The best young adult (YA) books for women of all ages

Why am I passionate about this?

At heart, I’m still just a girl. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of wanting to experience the excitement of first kisses, first loves, and of coming out, when everything was new and exciting, and the world was full of promise. That’s why we return to YA even as adults. To feel the butterflies of a first crush, the fluttering of first love, and the agony of first loss. Those transformative books, the ones that change the trajectory of our lives, are usually young adult novels. I wrote The Space Between to give readers a story to fall in love with and take with them the rest of their lives.


I wrote...

The Space Between

By Michelle L. Teichman,

Book cover of The Space Between

What is my book about?

Everything’s great for Harper Isabelle, the most popular girl in grade nine. That is, until she meets Sarah Jamieson. Sarah is a reclusive artist, a loner who wears black makeup and doesn’t have any friends, but for some reason, Harper can’t stop thinking about her. Sarah isn’t used to people looking her way, especially popular girls like Harper Isabelle. Scared, religious, and unsure of herself, when Sarah begins to realize that her feelings for Harper might go beyond friendship, she is afraid to take the plunge and tell Harper how she feels. Emotions build between these young women until they both reach their breaking points, and they need to make a choice about coming to terms with who they really are, and what they can and cannot live without.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Bell Jar

Michelle L. Teichman Why did I love this book?

The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath’s answer to J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye for women.

In today’s modern world, where we no longer have to view ourselves and our lives through the lens of white men, The Bell Jar takes the reader through a journey of self-discovery and madness in America in the 1960s; a time of change, war, uprising, and the second wave of feminism. A must-read for any woman who has questioned herself, or her sanity, along the way.

By Sylvia Plath,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Bell Jar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I was supposed to be having the time of my life.

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women's aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria…


Book cover of A Room Of One's Own

Michelle L. Teichman Why did I love this book?

Virginia Woolf was a pioneer for women’s rights in a world where she had to buy her own printing house just to publish her books.

Not only did she invent stream-of-consciousness writing, she believed that women had the responsibility to write. A Room of One’s Own is based on two lectures she gave at Newnham College in 1928.

While not a traditional YA novel, A Room of One’s Own is quintessential reading for any young woman who wants to be an author.

By Virginia Woolf,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Room Of One's Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.


Book cover of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Michelle L. Teichman Why did I love this book?

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a brilliant memoir written in novel format by Jeannette Winterson about coming of age and coming out in the second half of the twentieth century in an adopted, religious family. It’s well-written, captivating, and downright funny.

Winterson has a flair for transforming difficult childhood memories into poignant awakenings. The first thing I did after reading this book was go online and buy every other book she’d ever written, that’s how powerful it was.

By Jeanette Winterson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Key Features:



Study methods
Introduction to the text
Summaries with critical notes
Themes and techniques
Textual analysis of key passages
Author biography
Historical and literary background
Modern and historical critical approaches
Chronology
Glossary of literary terms


Book cover of Tipping the Velvet

Michelle L. Teichman Why did I love this book?

If you identify anywhere on the LGBTIQ2+ scale and haven’t heard of Sarah Waters, you’ve likely been living under a rock.

Her debut novel, Tipping the Velvet, is probably better known as the three-part BBC series, but the book is what truly makes the characters come to life. From naïve, small town, oyster-girl in Kent to the life of the London Stage, Waters takes you through Victorian-era England via the point of view of beloved heroine Nan Astley.

If you’re looking for a sexy, sensuous, and downright gritty novel about what life was truly like for a ‘tom’ growing up and coming out in the nineteenth century, this is the book.

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Tipping the Velvet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen.'

A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King on her journey from Whitstable oyster-girl to music-hall star to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.


Book cover of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Michelle L. Teichman Why did I love this book?

This book will make you question everything you’ve ever thought about your sanity.

The incredible true story of Susannah Cahalan took the world by storm when it topped the charts to #1 New York Times Bestseller and was made into a film. Cahalan’s intense journey from New York Post investigative reporter to psychiatric lockdown patient spans only one month, a month that nearly ended her life.

A reader once described my books as ‘unputdownable,’ and I’m happy to share that label with Brain on Fire. Riveting, frightening, and incredibly moving, I couldn’t read quickly enough as Susannah fought to reclaim her sanity and her life.

Based on her article “The Month of Madness,” this book is one of the best about a young woman’s struggle to find and reclaim herself.

By Susannah Cahalan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Brain on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brain on Fire is the stunning debut from journalist and author Susannah Cahalan, recounting the real-life horror story of how a sudden and mysterious illness put her on descent into a madness for which there seemed to be no cure

'My first serious blackout marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming days and weeks, I would never again be the same person ...'

Susannah Cahalan was a happy, clever, healthy twenty-four-year old. Then one day she woke up in hospital, with no memory of what had happened or how she…


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Ferry to Cooperation Island

By Carol Newman Cronin,

Book cover of Ferry to Cooperation Island

Carol Newman Cronin Author Of Ferry to Cooperation Island

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Sailor Olympian Editor New Englander Rum drinker

Carol's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

James Malloy is a ferry captain--or used to be, until he was unceremoniously fired and replaced by a "girl" named Courtney Farris. Now, instead of piloting Brenton Island’s daily lifeline to the glitzy docks of Newport, Rhode Island, James spends his days beached, bitter, and bored.

When he discovers a plan for a private golf course on wilderness sacred to his dying best friend, James is determined to stop such "improvements." But despite Brenton's nickname as "Cooperation Island," he's used to working solo. To keep historic trees and ocean shoreline open to all, he'll have to learn to cooperate with other islanders--including Captain Courtney, who might just morph from irritant to irresistible once James learns a secret that's been kept from him for years.

Ferry to Cooperation Island

By Carol Newman Cronin,

What is this book about?

Loner James Malloy is a ferry captain-or used to be, until he was unceremoniously fired and replaced by a girl named Courtney Farris. Now, instead of piloting Brenton Island's daily lifeline to the glitzy docks of Newport, Rhode Island, James spends his days beached, bitter, and bored.

When he discovers a private golf course staked out across wilderness sacred to his dying best friend, a Narragansett Indian, James is determined to stop such "improvements." But despite Brenton's nickname as "Cooperation Island," he's used to working solo. To keep rocky bluffs, historic trees, and ocean shoreline open to all, he'll have…


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