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Updated on Dec 18, 2019. Posted on Dec 18, 2019

31 Young Adult Books That We Deemed The Best Of 2019

All books are good, but these were the best.

by ,

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

1. Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus

Delacorte Press, karenmcmanus.com

Release date: Jan. 8

What it's about: Ellery moves to Echo Ridges, which on the surface is a picture-perfect town, but below the surface is anything but. Echo Ridge has a dark past — including Ellery's missing aunt and a dead homecoming queen. When another young girl goes missing, the secrets of the town start coming to light, and somehow Ellery's family is at the center of it all. Very few books will have us pulling an all nighter to finish it — this was one of them and we had NO regrets about not getting a wink of sleep.

Get it from Amazon for $10.79+, Barnes & Noble for $17.99, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

2. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Imprint, ©jen Castle Photography / Via leighbardugo.com

Release date: Jan. 29

What it's about: Set in Bardugo's Grishaverse, the young king Nikolai Lantsov must journey to places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives in order to save his country and himself. Bardugo yet again creates a glorious, heart-pounding adventure set in a wonderfully rich world.

Get it from Amazon for $13.51, Barnes and Noble for $14.46, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

3. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Balzer + Bray, Anissa Hidouk / Via angiethomas.com

Release Date: Feb. 5

What it's about: Bri wants to be a rapper, much like her late father, but with no food in the fridge and an eviction notice on their door after her mother loses her job, Bri's desire to make it big turn into a need for them to stay alive. When Bri goes viral for all the wrong reasons, she has to decide between staying true to who she is and staying out of the streets. This sophomore novel packs just as much of a punch as The Hate U Give while still addressing racial issues in the the social media age.

Get it from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

4. Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Delacorte Press, laurasebastianwrites.com

Release date: Feb. 5

What it's about: Theo has escaped the Kaiser and successfully taken back her rightful title, along with her hostage, Prinz Soren. Although Soren got to know Theo under false pretenses, he seems to respect her, and Theo cannot help but sense that there is some goodness inside him. But Theo's people remain enslaved under the Kaiser's rule, and she's constantly butting heads with Dragonsbane over how to build an army, free them, and take back Astria. But the plan she's forced to go along with isn't her first choice. The sequel to Ash Princess is lush, atmospheric, and packed full of romance and adventure.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $14.66, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

5. Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Crown Books for Young Readers, jeffzentnerbooks.com

Release date: Feb. 26

What it's about: Delia and Josie are best friends who host a horror segment on their local cable station, TV Six. "Midnite Matinee" allows Delia and Josie to become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood every Friday, where their wit and quirkiness are broadcast to dozens of committed fans. After graduation, Delia is fully committed to the show while Josie is still weighing her future and thinking of chasing her dream career in mainstream TV — but she hasn't exactly told Delia that. Zentner packs both humor and emotion into this coming-of-age friendship story about change, forgiveness, and following your heart.

Get it from Amazon for $14.33, Barnes and Noble for $17.20, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

6. The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Freeform, dhonielleclayton.com

Release Date: March 5

What it's about: In this second installment of The Belles series, Camille and her group of allies are trying to find and save Princess Charlotte before she ends up in the clutches of Camille's mortal enemy, Sophia. This enchanting sequel contains just as much adventure and intrigue as the first.

Get it from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $16.91+, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

7. Lovely War by Julie Berry

Viking / goodreads.com

Release date: March 5

What it's about: The Greek goddess Aphrodite tells the stories of four people during World War I in order to try to prove a point to her husband, Hephaestus. Hazel and James meet at a dance and immediately find attraction for each other, which ends all too soon when he is summoned to the war. In the other tale, Aubrey is a black jazz musician from Harlem, and Colette a Belgian refugee. They meet at an American training base in France in the midst of the war and become enamored with each other. Berry's masterful historical YA novel brilliantly tackles the hardships of war, tragedy, hope, challenges, and above all, love.

