With Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy coming to a close,
The 2000s saw an explosion of young adult literature that is still in full swing. YA is one of the most popular genres today, but it also has a longer history than many people imagine. Check out these great young adult novels from 90s, some of which will fill you with nostalgia and some which might be well kept secrets for you to try out now.
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
A dystopian novel about a society that eliminated pain by instituting Sameness, leaving only one person with memories from before the change.
2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The story of Lyra, a young ruffian who sets off to save her kidnapped best friend and finds a surprising, dangerous, and magical world.
3. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
A retelling of Cinderella that focuses on a fairy’s curse as the source of Ella’s problems.
4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The story of a high school girl who becomes selectively mute after an unnamed trauma.
5. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia Wrede
I’m going to have to bust into my otherwise objective list and let you all know that Dealing With Dragons is the best book ever. It’s the story of a princess who doesn’t really like being a princess and so she decides to run away and become a dragon’s princess.
6. Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
While the first two books of this series were published in the 80s, the 90s saw a proliferation of sequels starting with the third in the series, High Wizardry. The books follow Nita and Kit, a pair of teens who discovered a magic how to book and took off on a series of unlikely adventures.
7. Protector of the Small and the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce is a name instantly recognizable by many Millennial women. She wrote fantasy novels with strong female leads and gripping stories, and her influence created many feminists today. If medieval fantasy is your thing, pick up Tamora Pierce.
8. The Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix
Starting with Sabriel, this series focuses on a young necromancer and her quest to become the Abhorsen.
9. The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith
While it’s now a TV series beloved by teenage girls, The Vampire Diaries began with the book The Awakening, published in 1991. Perhaps the first of the vampire craze, the first book is told by Elena Gilbert and Stefan Salvatore, a pair of lovers with a dark (and vampiric) secret.
10. The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Three kidnapped children. Three special detectives. Gang warfare in Zimbabwe. Need I say more?
11. Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks
The book is in the form of the diary of a drug-addicted teen, and Sparks originally said that it was a real diary. It turns out it’s mostly her work, but it’s still a fascinating read.