so far since I was a teenager. There just wasn't much that was great when I was the target audience for YA. I am an avid reader..."

Cindy, you and I might be the same person! :-)


message 35: by Caroline (new)

Caroline 24 of these I have read!


message 36: by Angela (new)

Angela Powell Strange the Dreamer is my favorite trilogy hands down.


message 37: by not_so_goth (new)

not_so_goth Honestly “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner is really good, but I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions on it before I read it, and I was really cautious because I didn’t know what to believe, but it turns out that I really like it, so, my advice is to read the description of the book, and if that appeals to you, go for it. 🙂


message 38: by ❄Elsa Frost❄ (last edited Jul 12, 2018 02:57PM) (new)

❄Elsa Frost❄ I've read approximately 23 24 from this list.


Eliza and her books To all the people saying Harry potter should be on here if you have forgotten The first harry potter book was for middle grade/younger readers it's not YA sorry


message 40: by Kavan (new)

Kavan I guess Judy Blume isn't read as much anymore but to me she is the classic YA writer. She wrote juvenile lit stuff like Fudge but then transitioned and wrote a fair amount of YA stuff as well.


message 41: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay Adams I have read 12 and all of these have 4 and 5 stars for my personal rating except Maze Runner which I gave 3 stars simply because it seemed to drag on forever. A Court of Thorns and Roses is my absolute favorite book series. I have read the whole series 4 times since fall 2017. Obsessed!


message 42: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Colleen wrote: "It's sad that Twilight is listed instead of Harry Potter. Yes, I have read it before Goodreads was even around. Harry Potter is much better."

They probably consider Harry Potter a children's book is why.


message 43: by Karima (new)

Karima chermiti I've read 18 of these and I'm currently reading the hate U give


message 44: by Madeline (new)

Madeline Cathryn I've read 34 of these books!
Im so proud


message 45: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Akaki ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven will always hold a special place in my mind and its worthy of being among the best YA books also EVERYTHING EVERYTHING Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


message 46: by Teralyn (new)

Teralyn Mitchell I've 23 of the books listed here and plan to read a few of the others.


message 47: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I've only read a few of these but the only one I enjoyed was The Outsiders. I really don't care for YA books. Some historical are okay. I am in my early 20's and have always preferred middle grade over YA.


message 48: by Madison (new)

Madison Only 10, but the selection is good!


message 49: by Chandhanaa (new)

Chandhanaa S Colleen wrote: "It's sad that Twilight is listed instead of Harry Potter. Yes, I have read it before Goodreads was even around. Harry Potter is much better."

But Harry Potter (and Percy Jackson) is considered Middle Grade books. Harry Potter does darken as it goes on, but the first few books are MG, so it's considered MG. Although I would have liked to see both of those series on this list, but they were the start off books that got many people into reading.


message 50: by Aurora (new)

Aurora Am not big on YA. Growing up, it was very limited for ( early 2000s I was teen...) when i finally began to read adult fiction, thats when i finally started becoming somewhat at peace with myself and who i am.

However, my favorites were older christopher pike novels: also loved the perks of being a wallflower, lurlene mcdaniel, dear america books, and yes, harry potter ( first four books...) for adult books, my taste was embarrassing...😖😖😖😖😖


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