Search
  • Zoe

7 Must-Read YA Books

YA, Young Adult fiction, is quickly becoming one of the most requested book genres, and for good reason! Boasting titles like The Book Thief and The Selection, YA books are funny, thrilling, and versatile.

These books may be aimed towards teens, but they're great for adults too! From classics like The Catcher in the Rye to up-and-coming contemporaries such as The Fault in Our Stars, YA books are not only fascinating for teens and adults but can help parents understand the viewpoint of their teenager a little better.

Today, I've compiled a list of seven of the best young adult books! I've picked books that adults and teens should be able to enjoy. I've also picked ones that are pretty clean. There are also books in different genres, so there really is something for everyone!


1. Caraval

Genre: Fantasy

Scarlett and Tella have been living under their father's abusive thumb ever since their mother ran off when they were little. They dream of going to the fantastical game called Caraval, an amazing game played over several days designed by a mysterious man called Legend. They write to Legend every year but he's never responded. Once her father has arranged a marriage for her, Scarlett doesn't bother to send a letter.

To their shock, they receive an invitation. Scarlett and Tella escape from their father with the help of a boy named Julian. When Scarlett is entranced by the magical world of Caraval, Tella disappears. Anxious Scarlett quickly learns that this year's game revolves around her own sister and throws herself into finding Tella.

Everyone always says that Caraval is just a game, but Scarlett isn't taking any chances when her sister is on the line. In her attempts to win and find her sister, Scarlett gets caught up in a world of enchantment, love, and danger. Is it really just a game?


2. The Secret Language of Sisters

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Roo and Tilly are sisters and best friends. Tilly, the younger sister, is about the only person who's understood Roo after their father died, except for Roo's boyfriend Newton. Roo's driving to pick Tilly up from the museum when she gets a string of 'hurry up' texts from Tilly. She starts to type a response and looks up to see an older woman and a dog right in the path of her car. She swerves and flips her car, and winds up on a hospital bed.

Roo is paralyzed on her bed, unable to move or talk. Everyone else thinks she's unconscious, but she can actually see and hear everything. But she can't communicate anything, so she's forced to lie there for days on end without anyone knowing her secret.

Tilly is overcome with guilt knowing that her text was the one that landed Roo a spot in the hospital. To make matters worse, she has feelings for her sister's boyfriend, Newton. Tilly might think she's failed Roo, but that doesn't stop them from being sisters. Tilly might be the only person who can understand Roo and figure out that she's awake. But how?


3. Heartless

Genre: Fantasy

We all know that the Queen of Hearts is notorious for cutting off people's heads. But what made her so evil? Marissa Meyer sets out to answer this question in the fantastic Heartless.

Catherine's mother has big plans for Catherine's life. The unmarried King of Hearts has shown his favor toward her, and her mother is resolute that she should seek him out. But Catherine doesn't agree. All she's dreamed about her whole life is to start a bakery with her best friend. She doesn't want to be queen.

When at an event her mother drags her to so that she can see the king, Cath meets Jest, a handsome court jester. He's clever, funny, and mysterious and Cath falls madly in love. They start a secret courtship, risking everything. All Cath wants to do is marry Jest and bake, but nothing is ever that straightforward in the mystical, cutthroat (or should I say cut-head) world of Wonderland.


4. Since You've Been Gone

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Emily was always invisible. Then she met Sloane. Sloane, Emily's best friend, moved to Emily's town after living all over the world. She's adventurous, fearless, and is always pulling Emily out of her shell. Sloane tells Emily about her adventures and they make lists of things Sloane should do. Emily's quiet world shifts and begins to revolve almost entirely around Sloane. But when their much-awaited summer break begins, Sloane disappears.

Emily begins to search for Sloane, trying to figure out where her best friend is and why she didn't say goodbye. All she finds is a list of thirteen things Sloane has written down for Emily to do. Some of the things on the list are fine, but others give Emily a lot of hesitation. But she's determined to bring Sloane back, and if the list will do that, then why not?

Emily sets out on an epic summer journey, aided by Sloane's list and the totally unexpected help of a boy named Frank. This summer, Emily will live louder and bigger than she ever has before, but will it be enough to bring Sloane back home?


5. The Siren

Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Kiera Cass, the author of the smash-hit series The Selection, has done it again! Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean decades ago. In return for living, she works as a Siren for the Ocean, luring people to their deaths with her magical voice. Although it's dangerous and her fellow sirens urge her not to do it, Kahlen spends her days people-watching, wishing she were able to live as freely as others. She never speaks, as one word could kill a human, but watches from afar.

She's never spoken or communicated with a human since the Ocean rescued her. Then one day a boy named Akinli talks to her. Kahlen knows she should just walk away, but continues to communicate with Akinli, pretending that she is mute. Without even meaning to, Kahlen becomes attached to Akinli. Kahlen knows Ocean will kill them both if she ever found out, but Kahlen is determined to live for once in her life.


6. What to Say Next

Genre: Realistic Fiction

School's always come easy to Kit. She's smart and her two best friends Violet and Annie have always been there. But after her dad's untimely death, Kit doesn't feel comfortable anywhere. She has no idea why she sat down next to David at lunch. She just wanted to sit somewhere where it was quieter.

David has had pretty much the opposite school experience than Kit. His older sister, who he affectionately nicknamed Miney, might have been super popular, but he for sure isn't. He's borderline autistic, without much of a filter, and it's never been easy for him to make friends.

Surprisingly, Kit actually likes David's blunt honesty. Everyone else seems to be fake after her dad's death, but not him. Kit and David strike up an unlikely friendship and set out to figure out what actually happened to Kit's father during the car crash. The results are heartbreaking and nothing like they would have ever expected.


7. The Night Circus

Genre: Fantasy

The night circus randomly shows up in different cities, setting up quickly and entirely quiet until night, when the gates open. Anyone who enters the circus becomes enchanted with the astonishing feats and magical events and places. The circus is mysterious and beautiful, but there's something darker going on inside.

Since they were small, Celia and Marco have been trained to duel each other. They are both able to accomplish otherworldly feats and are only just discovering their fates. But when they both begin to work at the circus together, they fall in love. What they don't know is that they have to duel and only one will be left standing.

This novel is just as enchanting as the circus in it! The writing is beautiful and descriptive, and you'll be swept along into the fantastical and treacherous world of The Night Circus.


I hope you enjoyed this post! YA is one of my favorite genres and I hope that you've found something that interests you. Ciao, Zoe.


Interested in more book lists?
Scroll down to subscribe to the mailing list for a freebie: a list of the best family read-alouds for each age range.

If you liked this, you'll love:

69 views

Check us out! For book and writing pins, check out our Pinterest account @Pen2Paper. For more book reviews and reading updates, see our Goodreads account and join our Goodreads book club. To see book memes and photos, follow our Facebook account. For awesome #bookstagrams and funny captions, follow our Instagram account.

  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Screen Shot 2019-01-06 at 3.15.52 PM