From YA to Adult Lit // Where To Start
My YA Reading History
I first started getting into Young Adult Lit, when I was in 8th grade. All of my friends were reading Twilight, and I certainly didn't want to be left out. Thankfully, I had a mother who nurtured the love of reading into my heart from a very young age. She read to me Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Boxcar Children, and I did my own sneaking around, reading Harry Potter under the covers with a flashlight. So, when all of my friends were getting into the Twilight Phase, I was totally on board.
This opened a completely new world for me. After Twilight, I started reading more YA such as Divergent & The Hunger Games. I officially fell in love with reading.
Many people started their reading careers due to YA because it's fun, fast paced, and the stories are (usually), riveting and entertaining.
Why Read Other Genres?
I probably will never stop reading Young Adult, but, it is important as readers who have the intention of using our hobby to better ourselves and the world around us, to broaden our reading horizons and start reading different varieties of literature. I started out really only reading dystopians and fantasy genres...but during my years of becoming an avid member in the book community, I now have created for myself a very eclectic taste in literature, enjoying a myriad of genres I never would have dreamed of enjoying (hell, I just bought a non fiction book on the life of whales...and I actually am really enjoying it).
I personally, think it is important to read other genres of literature, so that through doing something that I love, I can allow my mind to bend and broaden by reading books that make me critically think, and to be honest, I have never read a YA book that has helped me do this (and that's OKAY. I still love YA!).
But, sometimes it can be difficult going from The Selection series, to A Brief History of American Politics! And, you don't have to. So, I have some recommendations here for you, and I think there will be some good fits in here no matter what kind of reader you are.
**DISCLAIMER - Synopses taken from Goodreads**
Ready Player One // Ernest Cline
Synopsis: "In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as theOASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape."
This was one of my favorite books of 2015, and it was also one of my first adult literature books. I think this is a perfect book for just reaching into the Adult Lit universe, because the protagonist is actually a high school student. So, if you are a young reader, the protagonist is still someone that will be very relatable to you. This book is fun, and fast paced, and has so much 80's & 90's pop culture references that it's impossible not to enjoy.
Smoke // Dan Vyleta
Synopsis: "England. A century ago, give or take a few years. An England where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours forth from their bodies, a sign of their fallen state. The aristocracy do not smoke, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot. An England utterly strange and utterly real."
I think that this one is a good choice for those who love fantasy YA. Again, the protagonists are young adults themselves, and there are fun fantastical elements throughout the story with a touch of mastery and suspense. This would be a great delve into adult literature for those who love magical realism.
Sweetbitter // Stephanie Danler
Synopsis: "This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning first novel. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, she's come to New York to look for a life she can't define, except as a burning drive to become someone, to belong somewhere. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a "backwaiter," on duty and off. Her appetites—for food, wine, knowledge, and every kind of experience—are awakened. And she's pulled into the magnetic thrall of two other servers—a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman she latches onto with an orphan's ardor. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess's hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story of discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment"
This book is 100% adult literature and there are a lot of very adult themes in this book (I would definitely recommend this book for people 17+). But holy cow, this is one of the most gorgeously written books I have ever, ever read. The protagonist in the novel is in her early 20's and is just trying to figure out where her life is leading her, and in the meantime she gets swept up in the server life, which contains a lot of sex, drugs, expensive wine, and a pinch of love.
I especially recommend this book for anyone who has ever lived the "server life," before. HIGHLY recommend. I also recommend watching interviews with the author where she reads excerpts from the book & talks about her experiences writing it...the author is unbelievably talented & I have so much respect for her.
In Order to Live // Yeonmi Park
Synopsis: "Human rights activist Park, who fled North Korea with her mother in 2007 at age 13 and eventually made it to South Korea two years later after a harrowing ordeal, recognized that in order to be "completely free," she had to confront the truth of her past. It is an ugly, shameful story of being sold with her mother into slave marriages by Chinese brokers, and although she at first tried to hide the painful details when blending into South Korean society, she realized how her survival story could inspire others. Moreover, her sister had also escaped earlier and had vanished into China for years, prompting the author to go public with her story in the hope of finding her sister"
This book is just flat out important. Whether you enjoy non-fiction or not, I think this book should be required reading. And for those who aren't keen on non-fiction, I can promise you, that you will not have any issues getting through this book. Yeonmi talks about her life as though you are sitting in the room with her. She talks about such important political topics, and gives such insight and knowledge on things that we as Americans really need to spread awareness on. Things like sex slavery, and North Korean government policies.
This book is anything but boring. You will fall in love with Yeonmi and ache when she talks about the painful experiences she had to endure in order to live.
You don't have to read adult literature, or nonfiction, in order to call yourself a reader. Some people only enjoy YA, or only enjoy crime fiction...etc, and that's completely okay. I only wrote this posts for those who would like to broaden their reading horizons and to give recommendations on some books that I think are good starting points, and talk about why I personally think it's important for myself to read different genres.
Thanks for reading guys, much love,