YALSA Teen Book Finder
Looking for a specific topic or genre?
Search the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) database of book award winners, nominees, and book lists selected for teens aged 12-18. In addition to YALSA's own lists, the database also includes the past five years' worth of winning and recommended titles from:
A Door in the Dark
Ren Monroe has spent four years proving she’s one of the best wizards in her generation. But top marks at Balmerick University will mean nothing if she fails to get recruited into one of the major houses. Enter Theo Brood. If being rich were a sin, he’d already be halfway to hell. After a failed and disastrous party trick, fate has the two of them crossing paths at the public waxway portal the day before holidays—Theo’s punishment is to travel home with the scholarship kids. A fight breaks out. In the chaos, the portal spell malfunctions. All six students are snatched from the safety of the school’s campus and set down in the middle of nowhere. And one of them is dead on arrival. If anyone can get them through the punishing wilderness with limited magical reserves it’s Ren. But no magic could prepare her for the tangled secrets the rest of the group is harboring, or for what’s following them through the dark woods…
The Little Mermaid: Against the Tide
After the death of Ariel’s mother, the queen of the sea, the seven daughters of King Triton have grown estranged at best. It’s been years since Ariel’s older sisters have visited home. But this year’s Coral Moon is fast approaching, and it’s a special one for Ariel. Finally fifteen, she will be dubbed the Protector of her very own ocean territory as is tradition, and her sisters have agreed to visit for the celebration. But the ceremony is halted when Mala, one of the most renowned daughters of Triton, is abducted. The only clue to where she might have been taken is a hastily scribbled seaweed note, which says, “What could have saved Mother could save me, too.” To rescue Mala, Ariel must work together with her siblings, traveling to various seas, outsmarting dangerous ocean creatures, and delving into forbidden waters to find the truth of what happened to their mother.
Leslie & Janice Sommers
In her quiet Jersey Shore town, high school senior Bridget MacNamara just wants to get a date with the strikingly attractive new kid, Trip, but fate and her lineage have other ideas. Things get weird when the most popular guy in school, Cailean "Cay" McKay, won't leave her alone. Turns out they're distant cousins and what's more-they're the descendants of twin Scottish goddesses, Brighde and Beira. The sisters originally shared an amulet that controlled the weather, and its sudden disappearance has sparked betrayal and vengeance, dividing the once-close family into two rival factions for the last few centuries. Bridget finds herself thrown into a modern version of Scottish mythology when she learns she's directly descended from Brighde, and Trip can be traced straight to Beira. After a century of family warfare, Trip and Bridget are now a star-crossed couple, forced to fight both their families and each other in a race to find the missing amulet.
Wasn't senior year supposed to be a breeze?
Emory might be a student at the prestigious Aldryn College for Lunar Magics, but her healing abilities have always been mediocre at best—until a treacherous night in the Dovermere sea caves leaves a group of her classmates dead and her as the only survivor. Now Emory is plagued by strange, impossible powers that no healer should possess. Powers that would ruin her life if the wrong person were to discover them. To gain control of these new abilities, Emory enlists the help of the school’s most reclusive student, Baz—a boy already well-versed in the deadly nature of darker magic, whose sister happened to be one of the drowned students and Emory’s best friend. Determined to find the truth behind the drownings and the cult-like secret society she’s convinced her classmates were involved in, Emory is faced with even more questions when the supposedly drowned students start washing ashore— alive —only for them each immediately to die horrible, magical deaths. And Emory is not the only one seeking answers. When her new magic captures the society’s attention, she finds herself drawn into their world of privilege and power, all while wondering if the truth she’s searching for might lead her right back to Dovermere…to face the fate she was never meant to escape.
Everone Wants to Know
Kelly Loy Gilbert
The Lo family sticks together. That’s what Honor has been told her whole life while growing up in the glare of the public eye on Lo and Behold, the reality show about her, her four siblings, and their parents. Their show may be off the air, but the Lo family members still live in the spotlight as influencers churning out podcasts, bestselling books, and brand partnerships. So when Honor’s father announces that he’s moving out of their northern California home to rent an apartment in Brooklyn, Honor’s personal upset becomes the internet’s trending B-list celebrity trainwreck—threatening the aspirational image the Los’ brand (and livelihood) depends on. After one of her best friends leaks their private conversation to a gossip site, bruised and betrayed Honor pours all her energy into reuniting her family. With her parents 3,000 miles apart, her siblings torn into factions, and all of them under claustrophobic public scrutiny, this is easier said than done. Just when Honor feels at her lowest, a guarded yet vulnerable boy named Caden comes into her life and makes her want something beyond the tight Lo inner circle for the first time. But is it fair to open her heart to someone new when the people she loves are teetering on the edge of ruin?
