Best Books for Young Adults

Instructor: Cara Rogers
The young adult genre is designed to support individuals transitioning from youth to adulthood, and many of these novels reflect these changes within their texts. Read about a few of the most adored books for young adults and how they relate to adolescent readers.

Our Favorite Young Adult Fiction

Young adult fiction often explores issues common to adolescence, such as fitting in, finding a sense of self, and making sense of the surrounding world and society. We've compiled a list of some of the most popular young adult novels that explore these themes, from long-standing classics to 21st century best-sellers. Each selection includes a link to one of our courses or lessons that offers an overview and in-depth analysis of the books.

''The Catcher in the Rye'' by J.D. Salinger

Salinger's timeless classic, The Catcher in the Rye, follows Holden Caulfield through a difficult time in his life, being expelled from school due to his insufficient grades. We watch as the relatable protagonist Holden explores New York, searching for a place to fit in.

''The Giver'' by Lois Lowry

Lowry's dystopian community hooks the reader immediately, as twelve-year-old Jonas nervously awaits to hear what his 'life assignment' will be. When he is chosen for a unique job, his life is turned upside-down as he learns the truth about the world he lives in.

''The Hunger Games'' by Suzanne Collins

In this popular book-to-movie, Katniss Everdeen is thrown headfirst into the deadly hunger games, where she struggles to make sense of her heart and society but most importantly, survive. This dystopian novel fiercely confronts issues related to media and class-structure through a powerful female protagonist.

''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' by Mark Twain

Twain's classic novel, published in 1885, sends sailing us down the Mississippi river with Huck and Jim, a slave. Finn guides us through various barriers and moral struggles that prove right and wrong are more ambiguous than they seem. This heart-breaking tale is a story of friendship and growth through the eyes of a caring, adventurous boy.

''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'' by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series is widely known, and one of the most popular book series of our generation. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is now 14 and facing more mature issues than in the previous novels. Harry deals with the complexities of fame, friendship, and dating, while preparing for the dangerous Triwizard Tournament.

To learn more about this genre, including major works and their impact on culture, view our collection of lessons on young adult literature.

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