As one might expect, being a high school library serving teens, most of the books we buy for the collection are written specifically for young adults. However, we also get some titles that, while written and marketed for adults, have young adult appeal as well. Our book review sources — Booklist and School Library Journal among them — do an excellent job of bringing these titles to our attention so we can decide if we should add them to our collection.
Here are some recent adult books that would be suitable for some young adults as well…
The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom: A Novel by A.E. Hotchner — Street-savvy, almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron Broom is guarding his father’s car when he witnesses a robbery gone wrong in a jewlery store across the street. To Aaron’s shock, his father, a travelling watch salesman in the wrong place at the wrong time, is fingered as the prime suspect in the murder. “Younger teens who like historical fiction with a mystery twist will enjoy this highly readable crossover” (Booklist).
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel by Hank Green — In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green—cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow—spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined. “At once funny, exciting, and a tad terrifying, this exploration of aliens and social-media culture is bound to have wide appeal to readers interested in either theme” (Booklist).
As The Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman — Charlie Lamonte is thirteen years old, queer, black, and questioning what was once a firm belief in God. So naturally, she’s spending a week of her summer vacation stuck at an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp. “With arresting artwork, this coming-of-age story, originally published as a webcomic, sensitively explores religion, spirituality, feminism, and friendship and perfectly balances thought-provoking moments with heartening humor” (Booklist).
Bad Man: A Novel by Dathan Auerbach — Eric disappeared when he was three years old. Ben looked away for only a second at the grocery store, but that was all it took. His brother was gone. They say you’ve got only a couple days to find a missing person — that’s your window. That window closed five years ago, leaving Ben’s life in ruins. “This is a slam-dunk for YA readers, who will respond to the teen protagonist, the crappy minimum-wage job, the younger brother, and more” (Booklist).
Check Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu — Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, this is a stirring coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life. “An irresistibly fun and utterly charming sports story. Volume two can’t come fast enough” (Booklist).
Home After Dark: A Novel by David Small — Wildly kaleidoscopic and furiously cinematic, Home After Dark is a literary tour-de-force that renders the brutality of adolescence in the so-called nostalgic 1950s, evoking such classics as The Lord of the Flies. “The illustrations, limited to pen, ink, and washes done in a simple, loosely sketched style, convey the nuanced range of emotion of all things left unsaid. Spare and powerful, this is not to be missed” (Booklist).
A Spark of Light: A Novel by Jodi Picoult — The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center — a women’s reproductive health services clinic — its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage. “Picoult’s two teen protagonists in very different circumstances will likely keep YAs riveted” (Booklist).
Tell The Machine Goodnight: A Novel by Katie Williams – Pearl’s job is to make people happy. As a technician for the Apricity Corporation, with its patented happiness machine, she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. She’s good at her job, her office manager tells her, successful. But how does one measure an emotion? “Daring, inventive, and moving, Williams’ novel deftly illustrates that when it comes to happiness, there are no easy answers” (Booklist).
1,000 Books To Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich — Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends. “Mustich’s informed appraisals will drive readers to the books they’ve yet to read, and stimulate discussion of those they have” (Publishers Weekly).
Call Me American: A Memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin — The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America–first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card. Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life. “Absolutely remarkable and always as compelling as a novel… An essential immigrant story, one that is enlightening and immediate” (Booklist).
The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark — Recounts the gripping story of Flint’s poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure. “In the first full accounting of the Flint water crisis, Clark combines a staggering amount of research and several intimate story lines to reveal how the Michigan city was poisoned by its leaders and then largely abandoned to its fate by state officials” (Booklist).
Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly — Following in the footsteps of classic feminist manifestos like The Feminine Mystique and Our Bodies, Ourselves, this is an eye-opening book for the twenty-first century woman: an engaging, accessible credo offering us the tools to re-understand our anger and harness its power to create lasting positive change. “Intelligent and keenly observed, this is a bracingly liberating call for the right of women to own their anger and use it to benefit a society ‘at risk for authoritarianism.’ Important, timely, necessary reading” (Kirkus Reviews).
The Story of Food: An Illustrated History of Everything We Eat by Giles Coren — This visual celebration of food in all its forms reveals the extraordinary cultural impact of the foods we eat, explores the early efforts of humans in their quest for sustenance, and tells the fascinating stories behind individual foods. The Story of Food explains how foods have become the cornerstone of our culture, from their origins to how they are eaten and their place in world cuisine.
This Is The Way The World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging On America by Jeff Nesbit — A view of climate change glimpsed through the world’s resources that are disappearing, this book tells the real stories of the substantial impacts to Earth’s systems unfolding across each continent. Nesbit then provides a blueprint for workable solutions. “Nesbit’s clear, concise style is supported with current scientific findings that anyone will find easy to connect with and understand. This prescient and timely book seeks to bring climate change into the realm of relatability. Recommended for all readers” (Library Journal).
Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story by Wyomia Tyus and Elizabeth Terzakis — In 1968, Wyomia Tyus became the first person ever to win gold medals in the 100-meter sprint in two consecutive Olympic Games, a feat that would not be repeated for twenty years or exceeded for almost fifty. Tigerbelle chronicles Tyus’s journey from her childhood as the daughter of a tenant dairy farmer through her Olympic triumphs to her post-competition struggles to make a way for herself and other female athletes. “Tyus’ moving memoir not only recounts her athletic triumphs but it also makes indelible statements about growing up black in the South, social activism, gender equality, and inclusion” (Booklist).