Best Books for Teens

Explore our annual selection of outstanding young adult titles.

2017 Picks

  • The 57 Bus

    By Dashka Slater

    The lives of two teens collide in a story of violence, prejudice, and redemption.

    Tags: Drama, On the dark side, Page-turners, True stories

  • Allegedly

    By Tiffany D. Jackson

    When she was seven, Mary murdered a baby. Allegedly. Now fifteen and pregnant, she has to prove her innocence to get out of a detention center. What really happened that night?

    Tags: Drama, NYC stories, On the dark side, Realistic

  • Backstagers, Vol. 1

    By James Tynion IV

    Illustrated by Rian Sygh

    Jory finds himself in a world of magical doorways and adorable tool-rats, but beware! Danger lurks backstage.

    Tags: Fantasy, Funny, Comics & graphic novels, Love stories

  • Bang

    By Barry Lyga

    Sebastian is struggling to move on from a tragic accident that changed his family forever. Can his newfound passion for pizza-making help him finally rise above it?

    Tags: Drama, On the dark side, Realistic, Tearjerkers

  • Bull

    By David Elliott

    Whaddup, readers?/We make no apology/for this Greek mythology./This is the story of the Minotaur/like you've never heard before.

    Tags: Funny, Historical, On the dark side, Page-turners

  • Cells at Work, Vols. 1–4

    By Akane Shimizu

    The cells that run our bodies have more adventures than you can possibly imagine. You'll never look at cellular biology the same way again!

    Tags: Funny, Comics & graphic novels, Page-turners

  • The Closest I've Come

    By Fred Aceves

    Everything seems to be falling apart for Marcos—even his sneakers—but he's about to find love and friendship in the most unexpected place.

    Tags: Drama, Funny, Realistic

  • Dreadnought

    By April Daniels

    When the world's most famous superhero passes his mantel to Danielle, her life kicks into super-chaos. With a new, powerful body, she must take on enemies both known and unknown.

    Tags: Drama, Science fiction, On the dark side, Page-turners

  • Dreamland Burning

    By Jennifer Latham

    In present-day Tulsa, Rowan finds a body in her backyard. A hundred years earlier, Will is thrust into the race riots tearing his community apart. Their stories converge as the two teens reveal the history of their city.

    Tags: Historical, Page-turners, Realistic

  • Fault Lines in the Constitution

    By Cynthia Levinson & Sanford Levinson

    The Constitution is under glass, but that doesn't mean it stays the same. Discover how its authors shaped our nation and get inspired to change the future!

    Tags: Historical, True stories

  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

    By Julie C. Dao

    Xifeng will stop at nothing to fulfill her destiny as the empress of Feng Lu, including sacrificing herself.

    Tags: Drama, Fantasy, On the dark side

  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue

    By Mackenzi Lee

    Monty and Percy's grand tour was supposed to be boring. Instead, they find themselves on a raucous adventure involving pirates, alchemy, and one too many nights of unbridled debauchery.

    Tags: Funny, Historical, Page-turners, Love stories

  • Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral & Getting It Done

    By Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

    Not just a book about coding! Sophie and Andy present their very real and relatable struggles on their way to creating the hilarious game Tampon Run.

    Tags: NYC stories, True stories

  • The Girl from the Other Side, Vol. 1

    By Nagabe

    Cursed or saved? Shiva must discover the true nature of her mysterious guardian in this twisted fairy tale.

    Tags: Fantasy, Comics & graphic novels, On the dark side

  • The Hate U Give

    By Angie Thomas

    One minute, Khalil is explaining Tupac's T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. to Starr; the next minute, he's murdered at the hands of the police. What happens next is explosive, controversial, and unforgettable.

    Tags: Drama, On the dark side, Realistic, Page-turners

  • Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 1

    By Kelly Thompson

    Illustrated by Leonardo Romero

    Kate Bishop breaks off from the Young Avengers in her solo debut, bringing her bow, arrow, and inimitable sass to Los Angeles as a clever, crime-fighting private investigator.

