If You Enjoyed These YA Adaptations, Read These Books

What should teens read after they’ve enjoyed the adaptations of The Hate U Give, To All the Boys, and more?

We’re living in a golden age of YA book-to-film adaptations. Not only have we seen titles like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds hit the big screen, but Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before made a splendid debut on Netflix and films like emily m. danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post have earned critical acclaim.

What should teens read when they’ve enjoyed these films, the source material, and other recent adaptations? What can you recommend to fans itching for their next favorite book? Here are some ideas that go beyond the easy reaches, including front and back list titles.

If you enjoyed The Miseducation of Cameron Post:

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (Dutton, 2014)

LaCour’s prose in this book is downright dreamy as she writes the story of Emi, who hopes to become a set designer. A chance find at an estate sale sets a girl named Ava in her path, and Ava is unlike any of the girls Emi has dated before. A romantic, sweet love story set in Los Angeles and the film world.

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Algonquin, 2013)

Sahar has been in love with her best friend Nasrin for years, but with the laws in Iran against them— they could be beaten or killed for being in a same-sex relationship—and Nasrin’s hand in marriage being given to a boy selected by her parents, Sahar is desperate. Will she choose to undergo reassignment surgery, which is legal in the country, in order to be with her true love? A thought-provoking, high-stakes story.

Rapture Practice: A True Story About Growing Up Gay in an Evangelical Family by Aaron Hartler (Little, Brown, 2013)

This memoir is by turns funny and tragic. Having grown up in a religiously conservative family, Hartler becomes fascinated by all the things that he’s taught he should fear. When Hartler begins to understand that his sexuality may not match that which his family believes Jesus prefers, well, he begins to learn how to navigate those beliefs and ferret his own.

When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (St. Martin's, 2016)

Miel and Sam are the best friends that everyone thinks are weird in this gorgeous magical realism story. But being weird is one thing, something not as dangerous as the rumors that everyone in town is to avoid the four Bonner sisters. They’re witches—and they’re witches who want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin. A heart-pattering story about friendship, about love, and with a trans lead character.

 

If you enjoyed Monster:

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos (Carolrhoda, 2018)

Macy’s been labeled disturbed by her school. Readers are invited to see all of the challenging parts of her life that have led others to prematurely judge her through a dictionary-format diary she uses to tell her story. The format and the voice in this book are powerful. Macy is the kind of teen that we don’t see quite enough of in YA—tough, challenging, and possessing an incredibly big heart and soul.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (S. & S., 2017)

Will tucks a gun in the waistband of his jeans, determined to use it to exact revenge after his brother was shot dead. The story takes place on an elevator, and each stop along the way, someone from Will’s life steps in and forces him to reconsider what he’s about to do. A harrowing, propulsive read.

Something Like Hope by Shawn Goodman (Delacorte, 2010)

Set in a juvenile detention center, this novel follows 17-year-old Shavonne who has finally found a counselor to help her get to the bottom of why she behaves the way she does. But when her roommate does something rash and Shavonne’s quick reaction gives her the opportunity to leave the facility early, she feels a sense of hope—as well as fear for how she can overcome her past and build a solid future.

Tyrell by Coe Booth (Scholastinc, 2006)

This modern YA classic still holds up, and the voice resonates. With his father in jail and living with his mom and little brother in a homeless shelter, Tyrell takes on the role of man in the family. But not all of his choices in how to get out of the shelter or to help reestablish his family are smart ones—even if they come from the truest place within him. Is he, too, destined to end up like his father?

We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss (HarperCollins, 2018)

What could lead a teen boy to end up on death row? That’s the question at the heart of Bliss’s emotional powerhouse. The book is told through letters from the boy awaiting his horrible fate, as well as through a third-person narration, taking us from the start of the friendship between Luke and Toby to how their friendship fell apart and left both of them shattered forever.

