YA has a huge range of topics, genres, and characters that there is always something for everyone. Some of our recent favorites have skewed a little towards the weird end of the dial. By weird, we mean that there is something about these books that makes them stand apart from all the other books. A twist, voice, or plot that makes them just a little different, whether it is a suicidal bionic crow, a cryogenic restored teenager, bird people, flesh-eating worms, or mad scientists.
Since Austin celebrates all things weird, it seems only natural that we celebrate these unique, weird, and wonderful books of YA.
Gone by Michael Grant
The Gone series is one the weirdest, most amazing series out there! I have to admit it’s really freaky at times – flesh-eating worms, flying snake eggs that hatch inside of you and eat their way out – it’s super addicting and totally weird!!!
White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Ilsa Bick
The Dark Passages series is by far the weirdest books I’ve ever read. Set in an alternate worlds of Victorian London and modern Wisconsin, mixed in with some crazy science, and incredible plot, The Dark Passages is one of my favorite series ever. We meet Arthur Conan Doyle in a crazy turn of events, and some crazy doctors in the second book, The Dickens Mirror, making it possibly weirder than the first book, White Space. If you want an intense psychological thriller with science and incredible writing, this series is for you.
BZRK by Michael Grant
Two competing groups use nanobots & biots to rewire people’s brain and control them. One group hopes to save the world, the other to dominate it. Two teens are sucked into the world of BZRK and the “nano”, where the microscopic ridges of fingerprints are unscalable mountains. Now, the stakes are higher than ever – save the world or go insane.
Magonia by M.D. Headley
This is really weird, but in a good way. The girl in this book has a normal life until she gets sucked into a giant flying ship full of bird people. If this isn’t weird than I don’t know what is. So good!
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith
This is by far the weirdest book I have read. The Alex Crow is a story told in multiple points of view from the main character Ariel – a refugee trapped in a refrigerator in a clown suit, who has now been recently adopted into a family and sent to Camp Seymore for Boys – to another young man who has multiple personalities and may or may not be a sociopath and suicide bomber; to a depressed and suicidal bionic crow; and last but not least a long-dead scientist who journals his expeditions to find some kind of mystical creature. Andrew Smith has the ability to cross multiple genres, time, and space and bring them together to blow your mind.
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
This is such a quirky, fun read. This book is so weird — but incredible at the same time. This book has such an absurd concept, but you fall in love with it, and it is amazing how the author came up with this. You almost feel bad for Travis —the poor guy almost died, had to be in a freezer for 5 years, got a new body, and now his best friends are in college and his girlfriend is engaged. Poor Travis.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
This qualifies as weird because of the premise – it’s a steampunk alternate history of WWI. Weird right? This is one of my favorite series because it is so imaginative, engaging, features intriguing characters, and has plenty of action. Deryn is a girl who disguises herself as a boy because her dream is to be a midshipman – middie – on an airship in the Royal Navy. And it’s not just any airship she aspires to be aboard, but the crown jewel of the fleet – the Leviathan, a massive airship that is part machine and part blue whale. I love how the two sides of the war are portrayed – the English Darwinists who use animals in their designs, and the German & Austro-Hungarians Clankers, who use steam to power their war machines. Deryn and the crew embark on a fantastic adventure that is absolutely wonderful. There is no other book even remotely like this.
Other Weird Reads:
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Winger by Andrew Smith
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Imaginary Children by Ransom Riggs
Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness