Sixteen Books for Sixteen Years
Hey y'all!Yesterday was my sixteenth birthday, which had me running around changing the age on all my bios and resume, writing a blog post as a birthday present to myself because that's the type of nerd that I am. It's an interesting birthday, and it really led me to thinking about how many books use "sixteen" as a pivotal year.Whether it's for a first love or a paranormal awakening, it's still bizarre to me that I'm reading books where the characters are my age. I read my first YA book way before I should have and I still remember being curled up in a blanket years ago thinking about how much my life would change before I was sixteen. Even now, I know that I'm planning on working in YA publishing, so it's weird thinking that one day I'll be rereading my favorite books when the characters are younger than I am. I've put together a little eclectic collection of reads featuring 16-year old protagonists.From first loves to paranormal awakenings, classic coming-of-age to blossoming careers, each of the following books has a certain quality that made me look forward to the iconic "sixteen" year. I hope y'all enjoy my sweet-sixteen picks!
1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellWhen Park and Eleanor meet on the bus in 1986, they largely ignore each other. Eleanor's just trying to survive the day before heading home to her screwed-up family and Park is just trying to keep his head down. But the two sixteen-year olds from mixed backgrounds fall in love for the first time - messy, vulnerable, adorable love - and deal with their various demons. 2. Bittersweet by Sarah OcklerAfter throwing away a promising figure-skating career due to her dad's affair, Hudson hides and discovers her new talent: baking cupcakes. But when a new guy walks into her life and she starts reevaluating her relationships and her original passion, she has to decide who and what's worth second chances. 3. All-American Girl by Meg CabotWhen sixteen-year old Sam sees a gunman aiming for the president, she acts on instinct and throws herself on him, saving the president's life and catapulting herself into the spotlight. But that's the last thing Sam wants, until she discovers that the president's son and the boy in her art class are one and the same. 4. Endless Summer by Jennifer EcholsLori's been living next to the Vader brothers for years and has always been the little sister to them: wake boarding with them and laughing with them, working for their dad in the summers. Now that she's sixteen, she thinks she finally might have a chance with Sean, who she's secretly crushed on for years. The only snag? Her plan to get Sean is by making him jealous, spending time with his brother Adam, who has a plan to get her. 5. The Lucy Variations by Sara ZarrAfter throwing away her career as a classical pianist, Lucy has been stuck as the pariah of her family. Her family lives and breathes piano and it's unforgivable that she trashed a competition. Her family essentially ignores her, focusing all their attention on the one who didn't let them down as a musician: her little brother Gus. When her brother gets a new piano teacher who starts to rekindle the love of piano in her, Lucy struggles with reclaiming her family, passions, and music for herself. 6. Hex Hall by Rachel HawkinsSophie thought she was helping Felicia when she cast a spell at a dance to make her crush fall in love with her. But that only ends up getting her sent to a paranormal boarding school for misfits who can't control themselves: Hecate Hall. Who wouldn't want to room with an ostracized vampire and deal with the sudden interest of her absentee father? But when somebody starts murdering students in a suspicious cult-like fashion, Sophie has to figure out what skeletons Hex Hall is hiding.7. Sweet Evil by Wendy HigginsWhen Anna turns sixteen and meets the captivating Kaidan, she's quickly drawn into a dark battle between angels and demons. With their entire survival based on being "bad influences" in the veins of their demonic fathers, Anna has to learn how exactly to corrupt everybody else, while maintaining her own sense of identity. But the question for Anna is which side will she choose? Her angel or her demon side?8. How to Love by Katie CotugnoReena fell in love at sixteen for the first time. Sawyer was funny and charming, the boy she'd been pining over for years. She's thrilled when he finally notices her and even more thrilled to get to know him better. But when Sawyer leaves her without a word, alone and pregnant, she has to figure out how to be a parent all on her own. She's finally succeeded, but when Sawyer waltzes back into town two years later and turns her world upside down, she has to figure it all out for herself again.9. Parties and Potions by Sarah MlynowskiSixteen-year old Rachel has finally gotten used to being a witch. She's ecstatic, and even happier to be with her dreamboat boyfriend Raf. But being a witch comes with its own set of responsibility: including the coming-of-age ceremony that she and her younger sister have to prepare for.10. Saving June by Hannah HarringtonWhen Harper's older sister June commits suicide, she doesn't leave a note. Or anything. Harper's flung into dark disarray and her life is a mess. When she finds a playlist for June and the bitter boy that provided it, she does something instinctively: steals June's ashes and heads to California, where she's determined to lay her sister to rest once and for all in the place she always wanted to go. With the boy she had a mysterious connection to before dying.11. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy WunderCam knows that she doesn't have much longer to live and she's sick and tired of looking for a miracle cure for her cancer. When her mother, a Polynesian dancer at Disney, finds a town in May promising strange occurrences and miracles, she's determined to give it a try and save her daughter. So the family of three uproot themselves, travel to Maine, and search for a miracle, with Cam's secret agenda detailing her every mood. Cam starts checking things off her bucket list, ready to die but determined to live first.12. Just Listen by Sarah DessenAnnabel knows exactly what happened that led to her being an outcast at school. Her best friend hates her; her older sister's eating disorder is destroying the family. But nobody knows the real story. Her mother acts like nothing's wrong, pushing Annabel into modeling and not noticing the lack of friends and scars that Annabel still has. When she meets Owen - fellow outcast, quiet but with an underlying anger and tenderness - Annabel finally starts to speak out about what really happened.13. Mad Love by Suzanne SelforsAlice's mother is insane, but nobody knows. Everybody still thinks that the "Queen of Romance" is writing books, researching a bestseller, anything but the truth: vacant-eyed in a home. With days to produce a new novel for her mother's publisher and starting to grasp for desperate straws, Alice decides to give up and just write the book herself. It can't be too hard to write a romance, right? Wrong. Until Errol shows up, claiming he's Cupid and telling her that she has to write his real story of his love before he dies.14. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. LockhartFrankie goes to boarding school, the same one that her father went to. She's feisty, intelligent, empowering. She's always heard about the secret society her father was apart of - the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds - and the legendary pranks they pull, but is always excluded, watching the guys pull off lame pranks that she knows she could improve. So Frankie takes things into her own hands the next year.15. Dreamland by Sarah DessenCaitlin's fallen for the magnetic Rogerson. He's alluring, with an otherworldly quality that she can't quite put her finger on, and she can't get enough of him. He can't get enough of her either, and soon it spirals: Caitlin goes to lengths to hide the bruises on her arms, lives in a dreamland that let's her escape from the sorrows of her missing sister. But the relationship becomes everything: a mixture of fear and love that she has no control over anymore.16. The Year I Turned Sixteen by Diane SchwemmThe Year I Turned Sixteen follows four sisters in a family, over the four respective years in which they each turn sixteen. From prom and a first boyfriend to a rebellious phase to a death that rocks everything, each sister goes through her own experiences that change the phrase "sweet sixteen" forever.