 

If you enjoyed To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before:

 

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma (Crown, 2018)

A cute, sometimes over-the-top read that follows a girl named Winnie, who has been told by a family psychic that she’ll find and fall in love with her soulmate before she’s 18 and that his name will begin with an “R.” Could it be Raj, her boyfriend? Or does the fact she’s caught him cheating on her spell doom for the prophecy? When she finds Dev, a fellow geek and film lover, suddenly, Winnie wonders whether or not she should live the prophecy or dive headlong into something that excites her. Bonus: Bollywood.

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart (Delacorte, 2005)

Pick up this backlist gem from beloved YA author E. Lockhart and be ready to fall into a series full of romance, breakups, friendship challenges, and many appointments with therapists. Ruby is a young teen protagonist, too—chances are she and Lara Jean would be great pals.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (Farrar, 2017)

Goo’s become a staple in the YA rom-com world. Desi Lee is a girl who simply can’t get it together in her social or love life, even if she excels in school. When she has the chance to flirt with the hottest boy ever, Desi goes to extreme measures: she decides to apply the formula used by the heroines in the Korean dramas her father is obsessed with. Armed with a plan, will she be able to catch the attention of Luca? Get ready to laugh out loud and have some second-hand embarrassment for Desi.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding (Sky Pony, 2018)

Another queen of the YA rom-com is Amy Spalding, and Jordi Perez will leave fans of Lara Jean wanting more. Fashion-obsessed Abby scores an internship at her favorite clothing store and she couldn’t be more excited. Except, when she gets there and discovers she’s sharing the internship with Jordi Perez, she immediately decides she can’t pursue a relationship with a colleague. Too bad Abby doesn’t follow her own advice.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (S. & S., 2017)

When Rishi informs Dimple that he’s to marry her, Dimple can’t believe him. She’s too young, she has a plan for her future, and she has no interest in marrying him (and who does that anyway)? There’s also no way her family and his family could have arranged something without her knowledge or consent, right? Over the course of the summer enrichment program both are taking, though, perhaps Rishi’s advances will win Dimple over, despite her best efforts to thwart them.

 

If you enjoyed The Hate U Give:

Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro (Tor Teen, 2018)

When Moss’s father was killed six years ago by Oakland police, he was wrought by panic attacks. His father became a villain, even though he didn’t do anything. He can’t stop thinking about this when, at the beginning of a new school year, Moss and his classmates are subject to increased intimidation and unfair rules. The increased police presence in the school leads to an incident that changes everything and Moss finds himself needing to use the anger in him to implement change. A moving, thoughtful, and timely debut.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone (Crown, 2017)

Justyce is heading to the Ivy League but when he’s arrested unfairly by the police, those dreams seem to slip from his fingers. Even though he’s innocent, Justyce finds himself subject to his peers’ judgement and ridicule, and he turns to the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. to find escape, ease, and a way through. Things come to a head when a shooting leaves one of his best friends dead and Justyce finds himself once again the one being blamed.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (Holt, 2014)

Sixteen-year-old Tariq was shot and killed by a white person, and now everyone in the community has something to say about the incident. Told in multiple perspectives, Magoon’s novel takes a sharp look at narratives and power, forcing readers to consider what makes the truth and who gets to decide what the truth even means.

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina (Tu Bks., 2017)

When a coat hanger he’s holding while shopping is mistaken for a gun, Alfonso Jones is shot and killed by a police officer. He wakes up on a ghost train, surrounded by victims of other police shootings. This book gives voices to those who’ve been killed unjustly and is unafraid to dig deep into police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (S. & S., 2017)

Lily's got a secret that caused her reputation to shatter last year. Dari is the new guy, a black student in an otherwise almost all-white private school, and he's bored with his classes, his former girlfriend, and the abusive father with whom he lives. When Lily and Dari start to talk, sparks fly. When things become heated, though, and we get the backstory of Lily's life, as well as begin to see her trust in Dari shift, we also see how much their relationship needs to take a hard look at the challenges of race. A powerhouse of a novel that explores not only Black Lives Matter and police brutality, but also shines a light on white privilege.

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