Your Favorites 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels

Martial Arts Novels Journalism
2022 Jun 08

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Best Young Adult Novels, Best Teen Fiction, Top 100 Teen Novels

More than 75,000 of you voted for your favorite young-adult fiction. Now, after all the nominating, sorting and counting, the final results are in. Here are the 100 best teen novels, chosen by the NPR audience.

Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels

Its almost a cliche at this point to say that teen fiction isnt just for teens anymore. Just last year, the Association of American Publishers ranked Childrens/Young Adult books as the single fastest-growing publishing category.

Which is why we were only a little surprised to see the tremendous response that came in for this summers Best-Ever Teen Fiction poll. A whopping 75,220 of you voted for your favorite young adult novels, blasting past the total for last yearsscience fiction and fantasy pollat, dare we say it, warp speed.

And now, the final results are in. While its no surprise to see Harry Potter and theHunger Gamestrilogy on top, this years list also highlights some writers we werent as familiar with. For example, John Green, author of the 2012 hitThe Fault in Our Stars, appears five times in the top 100.

Selecting a manageable voting roster from among the more than 1,200 nominations that came in from readers wasnt easy, and we were happy to be able to rely on such an experiencedpanel of judges. But deciding what does and doesnt count as a young-adult novel isnt an exact science. If youre surprised not to see some of your favorite books among the winners, you might want to look at thisblog post, which describes the thinking behind the tough calls.

Summer, like youth, is fleeting. But the books we read when were young can stay with us for a lifetime. Heres hoping that when the school bell rings in a few short weeks, it will find you engrossed in just such a memorable read, selected by the NPR audience. Enjoy. (For your convenience, heres aprintable version of the top-100 list, and heres a list of the235 finalists.)

The adventures of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, and his wand-wielding friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry, Ron and Hermione must master their craft and battle the machinations of the evil wizard Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

In the ruins of a future North America, a young girl is picked to leave her impoverished district and travel to the decadent Capitol for a battle to the death in the savage Hunger Games. But for Katniss Everdeen, winning the Games only puts her deeper in danger as the strict social order of Panem begins to unravel.

Author Harper Lee explores racial tensions in the fictional tired old town of Maycomb, Ala., through the eyes of 6-year-old Scout Finch. As her lawyer father, Atticus, defends a black man accused of rape, Scout and her friends learn about the unjust treatment of African-Americans and their mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few more years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at the Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazels story is about to be completely rewritten.

Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.

With the authors death, the classic novel about young Holden Caulfields disillusionment with the adult world and its phoniness will only rise in popularity and controversy, since it is a favorite target of censors, who often cite profanity and sexual references in their efforts to ban the book.

Tolkiens seminal three-volume epic chronicles the War of the Ring, in which Frodo the hobbit and his companions set out to destroy the evil Ring of Power and restore peace to Middle-earth. The beloved trilogy still casts a long shadow, having established some of the most familiar and enduring tropes in fantasy literature.

In a far future world, television dominates, and books are outlawed. The totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be burned by firemen, whose job is to start the fires rather than stop them. But one fireman begins to see the value of the printed word.

Sixteen-year-old Miles first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel a young German girl whose book-stealing and storytelling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

In the future, society has eliminated discord, converting everyone to Sameness. In three linked stories, Jonas, destined to hold memories of the time before Sameness; Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg; and healer Matty must discover the truth about their society and restore emotion, meaning and balance to their world.

In this collection of novels, Arthur Dent is introduced to the galaxy at large when he is rescued by an alien friend seconds before Earths destruction, and embarks on a series of amazing adventures, from the mattress swamps of Sqornshellous Zeta to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

S.E. Hinton was just 16 years old when she wrote this novel about kids getting caught up in class struggles. Ponyboy is a greaser, from the wrong side of the tracks; he runs afoul of the upper-class Socs, leading to an epic rumble between the two gangs.

In this collection of eight novels by Lucy Maude Montgomery, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a rather prim and elderly brother and sister pair, send away for an orphan boy to help them run their farm on Canadas Prince Edward Island. But when the orphan arrives, hes not a he, hes ashe the loquacious and dreamy red-haired Anne-with-an-E Shirley who quickly takes up a central place in their hearts.

In this hit series, young Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments; helps Will Parry a boy from another world search for his father; and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the angelic forces of the Authority and those gathered by her rebel uncle, Lord Asriel.

