THE BEST YA BOOKS EVERY ADULT SHOULD READ

A mix of contemporary & classic young adult novels across genres, including many obvious picks and some lesser-known gems, in no particular order. Series/trilogies listed as one. Suggestions welcome!
  1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
    So damn good. Feminist but not annoying about it. Hilarious. Brilliant. I wish every teen girl who's read Twilight read this instead.
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
    Probably my favorite of the scifi/fantasy series on this list. I wish the movie had been better. Didn't do the books justice.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    Love this book so much and love that Rainbow Rowell is on the forefront of this trend of "New Adult" fiction, which is opening up so many more potential story settings.
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
    An alien apocalypse book that is not too sci-fi for the science fiction averse. If you enjoy zombie books/movies/TV there's no way you won't love this. A page turner.
  5. Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
    If you enjoy wordplay this one is especially fun.
  6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
    Read this instead of The Fault in Our Stars. Smaller in scale, to an extent, but so much more clever and fun.
  7. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
    Yes he's a homophobe but it's still an outstanding novel and well worth a read.
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  9. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  11. Watership Down by Richard Adams
    My favorite stand-alone book. Heartbreakingly beautiful.
  12. Harry Potter (the entire series) by JK Rowling
  13. Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix
    I'm showing my nerdy fantasy YA colors here, but this series is just so much fun. Packed with story.
  14. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
  15. Holes by Louis Sachar
  16. The Giver by Lowis Lowry
  17. The Hunger Games (the entire series) by Suzanne Collins
  18. Divergent (the entire series) by Veronica Roth
    I actually thought this series as a whole worked better than The Hunger Games. Not perfect, but still a good read.
  19. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  20. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
    What I read when I don't know what else to read. Trippy in the best way possible.
  21. The Phantom Toolbooth by Norton Juster
  22. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    Is this YA? Unclear. But it's great.
  23. The Once and Future King (book and series) by TH White
  24. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  25. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
    Contemporary and really quite beautifully written.
  26. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  27. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  28. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
  29. The Dark is Rising (book and series) by Susan Cooper
    I think this was the first fantasy series I ever read and so many elements of it still stand out in my mind. I loved that you could sort of mix up the order of how you read them all too.
  30. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  31. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Contemporary classic not to be missed.
  32. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  33. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
    This is a random one but the main character, Jessica Darling, is so endearing and relatable, and McCafferty's prose is really fun to read.
  34. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
    Karana is the OG Katniss Everdeen
  35. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  36. The Book Thief
    This is an incredible, beautiful, heart-breaking WWII novel narrated by Death. One of my favorite YA novels of all time.
    Suggested by   @shantaroo
  37. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
    A haunting story that sheds light on a little known piece of world history -- Stalin's ethnic cleansing of the Baltic countries during WWII. Filled with heartbreak and hope.
    Suggested by   @shantaroo
  38. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    I'm a fan of Oliver's in general, but this is by far her best work. She gets high school girls so SO right. Adore. Great list overall @stamos - we should start a YA book club!
    Suggested by   @mandi
  39. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    Clay finds a package. Inside cassette tapes from his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Her voice on the tape; she tells him the 13 reasons why she did it. SUCH A GOOD ONE!
    Suggested by   @tiffany_na
  40. Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    Classic. Story about what it's like to travel that strange course through The uncharted territory of HS.
    Suggested by   @tiffany_na
  41. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
    She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races, a dangerous race where some riders die. But fate hasn't given Puck much choice. First girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared. Sean is the returning champ...love and life meet their greatest obstacles...and only the strong can survive!
    Suggested by   @tiffany_na
  42. Anne of Green Gables
    So earnest and sweet! I love revisiting this book, it's refreshing.
    Suggested by   @Mary
  43. Where things come back by John Corey Whaley
    Good, more adult feeling read that doesn't get as much attention. "Explores process of grief, second chances, and even the meaning of life." It's also a mystery!
    Suggested by   @tiffany_na
  44. Looking for Alaska by The John Green
    Loved Fault in Our Stars; cried like a baby. But this one in the end won my heart even more.
    Suggested by   @tiffany_na
  45. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
    Kurt Vonnegut meets Starship Troopers in this bizarre coming of age novel set in a small, dying Iowa town. This is a novel about many things--sexual identity, Polish ancestry, pizza, cigarettes, science gone wrong, and sexual exploration. Oh, and it features giant, man-eating praying mantises who only want to do two things, eat and f*ck. IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.
    Suggested by   @shantaroo