These YA novels in verse tell vivid stories that fly off the page. Fast-paced and emotional, these novels are perfect for reluctant readers and bibliophiles alike. This list has two sections, one for all YA readers and one for older readers who enjoy reading complex texts and/or difficult subjects. Please note that some of the Australian titles may be hard to find in bookstores here in the states.
The Poet X - Elizabeth Acevedo 2018
Xiomara is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, but her Mami wouldn't approve. Yet Xiomara must be heard.
Clap When You Land- Elizabeth Acevedo 2020
Two sisters become aware of each other’s existence when their father dies in a plane crash.
Jimi and Me - Jamie Adoff 2005
Eighth-grader, Keith, has to deal with his father’s death—and understand his father’s life as secrets from his dad’s past come to light.
The Sky Between You and Me - Catherine Alene 2017
Raesha is looking forward to a win the rodeo, but an eating disorder derails her dreams.
Solo - Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess 2017
Seventeen-year-old Blade is the son of a drug-addict/rock star whose mother has passed away. He has a girlfriend, and things are starting to look up when he uncovers a family secret.
A Dangerous Girl - Catherine Bateson 2000
AUSTRALIAN - Merri, John, Leigh, and Nick immerse themselves in Dungeon's and Dragons, a game that blurs fantasy and reality.
His Name in Fire - Catherine Bateson 2006
AUSTALIAN - Emma, Matthew, Mozza and Shazza all need a little glitter in their lives, them Mollie arrives with more than a suitcase in tow.
In Paris With You - Clementine Beauvais 2016 / Translated into English by Sam Taylor 2018
FRENCH - Inspired by the 1837 verse novel, Eugine Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love, if things had gone differently. Then they meet again.
Shark Girl - Kelly Bingham 2007
Fifteen-year-old Jane finds the world a different place after a shark attack that leaves her without an arm. Free verse, news clippings and letters tell the story. (Grades 6 and up.)
Formerly Shark Girl - Kelly Bingham 2013
Follow Jane's story with this second novel.
One Too Many Lies- L.A. Bowen 2018
HI-LO - Paige and her friends tell a little lie here and there.
Wolf Pack of the Winisk River - Paul Brown, illustrated by Robert Kakegamic, 2009
Told through the eyes of a wolf after a harsh Northern Ontario winter, food is scarce and wolves must pursue the caribou north along the Winisk River.
Out of This Place (also called Cinnamon Rain) - Emma Cameron 2012
AUSTRALIAN - Luke spends his days hanging out at the beach. His mate Bongo gets wasted to block out memories. And Casey, the girl they both love, dreams of getting away. One voice is in poems.
Who Will Tell My Brother? - Marlene Carvell 2004
Evan Hill, a part-Mohawk high-school senior, embarks on his brother's crusade to change the school's Indian mascot. Based on the experiences of the author's sons. (Grades 7 and up.)
Displacement - Thalia Chaltas 2011
Home doesn't feel like home to Vera because her mother isn't around and her sister is dead. So she runs away.
Call Me Maria - Judith Ortiz Cofer 2006
Maria is caught between two worlds, Puerto Rico where she was born, and New York City where she lives. Letters, prose and poems bring out the poet in Maria.
Freakboy - Kristen Elizabeth Clark 2013
Brendan trys to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fights for her relationship with Brendan, and Angel struggles with inner demons.
One - Sarah Crossan 2015
Tippi and Grace share everything because they are conjoined twins.
Moonrise - Sarah Crossan 2017
Joe hasn't seen his older brother in years because he is in prison in a different state, and now they have been reuinited. But Ed's execution date is set.
Toffee - Sarah Crossan 2019
Allison has run away from home only to find another. She meets an elderly woman who suffers from dementia who mistakes her for an old friend.
Audacity - Melanie Crowder 2015
HISTORICAL - Clara Lemlich Shavelson is determined to have her voice heard. She organizes a union of women factory workers and leads the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909 known as the Uprising of the 20,000.
Forget Me Not - Carolee Dean 2012
Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is made public. After a life-altering accident, she meets Elijah, a boy who has had a brush with death and can see ghosts.
Trash - Sharon Darrow, 2006
A companion book to The Painters of Lexieville. Abandoned in poverty-stricken Arkansas, 16-year-old Sissy and her brother, Boy, have to collect trash for her crazy foster parents' business until they run away to St. Louis where the unthinkable happens. (For readers grades 8 and up.)
Sanctuary Somewhere- Brenna Dimmig 2019
HI-LO - Seventeen-year-old Osmel world is changes when he finds out he is undocumented. Then, ICE begins raiding the orchards where his family works.
Little Pills- Melody Dodds 2019
HI-LO - Seventeen-year-old Charlotte Navarro never asked to be anyone's hero. Heroes don't steal their grandmother's painkillers.
Alone Together- Sarah J. Donovan 2018
INDIE - Fifteen year-old Sadie Carter finds herself lost in the chaos of her large Catholic family, and plans her escape. Getting arrested was not her plan.
Ruby Moonlight - Ali Cobby Eckermann 2012
AUSTRALIAN/HISTORICAL - When South Australia is colonized in the 1880's Ruby survives of a massacre and hides in the woods where she befriends an Irishman.
Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words - Margarita Engle 2016
HISTORICAL - Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent becames a champion of civil rights.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir - Margarita Engle, Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez, 2015
MEMOIR - Margarita lives in LA, but her heart is in Cuba. Hostility erupts between Cuba and the U.S. at the Bay of Pigs and her worlds collide.
Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air - Margarita Engle 2019
MEMOIR - Margarita's story continues.
The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano - Margarita Engle, Illustrated by Sean Qualls, 2006
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - Sold to slavery in 1797, Manzano's story is heartbreaking. (Grades 7 and up.)
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba - Margarita Engle 2010
HISTORICAL - Fredrika remembers that back home in Sweden, she was kept hungry so that she would grow up to be thin and graceful. Cecilia is a teenage slave who remembers being captured in the Congo. Elena, a privileged girl from a slave-owning family, lives a sheltered life that allows her little freedom.
Hurricane Dancers: The First Carribbean Pirate Shipwreck - Margarita Engle 2011
HISTORICAL - Retelling of the events of a shipwreck in the early days of European exploration of the American continent.
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist - Margarita Engle 2013
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - Book-loving feminist and abolitionist Tula bravely resists an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and fights against injustice.
Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal - Margarita Engle 2014
HISTORICAL - The story of the workers who built the Panama Canal and connected the world’s two largest oceans.
The Good Braider - Terry Farrish 2012
Viola has made the journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and to Portland, Maine where she dreams of South Sudan while she tries to find her way in America.
Beanball - Gene Fehler 2012
Twenty-eight narrators tell the story of a high school athlete who is injured by a wild pitch.
After the Death of Anna Gonzales - Terri Fields 2004
Poems from classmates after Anna's suicide.
Nothing - Robin Friedman 2008
Alternating chapters of short prose and poems written by a brother and sister. High school hunk, Parker, battles bulimia while trying to balance the demands of college applications, extracurricular activities, and a social life.
Crossing Stones - Helen Frost 2009
HISTORICAL - Set during WWI, eighteen-year-old Muriel must find a way to care for her family while being true to herself.
In the Garage - Alma Fullerton 2006
A grief-stricken BJ deals with the aftermath of her friend Alex’s death as we read Alex’s journal.
Burn - Alma Fullerton 2010
Usually, when Casey's famous mom went on tour, Casey got to go. But since settling down with a new husband and baby, things have changed. Casey begins building fires to send smoke signals to her mother, hoping her mother will see her message.
Foreign Exchange - Mel Glenn 1999
A murder mystery. Mel Glenn's early work isn't as engaging as his more recent novels. (Grades 6 to 10)
Jump Ball - A Basketball Season in Poems Mel Glenn 1997
Hoop dreams shatter when a high-school team bus goes out of control on an icy road. (Grades 6 and up.)
Split Image - Mel Glenn 2000
My favorite Mel Glenn! Laura Li appears to be a good student and a perfect Asian daughter--but she escapes by dancing at clubs late at night. The story is told by many characters who are affected by Laura Li's drastic actions. (Grades 8 and up.)
The Taking of Room 114: A Hostage Drama in Poems - Mel Glenn 1997
The subtitle sums it up. (Grades 8 and up.)
Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? A Mystery in Poems - Mel Glenn 1997
A high school murder mystery. (Grades 8 and up.)
A Girl Named Mister - Nikki Grimes 2010
Fourteen-year-old Mary, nicknamed Mister, is a religious girl who wears a promise ring. But her boyfriend weakens her resolve and she gets pregnant. Scared, she turns to a book about the Virgin Mary.
Dark Sons - Nikki Grimes 2005
A biblical tale side by side with a one modern one, teenagers Ishmael and Sam tell of parallel problems with their fathers. 2006 Coretta Scott King Book Award winner. (For readers in grades 6 and up.)
Bronx Masquerade - Nikki Grimes 2005
Open Mike Fridays are a favorite for Mr. Ward's English class, from poets to rappers everyone takes the mike. (For readers 12 and up.)
I, Girl X- Annalise Grey
INDIE - Carleigh's brother's mental illness is slowly invading every aspect of her life.
Volcano Boy - Libby Hathorn 2001
AUSTRALIAN - Read Alexander's diary as he moves in with his uncle in Pappa New Guinea. (Grades 8 and up.)
Sisters of Glass - Stephanie Hemphill 2012
HISTORICAL - Maria is the younger daughter of a glassblowing family in Italy in whose father insisted that she be married into the nobility—except she has feelings for the new glassblower who is working for the family.
Things Left Unsaid - Stephanie Hemphill 2005
Sarah befriends Robin, a girl who wears nothing but black, in order to be different, but when Robin attempts suicide, Sarah has a lot to think about. (Grades 8 and up.)
Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath - Stephanie Hemphill 2007
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - A collage of poems that reconstruct the life, work and suicide of this American icon. (Grades 8 and up.)
CrashBoomLove - Juan Felipe Herrera 2000
Sixteen-year-old Cesar is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Spanish slang terms are footnoted. (Grades 8 and up.)
SkateFate - Juan Felipe Herrera 2011
Lucky Z isn't lucky. He's in foster care. And in a wheelchair. His friend died in the accident. But he finds strength in writing in his journal.
The Simple Gift - Steven Herrick 2004
AUSTRALIAN - Sixteen-year-old Billy runs away from an unhappy home life. (Grades 8 and up.)
By the River - Steven Herrick 2006
AUSTRALIAN - Harry longs to escape the small town by the river. A coming-of-age story set in 1962. (Grades 8 and up.)
