A while ago I wrote a blog post about how I felt too old for YA books and one of the main reasons – besides my literal age – I felt this way was because I could see my tastes changing, I was starting to like books teen-me would have been utterly uninterested in. But, when I took a look at the books I was starting to love I noticed a common theme: while they were all “adult” books a lot of them … still read like the YA stories I loved. So, I thought I would recommend a few of them here for anyone else whose looking to make the jump from YA to Adult.
Before I start I just want to mention that almost all of these books contain mature content like, if they were made into television shows as is they would definitely be TV-MA so please be cautious before picking them up – especially if you are a younger reader, I did intend this post to be for new adults like myself but I know soso many people read above their age level and might be looking for recs so, just be careful ❤️
A Darker Shade of Magic / V.E. Schwab
This post wouldn’t be this post if I didn’t talk about ADSOM – the chances of everyone already having either 1) heard of it or 2) already read it is pretty high but I’m going to include it anyway because ADSOM really is the perfect series for making the jump. Not only is the writing just plain amazing but it has everything anyone could ever want: magic, a badass main female character and really cool world building. What more could you ask for?
The Magicians / Lev Grossman
I read this one so long ago that my brain is kind of fuzzy about all the details but I think this is another really great one, its mature but like college level mature so nothing too graphic but it’s pretty much just Harry Potter if they were in their 20s.
The Queen of the Tearling / Erika Johansen
I’ve seen some people call this series YA and some call it Adult/New Adult-ish and I’m definitely one of the latter, it’s a more mature read but it has a lot of elements that would appeal to anyone whose been reading YA for a while.
(Personally I prefer the second book more than the first as it’s a lot darker and the characters are better but … )
The Secret History / Donna Tartt
The Secret History is definitely one of the more … adult-adult books on this list, it’s very much literary fiction but I don’t think it’s … overly complicated or stuffy. The writing is really good and the characters are intriguing, if you liked How To Get Away With Murder you’ll like this one.
Vicious / V.E. Schwab
If you follow me on literally any social media platform you’ll know I love this book, I adore this book, I would die for it. The writing style, the characters, the plot, the everything it’s so good – two pre-med students give themselves superpowers! ahh! I’m more familiar with Vicious than I am any other book on this list so I’ll say it’s definitely more mature than ADSOM and a BIG content warning for suicide + death scenes and graphic violence
The City of Brass / S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass is so good and I think it’s perfect for the New Adult age range (18-21ish, I don’t actually know how far New Adult goes to be honest), it’s really well written and the characters plus the world building are so developed. It’s got that fast-paced-something-is-always-happening thing that I was talking about in my other YA post.
Station Eleven / Emily St. John Mandel
I wanted to include this one because I really wanted to have a post – end of the world book on here, it’s a genre I loved for a while when I was only reading YA so finding Station Eleven and actually enjoying it meant a lot to me. It’s not a super graphic read despite the genre and focuses a lot more on the people living their lives/society after the apocalypse rather than the action of the world ending itself. Also it’s about a traveling theatre troupe. Big win.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore / Robin Sloan
Mr. Penumbra’s is about a dude who works at a bookstore and also a secret book reading society. That’s all you need to know.
The Night Circus / Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus is another one of my personal faves because I think it’s such a beautiful book but that aside I also think it works really well for anyone trying to jump into literary fiction because the writing is just gorgeous, it just sucks you in, and while it’s mature it doesn’t feel stuffy or boring. You’ll definitely be asking for a movie by the end of it though.
Okay! That’s all the books I have, I hope there’s at least one on this list that interests you enough to help you make the jump into Adult!