Adult Book Recs for YA Readers

March 18, 2014 2014, discussion post, K. 94

adult book recs for ya readers

Do you ever get tired of reading young adult literature? Haha! Just kidding, that was obviously a joke. Sometimes it’s just nice to switch it up a bit, so this month, we’re recommending adult books that are an easy transition for YA readers.

We’ve taken several YA books and have done our best to pair them up with similarly styled or themed “more mature” novels written for adult audiences. If you haven’t or don’t often read adult novels, this is a great introduction. And if you do but have been left uninspired (hence your obvious pursuit of refuge in YA), perhaps there may be a couple of titles here you’d like to try out. This is a list of some of our favorite adult books that we think YA readers will thoroughly enjoy.

Without further ado…


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K.’s Adult Recs

March Faves 1 Untitled



Notes from K.:

My adult recommendations are three of my favorite adult novels. When I first read the Song of Ice and Fire series and the Fever series, I was swept off my feet. Powerful and so entertaining, I could not force these books enough on other readers I knew. I’m still obsessed with them, so naturally I found myself finding their YA counterparts so I could recommend them to an even broader audience. These are not small, unknown works of literature. They are, in fact, among the most popular. But just in case you hadn’t gotten around to them, here they are!


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Kate’s Adult Recs



Notes from Kate:

High fantasy is one of my favorite genres, but I get really bummed out by the lack of female characters who are strong but still feminine. As soon as you step outside YA, women in fantasy novels tend to lose their agency. I mentioned this to Marie Lu when I had that lunch with her, and she recommended that I try out Jacqueline Carey’s books. And she was right. The main character, Phedre, grows over the course of the trilogy from a child in training to be a prostitute (there is sex in this book, but not the erotica kind), to a spoiled courtesan, to one of the most powerful women in the world. And her love interest, Joscelin, out-does even Hector when it comes to being a kind, sexy, stoic soldier.


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Kim’s Adult Recs

feedrec fifthwaverec divinersrec


Notes from Kim:

My recommendations aren’t necessarily a one-for-one match, but they do correlate strongly to the most important themes or feel of the respective book. The Passage is different enough from The 5th Wave, but if you loved the “post-apocalyptic waste land run amok with deadly supernatural creatures” in The 5th Wave, you’ll enjoy The Passage, which is actually a lot more complex. The Diviners and The Golem and the Jinni are probably the most dissimilar of my recommendations, but I’m certain anyone who enjoys one will enjoy the other. Golem is a slow moving, yet fantastical story; it takes its time gathering the many strands of the ensemble cast together, and has just the right tinge of horror. At its heart, though, it is a beautifully written love story weaving themes of isolation, identity, free will, and desire against the backdrop of 1899 New York. I really just want everyone to read The Golem and the Jinni. Don’t make me beg you.


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Wendy’s Adult Recs

anne wyckerley false pawn graceling tearling heartsick killers little snow child more than legend naked werewolves partial parasites shadow affinity unwind handmaids va chicagoland kate wonder wolves


Notes from Wendy: 

Our adult recommendations often (obviously) contain adult situations, so please be mindful if you’re using these suggestions as a segue for teens. Feel free to ask us about specific mature content if you’re curious!

If you’re considering Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter, please be aware that the series MUST be read in order since there are crazy things that happen that you don’t want spoiled. (Same for Chicagoland Vamps, so be sure to avoid reviews past the first book!) It’s also a bit confusing since two separate series eventually combine into one, but I’ve written the order in which they should be enjoyed here on my Blindsighted review. Also, a couple of the books I recommended are sadly out of print–but I personally think they’re well worth seeking out.


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You have got here a very long and comprehensive list. Have you read any of these books, or do you plan to? Now that you have our recs, tell us yours! Until next month!

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94 Responses to “Adult Book Recs for YA Readers”

  1. Lisa Rathbun

    What great suggestions! Now I’ll have to go over to Goodreads and start clicking “Want to Read” on a whole bunch!

