Last week's Writing post looked at Lauren Myracle's Shine, a YA novel with a turbulent history: First a prominent critic attacked the book for its unflinching look at hate crimes in small communities, then it was nominated for a National Book Award, and then the nomination was revealed to be the result of a clerical error. When you get past all those ups and downs, though, you're still left with a powerful story about a young girl's struggle to make sense of her emotional pain and the truth her relentless questions uncover.
Shine is one of several recent novels that, while intended primarily for teens, have a lot to recommend them to adult readers as well. Here's a look at some other Character Approved YA stories with crossover appeal.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Karou is a young art student who runs mysterious errands, collecting teeth for a supernatural shopkeeper in exchange for wishes. What happens when she discovers that the ones she loves most are definitely not on the side of the angels? Laini Taylor drops her clues at just the right pace, hooking readers with each new revelation. [Image: Ali Smith]
All the Earth Thrown to the Sky: Jack is desperate enough to get out of dust bowl Oklahoma to help his neighbor Jane steal a dead man's car. But what happens when the two teenagers cross paths with a bank robber on the run and looking to settle a score with his ex-partner? Joe Lansdale's first YA novel is as tough-as-nails as anything he's done before, and just as captivating. [Image: Laura Domitz]
The Name of the Star: Rory hasn't even settled in at her new high school in London when she nearly chokes to death in the cafeteria. Now she can see ghosts all over the city... and one of them may be Jack the Ripper. Maureen Johnson's newest series is smart, funny, and scary, sometimes all on the same page. [Image: Heather Weston]
Every You Every Me: Evan still blames himself for what happened to his best friend. Somebody else does, too, and the anonymous accusations may push him over the edge before David Levithan's taut psychological thriller is through. [Image: Neil Kendal]
Bumped: In a world where it's almost impossible for adults to get pregnant, a teenage girl dreams of selling her womb to the highest bidder. Then the twin sister she never knew she had shows up, fresh from a religious commune... McCafferty's edgy satire is a highlight of the current spate of near-future dystopias. [Image: Jerry Bauer]
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