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Find more Best Fiction for Young Adults
The Best Fiction for Young Adults list is compiled annually by a committee of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and comprises fiction appropriate for ages 12 to 18. The committee’s top 10 choices are identified with an asterisk (*).
Finn feels trapped in his writer father’s novel until he meets Julia and takes a road trip with surprising results.
The Accidental Highwayman. By Ben Tripp. Tor, $17.99 (9780765335494).
After being mistaken for his master, the notorious highwayman Whistling Jack, Kit Bristol and his horse, Midnight, are thrown into a world of magic they thought only existed in fairy tales.
Afterworlds. By Scott Westerfeld. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $17.99 (9781481422345).
Westerfeld offers two novels in one. The first is the story of 18-year-old Darcy, who has just sold her first novel for publication. The second is the novel itself, an enthralling paranormal romance.
Althea & Oliver. By Cristina Moracho. Viking, $17.99 (9780670785391).
When Oliver heads to New York to participate in a clinical study regarding his rare sleep disorder, his estranged friend, Althea, follows, but it might be too late to save their relationship.
And We Stay. By Jenny Hubbard. Delacorte, $16.99 (9780385740579).
Emily’s boyfriend, Paul, kills himself in front of her. Now in boarding school, she uses the spirit of Emily Dickinson to slowly reveal her hidden truths through her own poetry. A 2015 Printz Honor Book.
Breakfast Served Anytime. By Sarah Combs. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763667917).
Spending the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted students, Gloria struggles with the recent death of her beloved grandmother as she strives to make new friends.
* The Carnival at Bray. By Jessie Ann Foley. Elephant Rock, $12.95 (9780989515597).
Maggie has only recently moved to Ireland when tragedy strikes, and her goal becomes seeing Nirvana perform in Rome. A 2015 Printz Honor Book and a 2015 William C. Morris Award Finalist.
Complicit. By Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin’s/Griffin, $18.99 (9781250044594).
After two years in juvenile detention, Jamie’s sister, Cate, has been released, threatening the boy’s sanity as he seeks the truth about their shared past.
Conversion. By Katherine Howe. Putnam, $18.99 (9780399167775).
Colleen struggles to figure out what is at the root of the mystery illness plaguing students at her school.
* The Crossover. By Kwame Alexander. Houghton, $16.99 (9780544107717).
Josh, aka Filthy, is a twin, a talented basketball star, and a son who adores his father but discovers parents are not infallible. The 2015 John Newbery Medal winner and a 2015 Notable Children’s Book.
The Devil’s Intern. By Donna Hosie. Holiday, $16.95 (9780823431953).
The devil has an intern. Who knew? His name is Mitchell, and he thinks he may have found a way out of hell. Or has he? The devil’s in the details.
Egg & Spoon. By Gregory Maguire. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763672201).
When Elena, a Russian peasant, and privileged Ekaterina meet, an enchanted adventure begins.
Everything Leads to You. By Nina LaCour. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525425885).
After Emi discovers a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, she must move beyond her carefully crafted world to track down a decades-old secret.
Evil Librarian. By Michelle Knudsen. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763660383).
Think librarians are a yawn? Then you haven’t met Mr. Gabriel, the new librarian at Cynthia’s school. He’s not dull; he’s a demon!
Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders. By Geoff Herbach. Sourcebooks/Fire, $16.99 (9781402291418).
When the school’s band program is cut to fund the cheerleader dance team, Gabe, the band’s “fat kid,” decides to make a stand. Note: the paperback, to be published in April, has been renamed Gabe Johnson Takes Over.
Free to Fall. By Lauren Miller. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062199805).
After Rory is accepted into the prestigious Theden Academy, she discovers a biotech conspiracy that could change civilization. The question: Will she survive her discovery?
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. By Isabel Quintero. Cinco Puntos, $17.95 (9781935955948).
Seventeen-year-old Latina Gabi feels her life comes straight out of a telenovela. This is the drama-filled diary of her tumultuous senior year. The 2015 William C. Morris Award winner and a Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
Girls like Us. By Gail Giles. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763662677).
Special-education grads Quincy and Biddy move in together and forge an unlikely friendship as they attempt to navigate the challenges of living in the real world. The 2015 Schneider Family Book Award winner.
The Glass Casket. By McCormick Templeman. Delacorte, $17.99 (9780385743457).
