37 YA Books You Need To Add To Your Reading List

From classic dramas to modern romance to dystopian futures. (According to Goodreads users.)

37. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Signet Classics

 

What it’s about: The classic novel, based on the author’s life, follows four sisters whose family fortune is lost in the midst of the Civil War.

Top quote: “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

Goodreads rating: 4.01/5

36. Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi

 

What it’s about: Seventeen-year-old Aria is banished from the enclosed city Reverie, and must fend for herself in the wild and treacherous outer wasteland. When she meets another outsider named Perry, the two work together for survival, and uncover some corruption along the way.

Top quote: “If there was no fear, how could there be comfort? Or courage?”

Goodreads rating: 4.02/5

35. Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi

Harper

 

What it’s about: The world is falling to pieces, and in the midst of it all, 17-year-old Juliette is locked up for murder because her touch is fatal. But when the Reestablishment sets her free in preparation for a war, she has to decide what exactly she’ll do with this gift and curse.

Top quote: “I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”

Goodreads rating: 4.03/5

34. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

Yearling Books

 

What it’s about: Young Meg Murry’s father disappears while experimenting with multidimensional time travel, and it’s up to Meg, her friend, and her younger brother to find and save him.

Top quote: “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”

Goodreads rating: 4.03/5

33. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

 

What it’s about: Woodson’s memoir, written in free verse, shows what it was like to live through the 1960s and 1970s in South Carolina and New York as a young black girl, looking for her place in the world.

Top quote: “I believe in one day and someday and this perfect moment called Now.”

Goodreads rating: 4.03/5

32. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Little, Brown

Larry D. Moore / Creative Commons

 

What it’s about: Junior is a cartoonist-to-be living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. When he decides to leave his school for an all-white school in town, he has to face the tensions of being in an environment where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Top quote: “If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”

Goodreads rating: 4.10/5

31. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han

Simon & Schuster

 

What it’s about: Lara Jean has always kept her crushes secret, detailed in letters stashed under her bed — until one day she discovers each letter has been sent, and she’s forced to deal with every past love, face to face.

Top quote: “When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit.”

Goodreads rating: 4.11/5

30. The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Kenneth C. Zirkil / en.wikipedia.org

 

What it’s about: In the future, each citizen is assigned a role in keeping society painstakingly controlled (if devoid of emotion). When Jonas is named the Giver — the keeper of the community’s secrets and past — he must decide what to do with his power.

Top quote: “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

Goodreads rating: 4.11/5

29. The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa

 

What it’s about: Allison Sekemoto has been scavenging for food in a city ruled by vampires, until, finally, she herself becomes one. As she flees the city, pretending to be human, she joins a group of nomads searching for the cure for the disease that destroyed civilization.

Top quote: “‘You are a monster.’ Kanin’s deep voice droned in my head again, as I forced myself to move, to walk away. ‘You will always be a monster, there is no turning back from it. But what type of monster you become is entirely up to you.’”

Goodreads rating: 4.12/5

28. I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson

Dial Books

 

What it’s about: At age 13, twin brother and sister Jude and Noah are both incredibly different and incredibly close; by 16, having grown and changed, the two are barely speaking. When Jude meets a mysterious new mentor, and Noah grapples with his sexuality, it becomes clear that, to make sense of it all, the two must return to each other.

Top quote: “Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before - you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

27. Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

St. Martins Press

 

What it’s about: Sixteen-year-old misfits Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus and fall in love. This is the story of one year in their lives, as they bond over shared love of comics and music, and face heartbreaking issues of race and child abuse.

Top quote: “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

26. Legend, by Marie Lu

 

What it’s about: In a war-torn Republic, June and Day are born into wealth and poverty, respectively. Fifteen years later, their paths cross when Day becomes the top suspect in the murder of June’s brother. With Day trying to protect his family, and June trying to avenge hers, they discover the dark secret of what’s really going on in the Republic.

Quote: “Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”

Goodreads rating: 4.19/5

25. Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery

 

What it’s about: Eleven-year-old orphan Anne (with an “e”) Shirley is adopted by an elderly couple — but when she arrives at the farm she quickly realizes they were hoping for a boy and decides she will win them, and all of her new neighbors, over.

Top quote: “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

Goodreads rating: 4.20/5

24. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

Del Rey

Jessica Chou / BuzzFeed

 

What it’s about: In the future, society is divided by color-coded castes. Darrow is a Red, the lowest,and realizes he’s been fed a lie for his entire life of labor and leads a fight against the ruling class for the future of the rest of civilization.

