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The 30 Best YA Books Of The Decade

Here are the books that left an impact on us throughout the last 10 years.

Brooke Greenberg / BuzzFeed

While all of us read a lot of YA novels in the last decade, it was extremely difficult to choose our top picks. However, here are the books that left an impact on us.

1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Speak, Michael Buckner / Getty Images and Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Release date: April 6, 2010

Why we love it so much: Told from the perspectives of Will Grayson (1) and will grayson (2), this story explores the lives of young teens and what it means to love, live, and learn to be comfortable in your own skin. This book was amazing because it was one of the first mainstream YA books to come out with an LGBTQ protagonist and show how LGBTQ teens face the same problems as heterosexual teens. It was one of the first to normalize LGBTQ stories in YA books.

Get it from Amazon for $8.50+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Scholastic Press/suzannecollinsbooks.com

Release date: August 24, 2010

Why we love it so much: The shocking finale to this critically acclaimed series finally gave us closure to the Katniss Everdeen saga. This was a series that arguably shook the nation, leaving us wondering what would happen to Katniss, Peta, and Panem. That's why we firmly believe this thrilling series deserves to have its final installment on this list.

Get it from Amazon for $10.18+, Barnes and Noble for $11.69, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Penguin / Destinee Blau

Release date: Dec. 2, 2010

Why we love it so much: A 17-year-old girl from Atlanta attends a boarding school in Paris, France for her senior year and finds a group of friends who really seem to understand her, including the very cute and very British Étienne St. Clair. This YA contemporary has strong rom-com vibes and is just SO feel-good that it almost reads like a modern-day fairytale. The dialogue is funny and charming, and the characters are relatable and fun. It's one of those treasured stories you'll find yourself reading over and over again whenever you need a pick-me-up.

Get it from Amazon for $8.70+, Barnes and Noble for $10.44, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Philomel Books, Starowieyska Magda

Release date: March 22, 2011

Why we love it so much: Between Shades of Gray is a historical novel set in 1941 Lithuania. 15-year-old Lina, her brother, and her mother are forced out of their home and put on a dirty, crowded train to Siberia. Until Stalin's orders, they are prisoners forced to live out their lives under freezing conditions. Lina is terrified she will never see her father again, as he was sent to a different prison camp. Sepetys is a master at YA historical novels, meticulously researching and uncovering pieces of history that aren't often discussed. She doesn't sugarcoat the truth of history, penning raw, emotional, and devastating moments. It's a powerful story that you won't soon forget.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes and Noble for $8.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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5. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, johncoreywhaley.com

Release date: May 3, 2011

Why we love it so much: Where Things Come Back follows two stories that slowly and beautifully intertwine. This book went on to win both the Printz and William C. Morris Debut awards. In the first story, we meet 17-year-old Cullen Witter who lives in a small Arkansas town and is struggling over his brother's inexplicably disappearance. In the second, we follow a young missionary in Africa searching for meaning. Whaley's debut is brilliant, speckled with both darkness and hope.

Get it from Amazon for $7.48+, Barnes and Noble for $10.79, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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6. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Harper Collins, Tana Gandhi

Release date: Nov. 15, 2011

Why we love it so much: Set in a dystopian world, Juliette has been locked up by The Reestablishment for a murder she did not mean to commit. Her touch is deadly, but everything changes when she's introduced to a new cellmate — Adam — who helps her realize her inner strength and how she might be able to use it to fight back. Tahereh Mafi burst into the YA scene in 2011 with this first book in her series. While there were many dystopian novels published around this time, Mafi's unique writing, clever metaphors, and use of strikethroughs helped her prose stand out. There's action and adventure, good versus evil, and tons of swoony romance. What's not to love?

Get it from Amazon for $5.99+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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7. Legend by Marie Lu

Speak, onetrueportal.com

Release date: Nov. 29, 2011

Why we love it so much: This dystopian novel takes place in the Republic, formerly the United States. June has been raised to achieve success within the Republic's military, and Day is a wanted criminal. Their worlds collide when June's brother Metias is murdered and Day is the prime suspect. Lu smashed into the YA scene with this fast-paced thrill ride, giving readers an intriguing premise and vivid characters that leap off the pages.

