Teenage fiction has been popular for a very long time among young adults. Teenagers usually find reflections of their own problems in such books that can help them overcome those problems and grow out of them. In other words, the best teenage books are the ones that address universal coming-of-age problems which adults may consider bittersweet, but teenagers deem rather serious.
Finding the love of your life, exploring sexuality, understanding the world of adults, facing losses, rebelling against the society, and creating new friendships — these are some of the most common topics that teenage literature covers. Let’s take a look at some of the best works of fiction targeted at young adults.
The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank is not a fictional character. In fact, she was a Jewish girl who had to hide from Germans during WWII in some concealed rooms in the building where her father worked. The diary format makes it easy for the readers of her age to understand her pain and struggles in a war-torn country. She experiences everything a young teenager should, but fails to live her life to the fullest due to being in a prison-like environment, constantly hiding from the soldiers. The diary may not be a perfect piece of literature since it was written by a girl who just entered her teenage years, but it is an important one that should be read by all young teenagers.
The Fault in Our Stars
Written by John Green, the book depicts the life of a 16-year-old girl who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She falls in love with an amputee and a former basketball player called Augustus Waters who is only a year older than her. Exploring cancer and romance from a perspective of two teenagers who are madly in love was done in a unique and touching way as the book is filled with strong characters and humor. Green managed to tackle important issues that teenagers often don’t understand, and his book is a perfect example of how to explain the world, life, death, and love to young adults.
The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is often regarded as the ultimate teenage book and one of the best books of the 20th century. One of the reasons why it became so popular is its exploration of feelings of angst and alienation among adolescents, with Holden Caulfield being one of the prototypes of a rebellious youth, an archetypal character which would inspire many works of art. The feeling of anger and rebellion against the entire world is common among young adults who are often not sure what they are angry about. This book offered a sort of empathetic experience, pointing out that angry teens are not alone in this world.
The Harry Potter Series
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is probably the most important teenage book series ever. Although the first two books offer a somewhat child-like narrative, all possible struggles of young adults are explored in the rest of the series.
The Prisoner of Azkaban offers just a hint of what is to come in the following books, as Harry, Ron, and Hermione start to create first romantic relationships and express emotions that are native to teenagers. Being the main protagonist of the book, Harry faces not only mortal danger from the one-who-must-not-be-named but also various private issues that every teenager must experience in order to shape themselves into a responsible and happy adult.
All teenager-related themes are later explored as the protagonists grow up, and Harry Potter series has remained an ultimate guide for young adults.