25 YA Novels Everyone — Even Adults — Should Read

It’s a truism that kids’ books aren’t just for kids. Franchises like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games wouldn’t be nearly as successful if adults weren’t packing into theaters along with teens and tweens, and besides, the stigma against teen lit is so passé. YA is a rich, fascinating, and constantly evolving subset of literature, and it speaks volumes about the values literature passes on to subsequent generations. That said, here are 25 of the best books and series whose appeal endures even for those whose ages don’t end in “-teen”; some are eternal classics, some personal favorites. All are excellent.


Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

We begin with the basics. J.K. Rowling’s seven-book epic of The Boy Who Lived combines unparalleled worldbuilding with a simple story about the redemptive power of love and friendship in the face of evil. Combine that with humor, detail, and a premise that captures every suburban child’s fantasy of finding out they’re special, and it’s no wonder the wizarding world captured the imagination of so many in our own, both children and adults.