Young Adult Novels You Need to Read
July 1, 2021
For the book lovers who are already obsessed with the young adult (YA) genre, we both know these books will always hold a special place in our hearts. For the readers who don’t typically reach for young adult novels, don’t let the title fool you. YA fiction is NOT a genre of literature intended for only “young adults.” In fact, young adult novels cover so many universal topics within their storylines that the books remain relatable to all readers, no matter their age! Love and relationships, growing up and discovering one’s identity are among just a few topics that grace the pages of these rich books. But, don’t take our word for it! You’ll never know the magic and beauty of young adult novels until you read them first-hand.
So, whether you’re new to the YA scene or you’ve been here since the beginning, you’re sure to love this list of must-read young adult novels. Just don’t blame us when you have to totally rearrange your reading list!
This Savage Song
Are you a fan of Holly Black? What about Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor? If so, we highly recommend checking out This Savage Song, book one in Victoria Schwab’s series Monsters of Verity. In this dark urban fantasy, a young woman (Kate) and a young man (August) realize there’s no such thing as safety in a city at war, especially a city overrun with monsters. With the future of their home at stake, these two heroes must face the monsters that intend to destroy them – including those within themselves. With such a unique storyline, This Savage Song is hard to pass up.
Not only do we recommend Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez, but it’s also a Hello Sunshine Book Club pick (for a good reason!). Furia is a powerful contemporary novel set in Argentina. It follows Camila (known as La Furia on the field) – a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line to follow her dreams. Unfortunately for Camila, the path to success is not an easy one, and she is forced to make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her. Filled with authentic details about life in Argentina, romance, and a young woman’s determination, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own. You’ll be swept away by this young adult novel; that’s a guarantee!
Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward kicks off an epic new series with a story that’s nothing short of completely mesmerizing. Of course, can we expect anything less from Brandon Sanderson’s work? Skyward follows Spensa’s story and dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity’s future. While her dreams might be a long shot, Spensa is determined to fly. Get ready for a wild intergalactic adventure because Skyward is out-of-this-world amazing! (Pun fully intended).
If you can’t resist an adorable rom-com like us, Tweet Cute is a definite must for you. In a world where social media is very prevalent, this enemies-to-lovers story is going viral. We mean that literally – it’s the book’s premise and of course it’s going to be super cute! Pepper and Jack begin their relationship through a virtual spat on Twitter that turns viral (see, we told you!); little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life. These two rivals are destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance, and we can’t get enough! All we can say is, out of the pile of young adult novels there is to choose from, read this one, PLEASE!
A Song Below Water
Do you love captivating fantasy tales? Because we could not put down A Song Below Water. This story is about Black sirens, friendship, and self-discovery. The story follows two best friends (so close they’re practically sisters) named Tavia and Effie. Tavia is forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. With a city filled with only a handful of Black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers, she’s truly at odds with the world. On the plus side, she has her best friend Effie by her side to help navigate high school, family secrets, and unrequited crushes. But what happens when, in the wake of a siren murder trial, Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice? Well, you’ll have to read A Song Below Water to find out! Sorry, no spoilers allowed.
Alright fellow book lovers, prepare yourselves to be enticed by a heart-stopping trilogy because Seafire kicks the book series off with a bang! A warlord by the name of Aric Athair killed Caledonia’s parents and kidnapped her brother. Now, Captain Caledonia Styx and her all-female crew are sailing the deadly Bullet seas, on the hunt for revenge. The crew has one mission: stay alive and take down Aric’s armored fleet. A fantasy YA novel with a spell-binding adventure that takes place at sea? Aye-aye, matey! Seafire is not a story to be missed.
Do you love a story that bridges two amazing genres together? Do you fall head over heels for a good love story? What about getting thrills and chills for a captivating murder mystery? Well, buckle up because The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is all that and more! This sumptuous series is set in nineteenth-century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight and seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau finds herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud among these darkest creatures of the night. Oh, and the price of forbidden love is her life. Not only is this story tense, but it’s also swoony and will leave you oh-so satisfied at its nail-biting conclusion.
A Match Made in Mehendi
If you loved the feel-good nature of Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi and Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series, then Nandini Bajpai’s A Match Made in Mehendi might just be the perfect book for you! Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole – matchmakers – with a rich history of helping parents find good matches for their grown children. But, like any other teenager, Simi doesn’t want anything to do with matchmaking. That is, until she realizes she can use it to improve her social status. So what does Simi do? She uses her family’s ancient guide to finding love to start a matchmaking service, via an app, of course. An adorable narrative complete with a strong and confident female lead, A Match Made in Mehendi is sure to put a smile on your face.
We Were Liars
Does your TBR lack a thrilling mystery? Well, we’ve got the perfect book for you. We Were Liars is a buzzworthy, Goodreads Choice award-winning title as well as a National Book Award finalist. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s your chance to check it out! We don’t want to give too much away about this twisty summer-themed read, but we can say this: you will never see the ending coming. Trust us! Out of all of the young adult novels we’re recommending today, you should read We Were Liars. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Sounds familiar, right? That’s because this story by Lois Duncan helped inspire the classic horror film that we’ve all known. Pretty cool, huh!? If you’re not familiar, four teens fight to outsmart a killer who intends to avenge a young boy’s death. With suspense at every turn, they’ll have to fight to stay ahead of a killer determined to make them pay. I Know What You Did Last Summer is the perfect read for when you’re in the mood for something a little more dark and spooky.
