There are so many books and series that shape young readers’ minds. As timeless as many books feel, it is hard to believe that they age along with us.
These are nine young adult books turning twenty (yes, twenty!) this year. Take a great trip down memory lane with us to re-live the magic and wonder that these books brought to us over the years.
9 Young Adult Books Turning 20 This Year
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—J. K. Rowling
Likely one of the first young adult book series most of us read, the Harry Potter series’ fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, came out twenty years ago this year. This book follows Harry and his classmates as he competes in the Triwizard Tournament against two other wizarding schools’ champions.
2. Stargirl—Jerry Spinelli
This young adult book tells the story of Leo Borlock and Stargirl, a new girl at his school. Stargirl was homeschooled her entire life, but starts attending Leo’s school in the tenth grade. Standing out from the crowd, she is ridiculed by the popular crowd for everything that makes her different. The book is an excellent look at popularity’s dangers in young adult life.
3. Esperanza Rising—Pam Muñoz Ryan
I can remember getting this young adult book for my 10th birthday and really enjoying it. The book follows Esperanza, a young woman from a wealthy family in Mexico who has to flee with her mother during the Great Depression to California, where they settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Throughout the book, Esperanza and her mother’s new life is threatened, and she must learn to rise above it.
4. The Amber Spyglass—Philip Pullman
The third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy from Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass is a young adult book that tells the story of Will and Lyra, the protagonists from The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. Will is tasked with delivering the knife from the second book to Lord Asriel, but can only do so by finding Lyra, who has gone missing. The book is an excellent end to the young adult trilogy.
5. The Wide Window—Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events is still one of my favorite book series I read as a young adult (I still do a re-read every couple of years). The Wide Window is the third book in the series, telling the story of the Baudelaire children as they go to live with a long-lost relative on the edge of a cliff, continuously trying to escape Count Olaf.
6. The Miserable Mill—Lemony Snicket
Another excellent book, The Miserable Mill is the fourth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. The book continues the Baudelaire’s story, now working at a lumber mill in Paltryville. As before, Count Olaf is constantly in pursuit of them, showing up in the book where they least expect him.
7. The Austere Academy—Lemony Snicket
The fifth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events and the last of the young adult series to come out twenty years ago, The Austere Academy is one of my favorites of the series. Due to their previous misfortunes, the Baudelaire children are now attending a preparatory school where they meet the Quagmire triplets, their first true allies in the series.
8. The Princess Diaries—Meg Cabot
The inspiration for the Anne Hathaway movie of the same name, it’s hard to believe that the book The Princess Diaries is already twenty years old. In the book, Mia Thermopolis is a freshman in high school who learns that her dad is the crown prince of Genovia, turning her life completely upside down. Although it varies from the movie in some ways, the young adult book is an excellent read.
9. Dreamland—Sarah Dessen
I can remember reading many of Sarah Dessen’s young adult books when I was in middle and high school. Published twenty years ago, Dreamland was one of my favorite books by Dessen. Caitlin starts going out with Rogerson Biscoe, but it seems like everything is a dream. When she’s with him, she forgets about her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, and anything else. But then being with him becomes a bigger problem than being without him.
Are there any young adult books turning twenty that we didn’t list that you enjoy? Let us know in the comments!