This week’s TTT topic is an interesting one. When I was younger, I was reading books like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and The Outsiders. When I was a teenager, I was reading adult books, so I feel as though I never got that chance to read YA when I was the target audience. There are so many books that I have read as an adult that I think my younger self would have benefitted from and would have helped me grow as a person. The books I am talking about today are ones I would put in the hands of any teenager!
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
Genesis Begins Again is the only middle grade on this list, which tells me I need to read more middle grade! This book is so underrated and deserves way more attention! I think that there are many young girls who will relate to Genesis and her journey toward discovering her self worth.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
All Boys Aren’t Blue is a memoir/manifesto, and we need more books like this written for teens! This is one of those books that could be lifesaving for the right reader. I think it is important for teens (and people of every age for that matter!) to have an understanding of intersectionality within the LGBTQ+ community.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
The Voting Booth is a must-read for teens close to voting age! This book not only emphasizes the importance of voting, it also gets you excited to vote! While the goal of The Voting Booth is obvious, it never feels preachy or condescending. It is also just a sweet story, and the main character’s cat is famous in Instagram, which is fun!
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Long Way Down was one of the first audiobooks I listened to, and I credit it with making me fall in love with them. I wish that my younger self had the opportunity to experience audiobooks. I also wish that I was able to read Long Way Down way back then. Jason Reynolds has a special way of writing books that can lead to important discussions. I also think that I would love appreciated verse more if I had read books like this one when I was younger.
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Although Kiko’s experiences are much different than my own, I think I would have been inspired by her journey of finding where she belongs. I was always looking for a creative outlook when I was younger, and Kiko’s passion for art would have been interesting for me. Starfish is one of my favourite YA novels, and I cannot only imagine how much more I would have loved it if I had had the chance to read it as a teen.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I’ll Give You the Sun is another one of my favourite YA novels and it also focuses on art. That is what my teenage heart would have wanted! I also think that this would have been one of those books that I passed along to all of my friends. Even as an adult, I find myself constantly recommending this book to people. It is so beautifully written and deeply powerful.
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Far From the Tree is just so beautiful, and I would want my younger self to experience that. I have always loved books about siblings, and this one is arguably my favourite. I thought that Benway did an excellent job of talking about the various struggles that teenagers face. I think any reading at any age would benefit from reading this book.
The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
I was lucky enough not to have experienced major loss when I was younger, but I was surrounded by those who had. I think that The Beauty That Remains would have helped me to look at grief in a different way and to understand that everyone handles it differently. I was also a huge music lover in those years, and I would have appreciated how this book highlights the healing power that music has.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
If I had read Wild Beauty when I was younger, I think I would have come to understand my reading taste a lot sooner. There is so much about Wild Beauty that just works for me, from the writing to the magic realism. My teenage self would have adored this book, I just know it!
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Poet X is another book that would have made me appreciated books written in verse. As a side note, the audiobook is a must listen! I truly believe that this is book should be required reading in schools. Many teenagers will see themselves in Xiomara, and those who don’t will hopefully be able to empathize with her.
While I wish that my younger self was able to experience this books, I am so glad that I was able to read them as an adult. I truly think that anyone of any age will talk something away from each of them.
What is one book you wish your younger self had an opportunity to read?