The Wolf - Steven Herrick 2007
AUSTRALIAN - Jake's father is sure that he's seen a wolf, an animal not found in Australia, and now something is killing his sheep. Lucy thinks it is the descendant of a wild dog. The two teens hike into the mountains to find it, find out the truth, and to get away.
Sister Slam and the Poetic Motormouth Road Trip - Linda Oatman High 2006
A humorous road trip story with rhyme and beat. (Grades 8 and up.)
A Heart Like Ringo Starr - Linda Oatman High 2015
HI-LO - Faith Hope's family runs a funeral home. Which is ironic, since she is not long for this world. Unless she recieves a heart transplant.
That Selfie Girl - Linda Oatman High 2016
HI-LO - Macy is dead. Selfies while driving never end well. And she has unfinished business.
Fifteen and Change - Max Howard 2018
HI-LO - When Zeke starts working at a local pizza place, he meets activists who want to give him a voice–-and a decent paycheck.
The Voyage of the Artic Tern - Montgomery Hugh 2002
A classic tale of treason, treachery and treasure, sweeping across many centuries and different lands.
Some Girls Bind- Rory James 2019
HI-LO - Jamie binds her chest every day. She feels more like herself when she does. But she wonders if her friends will understand.
Stardust otel - Paul B. Janeczko 1993
Leary, 15, describes his friends, neighbors and residents at his family's hotel. Illustrated. (For grades 7-9.)
Worlds Afire - Paul B. Janeczko 2004
HISTORICAL - Based on the 1944 circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut, Janeczko's novel describes the events in the voices of eyewitnesses of all ages. (For readers in grades 6 and up.)
Requiem; Poems of the Terezin Ghetto - Paul B. Janeczko 2011
HISTORICAL - The Czech concentration camp, Terezin, was a way station to the gas chambers populated by Jewish artists and musicians—all with dignity, resilience, and commitment to art and music in the face of the horrors of the second World War. (For ages 14 and up.)
The Way The Light Bends - Cordelia Jensen 2018
While Linc, the biological daughter, struggles in school and looks through her camera lens to find herself, her adopted sister, Holly, excells in school and is constantly praised.
Believearexic - JJ Johnson 2105
MEMOIR - In 1988, fifteen year-old Jennifer, realizes she needs treatment for her eating disorder.
The Secret of Me - Meg Kearney 2007
Fourteen-year old Lizzie grapples with her feelings about her adoption and worries about what her parents might think. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
The Girl in the Mirror - Meg Kearney 2012
Follow Lizzie's story into high school.
The Sound of Letting Go - Stasia Ward Kehoe 2014
When Daisy's parents send her autistic brother to an institution—Daisy’s furious. She quits band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.
The Brimstone Journals - Ron Koertge 2004
Fifteen narrators tell the story of Branston High School's class of 2001. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses - Ron Koertge, Illustrated by Andrea Dezso, 2012
23 modernized fairy tales in free verse.
Coaltown Jesus - Ron Koertge 2013
When Walker's brother, Noah, dies he is surprised to find Jesus in his bedroom.
Knights of Suburbia- PA Kurch 2019
HI-LO - Henry's older brother returns from overseas with PTSD just as his father decides to run for public office
T4 - Ann Clare LeZotte 2008
HISTORICAL - Raised in Nazi Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula is Deaf. She narrowly escapes Hitler's T4 program, which was designed to eradicate disabled individuals. Vivid poems by a Deaf author bring this short novel to life.
The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain - Melanie Little 2009
Ramon, 15, is a Jew forced to convert to Christianity. His family takes in Amir, born Muslim, also forced to give up his faith, during the Spanish Inquisition.
Nix Minus One – Jill McClean 2012
When Nix's older sister, Roxy, starts breaking the rules things spiral out of control.
Ann and Seamus - Kevin Major, Illustrated by Kevin Blackwood, 2004
HISTORICAL - In 1828, Ann and her father rescue 163 Irish immigrants from a shipwreck off the coast of Newfoundland. Inspired by historical events. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
Heaven Looks a Lot Like a Mall - Wendy Mass 2007
Loved it! Mall rats will relate to 16-year-old Tessa as a life-changing dodge ball zooms toward her head. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
What I Believe - Norma Fox Mazer 2005
Vicki tells her riches to rags storyin prose and poems.
Under the Mesquite - Guadalupe Garcia McCall, 2011
Lupita's mother is diagnosed with cancer and goes for treatment in another town, leaving Lupita to care for her seven younger siblings.
After the Kiss - Tera Elan McVoy 2010
A favorite! Becca loves Alec. Who wouldn't? He's hot and writes haikus. Camille guards her heart. You would too if you moved as often as she has. But a local guy catches her eye. Too bad it's Alec.
Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your... Brains - Ryan Mecum 2008
Illustrated entertainment for Zombie fans.
Vampire Haiku - Ryan Mecum 2008
Relive history by reading a vampire's journal in haiku.
Dawn of Zombie Haiku – Ryan Mecum 2011
A zombie apocalypse story told through the eyes of Dawn, a ten-year-old girl with a Zombie Escape Plan. Only the plan doesn't go quite as expected.
Werewolf Haiku – Ryan Mecum 2010
The journal of a mailman who gets bitten by what he thought was a dog, but was actually a werewolf.
