Top Ten Books I’d Recommend To Those Who Don’t Read YA Books (But Want To Try!)

 Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is hosted over at my other blog — The Broke and the Bookish

Since Top Ten Tuesday is Freebie Week I’m going to go back to last week’s topic (I know, how original) because I was REALLY excited about it but didn’t get a chance to do it since my niece was born the night before! YAY.

As readers of my blog know, I’m a reader of both YA fiction of all genres, Adult fiction of all genres and even non-fiction! So anytime I can try and persuade people to try books out of their comfort zone, I’m all over it. I’m not saying, “ need to read YA all the time!!”…really what I’m saying is..if you want to give YA and are looking for really great quality young adult..then here are some of my favorites that I’d recommend to get you started!

1. Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Septyus: I can’t recommend this one enough. It’s set during Stalin’s reign and chronicles a young girl and her family’s life as it gets uprooted by Stalin’s forces coming into their home country of Lithuania. It’s heartbreaking, written beautifully and sheds light on a part of history that I never really knew about. Really great as an audiobook! I recently recommended this to a friend who reads mostly adult fiction and she LOVED this one!

2. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty: I’m confused as to whether this is considered YA or adult fiction BUT I’ve seen it mostly labeled as adult fiction in stores. Either way, it’s FABULOUS and HILARIOUS and so perfectly captures what it is to be a teen without being overwritten or dramatic. I found myself, at 25 when I read this, relating so perfectly and recalling so many similar feelings or situations that Jessica Darling found herself in. And by the way, Jessica Darling is one of THE most memorable characters I’ve ever come across!

3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King: AS King’s books are just so smart and well written and very emotional! Please Ignore Vera Dietz was such a good, powerful book and I’m excited to read her latest book!

4. Paper Towns by John Green: I just finished this a week or two ago and OH MY GOODNESS. I have to write my review still but this book is one of my new all time favorites. It’s funny, smart and reminds me of why I love reading! The characters are great and there were so many pages that I just wanted to highlight or dog ear or blow up and put as huge posters on my room.

5. If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman: Oh my goodness. I can’t even put into words what I feel about these books. I bawled through If I Stay and did my fair share of crying through Where She Went. It’s not overwrought in emotion but really does shake something in your core with this story.

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: I recently posted by review of The Scorpio Races and was pretty honest about that I LIKED it but didn’t LOVE it like so many people did but also mentioning that there was so much about it that was strong. I guess I just didn’t connect with the characters and my state of mind at the time  probably hindered my ability to concentrate on really descriptive and lush prose (which I love typically but just couldn’t connect with in this case). All that aside, I would still really recommend this to a lot of people because Maggie’s a hell of a writer and there was SO much good about this book despite my inability to get into it as much as I would have liked! This is also why I don’t do star ratings..too complicated to give a star to capture my feelings.

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusack: One of my all time favorite books! Apparently in Australia, where it was originally published, it was labeled as adult fiction but here it seems to be labeled as teen here in the US. Either way, this is one of those books I’ve made everyone I know read and everyone raves about it and says how memorable it is. The narrator is DEATH. Right there…doesn’t that sound memorable?! But seriously..this book is phenomenal and I know so many people who don’t typically read YA and loved this book!

8. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: If you like a thrilling series that is a dystopian and seriously hard to put down, try this one! I really grew to love the characters in this one and I was just so engrossed in the world and the politics of it all. I’ve gotten some of my friends who read sporadically to give this one a try and they loved it!

9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: When I think of YA greats, Laurie Halse Anderson is at the top. Speak was a powerful book that opens up quite the dialogue for teens and adults to have with each other. Highly recommended!

10. You Are My Only by Beth Kephart: This book really surprised me! It alternates between a mom whose child was kidnapped and the child who was kidnapped, as a young teen, who has no idea she was kidnapped. It was quick read but quite engrossing and I love Kephart’s style!

