A friend of mine recently recommended a Young Adult novel to me, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. I was hesitant to start it as I normally don’t read much in terms of YA novels, at least not since I was in high school. Not because they’re not good or entertaining. The plethora of successful movies based on YA books can attest to that. YA books have a very solid fan base. And they usually make for a fast read which is always a plus. But for whatever reason, although I enjoy watching the movies, I rarely read the books.
So I was skeptical about starting this one. I’m glad I did. Though it might be polarizing to some, I liked that it talked about a very serious topic that is in our current news cycle. The Hate U Give is about a 16 year old girl who is the only witness to a fatal shooting of a teenager by a police officer. The book looks at how Starr deals with this traumatic event as she is caught between two vastly different worlds: her poor urban neighbourhood and her suburban prep school. I liked how the author dealt with the subject of race and the realistic relationships it displayed. This book is also getting a lot of buzz, with Kirkus Reviews simply stating “This story is necessary. This story is important.” Plus a movie is already in the works!
Here are some other YA books that you might want to check out:
In “Salt to the Sea”, Sepetys brings to light the not widely known sinking of Wilhelm Gustloff in World War II which led to the death of over 9400 individuals. Told from the perspective of four young characters trying to escape different tragedies and secrets in Europe, by boarding this ship in hopes of finding safety and freedom. Sepetys creates a compelling and emotional read for both teens and adults.
In Roe’s emotionally intense novel “A List of Cages” we meet fourteen year old Julian and eighteen year old Adam, former foster brothers, who reconnect as part of Adam’s high school elective course, serving as an aide to the school psychologist. Julian is struggling with both school and home life, with a cold and abusive uncle who is his guardian after the death of his parents. When Adam comes back into Julian’s life, he brings with him light and happiness. Roe bring to the page a heartwarming and compassionate story about friendship.
“The Fault in our Stars” is by one of the most prolific voices in Young Adult writings, John Green and arguably his best known book. It tells the story of Hazel and Augustus, two teens that meet and instantaneously connect in a Cancer Kid Support Group meeting. In this bittersweet and moving novel, Green expertly celebrates love, loss, and life.