12 best YA books for adults

Listen up all you “adults” out there. Young Adult books have got so much to offer, so if you’re a book lover but haven’t delved into the YA world yet, you could be missing out. Read on to find out why and discover some of my favourite YA books for adults. 

While young adult (YA) fiction is well loved among much of the book blogging community, there are many people out there who’d expect that, being 27 years old, I’d have grown out of it by now.

Well, I haven’t, and I know I never will. Why? Because I don’t want to – YA can be amazing!

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy reading books written for adults, but I always find myself drawn back to the exciting world of YA. I can’t help but feel like there’s an extra spark within YA fiction that many adult books lack, though perhaps I’ve yet to come across the adult novel that will change my mind about that.

The thing I find disappointing is that YA fiction is found in the children’s section of bookshops. For me, that’s fine! I’m not ashamed of browsing the shelves there. But, I imagine that there are lots of “grown-ups” (I don’t believe there’s really such thing as a grown-up, we’re all kids at heart) that wouldn’t consider setting foot in the children’s section while looking for a book of their own to read. If you’re one of those people, listen up! You’re missing out!

There are so many incredible books in the YA section just waiting to be read by you. It’s not just teenagers that enjoy YA fiction, adults do too.

A prime example is Harry Potter, which now has adult covers and can be found within adult bookshelves despite the fact that it actually started life in the 8-12 year old section.

Another is The Hunger Games, which I now see lots of professionals reading during their commute into London. In fact, I know several adults who had never read a YA book before but couldn’t put The Hunger Games down.

But there’s so much more where Harry Potter and The Hunger Games came from. Here’s a list of 15 YA books that I think all grown-ups should read. (Not including Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. But if you haven’t already read them… WHY!?)

1. More Than This by Patrick Ness


This book is amazing. I’ve been raving about it to anyone that will listen since I finished reading it. Any book-lover should read this masterpiece.

My More Than This review

Amazon | Goodreads

Bonus: If you read More Than This and enjoy it (you will) try The Knife of Never Letting Go next, also by the incredible Patrick Ness.

2. Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth

Divergent Review

Ok, so I know this is technically three books. But if you enjoyed The Hunger Games, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy this trilogy. They’re up there among my top favourite books ever, but please don’t judge them by their movies!

You can find out more about the Divergent trilogy here.

Amazon | Goodreads

3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

A masterpiece. I am in love with this book, its concept and its complete uniqueness. The entire book is told through emails, files, instant messages, interviews and more. Just talking about it makes me want to pick it back up again.

My Illuminae review

Amazon | Goodreads

4. Gone by Michael Grant


I know a grown-up or two that has read this one, so I’m certain it’s not just for teenagers. Gone is another intriguing story in which everyone over the age of 15 disappears. It’s sci-fi meets dystopian. In fact, it’s really rather scary and quite gruesome at times, too.

Amazon | Goodreads


5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


This book is genius. It’s think of it more like a poem or a work of art than a novel. What would you do if you were forced to relive your last day on Earth again and again?

My Before I Fall review

Amazon | Goodreads

6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver


It’s another Lauren Oliver, I know. But this book (and the two that follow in the trilogy) is so good. It’s set in a future (a lot of the books I love are set in the future…) where love is considered disease and a cure has been developed to prevent it.

My Delirium review

Amazon | Goodreads

7. Slated by Teri Terry

slated review

Ok, so here’s another dystopian (they’re my favourite), but it’s just soooo good! A memory-erasing technique has been developed to give young offenders a fresh start in life (a blank slate, I guess). But is Kyla, who’s accused of being a terrorist before she was slated, really what they say she is?

My Slated review

Amazon | Goodreads

8. Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

This is one of my favourite books ever and I have no doubt it’ll be one of yours too. It’s one of the most touching and honest books about family I’ve ever read. It deserves to be read by everyone and everyone deserves to read it.

My Unbecoming review

Amazon | Goodreads

9. All The Rage

This is such an important book. It highlights the horrifying effects of rape and the reason no claim should go ignored, no matter who has been accused and how unlikely it may seem. It’s captivating, too. It’s a thought provoker that won’t gather dust at the back of your mind – instead it’ll leave a permanent stamp right across your heart.

