Don’t Be Afraid of YA

Just because a book has a YA (young adult) or OT (older teen) label on it, doesn’t mean that adults can’t or shouldn’t read it.  It may be written for the teenage crowd, but a good story is a good story.  Here a few favorites I’ve enjoyed this year. 

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee  

17-year-old Jo is a Chinese-American trying to survive in Atlanta in 1890.  Jo and her father figure known as Old Gin live in the basement in a home built by abolitionists, so she often hears the Bell family’s conversations.  When she learns the Bell’s newspaper may have to shut down due to a lack of sales, Jo anonymously writes write an advice column for the newspaper, which becomes a widely popular.  While questions of “Who is Miss Sweetie?” swirl around the city, Jo is also uncovering family secrets of her own.  

Wilder Girls by Rory Power 

This horror-thriller novel is set a girl’s school on an island off the Maine coast that has been in quarantine for 18 months due to an illness known as “The Tox.”  Many have died and survivors face flare-ups.  But something isn’t quite right and Hetty is even more suspicious of this when she is assigned to a resupply mission off the island.  And then her best friend Betty goes missing… 

The Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen and Noelle Stevenson 

This is a graphic novel series that I discovered when I picked up #11 in the series on the new shelf.  I missed a few things (references to previous storylines) but I adored the story of a group of teen girls at a female scouting camp solving mysteries that have a supernatural bent.   

-Megan C.


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