Get it from Amazon for $12.25, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

8. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Katherine Tegen Books, justinareynolds.com

Release date: March 5

What it's about: Jack and Kate fell for each other and had their own love story, but it soon ended after Kate's unexpected death. Then, through reasons Jack can't explain, Kate's death sends him into a repetitive time loop, taking him back to the moment they first met. If Jack can take preventative measures to stop Kate's death, he'll do it. But when one of Jack's actions turns deadly for someone else he's close to, he'll have to choose what he must do to in order to save the people he loves. This novel takes the best parts of a teen romance and The Butterfly Effect to make the most beautiful story.

Get it from Amazon for $10.87+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

9. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Viking Books, simonandschuster.com

Release date: March 12

What it's about: Author of the best-selling novel, Speak, Anderson pens powerful, personal stories — all told in verse — about her assault, trauma, and being a survivor. It's an incredibly powerful memoir about courage and using your voice.

Get it from Amazon for $11.63, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

10. Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Putnam, Amber Hooper / Via jldugan.com

Release date: April 30

What it's about: Lou Parker has landed a summer job as a giant, dancing hot dog at Magic Castle Playland. But things won't be too bad, because Lou is bound and determined to set her BFF Seeley up with a cute girl in order to get closer to her crush, Nick. While her intentions might be murky, Lou is also determined to stop Magic Castle Playland from closing by the end of summer. This coming-of-age queer romance is fun and adorable in all the best ways.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $12.59, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

11. With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

HarperTeen, acevedowrites.com

Release date: May 7

What it's about: Emoni Santiago has a small daughter and plans to graduate high school. With so much responsibility, she lets her true passion run wild in the kitchen. She loves to cook. While Emoni doesn't have the money for culinary classes, or a class trip to Spain, or anything that seems like it might help her dreams — she refuses to suppress her talent. Heartfelt and powerful, Acevedo delivers another satisfying read.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

12. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, penguinrandomhouse.com

Release date: May 7

What it's about: When Millie Quint discovers the girl she was seeing kissing someone else, she decides to apply to go to boarding school in Scotland. After getting in on full scholarship, Millie jets from Houston to Scotland for a complete change of scenery. The only problem? Millie's roommate is kind of pretentious and annoying. The other problem? She's actually the princess of Scotland. This adorable F/F rom-com will have you delightfully swooning from beginning to end and wanting to re-read it over and over again.

Get it from Amazon for $12.73+, Barnes & Noble for $16.19, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

13. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

St. Martin's Griffin, Raegan Labat / Via us.macmillan.com

Release date: May 14

What it's about: Alex, son of the President of the United States, hates Henry — the young Prince of Wales. One could say that he is Alex's nemesis. When the press sniffs out a slight altercation between the two, they're forced to pretend to be friends in order to repair American/British relations. But the more time they spend together, the more they realize that their friendship might be real. Not just real — but possibly something more? Readers will enjoy McQuiston's hilarious dialogue and fall in love with every character she creates in this one.

Get it from Amazon for $10.29, Barnes and Noble for $15.29, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

14. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Push, masondeaverwrites.com

Release date: May 14

What it's about: When Ben De Backer comes out as non-binary, they're forced to move in with their older sister Hannah, and her husband, Thomas. Now at a new school for the last half of senior year, Ben attempts to keep a low profile and only comes out to the school's therapist. Then they meet Nathan Allan, who takes Ben under his wing — but their friendship slowly begins to turn into something deeper. Deaver has created an important, tender story that's full of heart and sheds light on a narrative that we rarely see in teen romances.

Get it from Amazon for $13.48+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

15. If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Swoon Reads, clairekann.com

Release date: June 4

What it's about: What was thought to be a fun and chill summer working at her grandmother's diner turns into Winnie's worst nightmare. When she's crowned the Summer Queen in her small town, she's thrust into the spotlight. With the guest appearance, the obligations, the photoshoots — all in the company of the Summer King — Winnie is going to have to conquer her fears and defy everyone's expectations. Kann's voice shines in this one. Plus, who doesn't love a body-positive love story?