Street Love - Walter Dean Myers 2007
A love story, obviously. Damien and Junice overcome differences in this unpredictable urban tale. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
How I Discovered Poetry - Marilyn Nelson 2014
HISTORICAL MEMOIR - Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells her story in fifty eye-opening poems.
Behind These Hands - Linda Vigen Phillips 2018
When Claire, a piano prodigy, learns that her brothers are dying from a rare disease she must look at her music in a new light.
Baggage - Wendy Phillips 2019
Brittany and her teacher find a boy who doesn’t speak English alone at the airport.
I’ll Be Watching - Pamela Porter 2011
HISTORICAL - Set in Canada during the Great Depression, orphans, sixteen-year-old Ran, fourteen-year-old Nora, twelve-year-old Jim and little Addie find a way to make ends meet under the watchful eye of their dead parents.
Three Rivers Rising, a novel of the Johnstown flood - Jame Richards, 2010
HISTORICAL - Celestia, daughter of a wealthy business owner, falls in love with Peter, the son of a coal miner, in the days before the Johnstown Flood of 1889.
Seven Ways We Lie - Riley Redgate 2016
Told partially in verse, temptations abound at Paloma High School and Juniper has a secret to spill and the furthest to fall.
500 Words or Less- Juleah Del Rosario 2018
A high school senior writes college application essays for her classmates.
What If?- Anna Russell 2018
HI-LO - Josh is always checking his locker again and again, counting cracks in ceilings, and he always needs to finish a song. No matter what.
Ludie's Life - Cynthia Rylant 2006
HISTORICAL - Born in 1910, Ludie is now 90. The poems read like stories that grandparents tell. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
The Weight of the Sky - Lisa Ann Sandell 2006
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Green, band geek, is one of two Jewish students at her high school. She jumps at the chance to spend the summer in Israel and live and work on a kibbutz. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
Song of the Sparrow - Lisa Ann Sandell 2007
HISTORICAL - Sixteen-year-old Elaine of Ascolat is in love with Lancelot, Gwynivere's famous lover.
Against the Tide - Irini Savvides 2008
AUSTRALIAN - Set on Australia's beaches against the backdrop of ocean swim meets, native Australian Katie, her cousin, Matt, and Effi, an immigrant from Greece, are confronted with discrimination.
Far From You - Lisa Schroeder 2009
Alice has lost her mother to cancer and has to deal with a new step-mom and a baby. When trapped in a snowstorm, she finds herself facing all of the things she's been trying to avoid. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
I Heart You You Haunt Me - Lisa Schroeder 2008
More love story than ghost story, Ava can't see or touch Jackson, her dead boyfriend, but she knows he's there. A tearjerker. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder 2010
Luca, Brooklyn's boyfriend died in a car crash. His best friend kills himself, leaving Brooklyn realing. Nico is urged by Luca's to intervene in Brooklyn's downward spiral. Ava, from I Heart You You Haunt Me makes an appearance. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
The Day Before - Lisa Schroeder 2011
Amber's life is crazy, so she escapes to the beach with her iPod, where she meets Cade. They spend one perfect day together with no regrets. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
The Bridge from Me to You - Lisa Schroeder 2014
Told in alternating chapters of poetry and prose, Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.
The Geography of Girlhood - Kirsten Smith 2007
Penny charts the landscape of her high-school years and small-town life. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
Trinkets - Kirsten Smith 2013
Tabitha, Elodie, and Moe are an unlikely trio tied together by the thrill of shoplifting. Told in multiple viewpoints, one in verse.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies - Sonya Sones 2001
A read again book! Fifteen-year-old Ruby's mom just passed away from cancer, leaving Ruby to navigate the oddities of Los Angeles. (Readers 12 and up.)
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy - Sonya Sones 2001
The title says it all. Based on the author's own experiences, a 13-year-old girl sorts through her feelings about her older sister's mental illness. (For readers 10 and older.)
What My Mother Doesn't Know - Sonya Sones 2001
I've read this one again and again! The laugh and cry story of too-tall 14-year-old Sophie, her crushes and her best friends. Follow this one up with What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know. (Readers 12 and up.)
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know - Sonya Sones 2007
The sequel to What My Mother Doesn't Know featuring Robin's side of the story. (Readers 12 and up.)
At the End of Words: A Daughter's Memoir - Miriam Stone, Illustrated by Lisa Franke, 2003
NON-FICTION - A young woman's tribute to her mother who died of breast cancer.
The Angel of Barbican High - Michelle A. Taylor 2002
AUSTRALIAN - Jez feels guilty after her boyfriend's death. A friendship with the class nerd saves her life as she spirals into depression.
Orchards - Holly Thompson 2011
Eighth-grader, Kanako Goldberg's classmate hangs herself, and her parents send her to spend the summer on her grandparents’ fruit farm in Japan. As Kana gets to know her relatives and her heritage, she processes the guilt she feels about the tragedy back home.
The Language Inside - Holly Thompson 2013
Raised in Japan, Emma isn't ready to deal with her mother's cancer. Or move to Massachusetts.
Love and Leftovers - Sarah Tregay 2012
A must-read ;-) Stuck on summer vacation, Marcie Foster has to start her sophomore year at a new school in New Hampshire while her friends, the Leftovers, are back in Idaho. Things look up when she meets, JD, a soccer jock with a Prince Harry grin, but then she gets shipped back home. Marcie's poems in pictures.