My All The Rage review

Amazon | Goodreads

10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner

Absolutely intriguing book. Boys arrive in a mysterious location connected to a dangerous maze with no recollection of how they got there, or what their lives were like before. Will the boys ever escape and discover what’s on the outside world? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out, won’t you. There’s also a movie of The Maze Runner now and it’s BRILLIANT.

Amazon | Goodreads

11. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


A fantasy now, this time with more of a historical feel based in a world that was inspired by Russia. It’s a world that I fell in love with, despite the terrifying bad guys.

My Shadow and Bone review

Amazon | Goodreads

12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our Stars

Last but certainly not least is John Green’s devastatingly good novel The Fault in Our Stars. Heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it’s another book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

My The Fault in Our Stars review

Amazon | Goodreads

Also by John Green: Looking for Alaska | Paper Towns

There you have it. Plenty of amazing books that you’ll find in the YA section. Read one! I dare you.

YA readers – are there any books you think should be in this list that aren’t? Or vice versa, of course. I’d love to know your thoughts.



  1. 16th November 2013 / 10:55 pm

    Eeek, this list makes me happy. I adored Slated so much. And Divergent, ah-ma-zing.

  2. 17th November 2013 / 5:58 pm

    I think one of the major reasons I still read YA is because most of those YA authors are willing to take chances on their world and character building. I am currently listening to the “Graceling” audiobook and it is simply amazing. I couldn’t imagine running into a story like it in the adult fantasy section.

    It may be that YA is the perfect age for things to make sense, yet still respect our ability to believe.

    • 8th January 2014 / 7:21 pm

      Extraordinarly late reply but I think you’ve got it spot on dthegamer! There’s something about YA books that feels more imaginative yet can still be sophisticated and not patronising. I truly believe that every “adult” should give YA a go, because it’ll surprise them!

      Thanks for your comment too Charlotte, I loved both Slated and Divergent too (obviously).

  3. 9th January 2014 / 12:28 am

    I got into YA books not too long ago when I started reading books from my little sister’s shelf. And I haven’t looked back since! But there are so many out there, I never know which to choose. Thanks to your list, now I have 11 books to look forward to! (Already read ‘Fault.’) Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to check them out. 🙂

  4. 9th January 2014 / 12:11 pm

    great list! ive read 2 and really happy to read the other 10. thanks for this… though im 33, but that doesnt stop me in enjoying YA books. ages are just numbers…

  5. 18th January 2014 / 11:35 am

    Great list! Gonna have to get my reading cap on now 😀

  6. 2nd January 2015 / 10:14 pm

    I already read and love YA, but thanks for giving me a few more books to check out – specifically: The Declaration and Slated. Yay for YA! 🙂

  7. Carson Williams
    26th May 2015 / 9:37 pm

    I think The Doomsday Kids series by Karyn Folan makes excellent adult reading. Especially for those who enjoyed The Hunger Games.
    I found it far more interesting and the characters are written with great depth. You can easily become quite emotionally attached to young cast in this series. They are such a wonderfully diverse group that stray from the usual, expected kind of characters for stories like this.
    Some of the strongest characters in the series are the least expected but it’s very refreshing to read and every book in the series is just a fantastic page turner. Highly recommended reading for a wide range of audiences.


  8. 5th August 2015 / 1:22 pm

    I’m 28, I haven’t grown out of this genre either. Actually it was only a few years ago that I grew INTO it. Ha ha!

    I haven’t read any of your suggestions. I’ve been looking at I’ll Give You the Sun, Gone and The Fault in Our Stars for a while though. I probably should have read the two latter a looong time ago. Adding the other titles to my list of books I want to read, thank you for the lovely suggestions!

    • 6th August 2015 / 5:06 pm

      Amazing! Glad to hear it 🙂 YA is awesome, I can’t imagine that I will ever grow out of it and I don’t want to xx thanks for reading and I’m so glad you’ve got some new books to add to your TBR!

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