  2. Darith L.

    Ready Player One, Parasite, and Stardust! I need to read these! I’ve heard so many good things about RPO, and I’ve come close to buying Stardust a couple of times now. :D

  3. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    I’ve been reading more adult fiction recently! It’s what I used to read, but it dropped off a lot when I started blogging. Reading books about people closer to my age? CRAZY! Some of these recs I love – FEVERRRRRRRRR, Naked Werewolves among them. I plan to read The Queen of the Tearling soon and The Golem and the Jinni is also on my TBR now. Several of these I need to research more! LOVE this post, ladies.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…An Empty Mind is a Safe Mind Blog Tour + Giveaway Fact or Fiction in the Russia of Sekret

  4. Tammy

    I want to read ALL OF THESE BOOKS. The Handmaid’s Tale and The Taming of the Forest King in particular are on my books to read asap. I’ve also heard the loveliest of things about The Snow Child – a book which has been sitting on my shelves for ages.

    Ooh, also, I highly recommend The Golem and The Djinni and The Night Circus (if you haven’t read it yet) Those are two of my favs and blend a combination of fantasy and magic realism; The Night Circus in a particularly spectacular way, while Golem and The Djinni had more of an earthy and Arabian Nights feel to it. ;)

  5. Johannah

    Well drat, darn, dangnabit! *jumps up and down in frustration * in April I planned doing something just like this for my epic recs partner. No lie I have my first ˝since you like this….you’re going to love these…” post scheduled. April 3rd. I was all excited because I did my research to find ones that matched books she had read and liked and I thought she’d like to read that were similar. I also thought it’d help others find books they would be interested in.

    Anywho, I’ve read game of thrones so I think my next book should be the falling kingdom. And loved, love kick add heroines. I like a girl that doesn’t. Have to relay on a guy to take care of herself. I love those kind of lead characters.
    Johannah recently posted…Top Ten Most Intimidating Books!

  6. Sarah J

    I love the DoSaB trilogy and I’ve been dying to read the Fever books. Since they are similar in being enticing I’ll definitely hunt them down harder.

    I’ve seen Fortune’s Pawn drifting around on GR occasionally but I thought it was YA. I love Molly Harper! I sadly haven’t read the Naked Werewolf books. I love her style of comedy in the Jane Jameson books. If you haven’t read those I suggest giving the first one a shot it’s pretty fun and mindless fun. Affinity looks interesting. What’s the main concept of it, Wendy? I’ve wanted to read the Chicagoland and Kate Daniels books for a while. I didn’t know you read the Kate Daniels books! If I were to choose out of those two series which to read first which one should I read?
    Sarah J recently posted…The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

  7. Amber

    I loved this post! Super thought out! Thank you for adding a few more books to my ever growing TBR list!

  8. Elizabeth

    I’m so glad to see Kushiel’s Dart on this list! I LOVED that series! I was also surprised at a lot of the adult books I’ve read – I think I’ve just started assuming if I’ve read it, it’s a YA book haha

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, I know that feeling completely. :P Kate’s been raving about KUSHIEL’S DART since she read it a few months ago, and I really need to give those a try soon. They sound fantastic.

  9. Sashana

    I’ve never heard of the Fallen Kingdoms series but if it is comparable in awesomeness to Game of Thrones then I absolutely must get my hands on a copy ASAP! Great recs ladies!

    • K.

      I liked the Falling Kingdoms series enough — not as impressed because I think the writing is a little more juvenile than I prefer — but of course, I can’t assume everyone is going to have the same reaction as me. Anyway, it is quite similar to GOT so I think if you’re into that kind of thing, Falling Kingdoms might be right up your alley. Enjoy — I hope ;)

  10. Paige G

    Love these recs! I’ll probably end up doing a reversal on some of these. I’ve read Game of Thrones, but now I think I need to check out the Falling Kingdoms series!

    • K.

