5 Young Adult Reading Recommendations from Ginger & Pickles

1. Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds, illus. by Danica Novgorodoff (2020) 12+

According to Will, when you lose someone you love to gun crime there are three simple rules to follow – no crying, no snitching, get revenge. When Will witnesses the murder of his older brother, Shawn, he intends to follow these three simple rules. The 67 seconds in the lift is a life-changing moment for Will who realises revenge is a little more complex. From his apartment to the ground floor, he must consider whether avenging his brother’s murder is the right course of action. The powerful story is beautifully captured by Novgorodoff’s muted watercolour illustrations. This accessible format is an adaptation of Reynolds’ novel, originally written in verse.

2. After the Rain by Natália Gomes (2021) 13+

Set in modern times, After the Rain tells the story of two teenagers who are deeply affected, both physically and mentally, by one life-changing tragedy. The duo narrative allows the reader to empathise with both characters who struggle to cope with their altered lives. It is a powerful novel that focuses on mental health and the true meaning of friendship – contemporary issues so very relevant to our younger generation.

3. The Outsiders by S E Hinton (1967) 12+

Hinton was only 17 years old when she penned this gritty classic that depicts the social class divide during 1960s Oklahoma. Told from the perspective of Ponyboy Curtis, this coming-of-age novel confronts the issues of inequality between the classes and the meaning of friendship. Hinton drew from real rival gangs during her time at high school and she is still considered the pioneer of the YA genre. It is no wonder that her novel is still on the curriculum half a century after it was first published.

4. Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini (2004) 13+

What if you could take a pill-sized supercomputer that would guarantee you getting everything you ever wanted in life? Meet Jeremy Heere, your average teen who jumps at the chance. The “squip” instructs Jeremy what to wear, how to walk and even what to say! He is soon transformed from total geek to super cool and popular. A dream come true – but at what cost? A cautionary, yet humorous “be careful what you wish for” tale. Also available as a graphic novel.

5. Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (2021) 13+

Hitchcock’s second novel tells the individual stories of different teens living in rural America. Set across three states in the West and Northwest, each story is given its own voice; yet the lives and experiences depicted in each are interwoven and convey universal themes experienced by young people today.

These books can be ordered from: www.gingerandpicklesbookshop.com

Ginger and Pickles Children's Bookshop : 51 St Stephen St, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AH