    Tags: Funny, Comics & graphic novels, Page-turners

  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child

    By Sandra Unwiringiyimana & Abigail Pesta

    When your entire life is upended by genocide, how do you move forward? Sandra answers with her inspiring and urgent story.

    Tags: Page-turners, Tearjerkers, True stories

  • I Am Alfonso Jones

    By Tony Medina

    Illustrated by Stacey Robinson & John Jennings

    After Alfonso is killed by a police officer in Harlem, he boards a ghost train full of his ancestors and travels back in history.

    Tags: Comics & graphic novels, NYC stories, On the dark side, Realistic

  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love

    By Maurene Goo

    When Desi falls in love, she tries to solve it like any problem—with a formula. But this is a K-drama formula, guaranteed to bring lifelong happiness or a world of tears.

    Tags: Funny, Love stories

  • Landscape with Invisible Hand

    By MT Anderson

    Adam struggles to survive in a world overrun by unchecked capitalism and aliens that look like... coffee tables. With flippers.

    Tags: Science fiction, Funny, On the dark side, Tearjerkers

  • Long Way Down

    By Jason Reynolds

    Seven floors stand between Will and his revenge. You coming?

    Tags: Drama, On the dark side, Realistic, Tearjerkers

  • Malika: Warrior Queen, Vol. 1

    By Roye Okupe & Ayodele Elegba (ed.)

    Illustrated by Chima Kalu

    Malika is a West African warrior queen—strong, clever, strategic, ruthless, and fiercely independent.

    Tags: Fantasy, Comics & graphic novels, Historical

  • The Marrow Thieves

    By Cherie Dimaline

    The world has been ruined inside and out. When the government discovers that they can harvest dreams from the bones of indigenous Americans, Frenchie and his family must race to safety.

    Tags: Fantasy, On the dark side

  • Midnight at the Electric

    By Jodi Lynn Anderson

    It’s 2065 and Adri is about to depart for a colony on Mars, when she uncovers a connection to Earth that she never knew she had.

    Tags: Drama, Science fiction, Historical

  • Mis(h)adra

    By Iasmin Omar Ata

    Epilepsy dominates Isaac's life, even though everyone around him refuses to acknowledge it.

    Tags: Drama, Comics & graphic novels, On the dark side, NYC stories, Realistic

  • New Super-Man, Vol. 1

    By Gene Luen Yang

    Illustrated by Viktor Bogdanovic

    Kong Kenan is a neighborhood bully. But when he's suddenly gifted with the powers of Superman, he has to learn how to be a hero.

    Tags: Fantasy, Funny, Comics & graphic novels

  • Noteworthy

    By Riley Redgate

    Desperate to perform, Jordan disguises herself as a guy and joins an all-male a capella group. What could possibly go wrong?

    Tags: Funny, Realistic, Love stories

  • Now or Never! 54th Massachusetts Infantry's War to End Slavery

    By Ray Anthony Shepard

    Thousands of black soldiers fought during the Civil War—not only against the Confederacy, but also against prejudice and discrimination in the Union Army. A fascinating true story, written by the grandson of a slave.

    Tags: Historical, True stories

  • The Nowhere Girls

    By Amy Reed

    Every young woman in Grace's school feels hopeless until three outsiders take on the toxic rape culture that dominates their town.

    Tags: Drama, Realistic

  • Nyxia

    By Scott Reintgen

    Every day, the scores are posted. Only the top scorers will get to Eden, a mysterious planet colonized by a shadowy corporation. And every competitor has a reason they can't lose.

    Tags: Science fiction, Page-turners

  • One of Us Is Lying

    By Karen M. McManus

    Five students walk into detention. Four walk out alive.

    Tags: Drama, On the dark side, Page-turners, Realistic

  • Piecing Me Together

    By Renee Watson

    Jade doesn't have time for patronizing adults who undervalue her and her talent. She pieces her life together one collage at a time.

    Tags: Drama, Realistic

  • Queer, There & Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

    By Sarah Prager

    History is queerer than you think.

