The best young adult books of the year offer nothing less than revolution—revolutionary ways of seeing, of writing, of imagining, of moving through the world. They’ve kindled our hearts and filled them with warmth and hope when we’ve needed it most.
10. The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros
Set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, The City Beautiful is a gorgeous, disturbing, visceral and mystical experience.
9. Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy
McCoy’s spectacular novel never offers easy answers. It’s a layered and vulnerable exploration of everything that makes a heart beat—or break.
8. The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta
Like the contrasting flavors in a strawberry basil pie, Capetta’s frothy confection melds a journey of self-discovery with a quest to repair broken hearts.
7. Me (Moth) by Amber McBride
In this surprising and expertly crafted novel in verse, two teens travel through a landscape haunted by history, memory and spirituality.
6. The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
Sharpe combines hardscrabble swagger, enormous grief and teenage noir into a heart-wrenching, perfectly paced and cinematic thriller.
5. A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
Williams-Garcia’s mesmerizing portrait of slavery in antebellum Louisiana is a multigenerational saga that brilliantly depicts the rotting heart of Southern plantation life.
4. City of the Uncommon Thief by Lynne Bertrand
This is genre-defying fiction at its finest, a sprawling work of precise storytelling that sticks the landing and knows no fear.
3. When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Gilbert captures the intensity and electricity of the end of adolescence in this astonishing book that expands what the entire category of YA literature can be.
2. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Lo’s beautiful, brave work of historical fiction is as meticulously researched as it is full of raw, authentic emotion.
1. Switch by A.S. King
As she explores the spectrum between isolation and connection in this deeply personal novel, King creates an unsettling but emotional resonant tale for our own unsettling times.