Unfortunately, there isn't a manual on how to navigate the adult world. You just have to buckle up and learn on the go. That is not to say there isn't help available and you may not realise it, but help is often found in the most unexpected of places. One of these places, we believe, is fiction for young adults. We put together a list of life-changing stories that offer a world that you don't often come across in adult fiction and maybe, just maybe, they can help you prepare for the next big step.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
'I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.'
It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter and quite a lot of thievery. Set in Germany during World War II, this is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
'Promise me you'll never stop dreaming.'
Josephine Alibrandi is 17 and in her final year at a wealthy girl's Catholic school. This is the year her father returns to her life, the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the truth about her family and the year she finds the identity she has been searching for. This is a must read for any young person.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
'I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.'
Told from the perspective of Charlie through a series of letters, he explains the events that take place in his freshman year at high school. Through Charlie, we read about the scope of adolescent issues: family dynamic, sexuality, first love, drugs and alcohol, romantic relationships and friendships.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
'That's all it took to solve problems - just sense.'
Thirteen year-old Brian Robeson is travelling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present. Although an unlikely scenario, this book at its core, is a story about survival against the odds.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
'She runs. Not away, but toward.'
If you're not the biggest fan of reading, take a look at this one. It takes a unique narrative form, filled with illustrations, emails and transcripts. Plus, it takes place on a spaceship in the year 2575. What can't you love about that?
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
'Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.'
Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old but when kids run away from him in the playground, he doesn't feel ordinary. Born with a facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled for most of his life but now, for the first time, he is going to a real school. This is the ultimate story about accepting someone for who they are underneath it all.