Crossover YA Books That Will Appeal to Adult Fans

by - February 04, 2020

The words "YA novel" and "adult novel" might conjure some stereotypes in your head, but the truth is that these categories are very broad... and mainly used as marketing. Sure, YA novels and adult novels may have different styles, audiences, and content thresholds, but that doesn't mean that they can't overlap! It's not about your age as a reader. It's just about your taste... and finding a book that fits you.

There are adult novels with teen protagonists and YA novels with 18-year-old protagonists. If you want to check out some YA but prefer something more mature, then check out these novels. They might convince you to give the category a try.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her. 
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Warning: this is not a happy story. This book will hurt you. Sure, it's a horror novel, a dystopia, but this is nothing like The Hunger Games or Divergent. I'd call it Lord of the Flies meets Annihilation, except that it's better than Lord of the Flies. The prose is wicked, the violence is visceral, and the girls are raw and real. The close female friendships (and romance!) might take you back to your school days, but their painful story is not something you'd wish on anyone.

Wilder Girls doesn't pull its punches on anything: the gore, the emotional turmoil, the broken relationships, the tragedy. And that ending was just... I think it's one of the bravest endings in YA. It doesn't treat its teen characters as fragile kids, even if they are broken. It treats them like the warriors they are, clawing tooth and nail every day just to survive.

[Add it on Goodreads]

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . 
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
This is one book that deserves all its hype. Six of Crows has it all: a fast-paced, smart plot; complex and lovable yet flawed characters; distinct worldbuilding; and a gorgeous writing style that will keep you reading just for more. Morally gray criminals are commonplace in fantasy, but these protagonists go much further than what you'd expect. Even I was surprised at the ruthlessness of the protagonist's actions (though I do love him, because I love evil characters).


If you're immersed in the YA community, then you might be familiar with the argument that Six of Crows shouldn't be labeled YA at all, that it's more Adult. Well, I disagree. I think it still counts as YA. But that gives you all the proof you need, dear adult fan!

[Add it on Goodreads]

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. 
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all. 
Serpent and Dove is a romantic fantasy at heart. Honestly, it felt more like a category romance than a fantasy novel, so take that in mind. It's action-filled and romantic, full of lovable characters and distinct dynamics. It's also got an explicit smut scene. So there, all the proof you need ;)

[Add it on Goodreads]


The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. 
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
This is probably the best historical fiction I've ever read. It's raunchy, hilarious, wickedly fun, and incredibly sweet. Monty isn't your average YA hero, though he is historical-genre appropriate. He's an ultra flirtatious bisexual disaster who drinks too much, sleeps around, and is secretly in love with his best friend. Not only is this novel a thrilling account of enjoyable adventure, it's also actually quite complex. The character (and relationship) development is off the charts. It unflinchingly tackles racism, sexism, homophobia, savior complexes, and class privilege... but in a way that is believable and true to the time period. I feel like a lot of historical fiction selectively glosses over these, but Mackenzi Lee manages to balance both the heaviness of social issues with the sheer hilarity and romance of Monty, Percy, and Felicity's last hurrah around Europe.

[Add it on Goodreads]

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? 
Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
This is a slow burn dark fantasy full of court intrigue. Xifeng wants to be empress, so she'll attain it at all costs. This includes but is not limited to: manipulating and using the courtiers, abandoning her lover to pursue the emperor, kill her opposition, and eat raw hearts to strengthen her power. The author also portrays Xifeng's abusive aunt quite starkly; she's so clearly evil, and Xifeng has suffered her entire life, and yet she can't shake off the trauma or the fact that she still loves her aunt. There are no easy resolutions to her inner turmoil. This isn't a clear cut morality tale that tells its teen audience what to think or believe in. Dao's novel is exquisite.

[Add it on Goodreads]

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel. 
Now for something more lighthearted and whimsical! An Enchantment of Ravens is pure magic. If you like Dianna Wynn Jones and Ghibli movies then you'll adore Margaret Rogerson. This book is quite... soft and sweet compared to the previous ones on this list, but it isn't less valid. In fact, it's the ultimate feel good light romantic fantasy. Sure, the male love interest can be immature at times, but the female protagonist absolutely has her shit together, and is truly passionate about her love for art. This book is really wholesome, and it would appeal to anyone of all ages, really. I think adult fans would also appreciate its confidence in its own slow pace.

