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15 Fantastic Young Adult Novels

This blog post contains 15 young adult novels recommendations that will keep your students engaged and wanting to read during class.

Young adult (YA) novels offer stories that not only entertain but also resonate with readers on a deeply personal level. 

Today’s young adult novels tackle themes such as identity, resilience, and the power of friendship. Whether you’re a teenager navigating the tumultuous waters of adolescence or an adult yearning to recapture the magic of youth, YA novels have something extraordinary to offer.

This blog post contains 15 YA book recommendations that will keep your students engaged and wanting to read during class.

This 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.

15 Fantastic Young Adult Novels

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

A novel in verse that explores grief, loss, and the bonds between people that are forged in trying times. Clap When You Land entwines two main characters’ secrets and lives when tragedy hits.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara feels seen and not heard in her neighbourhood- at school, on the street, in all aspects of her life. But she needs to be able to make her voice heard, so when she learns about her school’s slam poetry club, she joins in hopes that she can find her voice.

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.

Punching the Air by Yusef Salaam and Ibi Zoboi

This novel in verse takes a critical look at the American juvenile prison system with the story of Amal. Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit at 16 years old and sent to prison. Can he use his words and art to change the course of his life?

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Justyce is a top student at one of the finest schools in his neighbourhood. 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 colour 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.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

When Natasha and Danie’s worlds collide, they must overcome the universe’s odds to be together. Natasha is being deported back to Jamaica in 12 hours and doesn’t believe in fate anyway. Daniel must attend an interview to live up to his parents’ expectations, instead of pursuing his dream of being a poet. Natasha must live in reality, while Daniel spends the day trying to convince her to let go, believe, and fall in love.

 

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

This gripping novel by Nic Stone explores friendship, relationships, and figuring out who you are. Two best friends and a new girl learn how to navigate their relationship and friendship with each other, and discover who they are in the process.

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

Julia’s sister, Olga, was perfect. But now she’s dead and Julia is left to pick up the pieces. The problem is that she is not the perfect Mexican daughter her parents want her to be. The other problem is that it seems that Olga wasn’t either. Can Julia figure out who her sister really was and lay her ghost to rest?

Jackpot by Nic Stone

Rico works at the Gas’n’Go and Zan has everything under the sun. So when Rico sells a lottery ticket and the woman hasn’t claimed her prize, she goes on the hunt- maybe her luck will change. Will Zan get in her way or can he help her out after all?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

When Starr witnesses her longtime friend get shot at and murdered by police, with her in the car, she doesn’t know what to do. She lives in two worlds- her poor neighbourhood and her rich suburban fancy school, and doesn’t have the words in either of them. Can she find her voice and action to help bring justice to Khalil’s memory?

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Maverick Carter 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?

This is My America by Kim Johnson

Tracy’s dad has been in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, and Tracy is trying to get Innocence X, a non-profit organization, to help with his case. No luck. But when her brother Jamal, star track runner and student, is falsely convicted of murdering a white girl, Tracy takes matters into her own hands to find out the truth.

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?

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

A novel in verse, Long Way Down examines the fears and bravado of Will, a boy out to avenge his brother’s murder. But in the sixty seconds that it takes Will to ride down the elevator, he encounters three ghosts from his past who upends his worldview and tells him a different narrative.

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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