Tragic deaths, lost loves, and superstitious beliefs lead Rowan on a journey, not only to save herself but also her friends and family.
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. By A. S. King. Little, Brown, $18 (9780316222723).
Beware of drinking liquefied bats! Glory O’Brien drinks them and suddenly finds she can see the past and future of everyone she encounters. Everyone except herself. What does her future hold?
* The Gospel of Winter. By Brendan Kiely. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $17.99 (9781442484894).
As Aidan’s family disintegrates, he turns to Father Greg for love and comfort, an act that transforms into something dark and unexpected.
Grasshopper Jungle. By Andrew Smith. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525426035).
Poor, confused Austin is in love with both his girlfriend, Shann, and his best friend, Robby. Meanwhile, the two boys unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that unleashes giant, carnivorous praying mantises. A 2015 Printz Honor Book and a 2015 Top 10 Rainbow Project Book.
Half Bad. By Sally Green. Viking, $18.99 (9780670016785).
Sixteen-year-old Nathan is a Half Code and must find his elusive father and receive three gifts from him before his seventeenth birthday—or he will die.
Heir of Fire. By Sarah J. Maas. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (9781619630659).
This third installment in the Throne of Glass series finds Celaena Sardothien in a foreign country where she must learn how to control her magic.
How It Went Down. By Kekla Magoon. Holt, $17.99 (9780805098693).
A community grapples with the shooting death of 16-year-old Tariq. How did it happen? A 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book.
* I’ll Give You the Sun. By Jandy Nelson. Dial, $17.99 (9780803734968).
Artistically gifted twins, Jude and Noah tell their compelling family story in rich alternating voices. The 2015 Michael L. Printz Award winner, a 2015 Stonewall Honor Book, and a 2015 Top 10 Rainbow Project Book.
The Impossible Knife of Memory. By Laurie Halse Anderson. Viking, $18.99 (9780670012091).
Haley’s former-soldier father, who self-medicates with drugs and alcohol, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. How can she possibly help him?
In the Shadows. By Kiersten White. Illus. by Jim Di Bartolo. Scholastic, $21.99 (9780545561440).
Five lives are intertwined and forever altered by the mysterious events of a single summer.
Into the Grey. By Celine Kiernan. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763670610).
When Patrick and his family move into a house in Ireland, they discover it’s haunted, and the ghost is taking possession of Patrick’s twin brother. How can Patrick stop it?
* Jackaby. By William Ritter. Algonquin, $16.95 (9781616203535).
Answering an odd help-wanted ad that cautions, “Do not stare at the frog,” Abigail finds that her life is about to change in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
The Kiss of Deception. By Mary E. Pearson. Holt, $17.99 (9780805099232).
When 17-year-old Princess Lia flees an arranged marriage, the prince she has jilted sets off in pursuit. But so, too, does a trained assassin. Who will find Lia first?
Lost Girl Found. By Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca. Groundwood, $16.95 (9781554984169).
Her village in war-torn Sudan destroyed, Poni walks to a refugee camp where she must make difficult choices to survive.
A Mad, Wicked Folly. By Sharon Biggs Waller. Viking, $17.99 (9780670014682).
In 1909 London, 17-year-old Victoria must figure out just how much she is willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.
Mortal Heart. By Robin LaFevers. Harcourt, $17.99 (9780547628400).
Annith, a trained assassin loyal to Death, takes matters into her own hands to help her country at war.
* Noggin. By John Corey Whaley. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781442458727).
Travis Coates has lost his head—literally. Dying of leukemia, he has had his noggin surgically removed and cryogenically frozen. But when he’s revived, all is not the same as it once was.
Of Metal and Wishes. By Sarah Fine. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $17.99 (9781442483583).
There are whispers of a wish-granting ghost in the slaughterhouse where 16-year-old Wen assists her doctor father. Are they true?
Revolution. By Deborah Wiles. Scholastic, $19.99 (9780545106078).
The Freedom Summer of 1964 has come to Greenwood, Mississippi, and Sunny becomes involved with the movement in this unusual half-documentary novel. A 2015 Notable Children’s Book.
Road Rash. By Mark Huntley Parsons. Knopf, $16.99 (9780385753425).
Drummer Zach has the best summer of his life when he goes on the road with his band, Bad Habit.
Salt and Storm. By Kendall Kulper. Little, Brown, $18 (9780316404518).