[Add it on Goodreads]

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson 

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. 
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Another Rogerson book because I really am a fan of her work. Rogerson writes with a timeless brilliance. Sorcery of Thorns will appeal to any bookworm, because the protagonist's love for books is relatable and real. But more than anything else, this novel came out when I had just graduated college and felt immensely lost. It mirrored my experiences (albeit through fantasy). Elisabeth has to survive outside of her childhood bubble, learns that all she thought she knew about the world is actually wrong, and realizes that everything she thought she wanted to become wasn't suited for her... and that's fine. Because she just had to experience the world to find herself.

[Add it on Goodreads]


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
Okay, I'm cheating because ACOTAR is technically New Adult. But this list wouldn't be complete without it! We've got a 19-year-old protagonist who is her family's breadwinner, two sizzling romance storylines, epic worldbuilding, and by the second and third books--enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat! I have to admit that ACOTAR is what got me into reading high fantasy in the first place. Maas was a Lord of the Rings fan, and it shows! If you like high fantasy and fae but wish they had more strong female protagonists and fulfilling romances, then A Court of Thorns and Roses is for you.

[Add it on Goodreads]

--

So, what do you think? Do you prefer YA or Adult? What other crossover YA books do you recommend?

You May Also Like

7 comments

  1. Ahh what a great idea for a post, I love it so much. I haven't read Wilder Girls and probably won't, given that I scare kind of easily, but I love that cover so much every time I see it, ahah.
    I agree with your picks so much! I loved Six of Crows and think it can appeal to a whole lot of readers, too. And I really need to read Sorcery of Thorns, it sounds so good! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Wilder Girls is definitely a horror novel so yeah, it's not for everyone. But I think you'll enjoy Sorcery of Thorns!

      Delete
    2. A big thanks to Dr Ogbefun i never believe that there still exist a real death spell caster after all this years of disappointment from the enormous spammers on the Internet who go about scamming people, until i was opportune to meet Dr Ogbefun a real spell caster, through a close friend called Jennifer who Dr Ogbefun had helped before, when i contacted him with his email via ogbefunhearlingtemple@gmail.com i explain how my ex have been giving me problem in my marriage, she never allowed me a moment of peace, and i need to end it by killing her, and i don't want to make use of assassin because it will be risky so i needed to do it in a spiritual way that's why i decided to contact him, he assured me not to worry as i have contacted the right person at the right time, i co-operated with him and in less than a week my ex was dead, she slept and never woke up all thanks to Dr Ogbefun indeed he's really a humble man. you can contact ogbefun now via Email ogbefunhearlingtemple@gmail.com   website https://ogbefunhearlingteml .wixsite.com/spell call or add him on whatsapp +2348102574680  

      Delete
  2. ooh you made wilder girls sound amazing!! (which is especially good cos I reserved it at my library earlier ;) ) Loved six of crows and serpent and dove! Also really want to try forest of a thousand lanterns, enchantment of ravens and sorcery of thorns- they've all been on my tbr for ages and I'm really glad to hear they're so good!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilder Girls is definitely amazing!! More than anything I found it super unique and refreshing compared to the rest of the YA novels I've been reading. I think you'd enjoy the rest as well ;) (Since we seem to have similar taste) Thank you for reading <3

      Delete
  3. Six of Crows (yes), Serpent & Dove (yes), ACOTAR (also yes) I agree with so much on this list!! These books are some of my favs and I also agree that they do dance the line of YA and adult at times... which makes them all the more interesting and spicy! Great post love :)

    P.S. I switched to Wordpress (https://bubblybooksblogcom.wordpress.com)

    ReplyDelete
  4. A big thanks to Dr Ogbefun i never believe that there still exist a real death spell caster after all this years of disappointment from the enormous spammers on the Internet who go about scamming people, until i was opportune to meet Dr Ogbefun a real spell caster, through a close friend called Jennifer who Dr Ogbefun had helped before, when i contacted him with his email via ogbefunhearlingtemple@gmail.com i explain how my ex have been giving me problem in my marriage, she never allowed me a moment of peace, and i need to end it by killing her, and i don't want to make use of assassin because it will be risky so i needed to do it in a spiritual way that's why i decided to contact him, he assured me not to worry as i have contacted the right person at the right time, i co-operated with him and in less than a week my ex was dead, she slept and never woke up all thanks to Dr Ogbefun indeed he's really a humble man. you can contact ogbefun now via Email ogbefunhearlingtemple@gmail.com   website https://ogbefunhearlingteml .wixsite.com/spell call or add him on whatsapp +2348102574680  

    ReplyDelete