I’m not feeling as young as I used to anymore. Which makes sense, since I’m smack-dab in the middle of my forties – kind of the definition of “middle-aged.” Yet lately I’ve found myself drawn more and more to young adult fantasy novels. Could this be my mid-life crisis? If so, I guess it’s better than some of the alternatives! And a side benefit is that I’m now reading some of the same books as my teenage daughter, which offers fun common ground for conversation.
So I’d like to share with you some of the titles I’d highly recommend. And you shouldn’t just take my word for it – these have gotten some pretty great reviews from reviewers and other readers as well.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six young misfits undertake an impossible heist at the most heavily guarded fortress in the world. But can they get along long enough to pull it off? Six of Crows is set in an utterly convincing fantasy world, with a wonderful mashup of cultures, landscapes, and language. Everything feels familiar, yet it isn’t. The book’s gorgeous artwork, stylized fonts, and black page edging add to its dark, mysterious feel.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Elias is a soldier, scion of one of the Empire’s most prominent families, who is expected to fulfill his birthright and uphold the Empire’s brutal regime. Laia is a “scholar,” one of the impoverished underclass, who must disguise herself as a slave to save her brother from prison. When their paths cross, their most hidden desires are revealed, and both must choose between loyalty and justice. This book has it all: adventure, romance, suspense, and great world-building.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Young Evie O’Neill is sent to 1920’s New York to live with her uncle after having caused some trouble at home. Uncle Will happens to be the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, and when he investigates some otherworldly murders, Evie and her friends join in to help catch a paranormal serial killer. With its detailed plot, quirky characters, and rich atmosphere, you can easily lose yourself in this book.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
In a land of seven kingdoms, people with special talents are identified by the color of their eyes. Katsa’s magical gift is killing, and it’s not long before the king is exploiting her talent to further his own interests. When she meets the son of a rival king, the two unite to carry out a dangerous mission, and find romance along the way. Katsa is a strong female character and the storytelling is top-notch.
So to those of you who might not think young adult fiction interests you – give it a try! You might be surprised. And reading it might even make you feel younger…