In recent years, the popularity of young adult, or YA, books has exploded. These three new YA novels by Columbia alumni have everything that makes the genre great — escapism, fantasy, romance, and a hearty dose of nostalgia.
By E. Lockhart ’98GSAS
E. Lockhart — a National Book Award finalist and the author of two YA bestsellers — has established herself as a master of the jaw-dropping plot twist. Her new novel follows Adelaide Buchwald through a summer of uncertainty after a family crisis throws her life into upheaval. It’s best to go into Lockhart’s books knowing as little as possible, but we can say that this one is full of love, possibility, and a lot of very good dogs.
By Megan McCafferty ’95CC
It’s 1991, those halcyon days when it seemed like everything happened at the mall. Cassie Worthy has it all figured out — an acceptance letter to Barnard, a cute boyfriend, and a job at the food court. But then a brutal case of mono ruins everything. Will Cassie be able to pick herself up and find new love between the Sam Goody and the Orange Julius? Megan McCafferty departs from her best-selling Jessica Darling series to conjure this charming throwback.
By Abigail Hing Wen ’04LAW
Every summer, teens from around the world travel to Taiwan for what their parents think is a strictly educational language-immersion program. In reality, adult supervision is rare, the sake flows like water, and things quickly get steamy. For the elite teens of the Chinese diaspora, it’s a rare taste of total freedom. Abigail Hing Wen’s first novel — already being called Crazy Rich Asians for the YA set — debuted at number nine on the New York Times bestseller list, and plans are in the works for a movie adaptation.
This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2020 print edition of Columbia Magazine with the title "Teen Beat."