10 Best Young Adult Books of 2014
Young adult books got their cake and ate it too in 2014. The year brought YA to the top of the box offices with hits like John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1,’ and Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay’ hitting the big screen. Many more are expected to follow suit (such as Green’s ‘Paper Towns‘ and ‘Let It Snow‘) as this YA film wave hasn’t even crested yet.
The popular genre also sparked think pieces and conversations (and more conversations) everywhere about the appropriate age one should be to read these books. What seems to be the generally agreed upon answer? There really isn’t an age! Anyone can enjoy YA if they want to, the same way anyone is entitled to Greek and Roman mythology or paperback mystery novels. And if you’re looking for some new young adult books to devour, have we got just the list for you.
These 10 books are but a few of the hundreds that surfaced in 2014, but they are a few of the best. Check it out below!
‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ by Jenny Han
Jenny Han has taken anyone’s worst nightmare — a crush finding out they are a crush — and given people a way to vicariously live out all the excruciating details of this throughout this charming YA novel, one of the best of 2014. Don’t pretend you’ve never imagined “what could have been” if you’d revealed your feelings to any and all crushes you’ve had throughout your lifetime. Lara Jean gets that chance, but she didn’t intend to. This book will remind you that sometimes saying how you feel isn’t the worst thing that could possibly happen.
‘Sanctum’ by Madeleine Roux
After Roux’s ‘Asylum’ brought new levels of creepy to YA, did you ever think it could get worse than that? Well, it could. This second installation to the ‘Asylum’ series travels to the carnival, as well as many other creepy places. Dan, Abby and Jordan are now haunted by their previous experiences together, allowing the book to have even more bone-chilling moments as the characters find themselves driven towards the sublime more than ever before. If ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ is becoming too much to handle, you might want to stay away from this book.
‘The Infinite Sea’ by Rick Yancey
The followup to last year’s ‘The Fifth Wave,’ this book will keep you wanting more from its soon-to-be trilogy. Ringer takes over as the main point of view for readers as opposed to the first book’s Cassie, still reeking of classic-dystopian-survival adventure story, but with added backstories to further plump out the characters. As they continue to survive the waves, however, Cassie, Evan, Ben and Ringer begin to doubt what they thought they knew to be true.
Think about everything the middle book in a series is supposed to accomplish. Got it? ‘The Infinite Sea’ accomplishes all of those tasks and more.
‘The Truth About Alice’ by Jennifer Mathieu
Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel, one of the best books of 2014, dives headfirst into some very serious issues. The title character carries the weight of false rumors and slut-shaming throughout, but we don’t get her own point of view until the very end. Instead, we get the viewpoints of the people around her friend or foe. This really helps bring to light some of the horrible ways a person can be falsely viewed, especially in high school.
One of the most common complaints about this book is that its characters are cliche, and run-of-the-mill versions already done before. But there is a reason there are so many of those characters in literature, and that’s because they are realistic. That’s the one thing you can’t say about ‘The Truth About Alice’: that it doesn’t feel real.
‘Dorothy Must Die’ by Danielle Paige
This is an awesome read if you’ve been entranced by L. Frank Baum’s original book series, Judy Garland’s portrayal of Dorothy Gale, or even if you’re just really into ‘Wicked’ (book series and/or musical).
If none of those cultural treasures captures your interest, this book — about the tensions between “good” and “wicked” and knowing who you truly are — are two great lessons for any YA reader. Plus, there’s magic, a bitchy Dorothy and the land of Oz in a completely different light. I know I’ll never look at the Scarecrow the same way again.
’The Half Life of Molly Pierce’ by Katrina Leno
There isn’t much to be said about this book before reading it except that it exudes mystery and will totally suck you in. All you need to know is that 17-year-old Molly Pierce is guessing throughout this book just as much as the reader, and that is what makes this such a sweet read. It is without dystopian wars or the fun, summer vibe that most YA gives off, but there is a strong twist at the end, and the fact that it covers the topic of mental illness is a refreshing rarity in this genre.
‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ by Morgan Matson
Emily’s best friend Sloane disappears right before summer vacation. Sloane was the outgoing one, taking charge and bringing Emily out of her shell. She mails Emily a list of daring things to do over her summer break, not giving any information of her whereabouts or when – and if – she plans on coming back. If your best friend mailed you a list of challenges, some of which include your greatest fears, could you do them without her?
This 2014 book is an amazing summer read that is as easy to devour as that season of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ sitting on your DVR. But this, will be much, much more worth it.
‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ by Stephanie Perkins
The third and final book in the ‘Anna and the French Kiss‘ series brings total resolution for Isla and Josh, taking place mostly in Paris. Perfect, right? If you go weak in the knees at any relationship that even slightly resembles ‘Gossip Girl’s’ Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf, you should probably read this book.
‘Red Rising’ by Pierce Brown
If you’re looking for the exact opposite of ‘Isla,’ look no further. This enchanting freshman novel by 23-year-old Pierce Brown (who happens to be one of YA’s hottest new authors – literally and figuratively) may or may not be categorized as young adult. Let’s just say it’s been up for debate before. Either way, this book takes dystopian YA like Collins’ ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Ender’s Game’ by Orson Scott up more than a few notches.
Combining Roman mythology with sci-fi to create a corrupt government and hierarchy that will stop at nothing to be what they believe is the best version of humanity is a sharp slap in the face. If this book doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, trust me, it still could be. ‘Red Rising’ offers a little of everything — love, brotherhood, adventure, war, moral dilemmas, romance, laughte, and rebellion all wrapped in a humungous group of interesting and ever-changing characters. Interested yet?
‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart
This book will break you. You think you’re OK, moving along, turning pages, and then BAM something Lockhart writes will completely wipe out everything you think you know thus far. The more I thought about this book (because, according to Master of YA John Green — who’s quoted on my copy of the cover as saying, “This book will stay with you a long time”) the more I appreciated all the little details that went into building such a strong familial history, storyline and heartbreaking ending.
You don’t realize you’ve been sucked in until you’re already below the waves. And that is exactly what makes it our No. 1 book of 2014. Plus, Lockhart’s style and use of themes are unparalleled in modern YA. You don’t even need to know what this book is about, and you know you already want to read it.