If you like reading a YA book with “all the feels”, this post is for you!This summer, I decided to attempt writing a YA book even though I’d never written in that genre before.
Dating Maggie, my first novel was New Adult which is for ages 18-25 ish. NA is different from YA which serves readers ages 12-18. Although lots of adults read YA too.
When I started typing, it was fun. I felt like maybe I’d found my true voice in YA.
Before I could really write YA well, though, I had to read more of it. I admit, I hadn’t read much in the genre. The truth is, I love high-school teen drama TV shows so much that I wondered if I should write fiction with teen protagonists. I’d watched all of Smallville and was really getting into Riverdale, based on the Archie comics.
That said, TV shows or teleplays are not the same as novels so I went to the library and grabbed lots of YA novels off of the shelves.
Following are YA books I read and loved while I was writing my novel. Here's the caveat: first on the list is my own book because it's just been released and I gotta promote it. And it does give "all the feels" according to my early readers.
If you read any of the books and enjoy them, the best thing you can do for an author is leave a review on Amazon. Well it's the second best thing, buying the book with your hard earned money is probably the best thing.
Falling by MJ Greenway
Mia’s epic road trip will involve: Her brother’s best friend, a hearse, a mule named Sparky, and scattering her brother’s ashes at The Grand Canyon. She needs an escape. She’s tired of waking up every day and remembering once again that her brother has died. It doesn’t help that her parents are like sad zombies and her friend Lexi is too obsessed with finding her next boyfriend to notice Mia’s pain. It’s a long drive from Cape Disappointment to the Grand Canyon. Mia and Magnus may get on each other’s nerves or an unexpected spark may ignite between them. Maybe it’s not too late to hope for a future with a bit of happiness.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I was reading this while I was writing my first YA novel. I’m late to the game in reading John Green books, but I’ve read two so far and have loved them both. In this one, Alaska is a person and there is a bit of mystery about her. The other characters at this high school boarding school are very relatable. There was also a twist that I didn’t see coming. Have some tissues handy, I totally cried while I read it.
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lilly by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This was a sweet Christmas story about a teenage boyfriend and girlfriend having adventures in New York City. They also have struggles in their relationship. Because it’s a romance, we know there will be a happy ending, which is great for a Christmas story. This is the second book about this couple if you want to read more it is also part of a larger series featuring different couples.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
I was a theatre major in college so I loved this. Tiny, who is a big, confident gay teen is writing and putting on a play. His best friend is Will Grayson. These two end up meeting another kid with the same name and their worlds will collide. It’s really a story about friendship, which I love.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
I love Sophie Kinsella’s other books so thought I’d give her YA a try. This is a compelling story about a girl who suffers with anxiety. She has to wear sunglasses just to shut out other people. It was exacerbated by a bullying event caused by some of the girls at her school. What exactly happened remains a mystery. There is a slow burn romance with her brother’s friend. For anyone who has suffered with anxiety, you may find a bit of yourself in these pages.
45 Pounds (more or less) by Kelly Barson
This is the story of a girl who struggles with her weight. It doesn’t help that she has a skinny mom. She’s got to figure out how to lose weight in time for her aunt’s wedding because she wants to look nice in a bridesmaid dress. The main character is so likable that I found myself really rooting for her.
By the way, Leah's Song by Daphne James Huff, Rule #3 You Can't Kiss Your Best Friend by Anne-Marie Meyer and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell are also on my TBR list. What do you recommend? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.
Wanna write your own YA novel? Check out our FREE Writing Challenge Write 3K in 3 days and get your first chapter down.