I rather liked the Hunger Games books. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books. The Golden Compass trilogy was cool (though I don't think this was so much a kid's book as a book where the protagonists were kids.)
I say at the store: "Why should the kids get to be the only ones to read these good books?"
Anyway, I've been trying to branch out, and I've been mostly disappointed. Young adult is actually a pretty broad category, covering a pretty wide range of maturity. So the Dave Barry Peter Pan books lost me after one try, so did the Cornelia Funke's 'The Thief Lord.' A little too simplistic.
I liked the first chapter of 'Time Stops for No Mouse' (femme fatale mouse entices a clockstore mouse to adventure) but it was really way too young.
More than once, movies have driven me away from trying. I'll probably never read The Lightning Thief because the movie sucked, for instance.
I'm trying to remember how it worked when I was younger. There was a Children's section in the library, and then everything else. So as an adultish kid (big reader, 17 years old), I would still dip into book like the Narnia series.
I think Heinlein and Asimov and most S.F. was de facto 'kids' books, even when they weren't.
I see a little too much subdivision by parents in my store, (in my opinion, I don't say anything unless asked.) That is, parents won't pick out books that might be slightly too mature for their kids.
My parents felt that if I was ready to want to try to read something, I was ready to try to read it.
I remember a whole series of overreaches when I was young -- books that were too complex and mature, but either I read them anyway or gave up on them, and it didn't do any harm.
And sometimes an overreach turned out to be a turning point. A book that might have appeared too complex was exactly what my little brain required.
1 week ago