Get it from Amazon for $12.32+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

16. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

Blazer + Bray, abdaddy.com

Release date: June 4

What it's about: It's the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1989. Reza, a young and closeted Iranian teen, is new to NYC. Soon, he begins dating Judy, who quickly falls in love with him. But while Reza is pretending with Judy, he begins to fall for Art, who happens to be Judy's best friend. It's a love triangle of epic proportions where there's more at stake than a broken heart. Will you cry? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Get it from Amazon for $8.29+, Barnes & Noble for $16.19, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here

17. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Penguin Random House, Dave Londres

Release date: June 18

What it's about: 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. Ribay pens an emotional and topical novel that's truly eye-opening.

Get it from Amazon for $8.21, Barnes and Noble for $14.39, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

18. Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith

Margaret K. McElderry Books, ambersmithauthor.com

Release date: June 18

What it's about: Chris and Maia have a meet-not-so-cute, and things spiral from there. Despite their awful run-ins, these neighbors can't stay away from one another, but their romance isn't an easy one. Maia is still grieving over the loss of her sister and Chris, who recently came out as trans, is still getting over an assault he endured a few years prior. This story is as beautiful as it is breathtaking.

Get it from Amazon for $8.79+, Barnes & Noble for $17.09, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

19. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Point, debbierigaud.com

Release date: July 30


What it's about
: In this swoon-worthy romance, 16-year-old Zora meets a boy named Owen, but she's caught off-guard when she finds out he's an actual prince. And with his older brother's wedding coming up, Zora finds herself attending as a guest on Owen's behalf. Sometimes, you just want a light-hearted read to escape into, and Truly Madly Royally is the book that does just that.

Get it from Amazon for $8.50+, Barnes and Noble for $9.47, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

20. Ziggy, Stardust & Me by James Brandon

Penguin Random House

Release date: Aug. 6

What it's about: In 1973, Jonathan Collins spends more time in fantasy land, daydreaming about his idol Ziggy Stardust and having imagined conversations with his dead mother, than in reality. But that all changes when a boy name Web enters Jonathan's orbit and he begins falling for the fearless, brooding boy. This beautiful story is perfect for fans of love, personal growth, and of course David Bowie.

Get it from Amazon for $14.89+, Barnes & Noble for $16.19, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

21. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Putnam, goodreads.com

Release date: Aug. 13

What it's about: 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 from people, or those who want to uncover Miss Sweetie's true identity. Lee's profound writing tackles topics of politics and race with a main character who isn't afraid to speak her mind.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

22. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Simon & Schuster, choitotheworld.com

Release date: Sept. 3

What it's about: College dropout Pablo and pop sensation Leanna have nothing in common on the surface, but when Pab and Lee meet in the wee hours of the morning in a New York bodega, they find out that they are way more alike than they originally thought. Choi is amazing at building out characters who have so much in common below the surface even though they may appear similar on the surface. Permanent Record does NOT disappoint.

Get it from Amazon for $13.03+, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

23. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Make Me A World / amazon.com

Release date: Sept. 10

What it's about: Jam is a black, transgender girl who lives in a utopian society called Lucille. This world is free of monsters, or rather, free from corruption, crime, and injustice. When Jam's mother paints a creature and Jam accidentally brings it to life, Pet is born. Pet's goal is to rid her world of monsters, but Jam has been lead to believe there are none on her utopian world. That is, until Pet tracks down a monster in Jam's best friend's home. Though this powerful story is set in a world unlike ours, Emezi gracefully tackles real issues that reminds us all that we must not turn a blind eye to the monsters in our own world.

