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Lost between teen and adult books - recommendations?

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Showing 1-25 of 95 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 8, 2012, 3:18:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 9, 2012, 8:53:12 PM PDT
R Austin says:
Since starting college I feel like I'm a little lost when it comes to books. I've always liked reading, so it seems strange that I haven't been reading much for a while now. I'm looking for recommendations for Young Adult or Adult books. Lately, I'm not sure which section I should be looking in. I've heard of something called "new adult", but there don't seem to be any books actually published in this category.

Standalone books or series are both fine. I'm open to suggestions in most book genres, although I don't like: Horror, Mystery, or Romance.

I'd really prefer the ages of the characters to be around 18 to 25. If it's a good book, the ages don't matter too much, but I would prefer them to be young adults (not young teens or middle aged). While I'd like the characters to be around college-aged, I don't really want stories about college life.

I'd also REALLY prefer the main character to be female. However, I don't like girly-girl characters, or shoes/clothes/shopping/boyfriend problems. You are more likely to find me taking photos of snakes in my neighborhood woods than shopping at the mall. I have nothing in common with these types of stereotypical girls and cannot connect with characters like this. Books with some romance in them are fine, but if it's the main storyline I'm not interested.

****Also, I don't want any recommendations for books that include graphic sex or violence. Any sex scenes should be `off-screen'. With violence I'm not too squeamish, but Jackdaws by Ken Follett was really pushing my limits.****

I'll include some examples of things I did like to give a feel for what I might be looking for (Some are recent reads, others I read years ago):
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (I felt there were some plot issues, but liked the characters)
Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Hated the first chapter, but ended up liking the book)
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell (Randomly got this from my library and enjoyed it more than I expected)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
Sabriel by Garth Nix (I don't usually like Garth Nix though. I have a hard time connecting to his characters)
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (Hated the second one though)
The Bartimaeus Series by Jonathan Stroud
When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi
Tree Girl by Ben Mikaelsen
Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay (Had this for years and finally read it. I found it surprisingly enjoyable)
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
ETA: Terrier by Tamora Pierce

Other books I know I enjoyed at the time, but can't really remember them now:
The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
Redwall by Brian Jacques
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (I do remember that I hated the ending though)

I have mixed feelings about these books:
Jackdaws by Ken Follett (I didn't really connect to any of the characters, didn't really like the ending, and the violence was a bit too much for my liking)
Michael Crichton's books (Never connect to his characters, endings are usually done badly, and all the books I've read by him all FEEL the same. He usually writes about interesting topics though.)
The Child Thief by Brom
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (I read this years ago and it didn't really catch my attention. Never really felt the urge to try his other books)

In case this is helpful, here are some books I DID NOT like:
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Sorry for the length, any help is appreciated. I'm also not too familiar with the amazon forums, so if this is in the wrong place I apologize.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 4:47:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2012, 4:52:43 PM PDT
I would classify the following as "new adult" (even though they are all sold as "young adult")
The Grimoire: Lichgates (a young adult epic fantasy adventure) (The Grimoire Trilogy)
CAGED (The Caged Series)
The Sin Collector

You might find more recommendations here:

Hope that helps! I love "new adult" too and wish they were easier to find. Also, St Martin's Press releases New Adult titles, so you might want to check them out.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 4:57:03 PM PDT
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. First book in the Mercy Thompson series. She's not 18-25, but you don't really notice.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 4:59:22 PM PDT
You would really like "The Forever Girl" by Rebecca Hamilton. It crosses genres and age groups and is an entertaining read!

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 6:15:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2012, 6:17:20 PM PDT
Read It All says:
Based on the fact that you like Ladyhawke, The Illusionist,The Princess Bride, and The Last of The Mohicans, I want to recommend the Outlander series. Like the aforementioned movies, this series has action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of the paranormal thrown in. It is a fascinating series of seven books all together. The author's name is Diana Gabaldon. The first book is: Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition): A Novel and, of course the others are also easy to find here on Amazon. It does have a female protaganist and she is quite interesting. Her name is Claire. You sound very well-read and I think you would like this series. The ages are right for what you find interesting. I hope this helps you find something new to read. Good luck!


Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 7:50:18 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 9, 2012, 5:07:20 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 8:42:39 PM PDT
S. Pelzel says:
I teach high school and have been reading a lot of what my students read. Try anything by Maggie Stiefvater: The Scorpio Races is a stand-alone, also the Shiver series. These are contemporary fantasy sort of. Also the Gone series by Michael Grant--has a horror element with the fantasy, very compelling books. I also liked the Gregor the Underlander series by Susanne Collins of The Hunger Games. This series is geared to younger readers but is very action-packed and the themes are appealing to all readers. I just read the first of Cashore's books in The Mortal Instruments series--City of Ashes? I can't remember if that is the right title.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 8:51:15 PM PDT
S. Pelzel says:
Sorry, got my authors mixed up. Cassandra Clare is the City of Ashes author. Cashore wrote Graceling, another one I'd recommend.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 10:36:23 PM PDT
Hey!! I wanted to offer you my new group blog site for some recommendations. The blog is about everything New Adult fiction. Check under the recommended reads section for recommendations. There is also a link to where there are over 300 New Adult books listed. Some are traditionally published and some are self-published. Good luck! Leave us a message over there if you have any questions :D


Posted on Jun 9, 2012, 11:19:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2012, 11:20:33 AM PDT
Tammi says:
Of the following recommendations only Blood and Chocolate has any serious romance - but it is a hard-lesson-learned type of romance. These books/series are all urban fantasy (not paranormal romance) with the exception of the Truth Series (which is strictly fantasy). All contain a young, female protagonist. These are primarily plot-driven books, so sex and romance are not devices that take precedence in the stories (and sex is primarily off-screen or not graphic). Violence is relative, but I believe the violence contained in these would not be the kind you might have found off-putting in the Jackdaws book:

Kate Daniels series - Ilona Andrews
Mercy Thompson series - Patricia Briggs
Cast Series - Michelle Sagara
The Truth series - Dawn Cook
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Blood and Chocolate - Annette Klause
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
Enclave - Ann Aguirre
The Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012, 11:22:04 AM PDT
K. McNamara says:
Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow.
Lois Bujold's Curse of Chalion (fantasy) and Miles Vorkosigan series (technically sci fi), but not, since we're avoiding sex, her Sharing Knife series.
Connie Willis's Doomsday Book (drama, technically sci fi).
Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel, Court Duel
Caroline Stevermer's A College of Magics, which does spend a lot of time in a college setting, but I think you enjoy the heroine enough to get past that.

I think you would also enjoy
Lois Bujold's Curse of Chalion (fantasy) and Miles Vorkosigan series (technically sci fi), but not, since we're avoiding sex, her Sharing Knife series, although that one does have a strong female lead character.

Posted on Jun 9, 2012, 12:21:21 PM PDT
One series I haven't sen here that I have read the series of multiple times is the The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks. When I was in High School, I would read the whole series every year, and then there is a second series, The Heritage of Shannara that follows decendants of the original series. I bought both of the hardback collections in college and still enjoy them.

There are more books that are in the series as well, but I haven't been able to read any of those ones, and he also has another series that is kind of a more modern day world with magic and such. Overall, I would say that these are well written books.

Hope you find what you are looking for!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012, 8:53:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2012, 8:54:57 PM PDT
Agnes says:
Now, if you enjoyed Hilari Bell's (I love this author) The Goblin Wood, hopefully you know that it is the first book in a trilogy. The second book is The Goblin Gate (which is even better than the first) and the last is The Goblin War.

The Blue Sword - This one has a prequel called The Hero and the Crown. The books can be read in any order, but The Hero and the Crown does give some background and historical info. Despite this, I think The Blue Sword is superior. It definitely does not have a girly main character. She's always been too tall, gawky, and awkward to amount to anything...that is, until she's spirited away by a band of desert nomads and finds her destiny. I love this book, but it does suffer from a boring first chapter.

Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor - This one does have some horror elements, as it's something of a dark fantasy (but not to a great extent). First and foremost, it is a fantasy. The writing is excellent, dialogue flows well, characters are multi-dimensional and entertaining, and I really liked that the author knew how to transition from scenes of calm to scenes of action.

Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip - This one is actually a short story collection, and it's notable for two stories: The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath (beautiful writing and really neat take on dragon slaying) and The Lion and the Lark (this one really reminded me of LadyHawke). If you do pick this one up, I would recommend only reading those two stories.

The Shadow Warrior by Pat Zettner - At the time of reading this book, which was years ago, I had just discovered Hilari Bell's work as well. The Shadow Warrior is the only fantasy book I have ever come across that is even comparable to those by Hilari Bell, which is really saying something. The book is complex, as are the characters, and I loved the dilemmas the main character faced, both internal and external. If you can find this one, it comes highly recommended (I've mainly had success finding this one at libraries, as the online price can get pretty steep).

Posted on Jun 10, 2012, 3:51:23 AM PDT
Sue says:
I think The Super Spud Trilogy is a great book and suitable for adults, young adults and teens. It's funny, entertaining and clever enough for adults, but also silly and light hearted for younger readers, too.

The Super Spud Trilogy

Posted on Jun 10, 2012, 8:26:01 PM PDT
R Austin says:
Thanks for all the recommendations!

Immortal Book Lover: Those look interesting. I'll keep an eye out for them. I don't own a Kindle, so if they are only available for Kindle I probably can't read them. Thanks for the link!

Ruth DeJauregui: Thanks! I've added it to my list of books to read!

Daniel P. O'Rourke: My library doesn't have this, but I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the recommendation!

Read It All: Thank you for your help! I've placed a hold request for it at my library.

S. Pelzel: Thanks for the suggestions! I've written them all down on my reading list!

Victoria Smith: Great blog! I skimmed the books on Goodreads and already found some that look promising!

Tammi: Thanks so much! I think I read the back cover of Blood and Chocolate once, but thought it sounded like it had too much romance for me. I'll have to give it a chance now!

K. McNamara: Thank you for the suggestions! I've written them down and am trying to track them down. My library doesn't have Cast in Shadow (but does have some of the sequels), but it must be good because I think you are the second one to mention it. There was an ebook copy available at my library of Curse of Chalion, so I've downloaded it due to your recommendation (haven't started it yet though)!

J. Quinlivan: These look interesting, thanks for the recommendation!

Agnes: Yes, I've read The Goblin Gate and The Goblin War as well. I really liked all of them.
I think I might own The Blue Sword as well as The Hero and the Crown. I never read them though! I must go search the house now!
My library doesn't have The Shadow Warrior so I'm trying to look into the InterLibrary Loan system. I might be able to get it sent from another city.

Trine Pedersen: That sounds like fun, I'll add it to my list. Thanks for the suggestion!

Posted on Jun 11, 2012, 9:10:53 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 12, 2014, 7:32:32 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012, 12:08:48 PM PDT
JD Goff says:
Do you have a problem with a story that starts with a teen, age 16? The story moves the character forward in age fairly quickly, but starts out with a rite of passage that boys go through at 16, so while the character starts out fairly young, the majority of the story move him to his late teens early twenties fairly quickly.

The reason I ask is I never thought readers really cared about the character's age. I think of Enders Game, by Orson Scott Card, where the main character is a pre-teen. Harry Potter spends the first third of the books as a pre-teen. The success of both of these books led me to believe that readers don't care about the character's age, but your question seems to contradict that assumption.

In fantasy, it seems to be keeping with historyical precedent to have the characters younger than in contemporary fiction. Many early culutres had rites of passage for boys to become men in their eary teens. It was not uncommon in medieval times for a 16 year old male, a person we'd consider a boy still, to have started a family.

So in writing fantasy, I start my characters out young. I never thought it would deter readers, but it seems I may have miscalculated.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012, 7:04:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012, 12:16:14 AM PDT
R Austin says:
DCSr: Thanks for the suggestion! I don't own a Kindle though, so I don't think I can read this.

