Where She Went by Gayle Forman is one of the most highly anticipated Young Adult publications this year. The sequel to the acclaimed If I Stay was never supposed to happen, but author Gayle Forman couldn’t get the characters Mia and Adam out of her head. The first book, narrated by Mia after she is in a fatal car accident with her family, deals with the emotional and psychological trauma of losing her family. In Where She Went, Adam must come to terms with his own grief.
When Forman writes, she perfectly embodies her characters. Their voices are wholly unique and so well-written you feel as if you know them personally. The best part is, they act and sound just like real teenagers and young adults do. There are a lot of YA books published recently that also feature narrators that will remind you of the teenagers you know in the real world.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman – It would be impossible to write a list about well-written teenage protagonists without including the prequel to Where She Went, If I Stay. Mia’s story is tragic, but Mia herself is never a tragic character. The story is really about Mia and her relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King – Has there ever been a teen narrator as candid and realistic as Vera Dietz? What I loved best about this novel though was the relationship between Vera and her father. Parents often get a bad rap in Young Adult relationships, or they’re perfect, or they’re disturbingly absent. The father-daughter relationship in Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the most realistic one I’ve come across recently.
All You Get is Me by Yvonne Printz – Young Adult novels often tackle “Issues”, but not all of them do it well. All You Get is Me is one that succeeds, by tackling young love and undocumented workers in the same breath.