Teenage Kicks- YA Fiction with Grown Up Ideas

I often enjoy reading teen/adult fiction, because the authors are generally happy to tell a decent, well written and engaging story without getting bogged down in literary pretentions of feeling the need to be, well, boring. I would hasten to add here that the Twilight Series are a clear exception here- I think they’re poorly written and thought the Wuthering Heights references were pathetic. So shoot me.

However, some books for young adults which have impressed me recently, and which will be enjoyed by old adults as well are listed below:

Before I Die- Jenny Downham

Tessa is 16 and like most teenage girls, she has a whole list of things she wants to try before she dies. But Tessa is dying of leukaemia. Before I Die tells the poignant story of Tessa trying to cram those important life milestones: getting drunk with friends, losing your virginity and falling in love into the short time that she has left. A beautiful bittersweet book which was totally devoid of melodrama, I cried my eyes out.

Th1rteen R3asons Why– Jay Asher

Imagine this. One day you come home to find a mysterious package on your doorstep. You open it to find that it is a shoe box full of cassettes, with numbers painted on them in nail varnish. When you play number 1, you realise that they are recorded in the voice of your first love and they want to tell you something important. That’s what happens to Clay Jensen. The only problem is, Clay’s first love Hannah is dead having committed suicide a fortnight before, and everyone named on the tape contributed to Hannah’s decision to kill herself-including Clay. Truly thought-provoking, this book made me reassess the way everyday interactions can have far seen effects upon an individual.

Before I Fall-Lauren Oliver

Sam Kingston is not your typical 18-year-old girl, in the sense that she is self-assured, a member of the most popular group of girls in school and loves her gorgeous boyfriend. In short, she lives what she believes is the perfect teenage life. That is until she is involved in a horrific car crash, bad enough to kill her, and she wakes up forced to live out her last day on earth over and over until she gets it right. A fusion of Th1rteen R3asons Why and Groundhog Day, Sam’s story makes you think again about how you treat your peers, regardless of where they come in the pecking order.

3 thoughts on “Teenage Kicks- YA Fiction with Grown Up Ideas

  1. poemelf

    An oldie but goodie: my teenage son and I both loved “”Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.” Bridget Jones for teenagers and for those of us on the other side of the Atlantic, an intro to British life. Laugh out loud funny in parts.

    I like your blog!…not your run-of-the-mill selections.

    Reply
  2. Siobhan

    Thanks very much poemelf. I love the Adrian Mole books too, did you know she’s written his adult diaries now? The political bits might be a bit niche in terms of humour, but if you enjoyed the others you might like them. Rib breakingly funny stuff. I’ve nearly choked to death laughing at them!

    Reply
  3. bookpolygamist

    I’m quite partial to YA fantasy – ala His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, the Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody and the Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce. I find that YA fantasy writers are more free with their story-telling and all the exciting parts of the fantasy genre, while adult fiction fantasy writers sometimes get caught up in describing epic battles/journeys/romances and the plot falters.

    Another YA novel that i thought transcended it’s age group was Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.

    Love the blog by the way 🙂 i stumbled upon it because I’m a foundling book blogger and went searching for other book blogs – the name of yours caught my eye because I’m also a fan of having a buscuit and a cup of tea while reading 🙂

    Reply

What do you think?