Top quote: “You do not follow me because I am the strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.”

Goodreads rating: 4.20/5

23. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

Disney Hyperion Books

Larry D. Moore / en.wikipedia.org

 

What it’s about: When young Percy Jackson starts having some trouble at school, his mom realizes it’s time to tell him the truth about his life — he’s actually the son of Poseidon — and sends him away to Camp Half Blood for demigods. But once he’s there, he finds out it’s up to him to venture to the Underworld to prevent a war between the gods.

Top quote: “If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.”

Goodreads rating: 4.20/5

22. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

 

What it’s about: Charlie starts freshman year of high school shy, awkward, introspective, and eager to figure out what his life is going to be. When he befriends two seniors, he’s pulled into a life of parties, drugs, music, and drama, and finds his whole world opening up.

Top quote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Goodreads rating: 4.20/5

21. All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

 

What it’s about: Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are high school students who seemingly have nothing in common — Finch is a depressive and misunderstood outcast; Violet is an outgoing, but secretly troubled, popular girl. But when they find themselves in similarly desperate situations, standing at the top of their school’s bell tower, their unlikely friendship is formed and grows into a roller coaster of a romance.

Top quote: “The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

20. Angelfall, by Susan Ee

Skyscape

 

What it’s about: Six weeks after angels descend to Earth to bring about the apocalypse, a young girl is whisked away by one of the worst. In an effort to save her, 17-year-old Penryn — the girl’s sister — makes a deal with a broken, outcast angel, and the two rely on each other as they venture to the heart of the chaos.

Top quote: “I lower my voice, having forgotten to whisper. ‘You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.’”

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

19. Since You’ve Been Gone, by Morgan Matson

Simon & Schuster

Meredith Zinner

 

What it’s about: Emily’s outgoing best friend goes missing right before summer, and leaves behind a mysterious (and outrageous) to-do list in her absence. Now Emily, with the help of a surprising love interest, must cross off every item on the list in hopes of it leading her back to the friend who created it.

Top quote: “I somehow knew that the particulars didn’t matter. She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing, certainly not a few measly hundred miles, was ever going to change that.”

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

18. The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima

Hyperion

Augusten Burroughs / cindachima.com

 

What it’s about: In the struggling city of Fellsmarch, former thief Han Alister finds himself in possession of a magical and dangerous amulet that once belonged to the Demon King — the wizard who tried to end the world. While he’s working to keep the amulet out of evil hands, the city’s princess tries to convince her mother she’s a warrior, and their paths cross in the midst of a burgeoning war.

Top quote: “A vocation is not something you slap on, like a coat of paint, and change whenever you want. A vocation is built into you. You have no choice. If you try to do something else, you fail.”

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

17. The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

 

What it’s about: In a war-torn kingdom, one nobleman decides to plant an impostor in the kingdom, posing as the king’s long-lost son. A young orphan boy with his own secrets knows his life depends on winning the role.

Top quote: “A person can be educated and still be stupid, and a wise man can have no education at all.”

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

16. Obsidian, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

What it’s about: Katy Swartz is not psyched about moving to West Virginia the summer before her senior year, and it only gets worse when she realizes her super-hot new neighbor is actually an alien, who ends up getting her involved in an intergalactic conflict she never asked for.

Top quote: “‘Why are you such an ass?’ The words came out before I could think twice. ‘Everyone has to excel at something, right?’”

Goodreads rating: 4.26/5

15. Alanna: The First Adventure, by Tamora Pierce

Simon Pulse

Elizabeth Mitchell / Creative Commons

 

What it’s about: Young Alanna wants to be a knight and live a life of daring adventure, and won’t listen to anyone who tells her she can’t. This first book in the series tells of her journey to the castle, disguised as a boy, where she will learn the skills necessary for knighthood.

Top quotes: “Alan, you seem to think we won’t like you unless you do things just like everyone else. Have you ever thought we might like you because you’re different?”

Goodreads rating: 4.26/5

14. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

 

What it’s about: Originating from a story by the late Siobhan Down, the novel follows a boy who is haunted each night by a storytelling monster in the midst of his mother’s battle with terminal cancer.

Top quotes: “You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

Goodreads rating: 4.27/5

13. Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

Greenwillow Books

Gobonobo / en.wikipedia.org

 

What it’s about: The unspectacular Sophie accidentally gets herself on the bad side of the Witch of the Waste, who curses her by turning her into an old lady. Her only chance to reverse the spell is in finding the ill-tempered Wizard Howl, who lives in a constantly moving, magical castle.

