Saturday, April 23, 2011

YA for Those Who Don't Read YA - Chick Lit Edition

I keep giving people in my life books to read. And most of those people do not typically read YA. However, the great thing about YA is that it's a huge, multi-faceted genre with plenty of sub-genres for readers who are usually more inclined to pick up a different sort of book.

So to start out, books for those who love:

Chick-Lit/Women's Fiction - Chick Lit gets a bad rap, mostly because of articles like this that consider it a "lesser" book genre. But hey, guess what other genre gets a bad rap? THAT'S RIGHT! OUR BELOVED YA! With the idea that it's all paranormal love triangles and glossy headless-girl covers, both Chick Lit and YA are bestselling underdogs (hooray for paradoxes!) of the literary world.

And when the two meet it's pretty awesome. So, for those Chick-Lit-inclined readers in your life, here are some great choices from the little sister genre of YA.

1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes & The Last Little Blue Envelope
Maureen Johnson
Though she also writes some paranormal and fantasy, many of MJ's books have a decidedly chick-lit-adventure twist. For example 13 Little Blue Envelopes and its recently-published (and totally worthy) sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope. The books follow Ginny Blackstone as she navigates Europe guided by letters left to her by a recently-deceased and incredibly-whimsical aunt. While there's a nice dose of romance here, the story is primarily focused on Ginny's humor-infused journey around a foreign land. (And, if I do say so myself, the sequel is even better than the first.)

2. The Ruby Oliver Novels
E. Lockhart
Ruby Oliver is cute, funny, quirky, obsessive, and a little bit off her rocker. The anxiety-suffering heroine begins her four-book series when, after her boyfriend dumps her for her (now ex-) best friend, she's sent to a shrink who tells her to list all the boys she's ever liked. And so The Boyfriend List is born, along with the enchanting adventures of a girl who doesn't ever seem to realize how awesome she is to those around her.

3. Sean Griswold's Head
Lindsey Leavitt
In a lot of ways, this is the best sort of Chick Lit book. It's sweet, funny, and warm-hearted. It has a truly nice cast of characters, from the girl trying to deal with her dad's MS by focusing on, yeah, the head of the boy who sits in front of her in math class, to the boy (Sean Griswold) who happens to be attached to the head, to the family going through a tough time. I feel like this is a book that many will pass by just because it's a bit quieter, a bit less stand-outish than others -- but trust me, it's well worth reading. 

4. The Lonely Hearts Club
Elizabeth Eulberg
Beatles-infused and delightfully full of girl-power and strong female friendships, this is the story of what happens after, when the love of her life breaks her heart, Penny Lane swears off guys and starts a girls-only club committed to being strong and happy without boyfriends. And the description -- trust me -- does not do the book justice. There's real heart here, along with a heroine that you can't help but cheer on as she fills her life with the best people around and tries to find a balance between love, friendship, and self.

5. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
Carolyn Mackler
Don't let the title or the cover fool you; this book is well-deserving of its Printz Honor. Virginia is an extremely realistic character who struggles with weight, family, and her own perception of herself and those around her. Though lighthearted in tone, there are some bigger issues at play in this novel and they're handled exceptionally well.


  1. All of these are on my TBR list..especially the Maureen Johnson and E. Lockhart books! It's really unfortunate that chick lit gets such a bad rap...there is some really intelligent, wonderful chick lit out there! And I mean, there is bad in every genre! BOO to the writer of that article.

  2. I recently purchased 13 Little Blue Envelopes. I read the Mackler book and the first Ruby book from Lockhart. I'd also like to read the other novels. I enjoy chick-lit and the books are usually deeper than people think.

  3. Jamie
    It really is. There's some great chick-lit out there and I don't read much of it in the adult genre (because I primarily read YA), but I've read some really great books. Ally Carter's Cheating at Solitaire comes to mind.

    Medeia Sharif
    Totally agree. And after you read 13LBE you should really pick up the sequel; IMO it's even better than the first.

  4. I love YA chick lit even better than adult chick lit! Great list. I've read a few of these and plan to read the others soon. :)

  5. Ghenet
    Honestly I haven't read a ton of adult chick lit but I've really liked most of what I've read.