Valerie Chu is quiet, studious, and above all, thin. No one, not even her best friend Jordan, knows that she has been binging and purging for years. But when tragedy strikes, Val finds herself taking a good, hard look at her priorities, her choices, and her own body. The path to happiness may lead her away from her hometown and her mother's toxic projections―but first she will have to find the strength to seek help.
Juva knows all about blood readers. Praised for their Sight, they are nothing but swindlers, preying on people’s fears for power and profit. Born by blood readers herself, she knows only too well, and she has vowed never to become one of them. But when her family is threatened by vardari, the eerie lasting ones, who never age, Juva is entangled in a desperate hunt for the blood readers’ legacy: a dark secret that once changed the world, and may do so again. In order to survive, she has to confront the terrifying childhood memory she fought to forget.
After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette. To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish—into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Miles Morales Suspended
Miles Morales is still just your average teenager. He has unexpectedly become totally obsessed with poetry and can never seem to do much more than babble around his crush. Nothing too weird. Oh! Except, just yesterday, he used his spidey superpowers to save the world (no biggie) from an evil mastermind called The Warden. And the grand prize Miles gets for that is…
Suspension. But what begins as a long boring day of in-school suspension is interrupted by a little bzzz in his mind. His spidey-sense is telling him there’s something not quite right here, and soon he finds himself in a fierce battle with an insidious…termite?! His unexpected foe is hiding a secret, one that could lead to the destruction of the world’s history—especially Black and Brown history—and only Miles can stop him. Yeah, just a typical day in the life of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
P.S. I Still Love You
At the most elite private school in Washington, DC., whenever anyone has a problem that they need to go away, they hire Hana Yang Lerner. Hana is a fixer. She knows who to call, what to say, and how to make sure secrets stay where they belong—buried. She can fix anything. Except her own life, which was destroyed when her father, senator Skip Lerner, was arrested for an accident that left one woman nearly dead. Now Hana’s reputation is ruined and her friends are gone. So when she gets a job from an anonymous client called “Three” to follow her former best friend, Luce Herrera, Hana realizes this might be her way of getting back her old life. But the dangerous thing about digging is that you never know what you’ll unearth. As Hana uncovers a dark truth about her supposedly flawless classmates, she’s forced to face a secret of her own.
Out of Character
If you asked seventeen-year-old Cass Williams to describe herself, she’d happily tell you she’s fat, queer, and obsessed with the Tide Wars books. What she won’t tell you—or anyone in her life—is that she’s part of an online Tide Wars roleplay community. Sure, it’s nerdy as hell, but when she’s behind the screen writing scenes as Captain Aresha, she doesn’t have to think about her mother who walked out or how unexpectedly stressful it is dating resident cool girl Taylor Cooper. But secretly retreating to her online life is starting to catch up with Cass. For one, no one in her real life knows her secret roleplay addiction is the reason her grades have taken a big hit. Also? Cass has started catching feelings for Rowan Davies, her internet bestie…and Taylor might be catching on. As Cass’s lies continue to build, so does her anxiety. Roleplaying used to be the one place she could escape to, but this double life and offline-online love triangle have only made things worse. Cass must decide what to do—be honest and risk losing her safe space or keep it a secret and put everything else on the line.
Remind Me to Hate You Later
Seventeen-year-old Jules grew up in her mother's spotlight. A “parenting influencer,” Britt shares details of her daughter's life-pictures, intimate stories, insecurities, all-to a point that becomes unbearable to Jules. And suddenly she's gone. Natalie has only barely begun to grieve her best friend Jules's death when Britt announces her plans to publish a memoir that will dissect Jules's life and death. But Nat knows the truth behind Britt's "perfect" Instagram feed-Jules hated the pressure, the inauthenticity, the persona. There's so much more to Jules than Britt and her followers could ever know. As Nat connects with Jules's boyfriend, Carter, and their shared grief and guilt bonds them, she becomes determined to expose Britt, to understand what really happened, and who is to blame.
Lyssa Mia Smith
On the island of Charmant, magic flows like bootlegged champagne, and fantasies can be bought for the price of a gemstone. Luxe Revelle, star of her family’s fantastical show, knows the splendor is just an illusion. With Prohibition threatening their livelihood, her family struggles to make a living, watering down champagne and patching holes in their sequined costumes. So when the son of Charmant’s wealthiest family makes her an offer—everything the Revelles need to stay in business, in exchange for posing as his girl and helping him become mayor—she can’t refuse. The moment Jamison Port sets foot in Charmant, he can’t shake the feeling of familiarity. An orphan with as few memories as gemstones, he’s desperate to learn what happened to his parents. But as he delves into the island’s secrets, he risks angering the wrong person and discovering a truth that just might break his heart. When Luxe and Jamison accidentally meet, the sparks that fly are more than her magical enchantments. But keeping secrets from powerful people is a dangerous game . . . one that could destroy them both.
