A Book for Young Adults: Picks for the TPL Reading Challenge 2020

October 5, 2020 | Christie

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Young adult fiction is a popular genre among adult readers. Whether it's for evoking nostalgia, tackling serious issues, or simply keeping up with what your teens are reading. If you've never ventured into the young adult section of your local library branch, you may be missing out. There are absolute gems on those shelves and available online.

We've rounded up a wonderful selection below to get you started. Don't forget to take a gander at The List: Great Reads for Youth as well! It's our annual booklist of the top recent 100 titles in young adult publishing.


Staff Recommendations

One of us

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Five students walk into a Monday after-school detention, but only four walk out. Simon, the creator of the high school's gossip app has dirt on all his fellow detention mates. When he dies in front of them, they all become suspects. Which one is guilty of murder? The Breakfast Club meets murder mystery, and one of the recent young adult reads I couldn't put down. 



The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

It's a quick read and can be relatable to those going into high school, those currently in high school, and those who've graduated high school. Touches upon quite issues, including homophobia, trauma, abuse, suicide, and mental health. The film adaptation is also a recommended watch.



Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson  

Following a sexual assault, Melinda calls the police at a year end party. Because she will not reveal the reason why she called the police, Melinda becomes an outcast in her high school. This book is a powerful and emotional read. After I recommended this book to a teenager, it gave her the strength to speak up about a similar situation that she had experienced. Never take for granted the power of literature.

It was adapted into a film starring Kristen Stewart, pre-Twilight.



The Princess Bride by William Goldman

A fun, lighthearted read of good vs evil, and love conquering all. You can't help but get lost in the world of Westley and Buttercup. The movie is a classic and remains one of my favourites. 



The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Ponyboy is a character you cannot forget. Young Adults can identify with character traits on "both sides". The novel has an authenticity that makes it a must read. A film adaptation is also available.


Animal farm

Animal Farm by George Orwell

For this year, I like Animal Farm. It's not too long. And it is literally a book about the rules of society changing and becoming more authoritarian. Also we have unlimited eAudiobooks.

– Jennifer, Library Assistant


Beauty queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray 

It's almost 10 years old now but I really enjoyed it. It's "Survivor" meets "Toddlers and Tiaras" with maybe a little bit of "Animal Farm" thrown in for good measure. It's an unexpected take on the survival genre and a great social commentary as well. Very funny!

– Katherine, Library Assistant



Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston 

While I was reading this book, I actually felt like I was transported to the faerie Otherworld! Every description was so magical and real.

– Elsa, Senior Services Specialist



The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It confronted me with so many issues – systemic racism, privilege, police violence, stereotypes, poverty, drugs, abuse. It's heartbreaking and eye-opening and made me cry more than once. I also recommend the film based on this book. 

– Nalini, Senior Branch Head



Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Besides the title that sounds so much emotional these days, it is a piece of modern classic that always worth reading. It is a true romantic story about love of two young people that is not easy.

– Pavel, Librarian



White Cat by Holly Black

Holly Black is well known for her fairy stories. But I think her Curse Workers Trilogy is very underrated. This series is part fantasy and part mafia novel, imagining a world where magic users are forced underground and into a life of crime.

– Myrna, Librarian


Recommendations from the Facebook Group

These are just some of the recommendations from our Facebook TPL Reading Challenge 2020 discussion group on this category:


What did you read for "a book for young adults"? Do you have other recommendations? Share in the comments below!


And if you've already completed the TPL Reading Challenge and Advanced Challenge 2020, please fill out our feedback survey. You can also enter our draw by submitting the titles you've read for a chance to win a prize!