Hard Hit - Ann Turner 2000
Sixteen-year-old Mike has it all--baseball, a cute girlfriend, a best friend--until his father is diagnosed with cancer and dies. (Grades 8 and up.)
Learning to Swim - Ann Turner 2003
NON-FICTION - In poems, Turner recounts the summer she was six years old when she was sexually abused. An easy read on a difficult subject. (For readers 13 and older.)
Second in Command - Sandy Van 2019
HI-LO - Sixteen-year-old Leo is often left in charge of his two younger siblings. When his brother gets caught up in a dangerous plot Leo must make a decision.
Unlocked - Ryan G. Van Cleave 2011
Andy, the janitor's son, unlocks another boy's locker when rumors about a gun circulate. The two share secrets, but one worries Andy more than the others.
A Time to Dance - Padma Venkatraman 2014
Veda lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered.
And We Call It Love- Amanda Vink 2019
HI-LO - Clare and Zari are best friends. Then Zari starts dating Dion. Clare spots bruises on Zari and knows something is going on.
Becoming Billie Holiday - Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Flyod Cooper, 2008
HISTORICAL - Elanora's journey from poverty to the stage (and stage name, Billie Holiday).
Yellow Mini - Lori Weber 2011
Mark has inherited a yellow mini from his deceased father. Stacey, his girlfriend, Mary and Annabelle alternate voices as they find their niches, be it concert pianist or activist.
Jinx - Margaret Wild 2002
AUSTRALIAN - Two of Jen's boyfriends have died, earning her the nickname Jinx.
One Night - Margaret Wild 2003
AUSTRALIAN - Helen's world is shattered when she finds that she is pregnant after a one night stand while Gabe, the baby's father, and friends perfect their party-throwing talents.
Escaping Tornado Season - Julie Williams 2004
Set in the 1960's, 13-year-old Allie moves to a small town after her father's death.
Glimpse - Carol Lynch Williams 2010
Lizzie and Hope are sisters. They take their vow to protect each other seriously, but when secrets of sexual abuse and their mother divide them, Hope must save them both.
Paper Hearts - Meg Wiviott 2015
HISTORICAL - A group of girls who were slave laborers at the munitions factory in Auschwitz find friendship in the most unlikely place.
New Found Land, Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery - Allan Wolf 2004
HISTORICAL - The adventures of Lewis and Clark as told through the eyes of all of the members of the crew.
Make Lemonade - Virgina Euwer Wolff 2001
LaVaughn takes a job babysitting for Jolly, a teenage mother of two. Follow up with True Believer and This Full House.
True Believer - Virgina Euwer Wolff 2002
LaVaughn's story continued. Part of a trilogy.
This Full House - Virgina Euwer Wolff 2009
The last of LaVaughn's story.
Seeing Emily - Joyce Lee Wong 2007
Sixteen-year-old Emily Wu writes about her daily life as the daughter of Chinese immigrants as she discovers she can be both Chinese and American. (For readers in grades 6 to 9.)
Rubber Houses - Ellen Yeomans 2007
Sixteen-year-old Kit's life changes when her younger brother, a baseball-crazy 8-year old named Buddy, is diagnosed with and dies from leukemia. (Readers in 6th grade and up.)
READS FOR OLDER TEENS
Swing - Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess 2018
Seventeen-year-olds Noah and Walt have been cut from the baseball team when they find a cache of old letters that reveal the secrets of jazz, friendship, and love.
Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis - Jeannine Atkins 2017
HISTORICAL -The daughter of an Ojibwe woman and an African-Haitian man, Edmonia studied art at Oberlin, one of the first schools to accept people of color and women.
Black Flamingo - Dean Atta 2019
BRITISH - A young man finds his place in the world through his drag queen persona, the black flamingo.
The Same Blood - M. Azmitia 2018
HI-LO - Twin sisters Elena and Marianella have been different all along. When Marianella commits suicide, Elena embraces the things her sister did. Remember Me - Melanie Batchelor 2014
Jamie and Erica create a world of their own in an abandoned park—a place they call “Wonderland.”
Psyche in a Dress - Francesca Lia Block 2006
A collection of contemporary retellings of Greek myths packed with complex metaphors. Although the writing is stunning, it is hard to grasp if you are not familiar with the myths.
How to (Un)cage a Girl - Francesca Lia Block 2008
A collection of poems that map a journey from girlhood to womanhood and the things encountered along the way. Laced with So-Cal flavor and characters from myths, fairy tales, and fine art.
5 to 1 - Holly Bodger 2015
It's 2051 and there are five men to every woman. Told in alternating verse and prose, Sudasa doesn't want to marry and Kiran doesn't want to perform a series of tests for the chance of scoring a wife.
The Best and Hardest Thing - Pat Brisson 2010
Molly has a reputation for being "saintly" until she devises a plan to shake it, but her reputation makeover goes to far.
To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party - Skila Brown 2016
HISTORICAL - It's 1846 and the Donner party faces snow in the Sierras.
Because I am Furniture - Thalia Chaltas 2009
Anke's father abuses her brother and molests her sister but ignores her. She finds her voice when she joins the school volleyball team and saves a friend from her father's grasp.
Closing Down Heaven - Lesley Choyce 2016
Sixteen-year-old Hunter doesn’t remember the cycling accident in the woods that killed him.
The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros 1991
Esperanza is growing up in the Hispanic quarter in Chicago, inventing for herself who she will become.