Get it from Amazon for $11.63, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

24. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Penguin Random House, Penguin Young Readers / Via ew.com

Release date: Sept. 10

What it's about: Frank Li is a Korean-American high school senior who feels stuck between what he wants and how to live up to the expectations of his parents, especially their one rule of dating: "Date Korean." This proves to be a problem when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is incredibly smart and pretty, but also white. His family friend Joy Song is in a similar situation, so they make a pact. They'll pretend to date each other so they earn more freedom to be with their real significant others. It's a perfect plan — right? Yoon's stellar debut expertly and authentically tackles racism, privilege, and characters who are trying to navigate their Korean-American identity.

Get it from Amazon for $13.82, Barnes and Noble for $13.82, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

25. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Wednesday Books, rainbowrowell.com

Release date: Sept. 24

What it's about: This is the sequel to Carry On, focusing on what exactly Simon is up to now that he — the Chosen One — has saved the day. Simon, Penny, and Baz decide to take a road trip, where they stumble upon dragons, vampires, and other trouble along the way. This book somehow topped the already untoppable Carry On and has us eager to read the next book in the series!

Get it from Amazon for $11.99+, Barnes & Noble for $17.99, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

26. Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

HarperCollins / goodreads.com

Release date: Oct. 1

What it's about: Set during World War II, this story follows the hardships and struggles of Frankie and her siblings who were abandoned at an orphanage in Chicago. A narrative of a ghost who died in 1918 is beautifully interwoven within Frankie's tale, making it a heart-wrenching, hopeful story of grief, friendship, and perseverance.

Get it from Amazon for $16.19, Barnes and Noble for $16.68, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

27. Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, jasonwritesbooks.com

Release date: Oct. 8

What it's about: This collection of stories tell ten tales of what happens after the bell rings and students make their trek home. Effective, impactful, hilarious, heartbreaking — these are only some words that describe this amazing collection of short stories.

Get it from Amazon for $13.19+, Barnes and Noble for $14.11, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

28. Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Knopf Books for Young Readers, camryngarrett.com

Release date: Oct. 29

What it's about: Simone is a teen living her normal life. She also happens to be HIV-positive. She's the director of the school's production of Rent and is testing the waters with a new boy named Miles. But, one day, someone leaves a note on her locker telling her to break it off with Miles or they'll reveal to the entire school that she's HIV-positive. This story is about fighting other people's prejudices and standing up for oneself. All we can say about this book is: WOW.

Get it from Amazon for $14.55+, Barnes & Noble for $17.09, or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

29. The How & The Why by Cynthia Hand

HarperTeen, cynthiahandbooks.com

Release date: Nov. 5

What it's about: Told from the perspective of a present-day teen looking to find the answers of her origins and a teen from the past who has to give her baby up for adoption, this story explores Cynthia's desire for answers and Cass's desire to provide a better life for her unborn daughter. Although fictional, this story sheds a light on the very real decision a lot of teens make and how, though it is hard, it has to be made.

Get it from Amazon for $13.69+, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

30. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Little, Brown, Sharona Jacobs / Via blackholly.com

Release date: Nov. 19

What it's about: This is the third book in Black's The Folk of the Air trilogy, and Jude is now the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie after Cardan's betrayal. With war on the rise, Jude must risk venturing back into Faerie Court in order to save her twin sister, whose life is in danger. But when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads fast. Jude is left facing the decision between choosing her ambition or her humanity. Enchanting, thrilling, and atmospheric, Black invites you to step into her adventurous fairy world that's both dark and magical.

Get it from Amazon for $13.99, Barnes and Noble for $13.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

31. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Henry Holt & Co., tomiadeyemi.com

Release Date: Dec. 3

What it's about: The highly anticipated sequel to Children of Blood And Bone picks up where it left off. Zélie and Amari have succeeded in bringing magic back to Orïsha, but their problems are far from over. With the threat of Civil War upon her, Zélie must fight to bring Orïsha back together, or watch it crumble before her eyes. We didn't think Adeyemi could top Children of Blood and Bone, but boy were we wrong — the audience dives deeper into Zélie's world and becomes even more invested.

Get it from Amazon for $13.19+, Barnes and Noble for $14.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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