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Engaging YA Realistic Fiction Novels

Check out this list of 10 YA Realistic Fiction novels that would be great to recommend to students who want to read young adult novels.

Do you or your students enjoy reading YA fiction? I have complied a list of 10 YA Realistic Fiction novels that would be great to recommend to students who want to read young adult novels.

This YA Realistic Fiction Novels blog post contains affiliate links that are of no cost to the reader. If you make a purchase through the provided links, this blog will receive a small commission to help with the financial costs of maintaining the site.

YA Realistic Fiction Novels

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Justyce is a top student at one of the finest schools in his neighborhood. But when he is pulled over by a cop and put into handcuffs, and then shot at by police, none of that seems to matter, even though he is innocent- because of the color of his skin. Justyce turns to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to try to make sense of the injustice and racism taking hold of his life, as he fights for his voice to be heard.

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Dear Justyce, the sequel to Dear Martin, follows Quan, a Black teenager who pleads not guilty to shooting a white police officer. But he is being held while he awaits trial, and in that time, he writes letters to Justyce to try to make sense of it all. Little does he know that Justyce is there, fighting for Quan.

When I Was The Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Ali’s neighbourhood is not the greatest, but he keeps his head down and does his best. Then he finds himself in the last place he expected, with his friends Noodles and Needles, and his whole world changes.

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Scott is starting high school and thinks it would be easier if there was a manual on how to survive, so he decides to write one. His mother has announced she is pregnant so Scott is writing down tips for his new brother or sister. Scott is also trying to get the attention of Julia and find his place in high school.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Bri is only 16 years old but has the spark, passion, and talent to make it big as a rapper. But her mother loses her job and it’s back to food banks and possible homelessness. Bri won’t let anything stand in the way of her big dreams, and she’ll do anything it takes to make it.


Jackpot by Nic Stone

Rico is a high school student who every day works as a cashier after school and then races home to care for her younger brother. When she sells the winning lottery ticket to someone who hasn’t claimed the prize she is determined to find them hoping she may be rewarded.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Julia’s sister is thought to be the perfect Mexican daughter and when she is killed Julia’s mother points out all the ways Julia has failed.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr is a sixteen-year-old girl living her life in between two worlds, the poor neighbourhood she lives in and the affluent school she attends. Her life takes a drastic turn when her childhood best friend Khalil, is shot by a police officer.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Maverick Carter is a real man who takes care of his mom while his dad is in prison, by dealing for the King Lords in the neighbourhood. But then he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant, and everything changes. He’s offered the chance to straighten his life out, but will the King Lords just let him walk away?

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Told in alternating viewpoints by two authors, this book takes a hard look at the chaos and violence that is borne from race riots, and the two girls who are thrown together while their city burns. Can they rely on each other to survive the night?

12 Genre Book Reports Assignment


Love teaching with genres?

Help your students dive deeper into their reading with these 12 different genre-focused book report assignments. Each assignment enables students to showcase their creativity while meeting curriculum standards. This assignment covers both fiction and non-Fiction books. The assignment structure rotates every three months helping students achieve proficiency, while still providing student choice. Assignments can be used in any order. A sample teaching schedule is provided.

Included Genres

  • Realistic Fiction
  • Mystery Fiction
  • Graphic Novel
  • Science Fiction
  • Biography & Memoirs
  • Historical Fiction
  • Classical Fiction (pre-1970)
  • Fantasy Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Traditional Literature vs. Fractured Fairy Tales
  • Sports Fiction
  • Free Verse Fiction

Assignment Types:

  1. Written Response – critical thinking and written reflection assignment.
  2. Creative Choice Board – students are provided with 3 options and must select which creative option they want to produce.
  3. Oral Presentation – a book talk format assignment.
  4. Student-Created Lesson based on a non-fiction book
  5. Traditional Literature vs. Fractured Fairy Tales Comparison Assignment

Find the 12 Genres Book Reports resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

For more great middle school books, check out this blog post – Best Middle School Book Recommendations. Also, check out some fantastic YA books in this blog post – High School Book Recommendations.

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