YA books are generally said to be directed at teenagers. But when it comes down to it, there’s very few (YA, not NA) books set in the last 2/7ths of teenagedom, ie after teenagers typically finish school. Having entered this stage myself, I’m finding that these books increasingly appeal to me, and I know plenty of other bloggers in this same stage of life. This post is a list of a few books that do take place after school. Covers link to goodreads/our review if we have one. Also, this is more of a list that can be perused or skimmed through rather than a post, so feel free to just look for certain titles or whatever.
Section one: Love Oz YA
#LoveOzYA does surprisingly well in this division? Maybe I just remember more Australian books that fall into this category? idk.
These books are about Josie, a supremely awkward new uni student who lands an internship at a fashion magazine. It’s very relatable and fun, even though I initially didn’t think I’d like it because fashion isn’t quite my thing. While these books aren’t amazingly written, Josie’s voice and story are intensely compelling.
This is about two teenagers at a loose end, stuck in a small town; they’re done with school but still figuring out what’s next. I didn’t love this book but I liked how it said that uni isn’t the only option.
Kirby, the main character, is sure she doesn’t want to go to university. Like Remind Me How This Ends, it’s set in a small town and focused on two teenagers figuring out what to do after high school. It’s super cute.
Again, the post-high-school angst thing: Words In Deep Blue deals with this perfectly. I think it’s really realistic to have teenagers who work full time??
I haven’t actually read this, but it involves gap years, sassy dialogue, and ghost hunting, so it must be good. Plus Shanti has verified this.
This fantasy that Shanti’s been pestering me to read for ages is about a girl who must leave her proper British boarding school to go to the Old Kingdom, where she’s from, on a desperate quest to save her father.
I adore adore adore this book so much! Cath and her twin sister Wren are in their first year of university. I hope this will guide me when I’m hundreds of kilometres away from my twin sister in university.
It’s a very unique book with 14 perspectives, none of which are the main character, about two college students falling in love. I actually thought it was quite fun to read? I didn’t ship the romance but the style made up for it.
Set in Natalie’s summer between high school and university, this is a twisty magical realism story that basically blew my mind.Also check out that cover like woah.
Like The Love That Split The World, this is in the summer before college starts. Dimple and Rishi are both compelling characters that are easy to root for and smart.
This actually hasn’t come out yet, but it’s set in university, and explores a cross-cultural relationship between two people of East Asian origin (the MC is Taiwanese, and I think the love interest is Japanese?). It’s also about family and immigrant culture and sounds rather fun.
I think Emika is actually a dropout, but she’s older than Lu’s characters in the Legend and the Young Elites series, and I’d argue her lifestyle is more like someone who’s finished school, as are the themes of the book. I didn’t love Warcross, but I do want to find out what happens in the sequel.
Is it YA?
It’s definitely on the older end of YA books. Personally, I find myself connecting most to characters in their last year or just out of school as I get older. Like, I’m not 14 anymore and don’t really want to relive that through books? The transition from YA to adult books is gradual, as themes change and the plot and issues characters grapple with change. At some point, post-high school books aren’t YA, but I’d say all of these ones are.
We Need Diverse Books emphasise how important it is for children and young people to see themselves in the books they read. But seeing yourself isn’t just about characters of your race and sexuality, I’d say. It’s also about characters who are dealing with the same kind of decisions and thoughts and experiences as you are. Post-high school life is very different from high school life, and we need more books like these that reflect this. You don’t cease to be a young adult after getting a high school diploma, and there are so many people who can still connect to YA even when they’re older. I hope they’ll help me as I get ready to be an adult (but also no because urgh).
Can you add to my list? (please, please do. I need recommendations!) What books do you read that are set in your stage of life? (be in adult, 14-year-old, or something in between :D)