It is no secret that young adult literature has become the most lucrative genre in the publishing industry.
Each year brings more titles to stores, delighting both teens and adults as they sift through bookshelves to find their next read. Series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and even Harry Potter have led to the unprecedented rise.
So, really, isn’t it about time comic books had their turn in the spotlight?
Earlier this year, DC Comics officially announced their plans to enter the ever-growing young adult market through a partnership with Random House. The two are slated to publish a four-book series feature some of DC Comics’ biggest heroes. And, of course, many already know that Marvel Press has been publishing their own teen-based novels through several best-selling authors.
With superhero series prepping to assemble, it seems that young adult literature will continue to grow as comic book fans start to navigate the strange, new genre.
So, to make it easy, ComicBook.com decided to list some of the best contemporary young adult novels based on classic superheroes.
For some of these books, you’ll be able to find them today at your local library or in your favorite online stores. As for the others, you might have to wait a bit to get your hands on them. All of them, though, are teaming up to create a new phase of literature that will make readers want to suit up.
Black Widow: Forever Red & Red Vengeance
Published in 2013, Margaret Stohl jumpstarted the most recent YA initiative over at Marvel Press. The author, who’s written the Beautiful Creatures series, took on the company’s most famous spy when she penned Black Widow: Forever Red. The novel was received well by fans and became a New York Times best-seller, allowing Stohl to write a sequel titled Black Widow: Red Vengeance.
Enter the world of the Avengers' iconic master spy
Natasha Romanoff is one of the world's most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow's infamous academy for operatives.
Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn't really the big sister type.
When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava's dreams...
Iron Man: The Gauntlet
Available for pre-order, Iron Man: Gauntlet will mark the hero’s first foray into YA literature. The novel follows Tony Stark as one of his closest allies questions his ability to save the world when he continues to create dangerous hi-tech weaponry. Written by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), the upcoming story promises to introduce fans to a new side of Iron Man they’ve not seen before.
Tony Stark is known throughout the world as many things: billionaire, inventor, Avenger. But mainly for being the Invincible Iron Man.
Just when Tony is about to add his pizzazz to an international eco-summit in Ireland, someone close to him forces him to question his role in making the world a more dangerous place with his high-tech weaponry. But Stark doesn't have much time to reflect before an old enemy presents him with an even greater challenge: the assassination of all the eco-ministers, and Iron Man himself. Just how invincible Iron Man is when he is stripped of everything remains to be seen in this breathless adventure by the bestselling author of Artemis Fowl.
Standing as one of Marvel’s first YA works, Rogue Touch leaves the world of The Avengers and instead focuses on a very popular X-Men heroine. The novel focuses on Anna Marie long before she’s joins The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or The X-Men.
Instead, the story follows the traumatized mutant after she’s put her first boyfriend in a coma, leaving her to shy away from the world. But, once she meets a man named James, the character finds herself drawn back into a world that’s now more dangerous than she remembers. Written by Christine Woodward, the book was published back in May 2013, giving fans a new take on Rogue’s complex origin.
What if your touch could kill?
Twenty-year-old Anna Marie was just fired for the third time-this time from a bakery. Why can't she hold a job? Well, for starters, she dresses . . . differently. She looks like a Goth girl to the extreme, her shock of white hair contrasting with her head-to-toe black garb, her face the only skin she chooses to reveal. But Anna Marie doesn't have a choice. Her skin, her touch, is a deadly weapon that must be concealed. She accidentally put her first boyfriend, Cody, in a coma when they kissed. Horrified, she ran away to Jackson, Mississippi, where she's been living alone in a cramped apartment and scraping by on food stamps.
Then she meets otherworldly James and everything changes. He's just like her-completely alone and also on the run. To elude James's mysterious and dangerous family, the pair takes to the highway. As they cross the country, their simmering attraction intensifies and they both open up about their secretive pasts. James reveals that his true name is "Touch," and he christens Anna Marie "Rogue." But with danger at their heels, they know they can't run forever. Rogue must decide if she'll unleash her devastating powers once again, which she swore never to do, in order to save the only person who seems truly to understand and accept her.
Lois Lane: Fallout & Double Down
Published in May 2015, Gwenda Bond created Lois Lane: Fallout to the acclaim of long-time DC Comics diehards. The story follows a younger version of Lois Lane as her family moves to Metropolis, leaving her to navigate what’s ultimately the world’s most feared villain: high school.
