15 Must Read Young Adult Books

For usual and unusual tastes, we have list of some alluring must-reads!

What do you do when you are heartbroken, or  feel like an outsider amongst your peers? How do you relax, do you sip a mug of coffee and delve deep into fantasy? How do you feel when the weight of simple human emotions weigh you down? Do you fancy some alone time to escape cold, hard reality of life?

These young adult books would satiate your cravings, uplift your rueful senses, and deliver bouts of laughter when you least expect it.

The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

This is the story of a girl named Liesel Meminger in a war- ravaged Germany, as narrated by Death. Death encounters Liesel thrice during the course of the book. Death was intrigued by Liesel since she was a “perpetual survivor”. Death’s obsession with colors and Liesel’s obsession with words compose a tale as elating as it is heart wrenching. Read this book for a memorable literary experience.



The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

This novel has garnered a worldwide readership for Coelho, is the story of a Spanish shepherd boy, Santiago who undertakes an epic journey to find a treasure buried in the Pyramids. On his way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king and an alchemist, who guide him in his quest. This story is not just about buried treasures or exotic locations, but about a journey within, a perfect read for all those with a philosophical bent of mind for the wealth of powerful insights it offers.



The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The nation previously called the USA has crumbled and is now divided into twelve districts, ruled by the Capitol. To prevent the occurrence of any rebellion against them, fear is bred in the souls of the citizens and reinforced annually through The Hunger Games. Contestants from all districts compete against others in a battle of life and death, the single survivor is the winner. “May the odds be ever in your favour”.



The Graveyard Book – Niel Gaiman

The Graveyard Book is a story that will stay with you forever and make you fall in love with its characters. Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens is adopted by the ghosts of a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered by a man named Jack.  Bod has his own share of adventures in the graveyard but cannot leave the same as Jack is still hunting for him. Gaiman who has a way with the gothic fiction, uses the same to weave an unusual tale of growing up.



My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

What is the cost of your sister’s life? Is it your life?

At the tender age of thirteen, Anna is obliged to answer these profound questions as her sister lies on the brink of death, and she is expected to donate a kidney to her. Fed up of being a saviour sister, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation.



Angels And Demons – Dan Brown

This book explores the eternal conflict between science and religion.

In this pumped up thriller, a Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, is solicited to solve a murder committed in the heart of Vatican City. He gets entangled in a conspiracy transcending earthly life, all in a twenty-four hour time crunch.



Paper Towns – John Green

Paper Towns is a story of Quentin ‘Q’ Jacobsen as he sets off on an adventure; initially, with Margo Roth Spiegelman, subsequently, in search of her. He idolised Margo, but his idea of her was prejudiced. Margo was a ‘paper girl’ and Quentin was a ‘paper boy’. Read the book to find out how!



Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Set during an unnamed war, the novel is about a group of British schoolboys who are stranded on a remote island after their plane crashes and their pilot dies. They attempt to find a sense of community in a space which is not bound by any pre-existing rules but fall prey to savagery and bestiality in the same attempt. It is a haunting tale of lost innocence which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you think you are up for it, be my guest and read it.



The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Charlie, the protagonist, is a crude, untainted representation of any adolescent. He seems to be a collective, plaintive cry of “nobody understands me”. The book cloaks unto itself different facets of a teenager’s life which is slowly unraveled as it progresses. Drug use, child abuse, mental issues, homosexuality, these layers make way for a fudgy treat called liberation.



Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Originally published in two volumes, this is a novel set during the American Civil war and is about four sisters – Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth – and their struggle to survive through poverty and war in the absence of their father. During a time when women were restrained within the domestic space, Alcott used Jo as an unconventional heroine who was the master of her own will. There are people who have criticised Alcott for her work but as readers you should decide only after you give it a try.



The book cover and the movie version

The God Of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Not essentially a young adult novel, it is truly a masterpiece. This tragically beautiful story is about the experiences of fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the “love laws” that lay down “who should be loved, and how, and how much”. The characters shatter the shackles defining the society’s description of right and wrong. This is a story of how small things have unforeseen, abstruse effect on people.



Inkworld Triology – Cornelia Funke

Every bookworm that has ever lived on this planet has once in his lifetime has had the fantasy of seeing the characters of his/her book come alive and that’s exactly what’s Funke’s series is about. Meggie and her father Mo are ‘silvertongues’ that is they have the ability to bring characters out of a book by simply reading out loud. Originally written in German, this is a story of both the benefits and perils of reading. Many find the series to be a tad bit slow-paced but once you delve into the Cornelia’s magical world, you will not want to leave it unfinished.



Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

In his novel, Eoin Colfer pits leprechauns who are actually LEPrecons (Lower Elements Police Rcon Officers), faeries who use nuclear powered weapons to protect their carefully hidden underground against a criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl II, the protagonist of the books. He remains one step ahead of these technologically advanced race of magical creatures with a plan that could ‘plunge the planet into a cross-species war.’ By the way he is just twelve years old.



Blankets – Craig Thompson

Blankets is an autobiographical graphic novel about two brothers tracing their growth from childhood to adulthood. It is a poignant tale exploring sibling rivalry, questions of faith and growing up. Craig, the protagonist feels conflicted about his choices and tries to come to terms with his spiritual identity. For those who need a break from reading novels, a graphic novel can be good medium to start with.



Harry Potter – JK Rowling

No discussion on young adult novels can be complete without mentioning Harry Potter and Rowling’s wizarding world. The entire series consisting of seven books is a delightful read, a story that will take you on a magical adventure with Harry and his friends. Though the first instalment of the series was released as a children’s book, the series on the whole deals with very mature themes and uses analogies to tackle racism, slavery, war and other issues. So if you haven’t read it, do so now and if you have, then what are you waiting for read it again.



These 15 books are some of the brilliant ones that everyone must read, but out there, are thousands of other books that we have been unable to (due to logistical reasons) incorporate in our list but this is an attempt to do our bit to help you in your reading journey.

So happy reading folks!!!


Lekhaks Elizabeth & Yashswita