All 16-year-old Avery Roe wants is to become the next witch of Prince Island. But what is she prepared to sacrifice to make that wish come true?
The Scar Boys. By Len Vlahos. Egmont, $17.99 (9781606844397).
Harry bears the physical and emotional scars of a terrible childhood accident but finds relief and rescue in his band, the Scar Boys. A 2015 William C. Morris Award Finalist.
She Is Not Invisible. By Marcus Sedgwick. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781596438019).
Laureth, a blind teenager, impulsively decides to journey to America to look for her writer father, who has gone missing from their British home.
* The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim. By E. K. Johnston. Carolrhoda/Lab, $17.95 (9781467710664).
Dragons live everywhere, and they’re threatening to exterminate a Canadian town unless dragon-slayer Owen and his bard, Siobhan, come up with a plan to save them all.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ada Lavender. By Leslye Walton. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763665661).
Ada Lavender, a girl born with wings, narrates a modern folktale featuring four generations of women in her star-crossed family. A 2015 William C. Morris Award Finalist.
Stranger. By Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. Viking, $18.99 (9780670014804).
All electronics now useless, the world is a dark and dangerous place. Ross must decide whether to run or confront the tyrant coming for him and his secret.
Sway. By Kat Spears. St. Martin’s/Griffin, $18.99 (9781250051431).
High-school-senior Jesse, also known as Sway, could sell a cape to Superman. He’s a high-school fixer, so who could guess his untouchable heart might get broken?
Tease. By Amanda Maciel. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062305305).
Sara Wharton is a bully but not, she insists, a murderer. But Emma Putnam is dead from a suicide—she was literally bullied to death—and Sara has been criminally charged.
Threatened. By Eliot Schrefer. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545551434).
Hired by a professor to help him research chimpanzees, Luc is left alone in the jungle when the professor vanishes, setting off a struggle for survival.
A Time to Dance. By Padma Venkatraman. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $17.99 (9780399257100).
When an accident leaves Veda, a classical dancer in India, a below-knee amputee, she becomes determined not to give up her passion. A 2015 Notable Children’s Book.
Trouble. By Non Pratt. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781442497726).
Hannah is pregnant, but who is the father? Aaron, the new boy in school, certainly isn’t the father, and yet he volunteers to play the part.
The Tyrant’s Daughter. By J. C. Carleson. Knopf, $17.99 (9780449809976).
Laila’s father, the king of an unnamed Middle Eastern country, was killed in a coup. Now living in exile, Laila searches for the truth about her family’s past and its prospective future.
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone. By Adele Griffin. Soho Teen, $17.99 (9781616953607).
Sensationally popular 18-year-old artist Addison Stone has died, and this faux biography recounts her story in the form of interviews, photographs, and examples of her art.
* Vango. By Timothee de Fombelle. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763671969).
Moments before his ordination as a priest, 19-year-old Vango, falsely accused of murder, must flee for his life.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. By Kate Hattemer. Knopf, $16.99 (9780385753784).
When their school decides to host a reality-TV show of dubious distinction, four students band together to save the school and its students from commercial exploitation.
* We Were Liars. By E. Lockhart. Delacorte, $17.99 (9780385740579).
Suffering from serious injuries, Cadence doesn’t remember much from the summer of her fifteenth year on Beechwood Island. Two years later, she returns to try to fill in the gaps.
When I Was the Greatest. By Jason Reynolds. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781442459472).
Ali and brothers Noodles and Needles are neighbors. Although those on the street accept Needles (who suffers from Tourette’s), the three boys—attending a forbidden party—discover that not everyone is so forgiving. The 2015 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award winner.
Wildlife. By Fiona Wood. Little, Brown, $18 (9780316242097).
Classmates and new friends Sibylla and Lou spend a semester in the wilderness and see their lives changed.
The Winner’s Curse. By Marie Rutkoski. Farrar, $17.99 (9780374384678).
Life as a general’s daughter has trained Kestrel to be a brilliant strategist. As she prepares to decide between the military and marriage, an impulsive investment at a slave market results in unexpected consequences.
* The Young Elites. By Marie Lu. Putnam, $18.99 (9780399167836).
An intense fantasy about Adelina, an outsider girl who is rescued by the legendary Reaper, the leader of the Young Elites. But can Adelina keep her friends and sister safe?
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