5 Young Adult Books to Read to Help You Stay In Touch with your Students

You can know a lot about someone by what they choose to read during their free time.  Someone who loves horror stories is probably more likely to be a thrill seeker, while someone who loves contemporary novels may be more solitary and enjoy the creature comforts of home.  So reading some popular novels that your students may be reading this summer may help you to understand who they are, what they like, and what makes them tick.

The first set of novels I've chosen is the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  This is actually a set of three books, with a companion novel, which has been out for some time, but is still very popular due to the movies which are currently being released.  The original book, Divergent, features Beatrice Prior who must make the decision of who she is and which faction of life she will follow for her future.  This dystopian novel has something for everyone including action, romance, self-realization, and thrills.  It's sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant, continue to follow Tris in her path of coming to age and finding love amongst a chaotic and changing society.

The next novel you should undertake is Paper Towns by John Green.  Paper Towns is a stand alone book which is being released as a movie this summer.  It follows the close but yet complicated relationship of two friends, Q and Margo, and the quest that Q must undertake to find Margo when she goes missing.  This book features mystery, romance, and learning how to step out of your comfort zone.

Once you're done with Paper Towns, pick up the fun and quirky, relatable story Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Cath and Wren are sisters who grew up with the popular novels "Simon Snow".  Now that they are going to college, Wren is starting to make her own way, but Cath is still dependent on her sister.  When Cath is stuck with a new roommate, and her clingy boyfriend, she has to learn how to be independent and live on her own.  This romantic, funny, coming of age story will have you looking for the next book by Rainbow Rowell.

An emotional, heart-wrenching work of fiction is If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  This book features Mia, a classical music loving, cello playing, high school student who falls head over heels in love with Adam, the resident rock star of the local grunge band scene.  Their worlds intertwine and collide until on a snowy, winter day, an accident happens that turns Mia's world upside down and forces her to make the biggest decision of her life.  This book will have you cheering for love and crying for hard choices.  The sequel, Where She Went, is also available.

Finally the thrilling, action book, The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, is an older series, but like Divergent, with the movies coming out is regaining in popularity right now.  This follows the story of Thomas, a boy sent into "the glade" to live amongst other boys, all trying to find a way out of the maze surrounding them.  This may sound easy but there are monsters lurking around every corner.  When a surprise person is sent into the glade, everything begins to change and the need to get out becomes that much more desperate.  This dystopian novel features thrills, action, and adventure and is great for the young men in your life who need something to read.

These five books will be sure to keep you busy over the summer and will help you to connect to your students in the coming years.  I hope you enjoy them and learn something about the youth of today.

** Warning: Being that these are young adult works, they may contain items that you find offensive.  Please be aware of that before beginning any of these novels.

To read another great tip of how not to waste your summer, visit History Gal's blog.