Spartans Solve the ‘Boring Book Rut’

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It’s hard to find attention-grabbing, well-written books on the shelves of the “Young Adult” section.

  “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it,” wrote the famous poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde. However, it’s rare to find young adults reading when they don’t have to, perhaps due to the bland, tasteless writing that frequents the shelves of the ‘YA’ section.

  Books directed towards young adults are often unsatisfying and rely on cheap cliches to represent their characters, which can often be frustrating to those craving a well-written book.

  Spartans seek to solve the “boring book rut,” recommending six underrated books for young adults, complete with complex characters, well-developed plots, and motivating morals. With genres ranging from modern psychological thrillers to romance-laced historical fiction, the books on this list appeal to people of all interests.

  • Elevation by Stephen King

    Weighing in at a quick 144 pages, Elevation is a character-focused novella that follows one man’s unexplained condition, and the relationships he forms in his small town of Castle Rock. Straying from his typical thriller-type book, Stephen King is surprisingly good at weaving together a heartwarming and vivid work that will make even the most stoic person shed a few tears during the final pages.

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  When Xiomara, or X, discovers an outlet in poetry, she feels heard. Utilizing the platform to come to a better understanding of the world around her, the 16-year-old has her heart set on becoming a poet despite the challenges her family presents her with. The Poet X is written as a novel-in-verse, captivating readers as a series of poems unravels the journey of X. 

  “This book here has to be by far my favorite poetry book I’ve read,” shares sophomore Jatavia Izi, “I read it in 8th grade.”

  • She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

  She’s Too Pretty to Burn is a psychological thriller laced with romance and mystery. Caught up in the murder mystery of a lifetime, a group of teens must navigate their summer, and their feelings for each other. Powerful imagery ignites the Picture of Dorian Gray-inspired novel and elevates it off the page. 

  • One of the Good Ones by Maika and Maritza Moulite

  Written by sisters Maika and Maritza, One of the Good Ones is a captivating novel frequented with witty quips and incredible writing style. Mourning the death of her sister, and teen social activist, Kezi Happi begins to wonder why only certain people are remembered as “one of the good ones”, setting off on her journey to remember her sister as she chooses to.

  • Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice

  Following the death of her best friend, Emily finds herself abducted by her best friend’s family and forced to play the role of their late daughter. Trapped in this twisted nightmare, Emily is left wondering to what extent the Porters would go to to pretend their daughter was still alive. Riddled with themes of suspense and emotion, Pretend She’s Here will hook even the most reluctant readers into its 352 pages.

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  Following the journey of Juliet Ashton, this romantic historical fiction novel is a charming read. Taking place in 1946, a revolutionary female writer stumbles upon an impromptu literary society and meets a diverse group of unique individuals, makes genuine friendships, and falls in love. By the end of the novel, readers will feel like they personally know Juliet and are living and breathing the English-channel island air. With a strong female lead, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is not one to miss.

  Other suggested must-reads include Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes, Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi, Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.