It has been a heavy few years in the world of YA fiction. Vampires, werewolves, and the end of the world as we know it have flooded the market.
I do appreciate the portrayal of strong female characters in some of these books. Katniss in The Hunger Games Trilogy is a good example. While Sarah Dessen writes a great love story, her novels don’t typically have a lot of substance.
That said, here are some of my recommendations for YA novels that are real, thoughtful, and do not have any vampires in them.
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Junior’s decision to go to an all-white high school off-reservation has his on-reservation friends and family criticizing him for his choice. Filled with serious topics and a lot of humour to offset them, this is one of my favourite YA books. This one is my 14 year old’s favourite.
The Path of Names by Ari Goelman
Reluctant Dahlia goes to sleep-away camp and finds herself caught up in a mystery surrounding the camp.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A story about young women pilots in WWII, the plot is complex with amazing twists. A great choice for older teens (and parents), especially those who like spy novels.
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
Kids standing up for what they believe in, and encouraging adults to do the right thing.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
My 12 year old son recommends this one. Artemis is a millionaire, genius, and a criminal mastermind.