    Tags: Historical, True stories

  • SLAM! Vol. 1

    By Pamela Ribon

    Illustrated by Veronica Fish

    Jen and Maisie became best friends just in time to beat the tar out of each other on the roller derby track! Will their friendship survive the bruises?

    Tags: Drama, Funny, Comics & graphic novels, Realistic

  • Saint Death

    By Marcus Sedgwick

    Arturo's life on the U.S./Mexico border is full of challenges, but if he can't win a card game against a notorious narco gang leader, none of his other problems are going to matter.

    Tags: On the dark side, Page-turners, Realistic

  • Saints & Misfits

    By S. K. Ali

    Janna struggles to tell the truth about the "good" guy at her mosque.

    Tags: Funny, Realistic

  • Spill Zone, Vol. 1

    By Scott Westerfeld

    Illustrated by Alex Puvilland

    Do not enter the Spill Zone. Do not take photos in the Spill Zone. If anything catches you in the Spill Zone, you won't survive.

    Tags: Science fiction, Comics & graphic novels, On the dark side, Page-turners

  • Spinning

    By Tillie Walden

    Admitting she's outgrown her childhood love of competitive figure skating is just the first step on the road of self-discovery for Tillie Walden.

    Tags: Drama, Comics & graphic novels, Realistic, True stories

  • Starfish

    By Akemi Dawn Bowman

    Kiko's art allows her to express herself, but her mother's toxicity rules her life. As she embarks on a journey, she finds her own ways to create family.

    Tags: Drama, On the dark side, Tearjerkers

  • Survivor's Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz

    By Michael Bornstein & Debbie Bornstein Holinstat

    When Michael arrived at Auschwitz as a toddler, no one expected him to survive. Through his family's ingenuity and bravery, Michael lived to tell their story of resilience and resistance.

    Tags: Historical, True stories

  • The Takedown

    By Corrie Wang

    In near-future Brooklyn, Kyla is framed for a scandalous act by someone close to her. Now she has to find out who, and why, before it's too late.

    Tags: Drama, Science fiction, NYC stories

  • There's Someone Inside Your House

    By Stephanie Perkins

    Makani can't escape her past—or the killer terrorizing her small town.

    Tags: On the dark side, Page-turners, Realistic

  • Undefeated: Jim Thorpe & the Carlisle Indian School Football team

    By Steve Sheinkin

    You know Manning and Brady, but how about Thorpe? Tackle the story of one of football's pioneering players.

    Tags: Historical, Page-turners, True stories

  • The Upside of Unrequited

    By Becky Albertalli

    Molly's first 26 crushes left her broken-hearted. Will number 27 be the one?

    Tags: Funny, Realistic, Love stories

  • Vincent & Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers

    By Deborah Heiligman

    Without Theo, there would be no Vincent van Gogh. This is the story of an artist's search for meaning and the relationship that made it possible.

    Tags: Historical, True stories

  • We Are Okay

    By Nina LaCour

    Marin left San Francisco for New York with nothing but her phone, her wallet, and a picture of her mom. Leaving the rest of her life behind turns out to be more difficult.

    Tags: Drama, Realistic, Tearjerkers

  • The Wendy Project

    By Melissa Jane Osborne

    Illustrated by Veronica Fish

    A new look at the Peter Pan story explores loss, grief, and redemption.

    Tags: Comics & graphic novels, Tearjerkers

  • What Girls Are Made Of

    By Elana K. Arnold

    An authentic and unapologetic story of a girl beginning to care for herself and her body when no one else will.

    Tags: Drama, Page-turners, Realistic

  • You Bring the Distant Near

    By Mitali Perkins

    Three generations of Das women experience heartbreak and joy in this exploration of immigrant identity.

    Tags: Drama, Historical, NYC stories, Realistic, Tearjerkers

  • You're Welcome, Universe

    By Whitney Gardner

    Julia is an outsider in more ways than one, and that's how she likes it! When her parents and principal crack down, Julia has to break all the rules to challenge an artistic rival.

    Tags: Funny, NYC stories, Realistic

Additional Information

Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

About Best Books