I read YA.
And by YA, I mean young adult literature.
Some people look down on it. “You’re an adult! YA is for teenagers.”
YA is for anyone.
Young Adult books are tagged as such because they are books about themes that young adults typically go through or can relate to. More often then not, they explore coming of age and self-awareness themes. They might star teenage characters, but we can all relate to the things many of these characters learn or experience.
One of my favourite ways to read Contemporary YA novels is in audiobook. Here are 7 Contemporary YA Audiobooks that you won’t be able to stop listening to.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Narrated by Arielle DeLisle
Molly Peskin-Suso is the girl who has had a million crushes and never a date. When her twin sister Cassie gets a girlfriend, Molly’s world changes. Now, instead of just being the fat sister, she’s also the third wheel…or the wheel who’s left behind at home. But, Cassie’s new girlfriend has a cute hipster boy sidekick. Maybe, just maybe, Molly won’t be the third wheel much longer?
This book is sweet and fun and hilarious. It has positive fat rep and LGTBQ+ rep. Arielle does a fantastic job narrating.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Narrated by Sneha Mathan, Vikas Adam
Dimple Shah wants to be a web developer and is not interested in marriage. She’s only a teenager! Her mother, however is only interested in finding her the ideal Indian husband. Rishi Patel, on the other hand, is a hopeless romantic who is totally on board with his parents finding him a bride. Dimple and Rishi are at the same summer program for aspiring web developers. Dimple’s there to build her career. Rishi is there to meet Dimple. How well do you think this goes down?
Called the Indian-American YA rom-com you need to read, this book is super sweet and super adorable.
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Narrated by Michael Crouch
Simon Spier is gay. And nobody knows except for his secret email pen-pal Blue, and even Blue doesn’t know Simon’s real name. But now Simon is being blackmailed by Martin, a jerk in his class, who wants Simon to set him up with the girl he likes. If Simon doesn’t do it, his sexual identity will be announced to the whole school for him. Add into this the usual high school drama of friends starting to date each other, assignments, and the school play and dang, his junior year is a mess.
Friendships, relationships – both romantic and familial, and being true to oneself are all explored in this book led by a really great protagonist.
American Panda by Gloria Chao
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Mei is seventeen and in MIT. She’s on her way to fulfilling her parents’ dream for her to be a doctor and a good obedient Taiwanese wife to parent-chosen ivy league Taiwanese doctor husband. Problem is…Mei hates germs and biology and reaaaallly doesn’t want to be a doctor. Add in that Mei has a crush on a cute classmate (who happens to be Japanese not Taiwanese), has reconnected with her brother Xing who her parents disowned for dating the wrong girl, and feels like she can never be herself… and Mei is starting to wonder – maybe following her parents’ plan isn’t what’s “best for her” after all.
This book was adorable, full of funny and tender moments and is all about Mei figuring out who she is – Taiwanese or American or Taiwanese-American and what her cultural identity means for her.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Narrated by Noah Galvin
This book is a rollercoaster of emotions and new experiences that envelop high school. Wallflower Charlie makes some new friends, deals with first dates and family drama, drugs and alcohol, and tries to figure out who he is and what he wants all while trying to figure out what confidence is too.
It’s a pretty intense read, but really really interesting.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Narrated by Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner
What happens when a villain goes undercover and joins the superhero crew called the Renegades? Nova’s quest is for vengeance. But joining the Renegades is a lot different than she imagined. And maybe, they aren’t so bad?
This book s full of prodigies – people with extraordinary powers, secret identities, missions, and questioning everything you once held true. Originally a standalone, the sequel comes out next year.
(Full disclosure: this one isn’t quite contemporary since it’s in a fantasy/sci-fi futuristic world. But it’s got a lot of the contemporary elements.)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Narrated by Jesse Bernstein
Don’t let the terrible movie fool you. This book is super interesting and really good. Jacob travels to a tiny island off Wales to learn more about his late grandfather and find the orphanage his grandpa lived in as a child. What he finds is way more than he ever imagined. It’s a home for peculiars, children with strange and often dangerous abilities who are quarantined in a time loop and stuck in one ever recurring day during WWII.
This fantasy adventure is a wild ride. It comes with a PDF of real vintage photographs that inspired Ransom Rigg’s imagination and the peculiar children he writes about.
(Again, disclosure: this book starts of contemporary but is definitely more fantasy and the adventure jumps around throughout history. But, close enough, right?)
What YA audiobooks do you recommend?