At the edge of the city not far from the sea, a field of goldenrod sways in the breeze, its veil of amber flowers obscuring secrets underneath. Old bones and forgotten memories rest in silence, waiting for someone to dig them up. This is where the lives of six young men and women intertwine in ways both tragic and extraordinary. Decaying secrets are revealed as they forge friendships from pain, find betrayal in pleasure, and stare into the face of death itself—in a field of gold by a stagnant river, under the smoke-filled skies.
Saints of the Household
Max and Jay have always depended on one another for their survival. Growing up with a physically abusive father, the two Bribri American brothers have learned that the only way to protect themselves and their mother is to stick to a schedule and keep their heads down. But when they hear a classmate in trouble in the woods, instinct takes over and they intervene, breaking up a fight and beating their high school's star soccer player to a pulp. This act of violence threatens the brothers' dreams for the future and their beliefs about who they are. As the true details of that fateful afternoon unfold over the course of the novel, Max and Jay grapple with the weight of their actions, their shifting relationship as brothers, and the realization that they may be more like their father than they thought. They'll have to reach back to their Bribri roots to find their way forward.
Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened. The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for
The Half-Life of Love
Ranka is tired of death. All she wants now is to be left alone, living out her days in Witchik’s wild north with the coven that raised her, attempting to forget the horrors of her past. But when she is named Bloodwinn, the next treaty bride to the human kingdom of Isodal, her coven sends her south with a single directive: kill him. Easy enough, for a blood-witch whose magic compels her to kill. Except the prince is gentle, kind, and terrified of her. He doesn’t want to marry Ranka; he doesn’t want to be king at all. And it’s his sister—the wickedly smart, infuriatingly beautiful Princess Aramis—who seems to be the real threat. But when witches start turning up dead, murdered by a mysterious, magical plague, Aramis makes Ranka an offer: help her develop a cure, and in return, she’ll help Ranka learn to contain her deadly magic. As the coup draws nearer and the plague spreads, Ranka is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her power, her past, and who she’s meant to fight for. Soon, she will have to decide between the coven that raised her and the princess who sees beyond the monster they shaped her to be. But as the bodies pile up, a monster may be exactly what they need.
The Memory Eater
For generations, a monster called the Memory Eater has lived in the caves of Whistler Beach, Maine, surviving off the unhappy memories of those who want to forget. And for generations, the Harlows have been in charge of keeping her locked up—and keeping her fed. After her grandmother dies, seventeen-year-old Alana Harlow inherits the family business. But there’s something Alana doesn’t know: the strange gaps in her memory aren’t from an accident. Her memories have been taken—eaten. And with them, she’s lost the knowledge of how to keep the monster contained. Now the Memory Eater is loose. Alana’s mistake could cost Whistler Beach everything—unless she can figure out how to retrieve her own memories and recapture the monster. But as Alana delves deeper into her family’s magic and the history of her town, she discovers a shocking secret at the center of the Harlow family business and learns that tampering with memories never comes without a price.
The Next New Syrian Girl
Khadija Shami is a Syrian American high school senior raised on boxing and football. Saddled with a monstrous ego and a fierce mother to test it, she dreams of escaping her sheltered life to travel the world with her best friend. Leene Tahir is a Syrian refugee, doing her best to adjust to the wildly unfamiliar society of a suburban Detroit high school while battling panic attacks and family pressures. When their worlds collide the result is catastrophic. To Khadija, Leene embodies the tame, dutiful Syrian ideal she's long rebelled against. And to Leene, Khadija is the strong-willed, closed-off American who makes her doubt her place in the world. But as Khadija digs up Leene’s past, a startling and life-changing discovery forces the two of them closer together. As the girls secretly race to unravel the truth, a friendship slowly and hesitantly begins blooming. Doubts are cast aside as they realize they have more in common than they each expected. What they find takes them on a journey all the way to Jordan, challenging what each knows about the other and herself.
Drawn from real life, here is a bracingly honest illustrated diary of a teenage girl that captures the explosive turmoil and joy of adolescence. Meet Phoebe. She’s cool and insecure, talented and vulnerable, sexy and awkward, driven and confused, ecstatic and tragic. Like you. And here is her diary, packed full of invaluable friends and heartbreaking crushes, spectacular playlists and vintage outfits, drama nerds and art kids, old wounds and new love. Based on her own teenage diary, Phoebe Wahl has melded truth with fiction and art with text, casting a spell that brings readers deep into the experience of growing up.
Witchy, Volume 2
Ariel Slamet Ries
In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Low on magic and on the run after committing the ultimate heresy of cutting one's hair, Nyneve and her raven companion, Banana, head into an ancient forest in search of safe transport. However, when Nynever butts heads with the gruff and overbearing broom-maker Kaveh, she starts to wonder if she wouldn't be better off in the hands of the Witch Guard.