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We all remember being teenagers and how much it cost to survive high school. And while fighting bullies and mean girls might bring some seriously scary memories, there are some young adults who have faced more difficult situations in their lives than a “Where should I sit for lunch?” I have read a variety of YA books about surviving and dealing with a difficult situation, which can include anything from kidnapping to loss in a forest, and have focused on the main character’s safe return. With that in mind, I’ve collected four of my favorites.

These novels feature a variety of character battles. Battles include trying to survive, getting lost in a forest, making a mistaken trip to spring break, dealing with an adorable but dangerous predator, and a creepy storm. Read on to read engaging novels for young adults that will have you on the edge of your space as you turn the pages and ready to find out exactly what happens in the end. Will they make it and survive their respective situations or not? I think you have to pick her up to see it for yourself.

Don’t be far from me from Mindy McGinnis

This writer is known for her dark and exciting stories, which I love, and this one is no exception.

In the book, Ashley feels more at home with trees above them than with a roof. So if she decides to go on adventures with her friends and hike the Smokies for a night of partying, the scenery doesn’t scare her.

But when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, a drunken moment of anger and heartache makes her run into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. When morning comes, she realizes that she is alone and far from the known trail. Now she is lost in the woods with nothing, and she has to figure out how to survive with the red streak of infection on her leg.

Full of suspense and action, this book will keep you interested in the main character and hope for her survival to the end.

Category five by Ana Dávila Cardinal

This book, set in a post-hurricane called Maria Puerto Rico, kept me bothered as it mixed in with realistic and paranormal elements.

The book is set on the tiny island of Vieques, just off the northeast coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, and seeks to recover from the dangerous Hurricane Maria. But after the storm, the island is almost deserted.

To make matters worse, like on the main island, developers bought the land for a fraction of what it was really worth, taking advantage of a situation many endured and survived in which some were left with nothing.

You will be mesmerized as you follow the main characters Lupe, Javier and Marisol as they investigate a series of murders that follow a hurricane and also try to survive a new supernatural threat.

100 hours by Rachel Vincent

Vincent knows how to weave a creepy and exciting story and this one is one of my favorite stories.

In the novel, a beach getaway turns into a terrifying survival story when six teenagers are kidnapped from Miami.

Genesis is so about Miami’s predictable social scene, with its velvet ropes, power struggles, and heartbreak. Maddie, her cousin, believes Genesis is legitimate. While Maddie longs for family time for the spring break, Genesis decides they should take a last-minute getaway to a pristine beach in Colombia.

Genesis, Maddie and their friends are pulled from their tents under cover of darkness and kidnapped and held deep in the jungle as a ransom. They realize that paradise is not what they expected. But why should they target the group? Who is behind the situation?

The book holds you in check as the hours count down for the hostages and their realization that they need to change the kidnapper’s plans or they just can’t figure it out alive. It’s one of those novels that I haven’t forgotten since I picked up on it when it was first published in 2017.

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Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

This novel follows a young girl seduced by a charming predator and examines how anyone can become the victim of someone who lures them with a promise of fame and success.

R&B artist Korey Fields discovers Enchanted Jones at an audition and suddenly her dreams of being a famous singer take off. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on his hands and no memory of the night before. The question is who killed Korey Fields. How did it get to this point and how will she survive the situation unscathed?

But even before there was a corpse, Enchanted’s dreams had become a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s star power there was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are right outside the door and all signs point to them.

This book was my favorite 2020 reading and shows that even in the darkest of times we can find the strength to move forward and learn about ourselves.

What are your favorite books about survival? Make sure to tweet me at @AuroraMiami and us at @BookRiot.