Get it from Amazon for $7.76+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Penguin, Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

Release date: Jan. 10, 2012

Why we love it so much: Hazel and Augustus meet in a cancer support group and become friends, then more, impacting each other's lives in a tremendous way. While Green published multiple young adult novels before this one, The Fault in Our Stars was the YA book that blew up in 2012, and for good reason. Green explores the ways in which we choose to leave our mark on the world before we die, as well as loss, grief, friendship, death, and love. There's no denying it's a beautifully-told story with smart and witty characters and tongue-and-cheek dialogue. It's a story that made us all ugly cry in the end, but we loved it regardless.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes and Noble for $11.69, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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9. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Balzer + Bray, emdanforth.com

Release date: Feb. 7, 2012

Why we love it so much: After a car accident leaves Cameron Post orphaned, she moves in with her old-fashioned grandmother and aunt. Along the way, she falls in love with her best friend Coley, and is then sent to a religious conversion camp with the goal of "curing" her homosexuality. Grab tissues, because this book will bring on the tears. Cameron's heartbreaking and soul-searching journey is not only bold, honest, and raw, but also a must-read.

Get it from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $9.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Bloomsbury USA Childrens, Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Image

Release date: Aug. 7, 2012

Why we love it so much: 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien makes a bargain with the Crown Prince in order to obtain her freedom: They must work together to find a new royal assassin. This series is written with such detail that you can find something that surprises you even on your tenth read through. On top of being wildly entertaining, the books also portray Celaena (the main character) during her period and describes how painful they can be — even for a trained assassin. You'll grow to care about each and every character because they're just that great. To sum it up, these books never let us down, and we go back to them time and time again.

Get it from Amazon for $6.59+, Barnes and Noble for $13.49, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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11. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Wednesday Books, Eric Fougere - Corbis / Getty Images

Release date: Sept. 10, 2013

Why we love it so much: It was tough to pick between Fangirl and Eleanor and Park because we love them both dearly, but ultimately Fangirl was our pick of the decade. Wren and Cath are twins who grew up reading and loving the Simon Snow books, but when they enter their freshman year of college, it's clear that Wren is ready to leave the world of fan fiction behind while Cath still loves writing fan fic for the series. Rowell expertly creates characters that we can't help but fall in love with, from Cath and Wren to Levi and Reagan. The romance is sweet and real. At its core, it's a story about growing up but staying true to who you are.

Get it from Amazon for $6.59+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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12. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Simon & Schuster, Desiree Navarro / WireImage

Release date: April 15, 2014

Why we love it so much: Lara Jean has written a letter to each of her crushes about her true feelings, then sealed those letters and hid them in a hatbox under her bed. But when someone mails Lara's letters, she's forced to confront those who've received them — including the very cute Peter Kavinsky. Together, she and Peter come up with a plan. Lara will pretend to date Peter so that he can make his ex jealous, and Peter's fake relationship with Lara will help her sister's ex boyfriend Josh see that Lara definitely doesn't have feelings for him. This contemporary YA novel captured our hearts when it was first released in 2014. Han does an incredible job of creating a realistic and close-knit family between Lara, her father, and her two sisters while also brilliantly adding a sweet, light romance for us to swoon over. We can't wait for P.S. I Still Love You to drop on Netflix in Feburary!

Get it from Amazon for $8.99+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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13. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

http://Ember/emilylockhart.com

Release date: May 13, 2014

Why we love it so much: Cadence returns to her family's estate of Clairmont after the fated events of Summer Fifteen — events she cannot remember. The more time she spends back on the island, the more her memories begin to return about what actually happened to her and her group of friends. This story is hauntingly beautiful, eerily suspenseful, and depicts grief in a very unique way.

Get it from Amazon for $5.99+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

14. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Ember, Leonardo Cendamo / Getty Images

Release date: Jan. 6, 2015

Why we love it so much: All the Bright Places follows the unlikely friendship between loner Theodore, who has bipolar disorder and is obsessed with death, and former cheerleader Violet, whose popularity has waned since her sister died. When the two are paired up for a school project, they’re tasked with exploring the natural wonders of Indiana — and they quickly realize this simple assignment can be something much more, something that might even save them. It’s funny, exciting, and incredibly real, and I appreciated Jennifer Niven’s decision to neither sensationalize nor tidy up Theodore’s struggle. Reading this book was the first time I saw my own experience of suicidal thinking accurately depicted in fiction.

Get it from Amazon for $8.29+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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15. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Balzer + Bray, Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic

Release date: April 7, 2015

Why we love it so much: Simon isn't exactly out to his friends and family yet, and no one knows he's been talking anonymously to a boy named Blue. But when a boy in Simon's class named Martin finds his emails, he blackmails Simon. Martin wants a date with his friend Abby, and if Simon doesn't make it happen, he runs the risk of Martin outing him. Albertalli's debut is charming, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny. She perfectly captures the inner turmoil of having a huge secret, and the struggle of just wanting your friends and family to embrace you as you are.