The Fattening Hut - Pat Lowery Collins 2005
Fourteen-year-old Helen is to marry an older man, but first she must face the fattening hut (no one on the island would want a skinny bride) and mutilation by female circumcision. She flees.
You Remind Me of You - Eireann Corrigan 2001
NON-FICTION/MEMOIR Corrigan is struggling with eating disorders when her boyfriend attempts suicide.
Splintering - Eireann Corrigan 2005
What happens after a stranger violently attacks a family in their own home.
Tough Boy Sonatas – Curtis Crisler, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper, 2007
The voices of the young men tell of growing up in Gary, Indiana. We Come Apart - Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan 2017
Nicu, an immigrant Romania, struggles to find his place, while Jess deals with a turbulant home life. When the two meet, what starts out as friendship slowly grows into more.
An Uninterrupted View of the Sky – Melanie Crowder 2018
It's 1999 in Bolivia. Francisco's father is arrested on false charges and sent to prison. Francisco and his sister are left with hard choices: They must move into prison with their father or flee.
Death Coming Up the Hill – Chris Crowe 2014
HISTORICAL - Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, Ashe is forced to deal with his rough home life.
Three Things I Know Are True– Betty Culley 2020
Everything changes for Liv when her older brother, Jonah, accidentally shoots himself with his best friend Clay’s father’s gun. Now Jonah needs round-the-clock care just to stay alive, and Liv seems to be the only person who can see that her brother is still there inside his broken body.
What Does Blue Feel Like? - Jessica Davidson 2007
AUSTRALIAN - Char leans on her boyfriend Jim as she struggles with deep depression.
Jazz Owls, A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots- Margarita Engle 2018
HISTORICAL - On their way to the front lines of World War II, sailors pour into Los Angeles. Loving the music in the nightclubs, they dance with local Mexican American girls until racial violence leads to murder.
Bull - David Elliott 2017
The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
Voices - David Elliott 2019
HISTORICAL - The final hours of Joan of Arc.
Fault - Amy Ellis 2013
Liz is drugged and raped at a party, but when she speaks up about her assult she finds herself alone — until a note appears in her locker.
Two Girls Staring At The Ceiling - Lucy Frank 2014
Chess has to share a hospital room with Shannon as she gets better and Shannon feels worse.
Keesha's House - Helen Frost 2001
Told in sonnets and sestina's, stories of teens in need of a safe place to stay intersect at Keesha's house.
Walking on Glass - Alma Fullerton 2007
A young man's mother has attempted suicide and is left in a coma.
Ordinary Hazards - Nikki Grimes 2019
MEMOIR - Nikki's mother suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and her father was gone much of the time. Preyed upon by people she trusted, she poured her pain onto a piece of paper and discovered the magic and impact of writing.
Hideous Love, The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein - Stephanie Hemphill 2013
HISTORICAL - Mary is in love with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her family is torn apart by scandal and sorrow as they criss-cross Europe in search of peace and a community of writers and thinkers.
Wicked Girls, A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials - Stephanie Hemphill 2013
HISTORICAL - When Ann's father suggests a spate of illnesses in the village is the result of witchcraft, a chain of events that will change Salem forever. Ann, Mercy and Margaret have to decide if it's too late to tell the truth?
The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined- Stephanie Hemphill 2019
HISTORICAL - Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose—to save France.
Ask Me How I Got Here - Christine Heppermann 2016
Addie is always running, but when she gets pregnant, she stops to think.
Another Night in Mullet Town- Steven Herrick 2016
AUSTRALIAN - Jonah and Manx means fishing at the lake, watching their school mates party on Friday night and wishing they had the courage to talk to Ella and Rachel. Until their small town is bought up by wealthy city dwellers.
Cold Skin - Steven Herrick 2009
AUSTRALIAN/HISTORICAL - Set in an Australian coal-mining town after World War II, Eddie wants to finish school and work in the mines. When his brother's classmate is murdered, suspicion falls on many men in town. A mystery.
Love, Ghosts and Facial Hair - Steven Herrick 2004
AUSTRALIAN - Jack, his father and his sister tell Jack's story of the times after his mother's death and when he falls in love with Annabel.
A Place Like This - Steven Herrick 2004
AUSTRALIAN - Read Love Ghosts and Facial Hair first. Jack, now 18, and Annabel have put off going to university and set out on their own. Life leads them to a job at an apple orchard, where they get emotionally attached to their employer's pregnant daughter.
Kissing Annabel - Steven Herrick 2009
AUSTRALIAN - Originally released in Australia as Love Ghosts and Facial Hair and A Place Like This. This isn't a third Jack and Annabel story, but rather two books for one price.
Planet Pregnancy - Linda Oatman High 2008
Nine months of Sahara's life are filled with problems.
Tiny Little Grief Machines - Linda Oatman High 2014
HI-LO - Alienated from her family, Lexi spirals into grief when her infant sister dies.
Otherwise - Linda Oatman High 2014
HI-LO - A law has been passed. There will be no more genders. Everyone must appear gender neutral. No more boys. No more girls.
Crank - Ellen Hopkins 2006
Kristina/Bree's haunting tale of her relationship with crystal meth.
Glass - Ellen Hopkins 2007
Glass picks up where Crank left off.
Fallout - Ellen Hopkins 2010
Jump ahead to when Hunter, Summer, and Autumn (Kristina's/Bree's older children) are teens. They battle some of thier mother's addictions while trying to find their way in the world and end up coming together.