      The series do have similar themes, etc but I hope you’re not expecting the same calibre – haha! I don’t many books can compete with GOT at all.

  11. Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    Oooh… Falling Kingdoms compared to Game of Thrones? Reeeaalllyyy…. might have to check this out then. I’ve been eyeing Kushiel’s Dart for years now but have yet to pick it up. Haven’t picked up Girl of Fire & Thorns either but both sound fantastic. Well, flipping it around, I loved Ready Player One so apparently I should check out Feed. And The Diviner’s is a favorite and The Golem and the Jinni does look fabulous. Admittedly, I’ve always laughed at those Naked Werewolf books but comparing it to Hex Hall may have changed my mind. You are spot on with the Unwind/Wither vs. The Handmaid’s Tale comparison. I just read The Handmaid’s Tale and wow. Absolutely fantastic recs guys, thank you for this! :)
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Audiobook Review – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    • Kate Bond

      Kushiel’s Dart and Girl of Fire & Thorns are both excellent. As is FEED–in fact, I just loaned my copy of FEED to a friend today because EVERYONE HAS TO READ IT.

      • Wendy Darling

        Wait, do you mean Mira Grant’s FEED? Because Bonnie’s read that already, so I think she’s talking about the FEED that Kim suggested.

    • Wendy Darling

      Those dumb cartoony covers for Naked Werewolf turned me off for years. YEARS! I finally read them last month, though, and they are hilarious. You’ll love them, Bonnie–save them for a day when you need a good laugh. And a sexy werewolf. :D

      HANDMAID is spectacular–I’m so glad you read it.

      Oh, and one caveat re: K’s rec of the Falling Kingdoms series, because I know you’re picky about fantasy–I think K liked, but didn’t necessarily love those books? I remember 3 star ratings on her TMG reviews.

    • K.

      Which one haven’t you read, Bonnie? GOT or Falling Kingdoms? People marketed Falling Kingdoms as the YA version of GOT. I think a better book could’ve been written but a lot of people did like it. So if you like high fantasy, Falling Kingdoms might do the trick.

    • Wendy Darling

      Of course! Karin Slaughter is fantastic, I wish she were better known. There are so many bestselling male thriller writers, but I think there are women thriller writers who are much better.

      And please, it’s a small thing to come up with this list, considering how many amazing books I’ve discovered from you. <3

    • Kate Bond

      I think they may be my favorite, too, because they both grow SO much over the course of that series. It really is just brilliantly done. When I think about those books I feel warm inside, like how you feel when you snuggle a sleepy puppy. If that makes sense.

      I didn’t like the trilogy about Imriel as much, though, and I’m holding off on reading the final trilogy because Phedre isn’t in it.

  12. Carina Olsen

    Amazing list you guys. <3 Thank you all so much for sharing :D I have yet to read an adult book. And I'm not ready yet. Sigh. But Game of Thrones! I will be reading those someday. As I love the show, hih. You didn't mention Lord of the Rings, but those are another set of adult books that I know that I will be reading someday, hih ;p But anyway. Thank you for sharing about all of these books :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #127

    • Kate Bond

      I didn’t recommend Lord of the Rings because enough people have seen the movies that it doesn’t even occur to me anymore. Ha.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m glad you enjoyed them! And ooo, I’ll have to come visit your DOROTHY review when I’ve had a chance to write mine. It was supposed to go up this week, but I ended up not feeling great, so I had to push it back.

  13. Tracey

    I own a few of these books and a few are on my wishlist. I love this post. I always make sure to pass through the adult section when I’m at my local bookstore. My adult pick would be Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s a stunning read. The movie is good too.

    • Wendy Darling

      YESSSSS. I loved the film NEVER LET ME GO, and I keep meaning to read the book as well–it’s one of the few that has made my husband cry. There’s a YA book that correlates to that one, but I can’t think of what it is at the moment! Ugh, this is going to drive me crazy until I remember.

    • K.

