Young Adult is an oft-stereotyped genre. That’s why I’d like to offer some YA recommendations based on other books you might have read.
Firstly, The Bell Jar finds common ground with We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. LaCour delves into the psychology of sadness with eloquence, examining themes reflected in Plath’s masterpiece.
If you liked the controversial style of The Catcher in the Rye, you’ll like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. These books feature the same fatalistic, self-destructive characters and portrayals of mental illness.
The Crucible may be the classic, but The Witch by Finbar Hawkins asks you: what if there really were witches to hunt? A hauntingly candid style with evocative dialogue that will transport you back to Salem.
If you liked The Great Gatsby and The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, you’ll love The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This book, with it’s complicated characters and it’s luminously versatile style, blends mythology with modern day green lights.
Lastly, Frankenstein and Brave New World are redefined in Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book reveals the monsters that a military can design from children. Card interrogates the creators’ manipulation and the morality of monsters.
Reading: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. (It’s sapphic and it slaps!)
Listening: The Empty Bowl podcast by Justin McElroy and Dan Goubert. I’ve been playing this meditative podcast about cereal to send me off to sleep filled with sugary-sweet dreams.
Viewing: The Storytellers exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane (inside City Hall). A whole section of MoB has been transformed into an illustrated storybook version of a Queenslander, and as you walk through the house you can read or listen to stories by Brisbane authors and view historical objects, art, and other interesting things from Brisbane’s history.
My recommendation to you is Little Weirds by Jenny Slate.
I would happily live out the rest of my years nestled between the soft pink walls of Jenny Slate's brain. From the first page, Slate's unique voice springs forth from the paper and plants its warm palms on either side of your face, holding you firmly in place for the entirety of the book. Her words are fresh, thoughtful, and lovely, working to create breathtaking, unforgettable images. Reading Little Weirds feels like floating through an art museum at midnight, drifting past dozens of detailed oil paintings and scintillating sculptures that Slate has conjured up with her words alone.
If you want to read something like nothing you've read before, this is the book for you.