Impulse - Ellen Hopkins 2007
Follow three characters as they are admitted to a psychiatric hospital after failed suicide attempts.
Perfect - Ellen Hopkins 2011
Four high-school seniors battle unrealistic expectations and strive for perfection. A companion to Impulse.
Burned - Ellen Hopkins 2007
Angry with her abusive father, Pattyn begins to question Mormonism. Her parents send her to spend the summer with her aunt on a Nevada ranch. There she finds the love and acceptance she craves until her father's grasp reaches into her new life.
Smoke - Ellen Hopkins 2013
Pattyn's story continued.
Identical - Ellen Hopkins 2008
Identical twins, Kaeleigh and Raeanne, tell the gritty and disturbing story of living in a dysfunctional and abusive family. A book you'll want to read a second time once you know the ending.
Tilt - Ellen Hopkins 2012
Mikala, Shane, Alex, and Harley all fall in love with boys who tilt their world off its axis.
Tricks - Ellen Hopkins 2012
Five teens find themselves immersed in the violent world of sex workers with nowhere to turn.
Traffick - Ellen Hopkins 2015
The sequel to Tricks.
Rumble - Ellen Hopkins 2015
Matt struggles with his gay brother's sucide, his parents' divorce, and his own romantic relationships before a random act of violence scars him for life.
The You I've Never Known - Ellen Hopkins 2017
Ariel gets tangled in a love triangle, while Maya becomes involved with an older man in order to escape from her mother's questionable beliefs.
People Kill People - Ellen Hopkins 2018
A gun is sold after a murder.
Sanctuary Highway - Ellen Hopkins 2020
In an alternate-future United States, two teens must travel a thousand miles to safety.
And We Stay - Jenny Hubbard 2014
Sent to boarding school after her ex-boyfriend shoots himself, seventeen-year-old Emily copes with her guilt, and begins to heal. Told partially in verse.
The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy - Marie Jaskulka 2015
Two nameless teens form an intense, abusive relationship.
Skyscraping - Cordelia Jensen 2015
Mira finds out about her parents' open marriage as her father's health declines due to HIV and AIDS.
Elevated - Elana Johnson 2014
INDIE - Self-published title about seventeen-year-old Elly who gets stuck in an elevator with her ex.
Something About Love - Elana Johnson 2015
INDIE - Self-published title about a young photographer named Livvy who broke things off with her boyfriend because her mom married his dad.
Believearexic - JJ Johnson 2017
MEMOIR - Jennifer is hospitalized for an eating disorder.
Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein - Lita Judge 2018
BIOGRAPHY - By nineteen, Mary Shelley had been disowned by her family, was living with a married man, and had lost her baby daughter shortly after her birth. Mary poured her grief into Frankenstein. Illustrated.
When You Ask Me Where I'm Going - Jasmin Kaur 2019
The six sections of the book explore what it means to be a young woman living in a world that doesn’t always hear her. Kiran as she flees a history of trauma and raises her daughter while living undocumented in North America. A collection of poems, prose and illustrations.
Audition - Stasia Ward Kehoe 2011
High school junior, Sara, wins a scholarship to study ballet, and sacrifices everything for her new career and falls for a handsome, older choreographer.
The Sound of Letting Go - Stasia Ward Kehoe 2014
Daisy feels imprisoned by her brother Steven's autism and escapes in her music, but when her parents decide to send Steven to an institution she is not ready to let him go.
Vanishing Point - Jeri Kroll 2014
AUSTRALIAN - Nineteen year-old Diana suffers from anorexia nervosa.
Kiss of Broken Glass - Madeleine Kuderick 2014
Caught cutting in the girls' bathroom, fifteen-year-old Kenna has seventy-two hours to face her addiction, deal with rejection, and find a shred of hope.
The Taste of Apples – James Laidler 2010
AUSTRALIAN - Pedro is down and out, negotiating class, culture and family secrets.
The Book of My Life by Angel - Martine Leavitt 2012 Sixteen-year-old Angel is coerced into drugs and prostitution
by a man she meets in a mall.
Breath to Breath - Craig Lew 2015
Seventeen-year-old William is sent to live with his estranged father and comes face to face with both his own past and the sexual abuse of a young boy.
Ronit & Jamil - Pamela L. Laskin 2017
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set in Gaza.
Realm of Possibility - David Levithan 2008
Twenty characters give glimpses into their lives in the form of interconnected poems and song lyrics.
The Secrets We Keep- Deb Loughead 2016
When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself.
Dating Down - Stefanie Lyons 2015
Samantha Henderson falls for an older, edgier, boy she will not name.
The Stars of Oktober Bend- Glenda Millard 2016
AUSTRALIAN - Told partially in verse. Alice is finding her words again after a brutal assault. Manny, once a child soldier, is learning to adapt to a new life with his adoptive family.
Every Little Bad Idea- Caitie McKay 2018
HI-LO - The women in Skyler Wise's family have a weakness for bad boys, but not Skyler. She has one thing on her mind--college. But then she meets Cole.
Karma- Cathy Ostlere 2011
HISTORICAL - After her mother’s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her father travel from Canada to India for a traditional burial. The year is 1984, and on the night of their arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated. The city erupts in chaos and Maya is separated from her father.