What books do YOU recommend to readers who shy away from YA? I also plan on doing a post about adult books that teens/readers of YA should read!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I really need to get around to reading my Jessica Darling books asap! I've heard so many amazing things that there's not reason not to!

    Great list this week and happy reading!

  2. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    Of these I've read, YES. Of these I haven't read, they're all on my TBR. We really are like minds in terms of books. Paper Towns is my favorite John Green, as you know because I kept yelling at anyone who would listen. I read Beth Kephart's book and I agree, her style was very lyrical and poetic. And doggone it I've heard so much about Sloppy Firsts…I found a copy at my Goodwill for 75 cents not too terribly long ago so I'll be reading it this year and counting it toward a challenge. I'm sure I'll love it just as much as everyone else does…

    This is a great list Jamie! I hate that it didn't post earlier, but yay for it posting now!

  3. I held off on getting the sloppy books. lol. I am getting a Kindle for my bday, so I thought they would be good to put on there. 🙂 I keep seeing so many people talk about them, so I'm really looking foward to trying them out.

    John Green, again, haven't read it… I got If I Stay from my secret santa! So I'll be reading that one this year sometime.

    Hunger Games, I loved those books so much. I even got my boss to read them, and he's not much of a reader.. but he loved them so much. 🙂

  4. I like your list, though mine would have more dystopian books in it, such as The Giver and Divergent. Paper Towns is next on my to-read list! I've heard so many great things about it. 🙂

  5. April (BooksandWine) says:

    I feel awesome because there are only THREE books on your list that I have not already read yet.

    Can I just also say that the reason I read The Book Thief was the college kids book club on goodreads, and now that is my most loaned out/given away book.

    Love your list!

  6. My Top Ten today was on the same topic, and I have a lot of the same books on MY list! Check it out at (Although I definitely should have added "If I Stay" and "Where She Went.") I have heard excellent things about "The Scorpio Races"; in fact, Maggie Stiefvater just won a Printz Honor for it. I loved "Shiver" but wasn't so sure about "Linger" and "Forever," so I've held off, but I think I will have to pick it up. Great list!

  7. I would add Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Delirium by Lauren Oliver to this list too.

  8. InTheDollHouse says:

    I'd have to recommend The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, which I consider as his most poignant and best work yet.

  9. Great list. I probably would have included a few others, like Among Others by Jo Walton and Stolen by Lucy Christopher.
    Classifying The Book Thief as YA seems to be a US thing. In Australia, Norway and several others countries I've checked it's called adult fiction. On Amazon it's markedly different presented on and
    It's still recommendable to everyone from 12 and up 🙂

  10. Estelle @ Rather Be Reading says:

    Jamie! Awesome list! I'm so glad that I've read a few of these, and have a few that I am going to be reading super soon. It's so hard for people to understand why I like YA and I think this list is just perfect for people who don't understand how awesome/grown up/relevant it can really be. Hope you are having a good week so far! xo

  11. Sharon (Fictionally Inclined) says:

    Great list! I've read a few, heard great things about a few, and haven't heard of a few (although that will be fixed momentarily). I actually have Sloppy Firsts from the library right now, and I'm super excited for it! Of course, I have a total of 25 books checked out right now, and I'm excited about a lot of them, so who knows how that will work out, LOL.

  12. Have you read John Green's The Fault In Our Stars OR A.S. King's Everybody Sees the Ants yet? To me, those two blew Paper Towns & PIVD out of the water!

    Your top ten list looks almost EXACTLY the same as mine would, with an exception of one or two. I'd have to add the Chaos Walking trilogy. And probably something by Melina Marchetta. Annnnd…I'd remove If I Stay/Where She Went. I didn't love them. And I think I am the only one who didn't!


  1. […] Paper Towns yet or given John Green a chance, I would recommend it. As I mentioned in my list of 10 books I recommend to non-YA readers, this one is definitely one I will recommend all around. I am going to be taking Looking For Alaska […]