      Oh yes, I thought Never Let Me Go was brilliant. I’m going to buy the book soon and hopefully it gives me the same feeling as the movie. I’ve heard some not so good reviews however…hmmm…still giving it a shot though!

  14. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Very awesome list! I really agree with The Golem and The Jinni… I read that one last year and it was utter amazeballs. I loved the writing, the symbolisms, the characters, the lessons, and the way the reader also goes into deep philosophical thinking alongside the characters. It’s something that I recommend being discussed in literature class.

    I Am Legend is also awesome, so I recommend it as well. I remember reading it page by page, and when I got to the end, I felt my heart sank to the floor. You really feel the bleakness and grimness and hopelessness in the story </3

    I don't think I've checked out the rest, but I'll surely look them up in the future! Awesome post, ladies <3 xoxo
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead – LOKI LOKI LOKI LOKI

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, that will make Kim very happy! I think you’re the first one who’s mentioned that she’s read GOLEM.

      I loved I AM LEGEND. We listened to it as an audiobook a couple of summers ago and it was utterly fascinating, and the whole time he’s all by himself! Such fantastic writing, you’re totally right, he sets up the mood so well.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, good! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was definitely fun to put together–I mean, obviously. I have like a zillion recs up there.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m glad you liked the post! We already had a couple of people ask that this be a recurring feature, so you might see it again down the road. These types of correlations are really helpful to me, too.

    • K.

      Maybe it’s fate telling you you should pick up one of these titles already :)

  15. Lucy

    Love your recs! I’ve had my eye on The Snow Child, Feed and Fortune’s Pawn, and it’s helpful to see their YA cousins. I think I have the Naked Werewolf audio and it does sound so fun! Bookmarking this post and hope you continue this feature :)
    Lucy recently posted…Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington Audiobook Review

    • Kate Bond

      Of the ones you mentioned, I will say that I am personally a HUGE fan of both FEED and Fortune’s Pawn. They are genuinely lovely and wonderful, and the main characters are so strong and real and complex. They’re also super accessible, science fiction-wise.

  16. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I’ve been meaning to read the Fever series for a really long time, maybe I’ll read it soon. I think I’m going on a YA break. It seems lately like all the YAs I read, I hate. YAs that had a lot of good reviews too, like Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I guess I’ve read so much YA that everything starts becoming boring or predictable (or irritable in the cases of instalove, lol).
    Anyways, great post ladies! I needed this :)
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…{GIF} Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

    • K.

      I know exactly what you mean, Marianne and actually, I think this is the best thing to do right now if you’ve been feeling uninspired. I think Fever will definitely get you out of your funk. I was CONSUMED by that book. Absolutely and completely consumed. I could not think straight it blew my mind so bad.

      YA can feel so redundant and tedious sometimes because it seems they’re all the same. And so many of them are so bad and inadequate that when you have the ill luck of hitting one bad one after another, you feel like there’s no originality left in the world. Anyway, take your break and try one of these adult recs and come back new and fresh.

  17. Brittany T

    What a fabulous idea ladies!! I’ll try one although I have not read “the night circus” yet many say “the museum of extraordinary things” is along some of the same lines. I hope I did that right. So clever girls!

    • K.

      Ooh, Brittany. The Night Circus is another book I impulsively bought a copy of and I haven’t gotten around to it — it must have been about a year :S I’m so intrigued except now I’m hearing not so fabourable reviews…

      • Kate Bond

        I have thoughts about The Night Circus. I would probably not recommend it to YA readers just because the romance is kind of weak. It has some nice diversity, though.

    • Kate Bond

      Wendy bought me Tell the Wolves I’m Home for Christmas, and I haven’t read it yet because I haven’t been in the mood to sob uncontrollably so far this year.

      Chicagoland Vampires is SUCH a great series. Really a lot of fun–especially if you like Chicago. I have the latest one on my Kindle, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

  18. Nikki @ Foil the Plot

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post and these are amazing suggestions! Prior to becoming a blogger, I primarily only read adult novels so it’s nice to get back into the groove every once in a while. Plus I totally dig the shout-out that there’s more to reading than just the YA genre!