Top quote: “I think we ought to live happily ever after.”

Goodreads rating: 4.29/5

12. An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

 

What it’s about: In the tyrannical Martial Empire, Laia lives in poverty with her family. When her brother is arrested for treason, she makes a deal with rebels to spy on the Empire’s military in exchange for her brother’s release. But she doesn’t expect to find the Empire’s best soldier to be, also, it’s least willing.

Top quote: “Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength.”

Goodreads rating: 4.29/5

11. Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins

Margaret K. McElderry

 

What it’s about: Three patients arrive at a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide, and together they figure out what they will do with their second chance at life.

Top quote: “Grandma once told me it’s easy to overthink love, to dissect it and question it until it is no more.”

Goodreads rating: 4.29/5

10. The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken

Disney Hyperion

 

What it’s about: After living through a disease that killed most of the world’s children,16-year-old Ruby finds herself wielding a dangerous power. Together with a group of misfit kids in the same boat, she escapes the camp she’s locked in and flees for the East River — which might not be safe as she believes.

Top quote: “We’ll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow.”

Goodreads rating: 4.30/5

9. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

 

What it’s about: When 19-year-old Feyre hunts and kills a wolf in the forest, a dangerous and immortal faerie kidnaps her in revenge. But as she lives with him in this magical (and threatened) world her feelings start to change, and she begins to wonder if she wants to protect her captor after all.

Top quote: “Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

Goodreads rating: 4.30/5

8. Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Katherine Tegen Books

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

 

What it’s about: In the dystopian future of Divergent, society is divided into five virtue-based sections. When 16-year-old Tris leaves her family to live among the Dauntless, she finds herself in the middle of an intense and competitive training program, trying to hide her own secrets while uncovering others.

Top quote: “We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

Goodreads rating: 4.30/5

7. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Simon & Schuster

Larry D. Moore / Creative Commons

 

What it’s about: Aristotle and Dante are outcasts who think they have nothing in common — until they meet at a pool and Dante offers to teach Aristotle how to swim. The two become inseparable as their friendship deepens and strengthens, and wrestle with frustrated romantic feelings.

Top quote: “I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”

Goodreads rating: 4.31/5

6. Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare

SImon & Schuster

Gage Skidmore / Flickr: gageskidmore

 

What it’s about: It’s 1878, and Tessa Gray is searching through London’s seedy, supernatural underworld for signs of her missing brother. When she finds the demon-slaying Shadowhunters as her only allies, the team sets out to undermine the Pandemonium Club — a dangerous group of vampires, warlocks, humans, and demons planning to rule the empire.

Top quote: “‘One must always be careful of books,’ said Tessa, ‘and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.’”

Goodreads rating: 4.32/5

5. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

 

What it’s about: During WWII, a young girl named Liesel finds solace in stealing books and sharing them with others — including Jewish refugees her parents are housing. The story is told from Death’s point of view.

Top quote: “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

Goodreads rating: 4.35/5

4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Dutton Books

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

 

What it’s about: Hazel has little hope for her life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, but when she meets Augustus (in remission) at a cancer support group, their friendship — and then courtship — makes her newly revitalized.

Top quote: “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

Goodreads rating: 4.36/5

3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Scholastic

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

 

What it’s about: Every year, in Panem, each of its districts must send two tributes to fight in the Hunger Games — a televised fight to death. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister is chosen during the name-drawing ceremony, she volunteers to go in her place, and is whisked away to a terrifying fight for survival.

Top quote: “You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”

Goodreads rating: 4.38/5

2. Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover

 

What it’s about: Seventeen-year-old Sky knows Dean Holder is trouble the moment she meets him, but he also sparks new, exciting, and sometimes scary feelings in her. When she gives in to the attraction she tries to deny, she learns that he (and she) are nothing like what people think they are.

Top quote: “The sky is always beautiful. Even when it’s dark or rainy or cloudy, it’s still beautiful to look at. It’ll be there no matter what, and I know it’ll always be beautiful.”

Goodreads rating: 4.39/5

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

Scholastic

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

 

What it’s about: I mean… you know what it’s about. A young boy who grows up in an abusive family finds out he is actually a wizard, and arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a year of danger and adventure.

Top quote: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Goodreads rating: 4.40/5

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