Family- Micol Ostow 2011
HISTORICAL - It's 1969 and seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco. A handsome stranger, Henry, offers her love and a new family. Loosely based on the Manson Family murders. Told in a mix of poems and prose.
Exposed - Kimberly Marcus 2011
Liz and Kate are best friends, until Liz's older brother does something unthinkable.
Sold - Patricia McCormick 2006
13-year-old Lakshmi is sold into prostitution in India.
Blood Water Paint - Joy McCullough 2018
HISTORICAL - In 1610 Rome, Artemisia Gentileschi must find the strength to work as an artist in a world where men take what they want from women.
Amiri and Odette, A Love Story - Walter Dean Meyers, Illustrated by Jakava Steptoe, 2009
A love story inspired the underlying violence in Swan Lake.
This Impossible Light - Lily Myers 2017
Sixteen-year-old Ivy's dad has moved out, her mother is withdrawn, her brother is off at college, and her best friend, Anna, has grown distant. Worst of all, Ivy's body won’t stop getting bigger.
Talking in the Dark - Billy Merrell 2003
MEMOIR - Follow Merrell's journey from childhood through the discovery of his own sexuality, made more harrowing when a lover dies of AIDS.
Vanilla - Billy Merrell 2018
Hunter and Vanilla are the picture-perfect gay couple--they've been dating since middle school--until Vanilla uncovers an important piece of himself. Told in three points-of-view.
Ghosting - Edith Pattou 2014
When a group of friends have too much to drink and go looking for a thrill at a haunted house, the home owner's teenage grandson tries to defend the property with tragic consequences.
Defy the Stars - Stephanie Parent 2012
A self-published contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
Fishtailing - Wendy Phillips 2010
Natalie moves to a new school and entagles others in her forbidden world of partying and rebellion.
Crazy - Linda Vigen Phillips 2014
When her mother has a mental breakdown, Laura vows to find the demon that is driving her mother crazy. Learning the truth and discovering her own inner strength, Laura opens her heart to the mother she never knew.
The Gospel Truth - Caroline Pignat 2014
HISTORICAL - Phoebe is a slave on a Virginia tobacco plantation when a strange man from Canada comes to visit, claiming that he is there to watch birds.
Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case- Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, 2017
HISTORICAL - In 1955, amidst segregation and prejudice, two teens fall in love. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races.
Audacious - Gabrielle Prendergast 2013
Sixteen-year-old Raphaelle, who always says the wrong thing, moves to a small town. She is drawn to Samir, a boy in her art class.
Capricious - Gabrielle Prendergast 2014
Raphaelle (of Audacious) balances having two boyfriends.
Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds, 2017
Fifteen-year-old Will has a gun in the waistband of his jeans. His brother, Shawn, was just murdered. The gun belonged to Shawn. What happened? What will happen next?
I Don't Want to Be Crazy - Samantha Schutz 2006
NON-FICTION/MEMOIR - A young woman's memoir of her college years plagued with anxiety.
You Are Not Here - Samantha Schutz 2010
Sixteen-year-old Annaleah greives the loss of the boy she loved.
Purple Daze - Sherry Shahan 2011
HISTORICAL - Six Los Angeles high school students share their experiences and feelings about love and war, feminism and racism, riots and rock 'n' roll in the 1960's.
Counting Back From Nine - Valerie Sherrard 2012
Laren knows the rules. You can't date your best friend's ex. She tells herself that if she and Scott can keep their new romance a secret, no one will get hurt.
Run - Tim Sinclair 2013
AUSTRALIAN - Dee loves the freedom and risk of parkour. But has he got himself in way over his head?
To Be Perfectly Honest: A novel based on an untrue story - Sonya Sones 2013
Collette meets a hot guy when on location with her movie-star mom. But she might have told him one little lie. Or two.
Saving Red - Sonya Sones 2016
Fourteen-year-old Molly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica’s annual homeless count to get her community service requirement out of the way, and foreges a friendship with Red, a homeless girl only a few years older than she is.
The Opposite of Innocent - Sonya Sones 2018
Lily hasn't seen Luke, a friend of the family who is much older than her, in two years. She's fourteen now, and he's staying in the next room.
Girls Like Me- Lola StVil 2016
Fifteen-year-old Shay is coping with the death of her father, being overweight, and bullying when she falls in love with Blake, a boy she met online.
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl - Tanya Lee Stone 2007
Impossible to put down, this book is about three girls who experience heartbreak after a nameless jock uses and dumps each of them.
Dreams on Fire - Annette Daniels Taylor 2018
HI-LO - Shanequa attends a prestigious private school in another neighborhood, and lies to her new friends about her mess of a family.
Like Water on Stone - Dana Walrath 2014
HISTORICAL: Sosi, Shahen, and Mariam escape the Armenian genocide of 1915 by walking to Turkey.
The Watch that Ends the Night, Voices of the Titanic - Alan Wolf, 2011
The ship sinks.
White Rose - Kip Wilson, 2019
Sophie Scholl, a young German college student, challenges the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.
Who Killed Christopher Goodman?: Based on a True Crime - Alan Wolf, 2017
Based on true and terrible murder of a young man that happened when the author was in high school. Told in multiple viewpoints, one om verse.
Zane's Trace - Allan Wolf 2007
Zane has lots of dead relatives, including Mom and Dad. He plans to drive to Zanesville, Ohio to commit suicide and meets a cast of characters along the way.