5 Heart-Touching Books to Read For Young Adult Week 2021

You can never be too old to read and love these heartfelt coming-of-age stories.

5 Heart-Touching Books to Read For Young Adult Week 2021
Photo created by diana.grytsku on Freepik.com

You can never be too old to read and love these heartfelt coming-of-age stories.

Starting 9th August, the community of readers at Goodreads is celebrating Young Adult Week. This is the perfect time for all of us to stock up on and read some amazing books with young adult protagonists.

If you consider yourself too old to enjoy stories about teenagers, remember that stories have no age. Emotions, feelings, sensations aren’t defined by the boundaries of age, and everyone can enjoy them, no matter what stage of life they’re at.

This article contains a list of five books with young adult characters that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Read on for some heart-warming stories about identity, love, friendship, and coming-of-age that will leave their mark on you, no matter how old you are.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through them, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Image: Goodreads

Frances Janvier’s friends know her as a study machine. All her life, she’s nurtured the dream of getting into Cambridge, landing a good job, and living happily ever after. She’s structured her entire life around this dream: reading books and taking up positions of responsibility so she can build her resume to fit the criteria of her dream college.

But Frances also has a secret. For the past two years, she’s listened to every episode of the YouTube podcast Universe City created by the anonymous host known only as Radio Silence. The creator’s words inspire this fire in her heart, forcing her to express her creativity in art, doodles, and GIFs she makes based on the show’s characters.

When a chance encounter gives Frances an opportunity to know the creator of Universe City on a more intimate level, it spins into a series of events where she’s left questioning every single choice she’s ever made in her seventeen years of life.

Why I recommend this book

Reading this book is like listening to music. You lose yourself in the rhythm, the beauty of the prose. The characters feel like home. The author’s words are a soft caress to your senses, like someone reaching through time and space to remind you of all the beautiful things you’ve loved and lost.

The best part is how relatable the emotions portrayed in this book are. It’s almost as if Frances and Radio were voices in my head I hadn’t really listened to before. And for anyone who feels teenage was the hardest part of your life, this book will remind you you’re not alone.

“When you get to this age, you realize that you’re not anyone special after all. It’s like…this is all there is. This is the only special thing about me.” — Alice Oseman, Radio Silence

Purchase this book here.

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Image: Goodreads

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Children of Blood and Bone is a Young Adult fantasy set in a complex world inspired by West African mythology and Yoruba culture. I absolutely loved all the characters and the way folktales are weaved in with the plot to enrich Adeyemi’s imaginative narrative.

Why I recommend this book

The writing is fantastic and the pacing is well-done, making the reading experience fast and exciting, in spite of the book’s size. Adeyemi has a gift for coming up with beautiful prose that compliments the vibrant world she created. You would love this book for the mystical magic system, the history, and the internal conflicts among the maji/diviners vs. the nobles.

Purchase the book here.

3. The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

Image: Goodreads

Premise: YA superheroes with a cute M/M romance story and ADHD rep.

There were 3 emotions I felt while reading this book:

  1. OMG OMG OMG these characters are SO adorable. I love all of them so much.
  2. *Rolls eyes*. Okay, maybe they aren’t so adorable anymore. Maybe they are just dumb ignoring all the hints and foreshadowing that is so blatant.
  3. *Breath catches in throat* Maybe I was the one who was too sure about herself. The hints were mostly red herrings, haha! Smart move, TJ Klune!

Overall, this is a lovely book. The characters are super adorable (classic TJ Klune style) and the banter among them is heartwarming. The story arc is great too, and like I said, even though you might think you are one step ahead of the author and have figured it all out, the epilogue will still take you by surprise.

Why I recommend this book

The book is sweet, adorable, and something that stays with you for a long time after the last page is turned. If there was ever a bookish version of a hug, The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune would be it.

Please read this book if you want some feel-good romance in your life. It has all the elements to make you smile.

Purchase the book here.

4. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of how a young black girl, Xiomara Batista, uses slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship with the world.

The whole novel is written in verse. I had listened to the audiobook performed by the author, and I was mesmerized by the power in her words. Elizabeth Acevedo is a true performer who knows how to captivate her readers and hold their attention.

The story was powerful and had plenty of takeaways about a woman growing up in a male-dominated world, but what makes this book soar are the strong characters. The side characters are written to have very different personalities and voices from the protagonist, and they stand out in their own way. The backstories of the characters are so well interwoven into the plot, that a reader can almost expect a character to behave in a particular way. The author doesn’t disappoint; the consistency and character growth are spell-binding.

Why I recommend this book

I believe every reader should read this book for the strong feminist message it carries and how powerfully the author shuns any attempts at body-shaming and victim-blaming. For such a short book, this one is infinitely rich in emotion and passion.

“And I think about all the things we could be
if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.” — Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X

Purchase this book here.

5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Image: Goodreads

This book is an endearing, heart-warming ride into the world of 17-year-old Simon and his struggle to come out as gay in front of over-protective parents and too-caught-up-in-their-own-worlds friends.

Simon comes across as your average teenager with a secret. Over the past year, he has been secretly exchanging emails with the mysterious Blue — a boy from his school. The book follows Simon’s journey of how he unravels Blue’s mystery and how he comes to terms with his own homosexuality.

The characterization is wonderful, with a lot of depth and back story to the side characters, which books of such a genre usually lack. Though Simon and Blue are the protagonists, the reader feels a sense of attachment with Nick, Martin, Abbi, and Leah — his college-mates. Even minor characters like Garett are well fleshed out. The setting and the surroundings are described beautifully, taking the reader into the high schools of America.

Why I recommend this book

It is a light-hearted, fresh, and fun read with some moments that really shine, especially the scene where Simon comes out to his best friend, Abbi, or some of the emails where he really opens his heart out to Blue and the two talk about first love, first kiss, and the inevitable lust that accompanies such feelings.

Anyone who’s ever been in love will be able to relate.

And to anyone who’s ever been afraid of being their true self because of the fear of what the world will say, this book feels like the embrace you didn’t know you needed.

“I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways…And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.” ― Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Purchase the book here.

For more book reviews, follow me on Goodreads.

Click here to join my email community of 1200+ innovative thinkers and ambitious action-takers.

3 Award-Winning Books Less than 200 Pages Long
Powerful books you can finish reading in a single day.
5 Most Magical Books to Read if You Loved Harry Potter
Young adult fantasy fiction recommendations
10 Uplifting Books To Brighten Your Day
The best feel-good books to make you happy and relaxed