YA light novels



  • Hello, I'm writing a series of reviews for a literary journal on YA literature and I decided that I wanted to write it on YA light novels.

    So my question is, what first volumes of young adult light novels would you recommend?

    Now the purpose of this is to bring them into view for people who might otherwise be unaware of them. These are "gatekeepers" so to speak, people who recommend to thousands of others.

    So what do you think?


  • Premium Member

    @samwisevimes

    in a certain sense all light novels are YA - how are you defining your terms? who is your target audience? can you give some examples of YA (western) novels that your gatekeepers are familiar with? we could say that "if you liked "x" you might like "y"



  • @jon-mitchell great question!
    So I'm defining YA as 8-12th grade so 13+
    In terms of the books that the gatekeepers will. E familiar with, things like Hunger Games, The Book Thief, anything by John Green, The Hate you Give, Throne of Glass, Harry Potter (though the popularity of this is waning with YA readers).

    Basically anything PG 13 would be great, and if it's more mature as long as it's not explicit that should be ok. I'll be reading everything anyway so if it ends up being too mature for my audience I'll not review it for that publication.

    I need at least 4 for the review so really that means I'm looking for at least 10 to read so I can pick what I think will resonate most with them.

    Thanks for the clarifying question!


  • Translators

    I'd say a solid starting list that shows a range of genres and hits a lot of the best and biggest titles would be:

    Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
    Re: Zero
    Ascendance of a Bookworm
    The Saga of Tanya the Evil
    Sword Art Online Progressive
    Penguin Highway
    Boogiepop
    Crest of the Stars
    The Beast Player
    Bakemonogatari



  • I would say "All You Need is Kill" is probably one of the best, but it's not really a good sample of what to expect from the light novel scene, with it being a single volume self contained story. Also, it's sci-fi, which is already small among LNs, moreso in the English translated market. It'd be quite a hit among English speaking readers tho, if the movie adaptation with Tom Cruise "Edge of Tomorrow" is anything to go by.

    The problem with LNs is that they are mostly intended as long running series, so 1st volumes, while being the primary hook for the series, tend to be prologues at best for the real story. Also, quite a bunch of the more recent ones depend heavily on knowledge of otaku culture. Re:Zero is plenty good, but without prior knowledge about what was supposed to be Subaru's life as a shut-in otaku, it's hard to relate to him. Same with KonoSuba, which in addition relies heavily on knowledge about the tropes of the isekai setting.

    So if I had to go with series with impactful 1st volumes, that don't really have controversial themes (like Mushoku Tensei, a series I adore, but I could see people bashing it for what happens with the MC before being transported, or Goblin Slayer, for obvious reasons), I'd say:

    • All You Need is Kill
    • Overlord
    • Ascendance of a Bookworm
    • Kokoro Connect
    • So I'm a Spider, So What?

    If multiple volumes are allowed, I'd also add

    • Classroom of the Elite (at least get to vol. 3)
    • The Irregular at Magic Highschool (at least get to vol. 2 as it's a 2-parter)

  • Premium Member

    in addition to the ones mentioned so far

    Bakarina
    Tearmoon empire
    greatest magiscmasters retirement plan
    invaders of the rokojouma
    anything by FUNA
    white cat's revenge

    maybe: outbreak co.

    probably not
    Lazy DM or how not to summon a demon lord

    edited to add: Reborn as a vending machine


  • Member

    @samwisevimes well , as @Jon-Mitchell says YA includes "14-18" yr olds , so let me edit my advise.Thats why i gave the age range because of "fungible term" :D

    Well i checked before recomend so YA range is 18-35(says random google page).

    For that reason ,

    Overlord , Danmachi , ShieldHero , Realist Hero , Re:Zero , Ascendance of a Bookworm and Tanya the Evil would be my iseaki genre recomendation.

    However you said FIRST VOLUME , so for that reason AoaB & Realist Hero would be my at the bottom of my list. For some reason , i didnt like their first volumes but i read because of trust worthy recomendations.

    Also for Overlord and Danmachi , i would recomend for 16-24 years old people. Little older people maybe wouldnt like those series.

    18-35 is really huge age gap. so if you tell me what is YA range is , i could give little more and better recommendation.

    Edit:Well if we are talking about 14-18s , so my advise would change to SAO , Danmachi , Re:Zero , By the grace of the gods(the man picked up by gods) , Konosuba.

    Overlord has +18 content , ShieldHero's journey starts with "rape" accusation , AoaB followed by +20 people(in forums , someone told grown ups like that series) , Realist Hero could be hard to read for young people.Lastly Tanya the Evil ; well you can recommend to youngsters but idk , i wouldnt recommend my 14 yo nephew to read "Little Hitler's story". Maybe 16-17 yo?



  • Thanks, the volume one was really just so I could get through them all before the deadline. But I guess I could read a bunch of volume 1s then pick 4 to read more of when I decide which ones to review.
    I will definitely include a note for any that require an understanding of otaku culture to fully understand. Great point with that.
    I should also probably note the amount of volume for each one as well.

    Thanks for the response!



  • @doceirias thanks for this. Ascendance of a Bookworm is my current obsession so that will definitely be making the cut lol



  • @hopebestman thanks a lot for this thoughtful response. I'm on the fence to include Overlord because of its mature nature. If I don't include it in this I might see about doing another more adult themed review if the publication is interested.

    Thanks again


  • Premium Member

    @doceirias said in YA light novels:

    I'd say a solid starting list that shows a range of genres and hits a lot of the best and biggest titles would be:

    Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
    Re: Zero
    Ascendance of a Bookworm
    The Saga of Tanya the Evil
    Sword Art Online Progressive
    Penguin Highway
    Boogiepop
    Crest of the Stars
    The Beast Player
    Bakemonogatari

    I would add a rom com too.

    Oregairu / My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong as I Expected would be my pick.


  • Premium Member

    @hopebestman

    I think for this particular exercise - 14-18yr olds
    the original poster said 8th to 12th grades (I'm assuming in USA) so think the younger end of the spectrum

    (Yea YA is a fungible term)


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