Adult Fiction for Teens

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

14-year-old Lily Owen, neglected by her father and isolated on their Georgia peach farm, spends hours imagining a blissful infancy when she was loved and nurtured by her mother, Deborah, whom she barely remembers. These consoling fantasies are her heart’s answer to the family story that as a child, in unclear circumstances, Lily accidentally shot and killed her mother. All Lily has left of Deborah is a strange image of a Black Madonna, with the words “Tiburon, South Carolina” scrawled on the back. When Lily’s beloved nanny, Rosaleen, manages to insult a group of angry white men on her way to register to vote and has to skip town, Lily takes the opportunity to go with her, fleeing to the only place she can think of–Tiburon, South Carolina–determined to find out more about her dead mother.

This is a good fit for those who like to read YA realistic fiction that has a focus on character and storytelling. The Secret Life of Bees has a very rich and sometimes lyrical narrative, making this a good fit for people who prefer books by Deb Caletti. The main characters are fun and dynamic, and a lot of the novel is spent on Lily’s reflection of herself and the other characters. There are also elements of historical fiction and a romance that might appeal to young readers. Overall, those who want to be taking away by a descriptive setting and read about a feisty 14 year old girl will enjoy this novel.

YA Connection: Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti

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Adult books for teens.

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…

This is a good fit for those who like Real Life YA fiction that has a focus on character. Those who enjoy reading stories with a strong and compelling main character but don’t necessarily need to identify with him or her might really enjoy Still Alice. Genova does an amazing job of bringing the shattering reality of Alzheimer’s to the forefront in a way that is tender and compassionate. Readers will enjoy the emotional evocativeness of the story and the journey of a woman who struggles to find herself in the middle of such a devastating disease.

 YA Connection: How it Ends by Laura Wiess

Not Just for your Parents (3)

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man.

This is a good fit for those who enjoy non-fiction biography and/or war stories. Wiesel writes a grippingly painful account of his time at Auschwitz and his experience as a teenage Jew during World War 2. Those who enjoy learning about the Holocaust will greatly appreciate this book. While the scenes are horrific, the story is touching. Those who enjoy an emotional connection with a character will be drawn to young Elie’s struggles and reflections. That fact that he himself is a teenager will appeal to readers as he reflects on his experiences of losing his family and leaving home. This is perhaps one of the most honest things I have ever read and it is by far one of my favorite books of all time.

YA Connection:  The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Not Just For Your Parents (2)

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

The Pactby Jodi Picoult

Popular high-school swimming star Chris Harte and talented artist Em Gold bonded as infants; their parents have been next-door neighbours and best friends for 18 years. When they fall in love, everyone is ecstatic. Everyone, it turns out, except for Em, who finds that sex with Chris feels almost incestuous. Her emotional turmoil, compounded by pregnancy, which she keeps secret, leads to depression, despair and a desire for suicide, and she insists that Chris prove his love by pulling the trigger. The gun is fired in the first paragraph, and so the book opens with a jolt of adrenaline.

This is a good fit for those who enjoy YA novels that deal with heavy topics. The split narrative between Chris, Emily and their parents gives a well rounded look at how people are affected by suicide. The plot is compelling and engaging, but readers will most likely be drawn into the characters and the relationship between Chris and Emily, as it is ultimately a love story.  The Pact shares many common elements with YA fiction (including YA protagonists), and while told in third person, readers should still be able to engage with the story.  

YA Connection: Hate List by Jennifer Brown and Thirteen Reason’s Why by Jay Asher

Not just for your parents (1)

While I do primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

Nights of Rain and Starsby Maeve Binchy

Four strangers on holiday in Greece band together after witnessing a tragic boating accident to become friends, and lovers, in an enchanting story that explores the mercurial nature of friendships and the elusive meaning of family.

Residents of different countries, the four vacationers discover a commonality: a desire to escape contentious family situations back home. A newly divorced father, Thomas has taken a year’s sabbatical to give his young son time to acclimate to his new stepfather. David, a timid Englishman, knows he’s disappointing his successful father by not taking over the family business. Elsa, a glamorous German TV reporter, has walked out on a tumultuous love affair, while Fiona is defying family and friends in Ireland by running off with her rebellious boyfriend. Serendipitously, two locals, Andreas and Vonni, befriend the travelers and help them gain perspectives that will put their unsettled lives in order.

This is a good fit for those who enjoy Real Life YA fiction, where the focus is on relationships and family instead of a fast paced plot. Binchy also does an amazing job at describing setting, so those who enjoy historical fiction because of the lush landscapes might enjoy Nights of Rain and Stars. There is a warm heartedness to the storytelling and readers will enjoy watching the characters overcome difficult situations and relate to one another.

YA Connection: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and anything by Deb Caletti