by Ashley Owens
Happy almost Friday fellow bookworms! I am following through on a promise to make a blog post a series… can you believe?!
In a recent post, I discussed some Adult Fiction recommendations for book clubs. Today I’d like to continue the book club recommendations by telling you about some YA books I think would be great picks for a book club!
The great thing about YA is that it’s often more accessible and readable for people because the main characters are younger. This is really important in book clubs, because not everyone reads avidly, so it’s a great way to get someone back into the “flow” of reading, or pique their interest in books & book clubs for the first time ever.
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Seanz
There’s no way I was going to make a list of great ya books and not include this one – it’s literally my favorite ya book of all-time… I read it once a year.
Precious cinnamon rolls Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana are both high-school-aged Mexican-American boys who aren’t very good at making friends. Then they find each other at the community pool one summer, and as they come of age together they also develop a beautiful relationship.
Both of these boys are absolutely precious and their story is GORGEOUS. They both have this tendency to think the worst of themselves and be inside their own heads too much, though Ari to a greater extent. There’s so much to parse out and discuss about their family relationships, the discovery of their identities, culture, and the feelings they have. Seriously, I get emotional every time I read this book and find something new to love about this it.
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
It’s queer. It’s a retelling of Beowulf. It’s got themes of feminism. It was clearly written for me specifically.
This novel has wells upon wells of interesting plot points, character choices, and social commentary to draw on for a book club discussion. It will keep you guessing and interested, and I guarantee everyone will be asking each other about their interpretations of the book’s series of events. It’s a wild ride of a book, and one written unlike most other ya novels out there. If you choose this book for your book club, please talk about the author’s use of language, because it is exquisite!
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Shocking – a Gayle Forman book on another YA list of mine! I will never forget my experience reading this book; I literally cried when I finished it because I was sad it was over and knew I’d never read another like it. It changed my life.
While the title of this book suggest it’s about one day only, the main character’s story actually takes place over the course of a whole year. After meeting Willem in France and spending an adventurous day together, Allison goes home to the US and finds herself dissatisfied with her life and herself. She embarks on a serious journey of change and self-discovery, and it’s honestly inspiring.
I wasn’t in a book club at the time I read this, but I found myself wanting to talk about the topics this book brought up with anyone I could. It really made me think about finding “value” in life and how/when we know we’re in love, and so many other deep thoughts & feelings. These kinds of topics lend themselves super well to a book club.
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
This book is me; it is my heart and soul. It’s like the author was speaking to/thinking of me directly as she wrote the story.
It’s a hard-hitting YA book about a girl whose brother rapes her best friend, leaving her to face some difficult realities, made all the more difficult by the fact that she is a survivor of sexual assault herself. It has queer representation in it, which is outstanding. And the writing itself is thoughtful but doesn’t shy away from the difficult. There’s so much empathy and care in the story, it’s absolutely breathtaking. I 100% recommend everyone read it, even if you don’t read it for book club specifically.
They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
Really any Adam Silvera book could be on this list. Just know that if you choose to pick one of his books up, you absolutely will cry during your reading of it.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I do believe this book has been on the NY Times bestseller list for over a year and a half now… which has to be a record.
This is such an important book, and handles the topic of the Black Lives Matters movement with intelligence, care, and passion. It’s also an accessible reading experience that remains honest, because the author can speak about it with honesty and from a place of experience.
It’s well written and makes for some deep conversation. Deep and important.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
It would appear that this book has flown completely under the radar; I have no idea why more people aren’t reading it!
In this novel, Minnow Bly is arrested for attempted murder after escaping from a religious cult. Oh, and she has no hands.
This is an absolutely original and riveting story. It’s surprisingly large, but doesn’t read that way. Seeing things through Minnow’s point of view really forces readers to be sympathetic and open. Her journey and the way she learns about what the world is really like is absolutely fascinating.
Check out more by Sparky here: http://wp.sparkylovesbooks.com/