Young adult books are a guilty pleasure of mine, and as a sixth grade Language Arts teacher I have the perfect excuse to indulge in as many as I like (I’m researching for my students, obviously). I don’t particularly think there’s anything wrong with reading below your intended reading level (after all, reading is reading), and I love the easy-to-follow story lines when everything else in my life is crazy busy. So, I have compiled a list of my all-time favorites (in no particular order):

1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver I read this about two months ago and I still can’t get over how good it was; Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer. The story is set in future America, where love is considered a deadly disease. It is such an interesting concept, and Lauren Oliver made it all seem so real.

2. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Brunt Carol Rafika It’s not often that a book is able to make 51MDWaEfUiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_me cry, but this one definitely had me in tears. Despite dealing with tough topics, like death and AIDS, it remains a sweet, heartfelt story about friendship and self-love.

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green  It wouldn’t be a young adult book list without John Green (The Fault in Our Stars gets way too much credit). It reminds me a lot of Catcher in the Rye, my all-time favorite book. I loved the way the main character was sort of obsessed with famous last words, and quotes them throughout the book.

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth Of course you need to read Divergent first, but Insurgent is by far the better out of the two (I still haven’t read Allegiant). I found myself17623975 actually gasping out loud several times while reading this; every chapter brought new twists and surprises.

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman I really love all of Gayle Forman’s books, but Just One Day is my favorite. The story follows Allyson, a girl who always follows the rules, as she takes a chance on a spontaneous trip to Paris…with a guy she just met. Gayle does a wonderful job making an improbable story come to life – and you can’t help but wish you were Allyson (have a pencil nearby to jot down bucket list to-dos!)