Whether reading is your favourite hobby, or just something you do on holiday, there are so many amazing books that deserve to be read. We thought we’d set out the really stand-out stories that demand attention that might give you some inspiration on what to read next, or what books would make the perfect gift this Christmas! While all these books are YA and in the contemporary genre, we’ve made sure to pick as diverse a selection as possible, so there’s something here for everyone!
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
One of our favourite books of 2016, Radio Silence has an extremely diverse cast of characters all dealing with the same things: the pressures of school and whether university is really for them. This is a book that really speaks to teenagers, and encourages people to do what they love best. After reading it, we guarantee you’ll feel inspired to pursue your dreams!
Social Media! The whole plot is built around an online podcast with a huge fanbase. There’s also tweets and Tumblr posts, and text messages that make this story even more realistic.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Even if reading isn’t your thing, you’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about the 2011 release, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you’re looking for a grittier version, without romanticised relationships, this is the book for you! We watch the movie on pretty much a monthly basis, it means that much to us. It’s such a poignant story of doing something with your life and that it’s never to late to find people you truly understand you. Don’t expect a happy ending, of course, but expect to laugh and cry and then feel empty inside.Greg. Just the character is special, but the fact that he loves movies plays a really important role in the book, there’s even sections written out like a screenplay!
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
This one gets me right in the heartstrings. Set in 1959, Viriginia, in a time of extreme racism, Sarah is the first black girl to join an all-white high school. As well as dealing with the prejudice against her, Sarah has to come to terms with her feelings for Linda, one of her main antagonisers. The relationship between the two girls is fascinating to watch unfold, and the amount of other people’s opinions they overcome to get to know each other intimately is insane.The historical atmosphere and lesbian representation. Despite not being that long ago, the 1950s feel centuries away in their views. It was almost painful and upsetting to read about a character being so unjustly treated, but unfortunately, that’s how the world thought. It’s uplifting to think comparatively about how society has changed and this book certainly deserves ever accolade it’s garnered.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Arguably, this could be called a Middle Grade, but there’s something so universal about this story, it’s the kind you give to your grandparents and read out loud to your dog. Told from multiple points of view, Wonder is the story of August, a boy who looks different to everybody else and how he gets on at middle school. It’s beautiful, please read.
Everything. This is nothing ordinary about this.
One by Sarah Crossan
One is the story of conjoined twins going to school for the first time. This one struck close to home for us, being about twins and all, and did an excellent job of describing the beyond close relationship between the pair. I’m not promising anything, but this book will make you feel all the things. There’s a reason why it’s won so many awards!
Rather than being regular prose, One is a story told entirely in free verse! It’s amazingly accomplished and doesn’t read at all differently to a normal book. I think it wonderfully reflects the unique characters of Tippi and Grace, and it’s definitely something you should persevere with if it doesn’t immediately sit right. It’s all worth it, trust us!