    I’ve actually crafted a similar feature on my blog where I play match-maker between books and movies, because I think it’s really important to expand our horizons when it comes to reading and other types of entertainment. So I really appreciate these suggestions. Thanks for being so awesome, girls!

    • K.

      I’m the same as you Nikki. I only really read adult novels (even when I was teen) and then I fell into young adult. It was like tasting freedom because I just finished university so being able to read such easy, fun, and guilt pleasure reads without having to write a paper on it…hallelujah!

      But I do love adult and my taste buds are not satisfied unless I read them here and there, haha. I love your book to movie ideas. Are they adaptations or sort of what we did here where they may parallel plot, theme or style?

      • Nikki @ Foil the Plot

        EXACTLY! Although, as much as I adore YA, I do think I’m reading a bit too much of it these days. I’ve got to find a good balance between adult fiction and YA fiction.

        So yeah, my feature basically takes a specific book and I’ll recommend movies that share similar themes/styles of said book. Occasionally I’ll recommend adaptations too. I really wanted it to be an interactive feature where people can say “Hey, I loved X , what movies would you suggest I watch that are like that book?” I also will post a movie and recommend books that remind me of that movie as well. It can go either way. My latest pairing was movies like the book Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

        • Wendy Darling

          Oh, that’s an awesome idea, Nikki! I look forward to seeing that.

          And yeah, I find myself reading more and more adult fiction these days, too.

  19. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I love adult books! Rachel Gibson is my favorite contemporary author. I just read a book by Candis Terry and it was really good too.
    I have the Fever series on my TBR.
    I love the Chicagoland series!
    And to add a recommendation in the UF genre, Richelle Mead’s adult Georgina Kincaid series is AMAZING! My favoritest series ever :)
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (1): Spring TBR!

    • K.

      I haven’t heard of those authors Nereyda! Thanks for the recommendations.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I liked the Georgie books, too! I’m one of the weirdos who liked the Dark Swan series more, though. In no small part because Dorian reminds me of a grown-up Adrian, without the alcohol and cigarettes.


    • K.

      You’re welcome Pili. I love that you’ve read GOT and Fever because those are not light reads at all. I consider them minor accomplishments, haha :)

      • Pili

        Since I read them all on my Kindle app I didn’t realize how much of an accomplishment they were till I saw all the GoT books at a bookstore! I’m glad I saved my poor arms the effort of balancing those heavy books while reading in bed!! ;)
        Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #34!!

  20. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Very cool recommendations there! I definitely agree with the Partials -> Parasite, I love both books. While I couldn’t stand The 5th wave, I must say that The passage is a perfect adult version. A song of ice and fire is magnificent :)

    I think I would also recommend Juliet Marillier with her fantasy books. Her books are pitched as adult, but I think that the writing-style is very similar to YA books :)
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Top 10 Tuesday 31. Spring list.

    • K.

      I think Marillier’s style is arguably adult but I’ve seen enough people refer to Heart’s Blood as ya so I felt comfortable categorizing it as. Not sure about her other books. I definitely want to read more of her, though. She’s a fantastic writer.

    • Kate Bond

      I feel the same way re: 5th Wave, which was not my cup of tea, and The Passage, which I think is an impossibly perfect book. They line up together in a way I would never have thought about. That Kim’s a clever one.

    • Wendy Darling

      Excellent! It’s funny, some people who like Mira Grant didn’t like PARTIALS at all, so I felt somewhat vindicated when we had the author on earlier this year saying that she really liked Dan Wells’ book.

  21. Lindsey

    Stardust has been on my wish list ever since I saw the movie (EPIC).

    Thanks for the great recs ladies! I’ll definitely be trying out: Tell the Wolves I’m Home and The Snow Child! :)
    Lindsey recently posted…The Hype Monster

    • K.

