Top YA Books That Uncovered New Worlds

A 2012 survey showed that almost 55% of Young Adult book readers are actually adults. The reason behind this could be that the YA genre offers a fresh outlook on the world, often focusing on themes of courage and perseverance that many can relate to.

Still, the majority of adult readers prefer non-fiction, according to a new poll from Gallup News. This is likely to catch many avid fiction readers off-guard, as most only turn to non-fiction when it’s time to learn a new skill or research a topic.

Though a bit dry, non-fiction books tend to stand the test of time, as seminal works are often ground-breaking. In many industries, they’ll be used for decades to come. For example, even niche topics like poker have a list of books that should be read and reread for those looking to take a few lessons from the pros.

Though poker as a theme and topic for fiction has led to some interesting works (and films), the most popular poker-related books are classics that cover strategy. Fiction books, on the other hand, must provide entertainment that feels just as valuable as the knowledge gleaned from non-fiction works.

And fiction, in its own right, is capable of teaching audiences great lessons with timeless wisdom. It may not be common, but it’s certainly the gold standard of all enduring classics. For example, Time’s 100 best YA books of all time include The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and The Book Thief, which all handle difficult topics while providing readers with a lesson in dealing with adversity and other challenges.

In recent years, some of the most popular emerging YA book genres have been diversity and multicultural fiction. As YA work becomes more popular worldwide, the demographics of readers and writers diversify. Looking to branch out with your YA books? Try one of these titles which introduces readers to new worlds.

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

I Love You So Mochi tells the story of Kimi Nakamura as she faces a pivotal crossroads related to her university studies. Kimi must choose between following in her mother’s footsteps to become a painter or seeking out an alternative possibility for herself.

Upon receiving college admission to a prestigious art school, Kimi decides to travel to Japan. Whilst there, the character grapples with themes of identity, self-exploration, and different cultures.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Gangulis are Indian immigrants who move to the United States in search of opportunity. Their son, Gogol, named after a famous Indian poet, grows to resent his Indian heritage and adopts the name Nikhil prior to attending university.

A tragedy forces Gogol back to India, where he must reconcile with his Indian identity as he becomes aware of the deep and moving meaning behind his namesake.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun follows twins Jude and Noah as they go through the trials and tribulations of life — both together and separately. In the beginning, Jude and Noah have a strong sibling bond built on mutual support and respect.

However, as they grow up, Jude and Noah drift further apart as they begin to develop their own identity. Centering on themes of individuality and reconciliation, this novel has proved popular for its comedic touch on serious themes.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

This award-winning book narrates the story of Marcelo, a boy who can hear music that no one else in the world can. Though he has a gift, Marcelo must always strive for balance as he straddles worlds.

Marcelo in the Real World deals with elements such as judgment and hypocrisy through rich symbolism. Those looking to study Latin American literature will find Stork’s work a great starting point.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

These Feathered Flames is a contemporary fantasy twist on a Russian folklore classic. Set in a fantasy world, Asya, heir to the Tourin Kingdom, must decide whether to fulfil her duties as the future queen or choose her own path. Unlike the other works listed here, These Feathered Flames is a fantasy YA novel, which provides an extra element of escapism for readers as they travel to a faraway land and culture

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