Are you having trouble finding good Young Adult (YA) books for your teens to read? If this is your case, these 10 YA books fall 2019 are must-reads for teens. The selection ranges from fantasy, romance and thrillers to graphic novels and historical fiction.
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), tells Parentology how they evaluate the books on the “2019 Top Ten Best Fiction” list. YALSA has several blogging teams, and after speaking with two, Parentology got the inside scoop on the books your kids should read this fall.
Blogging Team Coordinator, Kimmie DePinto says the books on YALSA’s list, “Become windows and mirrors into the teen experience, and not just one group of teens, but an inclusive expanse of teens.” This year many books on YALSA’s list focus on inclusivity and activism.
Best is Based on Quality
While teen appeal is important, YALSA strives to list content that has quality and merit. Tina Lerno, a coordinator for the Graphic Novels blogging team says that graphic novels for teens are rated based on six criteria. They are books that:
- Reflect an integration of images and words
- Exhibit a clarity of visual flow on the page
- The ability of images to convey necessary meaning
- Outstanding quality of the artwork’s reproduction
- Narrative enhanced by the artwork
- Narrative dominated by sequential art component
With this in mind, the coordinators look at common elements of a novel: language, plot, style, setting, dialog, characterization and design.
Luckily for YALSA, authors are becoming more creative in their approach to specific audiences.
“There have been a variety of retellings, ranging from fresh narratives of the fairytales we all know and love, as well as historical retellings, many of which are focused on pieces of history from around the world that have gone untold or under the radar previously and are now being told through the lens of a Teen experience,” DePinto says.
Above all, they’re always looking for titles that reflect the authors’ own voices and reflect the diversity of their readers. A question broached, Lerno says, “Do you think this will appeal to actual teens, as opposed to librarians who read teen books, or parents and caregivers?”
2019 Top Ten Best Fiction
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
A New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller, this book should be at the top of your teen’s reading list. When the universe brings Arthur and Ben together outside the post office, and neither make a move, they’re left wondering if they missed their chances at love.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Xiomara Batista is a teen struggling with keeping some balance between her mother, twin, and her place in the Catholic church. In the past, she’s used her fists to solve problems, and sometimes would found herself secretly writing poetry, but now it may be time to use those poems to fight back.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Violently taken from her human home, Jude has struggled to navigate the dark world of the Fae. Jaded from years of being viewed as inferior due to being human, she publicly challenges the wicked Prince Cardan and his friends. This leads to the unleashing of the prince’s wrath upon Jude and her sisters.
A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
After a traumatic incident, Annabelle manages to finish her senior year with the support of friends and family and the comfort of routine: school, work and cross-country running. One night, Annabelle reaches her breaking point and begins to run – across the US. Along the way, she becomes a reluctant activist.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
In post-Civil War America where the dead have refused to stay buried, Jane has spent her entire life training in a special combat school for African American children. The school’s curriculum: preparing students to save the lives of the wealthy. When entire families go missing, Jane learns her combat skills are incredibly useful — against both the dead and the living.
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
When Claudia’s best friend Monday suddenly disappears without a trace, Claudia won’t stop investigating until she uncovers the possible horrifying truth.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius is not okay with his impossible to please father; his mother’s and sister’s shared Farsi sisterhood and his “Fractional Persian” heritage. A family trip to his mother’s homeland means learning more about his family, himself and the many forms love can take.
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Claudia finds it hard to balance school, friends, family drama, extracurriculars and romance. On top of all this, she goes to a private girls’ school so things get a bit more complicated.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton
When Aaron, the star of Happy Valley High School, gets into a boating accident, he believes he received a visit from God. Apparently God has a to-do list for him and says Aaron will need the help of Cliff Hubbard (a.k.a. Neanderthal).
Frankie by Shivaun Plozza
Frankie Vega’s searches for her half-brother who suddenly presents himself, then just as rapidly disappears. What’s more puzzling is she’s the only one who’s noticed.