However, Lois soon finds herself sucked into a world of mystery when she begins investigating a group of students at her school with the help of her Internet crush who she only knows as SmallvilleGuy. The book fared well with readers, enough so to prompt Marvel to green-light a sequel titled Lois Lane: Double Down that released in May 2016.
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over--and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won't be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They're messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it's all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy . . .
The She-Hulk Diaries
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if The Princess Diaries or Bridget Jones met She-Hulk, then look no further. In 2013, Marta Acosta published The She-Hulk Diaries for readers who wanted to know a bit more about the heroine’s personal life. The novel follows She-Hulk as she juggles her increasingly complicated as she fights crime, looks for love, and deals with her imposing green physique.
CURRENT STATUS: No job, no boyfriend, no permanent place to live, no car, and most of my clothes are held together with staples and duct tape. Bank account almost wiped out. Many of my former associates have expressed a desire that I never darken their doorways again for legal and financial reasons.
She-Hulk got us got us kicked out of the Avengers Mansion. People keep posting videos online of her New Year's Eve shenanigans: twirling flaming telephone poles in Times Square, climbing the Empire State Building while dangling Anderson Cooper, dancing wildly at parties, and commandeering a motorcycle cop's ride to do wheelies across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Saying there are two sides to Jennifer Walters's personality is an understatement. When she hasn't morphed into a 650-pound, crime-fighting, hard-partying superhero, she's a single lawyer trying to get her act together. Hilarious and action-packed, The She-Hulk Diaries tells her story, as she juggles looking for Mr. Right and climbing the corporate ladder by day with battling villains and saving the world by night. Maybe she'll finally take on a case that will define her career. Maybe she won't meet one Mr. Right, but two, and she'll have to choose. Maybe bad guys will stop trying to destroy the planet so she can read her Perez Hilton in peace.
Before Captain Marvel hits theaters in March 2019, fans will get a chance to meet Carol Danvers through a surely stellar YA novel by Shannon and Dean Hale.
The couple will be churning out a story based on the fan-favorite hero sometime in 2017. Taking to Tumblr, Shannon commented on the novel, saying, “Obviously we’re very excited and honored to be entrusted to tell a story with this beloved character. If you aren’t familiar yet with Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, you will be!”
Captain Marvel will hit stores later in 2017.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Following its recent popularity, Squirrel Girl is jumping from the pages of comic books to the world of YA literature. Marvel Press has tapped Shannon and Dean Hale to pen Squirrel Girl’s first novelization titled The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. Speaking with The Mary Sue, Shannon spoke about her work on the novel and how she reacted to the job offer.
“We only did what any sane person would have done: when asked if we’d like to write a novel about Squirrel Girl, we said YES PLEASE,” she recalled.
And, when asked about the heroine herself, Shannon said, “Her name is Doreen Green. She has powers of squirrel and powers of girl. And she is unbeatable.”
“When we took on the Squirrel Girl project, we said, here is the perfect character to write an ‘all ages’ story. Everyone likes Squirrel Girl. (If you know someone who doesn’t, maybe advise them to go to a doctor and check if they have a heart?) Our goal was to write a book so funny and exciting and fun that it’d be welcoming to any reader, regardless of gender, age, or degree of comic geekiness. That wasn’t too high a goal, was it? Maybe writing a character with super-heroic confidence got to our head. But then again, maybe not...”
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World will hit shelves in February 2017.
DC Comics: Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Catwoman
If you’re wondering whether DC Comics has plans to jump into the world of YA literature, then don’t worry! The famous publisher is planning to team up with Random House to roll out novels based on several of their most famous heroes.
Starting in 2017, the two companies will roll out novels for Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Catwoman. Each of the projects will be penned by best-selling authors such as Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Matt de la Peña, and Sarah J. Mass. The first novel to hit stores will be Wonder Woman in August 2017, dating its publication shortly after the release of Warner Brothers' film.
According to Random House, the novels plan to “embrace theme of good vs. evil, coming-of-age romance, and superhero from unexpected places who have the determination to achieve seemingly impossible dreams.”
Each of these upcoming DC Comics novels will be published between 2017-2018.