What if you went to a secret boarding school where all students were trained to become assassins, spies, and master impersonators? It makes trusting others pretty hard, that’s for sure! Enter November, a seemingly ordinary girl who feels she doesn’t fit into the school’s complicated legacy. Then, a student is murdered and November will need to separate her enemies from her allies before the crime gets pinned on her… or she becomes the killer’s next victim. Are you intrigued? We thought so! But you’ll have to read Killing November to find out how it ends!
All-American Muslim Girl
This one took our breath away. It was just THAT GOOD. Don’t believe us? We’ll let it speak for itself then. All-American Muslim Girl is centred around Allie, a young woman whose religion isn’t a secret but who has been raised by her family to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. However, as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. As you can see, Nadine Jolie Courtney’s All-American Muslim Girl is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds and the struggles and hard-won joys of discovering more of yourself.
What happens when the person you trust the most may not be the person you thought them to be? In this twisty psychological thriller, Ivy finds out that her twin sister, Iris, is trying to push her out of her life and may even be responsible for their mother’s death. Could Ivy, her friends and other family members also be in danger of/from Iris? Follow the twist and turns of The Twin to find out how this thrilling tale ends!
Let’s paint the picture of The Mall. The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall because, in six short weeks, she and her boyfriend will head off to college in NYC to fulfill what they call “THE PLAN.” But you know what they say about the best-laid plans, don’t you? If not, you should see what it’s all about. On second thought, we recommend checking this one out no matter what. Transport yourself back in time to the 90s and enjoy how this retro story unfolds.
Frankly in Love
David Yoon’s Frankly in Love is a thoroughly enjoyable book, and if you love the fake dating/romance trope, this book is an absolute MUST for you. And look, we know this is a list of must-read young adult novels, but seriously, this one is an honorable mention. Frank is what he calls a Limbo – a Korean-American kid who finds themself caught between his parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. And when it comes to expectations, his parents have one rule: he must “date someone who is Korean.” Then comes Joy, a fellow Limbo who helps Frank formulate the perfect plan, a fake relationship that will help them gain their freedoms from their parents. You know where this leads. Every bookworm is bound to fall in love with Frank and Joy while reading this story!
What if America had a royal family? The duty. The crown. The intrigue! Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history. American Royals is believable, inspirational, and downright addictive. And if you can’t get enough of real-life’s Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, then you will also be obsessed with this story.
When an awkward encounter becomes a budding romance, the cutest love story emerges. And we mean it! Emergency Contact is almost too cute to handle. So what happens? Sam and Penny cross paths in a collision of unbearable awkwardness and swap numbers, staying in touch via text. Soon, the pair becomes digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of seeing each other. We recommend you get wrapped up in the budding (and awkward) romance of Sam and Penny – you know you want to!
I Know You Remember
If you loved One of Us Is Lying or Gone Girl, then we have a sneaking suspicion that you will also love I Know You Remember. Jennifer Donaldson is very skilled at creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems, and this YA mystery is no exception. After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown to discover that Zahra, Ruthie’s best friend, vanished from a party just before Ruthie’s return. Ruthie vows to do whatever it takes to find her friend, but this is a story where nothing is quite as it seems, and you won’t see the end coming. Don’t forget to pick up I Know You Remember in your next Book Outlet haul to find out more!
The Fountains of Silence
The Fountains of Silence is fantastic because not only is it an extraordinary historical fiction story bringing you back in time, but it also includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, and photos from the past. Master-storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence inspired by the actual post-war struggles in Spain. Prepare for an all-nighter because The Fountains of Silence is so gripping that you will not be able to put it down until you turn that last page.
The Downstairs Girl
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie,” where she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills. Both witty and insightful, The Downstairs Girl gives us a glimpse into the past while also paralleling present-day issues. If you love historical fiction, this one’s for you!
The Bone Houses
Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Sky in the Deep in this bewitching historical horror novel. After the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings are forced to become gravediggers in a remote village to make ends meet. However, the problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren is that the dead don’t always stay dead. Equal parts classic horror and original fairy tale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph
Award-winning author Brandy Colbert is at it again with this amazing young adult novel. The Revolution of Birdie Randolph takes us on a journey of first loves, navigating family expectations and hidden secrets that will stay with you long after turning the last page. Nothing beats a great book that you just can’t get out of your head, and this is one of those young adult novels. So, what are you waiting for? Check it out!
And there you have it, some must-read young adult novels you should fit into your reading schedule – pronto! Looking for more (or different) options? There is WAY more where that came from; this blog post is just a glimpse of some of the amazing young adult novels available on Book Outlet right now! We hope you’ll give some of these books a read, and if you do, leave a comment to let us know what you thought! Be sure to share this with your friends because fellow book lovers will never say no to book recommendations – at least we don’t!