Young Adult Fiction can be a tricky genre. It needs to spark the imagination of a teen without being condescending—while still seeming grown up. These novels capture that sweet spot: fun but serious, rewarding smart younger readers. And, of course, some of these may even be good for adults! (Um, Philip Pullman, anyone?)
Children of Virtue and Vengeance
By Tomi Adeyemi
The sequel to Children of Blood and Bone is finally here! After battling the impossible, Zelie and Amari succeed in bringing magic back to the land of Orisha. However, with great power comes great responsibility…
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
By Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite
A coming-of-age story about seventeen-year-old Haitian American student Alaine Beauparlant who, after an incident at school (“don’t ask”) is shipped off to Haiti to complete a volunteer immersion project. Witty and enchanting, this generational mystery explores Alaine’s own family history while painting a refreshing and necessary picture of Hatian people and the island that they call home, which is too often reduced to images of poverty and suffering. An important story and a great read.2 .
By Akwaeke Emezi
Emezi, a 5 under 35 honoree who was shortlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature, crafts her first young adult novel about a monster in a world where there are none left—or are there? A sui generis story about justice from a hugely talented young writer.
The Secret Commonwealth
By Philip Pullman
The latest installment in Pullman’s Book of Dust series. Pullman is a master, obviously, having previously written the legendary His Dark Materials. Here he is again, still marvelous, still imaginative, still weaving stories fantastical enough for children, gripping enough for adults. Lots of teen-adult crossover potential with this one.4 .
By Brittney Morris
Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther–inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for Black gamers.