InStyle Book Club: 11 Buzzy Young Adult Books That Adults Will Love
Let's be honest, everyone loves a good young adult book. Whether you were obsessed with Katniss from The Hunger Games or can't get enough of Divergent's heartthrob Four, the YA genre is hands down one of the most fun to read. If you're looking for the next great series to dive into, we've got you covered. From action-packed fantasy like An Ember in the Ashes and Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thornes and Roses to harrowing historical fiction like Salt to the Sea, you won't want to put any of these addictive, easy-to-read books down. Below, check out 11 YA novels that are sure to be your newest obsession.
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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Drawing inspiration from ancient Rome, author Sabaa Tahir’s riveting yet brutal story takes place in the Martial Empire, a place ruled by fear, oppression, and cruel leaders. What could be a dark and difficult read becomes the opposite thanks to Tahir’s ability to create three-dimensional characters like dual narrators Laia, a young girl part of the oppressed Scholar class, who voluntarily enters into slavery in order to save the only family she has left, and Elias, one of the empire’s highly-trained soldiers known as Masks. As their stories intertwine, it becomes clear that while on opposite sides of the empire’s hierarchy they are fighting for the same thing: freedom. Determined to escape society’s shackles, they put in motion a series of events that will change the course of their lives and the empire forever.
Bonus: The sequel, A Torch Against the Night ($20; amazon.com), arrives August 30, 2016.
A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses:
In a word, A Court of Thorns and Roses is addictive—as is the second installment in the trilogy, A Court of Mist and Fury, but more on that later. Maas expertly mixes fantasy, romance, and action as she tells the story of Feyre, a 19-year-old girl who is forced to leave the human realm to live in the feared magical lands of Prythia after killing a faerie masquerading as a wolf. Taught at a young age to despise the High Fae that once ruled over humans, she is understandably wary of her captor, Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court. Overtime the skepticism and fear she feels changes drastically and she soon finds she’s in love with the gorgeous yet cursed fairy. Determined to save him from being enslaved for eternity, Feyre risks everything to ensure his survival and in turn changes her future forever.
A Court of Mist and Fury
Picking up three months after the ending of A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury is even stronger and more addictive than its predecessor. Unable to forget what she had to do in order to save Tamlin, Feyre is broken. Not sure where she fits in or how to control her new powers, she begins to spiral downwards only to find solace in the one person she’s supposed to despise, Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court. Through him she finds purpose, not only discovering how to harness her abilities, but also that she may be the key to stopping the looming war that threatens to destroy both Prythia and the human realm. The world and the characters in which Maas creates is enveloping. Once you dive in, it’s hard to extricate yourself from the vibrant characters and relationships that are the pillars of these engrossing, action-packed books. ($19; available May 3, amazon.com.)
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Everyone knows what happened when the Titanic sunk, but what about the Wilhelm Gustloff? The sinking of this ship, which was carrying refugees fleeing East Prussia at the end of World War II, is the greatest maritime disaster in history, yet very few people remember. Author Ruta Sepetys sheds light on this forgotten piece of history with a haunting story that brings together three refugees: Joana, Emilia, and Florian. Their paths cross as they make their way to the coast, and despite the secrets each carry, they must lean on each other as they try and make it to safety. Told in alternating perspectives, you won’t be able to easily forget their treacherous journeys. Sepetys’s novel serves as a reminder that despite unthinkable tragedies that fall upon the innocent, there is always something or someone to fight for.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
An impossible heist sets the stage for this band of skilled criminals. Led by the enigmatic Kaz Brekker, he and his crew are tasked with breaking into the highly-secure capital of a neighboring country to abduct a scientist, who has created an addictive and lethal stimulant that enhances the powers of the magical people known as Grisha, in exchange for a life-changing amount of money. Told from multiple perspectives, Bardugo weaves together their very different personalities, creating an authentic group of misfits that moves beyond stereotypes. As they embark on their dangerous journey, they consistently and impressively maneuver difficult situations with panache. A fast-paced and fun read with a touch of romance, you’ll be rooting for them until the very end.
Bonus: Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows ($19; amazon.com) hits shelves on Sept. 27.
The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
The Wrath and the Dawn
Every day a young girl is forced to marry the 18-year-old king only to be executed at sunrise, and no one knows why. Determined to end the cycle and avenge her best friend’s death, Shahrzad volunteers to be the Caliph of Khorasan’s next bride. Armed with her wits and ability to weave stories, she survives only to discover the king isn’t the monster she thought. The revelation proves difficult, but sets her on a path to discover why the brides before her had to die. Author Renée Ahdieh successfully makes a story based on A Thousand and One Nights feel modern and relatable with excellent dialogue and a realistic heroine that will make you not only root for her but fall in love with this world.
The Rose and the Dagger
Ahdieh’s follow-up, The Rose and the Dagger, hits bookshelves on April 26, and picks up exactly where the first installment left off. Fleeing the wreckage caused by her father, Shahrzad is taken to the desert by her childhood love Tariq, who is plotting to destroy the empire—and her husband Khalid. Determind to stop the gathering forces and find a way to break the curse placed on Khalid, she must tap into her own powers and strength to overcome those who stand against her. A satisfying fast-paced conclusion, Ahdieh explores the difficulty of family, lasting loyalty, and love giving you a tale you won't soon forget.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Weaving together Indian and Greek mythology, debut author Roshani Chokshi tells the story of Maya, a 17-year-old girl born with a horoscope that leaves her an outcast in her father's kingdom of Bharata. When it's decided she should marry in order to quell rebellions at the kingdom's borders, she finds herself betrothed to Amar, the mysterious ruler for Akaran. As she settles into her role as queen in her new home, she begins to come into her own thanks to Amar, who gives her both the freedom and confidence to be more than she ever dreamed. However, the secrets that seem to rule Akaran become too much to bear and she makes some costly mistakes that she must rectify in order to save the ones she loves the most.
Red Queen and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow's world is not a happy one. As part of the lower class known as Reds for the color of their blood, she lives in poverty counting down the days until she's forced to join the military to fight in a never-ending war led by the supernaturally gifted Silvers. After a chance encounter with the prince, she finds herself working in the palace as a servant only to soon discover that she, like the Silvers, has a power all her own. Thrown into a dangerous game of court politics, she must agree to lie about her past and pretend to be a long lost noble. Unable to forget the horrors she's endured, Mare decides to aid the rebel movement that is determined to overthrow the Silvers once and for all. As she walks the dangerous line between her past and present, Mare struggles to find her footing in a world that is not as black and white as she initially thought.
After narrowly escaping the palace, Mare is on the run and in search of Reds who have abilities like her in order to help the rebellion. Unsurprisingly, her journey is dangerous and it soon becomes bloodier than she can bare. Burdened by all the lives that must be lost in order for the uprising to succeed, she wrestles with between right and wrong as she goes down a path of no return. Action-packed and filled with twists and turns, Mare must find it within herself to not only fight for cause but those that she loves.
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy author Richelle Mead is back with a brand-new series that is a vast departure from her supernatural hit. One thing definitely remains the same: a strong heroine. Unwilling to marry her unlikable cousin, the Countess of Rothford decides to run away from her sheltered world in search of a better life. She assumes the identity of her maid, Adelaide Bailey, who had been recruited to join the Glittering Court—a family enterprise that teaches ordinary girls to act like nobility, then ships them to the New World, where they attract husbands at a hefty price—by the handsome Cedric Thorn. Despite their best efforts to maintain a safe and friendly distance, Adelaide and Cedric fall in love, but it comes at a price. In order to be free of their debts they must start a life neither of them is accustomed to—and stay alive in the process