Young adult novels can be so much more than your typical fluffy teen romance, although those, too, can have a special place in young readers' hearts. Not only are these books engaging and well written, but they also take on issues that speak to young readers everywhere, and the genre only continues to grow! Here are some of our favorite recent YA novels.
White Bird by R.J. Palacio
If you liked Wonder then you cannot miss out on its companion novel. This graphic novel expands on Julian’s Grandmother as it tells her story of being a young Jewish girl hidden away by a family in France during World War II. While entirely fictional this work reads like a biographical account and is impossible to put down.
Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson
If you want a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat then this is the book for you. Follow the story of Adbi as he is forced to go undercover as a child soldier in a dangerous militia so that he can find his brother and save his family. This fast-paced novel offers an unforgettable tale of sacrifice and hope that readers are unlikely to forget.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas’ latest novel follows Bri as she dreams of becoming the greatest rapper of all time. However, when her mom loses her job, she has to decide whether to put her dream on hold or to keep going until she makes it. This author’s homage to hip hop as her inspiration creates a story about fighting for your dreams and becoming who you are even if the odds are against you.
For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
This story has so many layers to it that it leaves readers thinking about it long after they have finished reading. This story focuses on Keda who was adopted by a white family as a baby and then forced to move away from her best friend during middle school. While exploring Keda’s feelings during this momentous change the story also examines mental illness, racism, friendship, and familial bonds in a way that leaves readers both heartbroken and hopeful.