Maureen’s Favorite Realistic YA books

Most of the time, I’m really a fantasy reader (or, to be fancy, ‘speculative fiction’), but every now and then I do enjoy a really satisfying realistic YA book. Fortunately, we’re in a golden age of YA publishing right now and there’s plenty to choose from! Here are a few of my favorites.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green: I’m going to be all un-mainstream here and say that Katherines, John Green’s second book, is my favorite. It’s about a former child prodigy who has dated nineteen girls named Katherine. Mostly, it’s just plain funny and a bit weird, but definitely awesome.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Jellicoe is the third book by Australian author Melina Marchetta, and it won the Printz award in 2009. It’s a book that manages to be completely heartbreaking and completely wonderful at the same time. I love it for the characters, whose stories come together in a fantastic way, and for the writing, which is beautiful.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: Sequel to Anna and the French Kiss, Lola takes place in San Francisco and is definitely in the sweet category of realistic YA. I really like Lola’s story and re-read it whenever I’m looking for the book equivalent of a piece of chocolate.

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: Okay, chocolate this one is NOT. In fact, it’s frequently gross, morbid, and otherwise not what you’d expect in a Cancer Book. However, it’s also surprising sweet, hilariously funny, and completely original. 

Heist Society by Ally Carter: I love fun spy/burglary movies like Ocean’s Eleven or How to Steal a Million, and the Kat Bishop series (of which this is the first installment) are the book equivalent of those. Completely ridiculous, and really enjoyable.