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The YA Lover's Guide to Classics

I mostly read YA. It's what I'm the most consistently interested in. Still, every once in a while, I dive into the admittedly intimidating world of classics. I definitely don't like every classic that I read - see my school reading list for just a few examples - but I've been surprised by more than a few books.

There are a lot of people who are like me in that they usually reach for YA. Some of those people have probably decided that they want to stick with YA, and that's completely fine! I will be the last person to ever judge you negatively based on your reading taste. But maybe some people want to branch out a bit more, and that's great, too! And if some of those people don't quite know where to start, I hope that this post will help. I picked a few YA books and found classics that remind me of them.

This post works the other way, too. If you're an avid classics reader who's somehow found your way onto my blog, maybe you'll want to try some YA! (Or not. As I said, sticking to one genre is totally cool.)

So, without further ado, consider this your guide to bridging a little bit of the gap between YA and classics.

If you like the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, try A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
So maybe there's not a lot of direct correlation here. You won't find demons or Shadowhunters or anything paranormal in Dickens. But Dickens is referenced so many times in this trilogy that I had to draw the connection. A Tale of Two Cities is the only Dickens novel that I've read so far, but I found it just as engrossing as any of the Shadowhunter novels. Direct parallels include a love triangle that doesn't completely annoy me.

If you like the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, try The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles.
If you're like me, reading the Percy Jackson series sparked a long-lasting interest in Greek mythology. Why not go back to the source material? Considering Oedipus's circumstances, I'd be surprised if he's actually mentioned in any of Rick Riordan's Greek mythology books, but I like these plays (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone) the most out of all the Greek classics I've read.

If you like any John Green book, try The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
This is a bit of a strange one, because I like John Green's books a lot more than I liked The Catcher in the Rye. Even so, I see a lot of similarities in their writing style. Slightly pretentious teenage main character fills the novel with his musings, which are sometimes annoying and sometimes world-shakingly profound, and goes on some kind of bizarre adventure. I wouldn't pick up The Catcher in the Rye if you're looking for an action-packed plot, but if you just want a slice of life, this might be your cup of tea.

If you like YA in general, try The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
Okay, so maybe I'm cheating a little bit with this one. But I couldn't think of a more modern YA to go with it, and it would have been a shame to leave it out. This is the perfect book to bring YA and classics together, because it's a YA classic! (Well, The Catcher in the Rye is probably a YA classic, too, but this one feels much more like YA to me.) If you're a YA reader who doesn't want something too different, or a classics reader looking for some YA that's still considered a classic, this is for you.

How often do you read classics? What are some of your favorites? Can you think of a more recent YA book to connect to The Outsiders? Tell me in the comments! 


  1. AHH! This is such a great post! One of my resolutions for the year was to try to read more of them, so this sounds like a great place to start. Thank you for putting this together! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Thank you, and you're welcome! I'm so glad this was helpful!

  2. Omggg I LOVE HOW YOU DID THIS!! It's such a good idea!! :D I really am terrified of classics, but I'd like to read some? I plan to try Lord of the Flies because someone said it's like The Maze Runner *flails* And omg The Outsiders is AMAZING. It's like the original YA, right?! ;D

    1. Thank you so much! Classics are super-intimidating, especially when they're long, but I think they're usually worth it! I haven't read Lord of the Flies, and it doesn't really interest me, but from what I know, I can definitely see how it might be similar to The Maze Runner. And The Outsiders is FANTASTIC. I read it in school when I was 12 and I think it completely blew my mind.

  3. I love this post! I find classics intimidating and I never know which one to pick up, so this seems like a good place for me to get into the genre. Thanks, Clara! :D

    1. Thanks, and you're welcome! Classics can definitely be intimidating, but I think that most of the time, they're worth it. Just don't try to read classics just because you think you should. That's usually a great way to make sure you won't like it.


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