Get it from Amazon for $5.49+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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16. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Razorbill, penguinrandomhouse.com

Release date: April 28, 2015

Why we love it: Tahir's high-fantasy YA novel is told from a dual point of view. First is Laia, a slave to the Martial Empire, who is on a mission to save her brother while bringing down the empire. Second is Elias, a solider who knows nothing beyond the walls of his empire. But when Elias meets Laia and uncovers a dark secret about the home he thought he knew, he faces a difficult choice. Tahir has the ability to create unputdownable stories, and in her debut she creates a lush, vivid world with strong, clever characters. It's hard not to get sucked in.

Get it from Amazon for $10.94+, Barnes and Noble for $11.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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17. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Balzer + Bray, imjuliemurphy.com

Release date: Sept. 15, 2015

Why we love it so much: 17-year-old Willowdean Dickson doesn't define herself by her weight and is confident in herself the way she is — until she begins crushing on her Harpy's co-worker, Bo, who's ridiculously nice and cute. In order to step out of her comfort zone and reclaim her confidence, Willowdean and her best friend decide hatch a plan: This year, they're going to enter their town's beauty pageant. This fat-positive book is an empowering, joyful read full of heart and charm. Murphy perfectly captures the atmosphere of a small town while creating a group of lovable characters. Most of all, this story reminds readers that they're worthy of love no matter what society says.

Get it from Amazon for $7.89+, Barnes and Noble for $8.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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18. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Sourcebook Fire/mariekenijkamp.com

Release date: January 5, 2016

Why we love it so much: This harrowing story is about how a group of teens are affected by a deadly school shooting. This story was groundbreaking and hard-hitting when it was first released in 2016, discussing a topic that sadly continues to be all-too-relevant today.

Get it from Amazon for $8.79+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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19. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

St. Martin's Griffin, David Livingston / Getty Images

Release date: April 26, 2016

Why we love it so much: Inspired by Indian mythology, this YA fantasy follows Maya, who has been cursed by the stars. This causes trouble within her father’s kingdom. She's to marry Amar and become queen of Akaran, but doesn't expect to uncover dark secrets that lead to more questions. The Star-Touched Queen is atmospheric, gorgeous, and intriguing — a book that easily entices readers to consume more after each chapter. Chokshi's beautiful storytelling shines in this one.

Get it from Amazon for $7.94+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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20. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Ember, Steve Zak Photography / FilmMagic

Release date: Nov. 1, 2016

Why we love it so much: Science-loving Natasha and her family are being deported to Jamaica. Daniel has always lived up to the expectations he was held to. But when the two meet on a crowded NYC street, neither one could ever anticipate thinking with their heart. Yoon pens a beautiful, heartbreaking, and emotional journey between Natasha and Daniel, diving gracefully into real issues like immigration, identity, and race. We'd be lying if we said it didn't make us cry more than once.

Get it from Amazon for $7.80+, Barnes and Noble for $11.69, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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21. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

HarperTeen, Elliot Knight

Release date: Sept. 5, 2017

Why we love it so much: Death-Cast is a system used to warn people 24 hours in advance of their End Day — also known as the day they die. Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive a call on the same day and through a series of events, wind up meeting each other using an app called the Last Friend, which pairs people up so they can find company on their final day. Mateo has always lived life carefully while Rufus has been slightly more carefree, but together, they travel the city in one last effort to make peace with their life. Told through both boys' points of view with third person narrations sprinkled throughout, Silvera not only poignantly captures the raw emotion of facing your own morality, but expertly creates relatable and authentic characters. It's a story that will sit with you long after you finish — and you're definitely going to need some tissues.

Get it from Amazon for $8.89+, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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22. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Balzer + Bray, Gp Images / WireImage

Release date: Feb. 28, 2017

Why we love it so much: Thomas's brilliant debut is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. When Starr witnesses her good friend, Khalil, being shot and killed by the police for doing nothing wrong, she has to decide if she can gain the courage to stand up for justice. Thomas's debut exploded when it was first released in 2017, and it is absolutely one of the best YA novels in this decade. Her writing and dialogue shines on each page as she expertly addresses police brutality, Black Lives Matter, and privileged perspectives on race from an honest point of view. It's an emotional read that you're unlikely to forget.