      I’ve loved Stardust ever since I first read it in high school. I didn’t even know Neil Gaiman then. It was only a few years later that I learned he’s a big deal :/ I thought the movie did a good job in translating it to screen.

      I bought a copy of Snow Child. Need to get to it soon haha.

  22. Amir

    I read both Adult and YA books but I love this post! It’s a great way for readers to broaden their horizon and try another genre. I don’t think I’ve read any of the recommended books on here and will be adding most of them to my TBR. I’ve been meaning to read the Fever series for the longest time. Maybe I’ll try it on audio. And the Naked Warewolf series sounds cute and as a lover of fluff I will def check it out :)
    Amir recently posted…{Cover Reveal} Kendare Blake’s Mortal Gods

    • K.

      That’s the idea, Amir! I love adult books but I think generally it’s just easier and funner to read ya. Grrr!! Please try the Fever series. It will not disappoint. I was blown away. Far away.

    • K.

      Well then Sara this is a great introduction to adult literature! At least you know that these books include some of the things you already like in ya. It should ease you into the genre nicely. Fingers crossed :)

  23. Andrea @ Bookish

    I LOVE YA literature, but sometimes it is nice to have a mix of Adult literature in there, too. I’ve read a couple of these – really loved A Handmaid’s Tale.

    My favorite adult author is by far Sherrilyn Kenyon. She writes amazing stories if you love mythology and fantasy/paranormal. However, her books MUST be read in chronological order. I mean, you can read them out of order, but like Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter you’ll ruin some amazing plot twists and surprises!
    Andrea @ Bookish recently posted…Chemical Reaction Tour by Christina Thompson [Excerpt & Giveaway]

    • K.

      When I started reading ya it was like a downward spiral haha! It was all I did. Still do. But now I’d like to get back into adult books and this post is really giving me inspiration. I hope it did the same with you.

    • Wendy Darling

      HANDMAID is such a classic, isn’t it? I recently listened to the audiobook as a reread and was struck all over again by the author’s prose. So, so good.

      Thanks for the rec on Sherrilyn Kenyon, too! I think that might’ve been the author that Tonya and Leigh Bardugo were talking about in our convo last year.

  24. Joy (Joyousreads)

    This list just killed my resolve to not buy any books this week. Whelp.

    I’m reading Tell the Wolves right now. I’m NOT looking forward to getting destroyed but it looks like I’m heading that way. Also. Feed my Mira Grant. Ugh. I need to read those. I don’t know why I’m steering clear.

    Game of Thrones series has been a dream of mine to read. Yes, a dream. Because it certainly looks like I’ll have to quit my job, pack the kids and husband for a long vacation and basically not sleep a wink before I can read those books.

    Awesome list, ladies.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

    • K.

      Take your time with GOT. Sometimes it takes me a month.

      I should read Tell The Wolves but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Mira Grant too, I don’t know why it’s taken me so long. And ah not buying. Only if it were that easy!

    • Wendy Darling

      Jooooy. I can’t wait to read your review of TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME. I have never been able to find the words for one myself. :(

  25. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    I absolutely love Molly Harper. The Naked Werewolf series was so good, funny and sexy. That’s a great recommendation. I actually tried the Game of Thrones book because I’m a huge fan of tv series but got intimidated by its size. The book itself was very interesting, though. I just feel like it’s going to take me forever to finish it. I think I’m giving it another try. I’m definitely trying The Passage and Kushiel’s Dart! Thanks for the awesome recs!

    • K.

      I’m interested to read the Naked Werewolf series. Ive never heard of it but it sounds like a good time. Don’t be afraid of GOT! It’s a masterpiece. Take it slow. Take your time. It’s so worth it.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay, I’m glad you loved the Naked Werewolf series, too! I only recently read it, and I laughed my way throughout the whole thing.

    • K.

      That’s great Natalie! That means there’s something for you to read Iin each one :)