I am a 20-year-old woman and I love YA novels! Young adult literature has many qualities that make it a universal genre that can draw in an older audience. Complex characterization and plot development, strong social commentary and messages to fight for change are just a few examples.

Below are some YA novels that I feel will have a strong impact on readers of all ages.

The Young Elites series by Marie Lu

In this trilogy, the protagonist is actually the story’s villain. Through her eyes and multifaceted character development we see how she became “evil”—and therefore how our actions and relationships with others can have significant consequences.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Green powerfully grasps how both teens and adults can struggle to understand and accept mental illnesses. His novel promotes tolerance toward those who have illnesses that may be scary and polarizing.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

This novel is a dark reminder of the vulnerability of youth and how teenagers face dangers equal to those that adults face. Teenagers don’t live in a safe bubble all the time, and this book explains how teenagers can grow up much faster than adults may think.