Get it from Amazon for $11.79+, Barnes and Noble for $14.24, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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23. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

HarperCollins, Mackenzi Lee / Via mackenzilee.com

Release date: June 27, 2017

Why we love it so much: Set in the 18th century, this historical YA follows a bisexual scoundrel named Henry (Monty) Montague as he and his best friend Percy. The two embark on a grand tour of Europe, but things take a surprising turn when one of Monty's impulse decisions turns their trip into dangerous manhunt. Lee's knowledge of history is expansive and impressive. Not only is she a master of perfecting an adventurous historical YA novel, but she crafts hilarious and amusing dialogue with ease. Monty, Felicity, and Percy are all characters you'll quickly fall in love with as you get lost in their troublesome and daring adventures.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes and Noble for $8.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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24. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Ember, Nigel Livingstone

Release date: Oct. 17, 2017

Why we love it: Justyce, also known as Jus, begins writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr. after a scary, discriminatory incident with the police. Jus is a smart kid who attends a mostly white prep school and has dreams of attending an Ivy League university. Yet, he begins to wonder if the world sees him as a good person because of the color of his skin. After the incident, Jus begins reflecting upon the daily microaggressions he experiences, especially those that come from a certain group of classmates. Dear Martin is a sincere, truthful novel that deep dives into the reality of injustice, prejudices, privilege, and racism in today's society. Stone's voice, like her story, is powerful and emotional, and one that isn't soon to be forgot.

Get it from Amazon for $5.49+, Barnes and Noble for $8.99, or or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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25. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

Release date: Oct. 24, 2017

Why we love it: This 2017 National Book Award finalist takes place in a 60-second elevator ride, where Will must decide whether or not he will seek revenge on the man who murdered his brother. Reynolds has written many profound YA novels throughout this decade, but Long Way Down has a way of grabbing your emotions and holding them tight until the very end.

Get it from Amazon for $6.79+, Barnes and Noble for $10.79, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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26. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

HarperCollins/indiebound.org

Release date: March 6, 2018

Why we love it so much: Ximoara feels trapped in her curvy body and is only able to release her pent up frustration via slam poetry. This novel made our list because of the story itself and the way the story was told — through prose and poems that make the message of the book that much more impactful.

Get it from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

27. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Henry Holt and Co./tomiadeyemi.com, Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Release date: March 6, 2018

Why we love it so much: Even though Zélie has lost everything, it's up to her to save her land and restore the magic that was lost. In addition to Adeyemi's riveting storytelling, she's created a world that's so rich, fleshed out, and unlike anything we've read in a long time. It blew us all away, and for that reason is one of our favorites of this decade.

Get it from Amazon for $10.43+, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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28. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Little, Brown and Company

Release date: March 20, 2018

Why we love it so much: After Leigh's mother dies by suicide, Leigh is convinced that her mother has turned into a bird. In search of answers, Leigh visits her maternal grandparents for the first time and searches for her mother, "the bird," while uncovering family secrets. This was a highly anticipated book in 2018, and it absolutely is worth the hype. Sprinkled with magical realism and achingly beautiful passages, Pan crafts a brilliant, lyrical, heartfelt, and astounding debut about grief, love, and the complexity of family relationships. We're so excited to read whatever she writes next.

Get it from Amazon for $9.27+, Barnes and Noble for $10.94, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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29. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Penguin

Release date: June 18, 2019

Why we love it: Jay Reguero is a Filipino-American who plans to attend University of Michigan in the fall, but when he discovers that his cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, he's confused why nobody in his family wants to talk about it. So he goes to the Philippines to find the truth. There, he slowly unravels what transpired — and the part he may have played in Jun's death. Patron Saints of Nothing is a powerful coming-of-age story that earned the honor of being a 2019 National Book Award Finalist. Ribay has written a story that draws on the emotions of readers by creating a thought-provoking story surrounding so many topical issues.

Get it from Amazon for $13.74, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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30. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books, staceyhlee.com

Release date: August 13, 2019

Why we love it: This historical YA follows 17-year-old Jo Kuan. By day, Jo works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta, but by night she moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." As her column becomes popular, she uses her power to address some issues in society. But she's not prepared for the backlash, or those who want to uncover Miss Sweetie's true identity. We were simply charmed by The Downstairs Girl this year. Lee eloquently and gracefully tackles political and racial issues with a main character who isn't afraid to speak her mind.

Get it from Amazon for $11.36, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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