Jonathan Goff: It depends. I understand what you're saying about historical settings and that's probably why I'm more willing to overlook the ages of characters in historical fiction. For example I enjoyed When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard also by Linda Sue Park, and Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi even though the ages of these characters are much younger than what I'm looking for.
I don't know whether or not most readers care about the age of the characters in books. I might care more than I normally would just because there is such a lack of characters in this age range. I think it's pretty normal to want to read about characters close to your own age. I read Sabriel by Garth Nix, and Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella mostly because these characters were in the age range I'm craving. That doesn't necessarily mean that I won't read books that aren't in this range though. I also care less if I started a series when I was younger. So for instance if Jonathan Stroud writes more Bartimaeus books I'm likely to read them regardless of the main character's age because I liked these when I was younger (this idea can probably be applied to series such as Harry Potter, which a lot of us started as children).
I don't think I would absolutely avoid a book that starts with a teenager and takes place over several years. I read The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and it starts when the main characters is a child and the third one ends with him somewhere in his teens. For the type of story you're describing I'd probably be more likely to skip it simply because the character is male than for the age the character starts off as. I know that's unfair and it didn't even use to matter to me. Because of the lack of characters around my age I've mostly switched from books to videogames, which usually make you play as guys. Male main characters feel very generic and boring to me lately, and I'm carrying that over into my recent book browsing.
So I do care somewhat, and that's why I've rarely been reading lately. When I do get books, it's usually been a random library book out of desperation. With a lot of the young adult books I find myself thinking "I would have liked this better if they were a couple years older". But I haven't connected as well to the adult books I've tried. When I look through books the characters all seem much older than I am, and since I'm not familiar with authors I always get overwhelmed and then basically give up. Right now I'm willing to try anything that's good and "close enough" to what I want.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012, 1:19:14 PM PDT
I like a lot of your favorites, including Robin Hobb's books and the Book Thief. My book, ON A WING AND A DARE, is a fantasy set in medieval Wales. It has a strong female character, winged horses, a love triangle, and conspiracy. On a Wing and a Dare

Posted on Jun 14, 2012, 1:46:23 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 12, 2014, 7:32:17 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 19, 2012, 1:02:44 PM PDT
You might really get into Strange Places (Finding Tayna). The heroine is a strong, cocky chick with a lot of attitude who's just learned that her parents might not be dead after all, so she takes off to find them and ends up in this world of magic. It starts off as contemporary fantasy, (but no elves, vamps, or other formulas) and then crosses into classical magic fantasy. It gets raves from YA readers and adults both, so it fits the bill you're looking for.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012, 3:55:53 AM PDT
LJA says:
Seeing as you liked Harry Potter I would sugest Jim Butchers Codex Alera series The main character starts the series going off to school like HP but at a bit older age. Jim also wrote the Dresden Files series and a slew of short stories.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012, 9:50:51 AM PDT
C. Graber says:
I would suggest The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock. He wrote most of them in the 60's and 70's but they are without a doubt my favorite books/series in the Sword and Sorcery/Fantasy genre. Elric is the perfect anti-hero and the setting is melancholy with a palid sense of doom hanging over the overarching theme of Elric's destiny.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012, 1:10:44 PM PDT
R Austin says:
Linda Ulleseit: I get almost all my books from my library, but good luck with your book!

DCSr: I didn't know that, thanks for telling me. I'll have to look into it. I don't usually buy books though. I use my library for my main source of books.

Jefferson Smith: Good luck with your book. The main character seems to be much younger than what I'm looking for though. I also rarely buy books as I get a lot of books from my library.

LJA: Actually I did not like the Harry Potter books at all, but thanks for the suggestion.

C. Graber: Thank you for the suggestion. I'll check into his books. It is too bad the main character seems to be male from the book description, I really prefer female characters.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012, 2:41:06 PM PDT
LJA says:
Sorry I read too fast I was just skimming the list.
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Initial post:  Jun 8, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 22, 2012

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