In a thought-provoking, coming-of-age novel, teenager Charlie struggles to cope with the complex world of high school. He deals with the confusions of sex and love, the temptations of drugs and the pain of losing a close friend and favorite aunt.

This tale of a handsome farm boy who, aided by a drunken swordsman and a gentle giant, rescues a beautiful princess named Buttercup comes with a slyly humorous, metafictional edge: Goldman claims to have merely abridged an earlier text by one S. Morgenstern (actually a pseudonym) and peppers his text with clever commentary.

The classic study of human nature depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island. Ralph, Piggy, Simon and their fellow castaways attempt to develop their own society and fail disastrously.

In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin Q Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life, until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Qs neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.

Able to see demons and those who hunt them, Clary Fray is drawn into the world of the Shadowhunters when her mother slips into a coma and travels to the City of Glass, the capital of their secretive country, where she uncovers important truths about her familys past.

Always being dumped by girls named Katherine, Colin Singleton, a washed-up child prodigy with a Judge Judy-obsessed best friend, embarks on a quest to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will affect all of his future relationships and change his life.

When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. It does ... but then the mouse begins to regress.

When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing 13 cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannahs voice recount the events leading up to her death.

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically gifted, autistic boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbors dog and uncovers secrets about his mother.

After being raped at a party, teenage Melinda is unable to tell angry partygoers why she called the police and eventually stops speaking all together.Speakfollows Melinda as she overcomes her past, and finds her voice.

When 17-year-old Bella Swan leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Wash., she meets Edward, an exquisitely handsome boy at school, for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction, and who she comes to realize is not wholly human. Bella must choose between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob, while avoiding the attentions of less friendly vampires.

Scott Westerfelds four-part series follows teenage Tally as she uncovers the truth about her future world, where a mandatory operation at age 16 converts natural Uglies into conformist Pretties.

Tessa Grays search for her missing brother leads her into Victorian Londons supernatural underworld, where she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when it discovers that a 10-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret, about a spring of magical water that prevents the drinker from ever growing any older.

Sherman Alexies humorous, semiautobiographical novel, illustrated by Ellen Forney, follows 14-year-old Junior poor, skinny and with a freakishly big head as he leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation for a mostly white school in a nearby town. Alexie captures the pain and awkwardness of adolescence while also meditating on the devastation that poverty, racism and alcoholism have wreaked on Native American communities.

During their first summer break spent apart, longtime friends Lena, Tibby, Carmen and Bridget each embark on adventures that they share with each other through a pair of jeans that they have decided will be worn by all, and so will absorb all of their stories.

Jack Londons classic novel presents the adventures of an unusual dog, part Saint Bernard and part Scotch shepherd, forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields, where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the others best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.

Originally sold as the real diary of an actual teenager,Go Ask Aliceis the faux-memoir of a 15-year-old girl whose life is dominated by her drug problems, following her experiences from her indoctrination into the world of drugs to just before her death from an overdose.

The eldest of three sisters in a land where being the eldest is considered a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman, and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl.

Mica Area High School has never seen anything like Susan Stargirl Caraway, a classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl who wears Native American buckskins, plays the ukulele and cheers for both teams at sporting events. A story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love.

Introverted, intellectual Gene and his daredevil best friend, Phineas, are roommates at a posh New England boarding school just before World War II, but a conflict of loyalties leads them to tragedy.

Two years after a horrible incident made them run away, vampire princess Lissa and her guardian-in-training Rose are found and returned to St. Vladimirs Academy, where one girl focuses on mastering magic, the other on physical training, while both try to avoid the perils of gossip, cliques, gruesome pranks and sinister plots.

In the Old Kingdom, magic is real and the dead walk and sometimes, they walk right across the magical Wall and into the New Kingdom. The series follows skilled necromancer Sabriel and her companions as they fight to send the dead back into the realm of Death.

Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke, is given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny.

In a remote corner of Terry Pratchetts Discworld, a young witch-to-be named Tiffany Aching teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of rowdy, 6-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland.

Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Anna begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures, and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.

Five novels steeped in British and Welsh mythology follow the story of 11-year old Will Stanton, seventh son of a seventh son and last of the Old Ones, in his quest to vanquish the powers of the Dark.

In the Graceling realms, rare people are Graced with a special skill cooking, fighting, singing, building, lying and all the Graced are marked with eyes of two different colors. Katsa, niece of the tyrannical king, is graced with fighting or so she thinks.

Katherine and Michael, along with various friends and acquaintances in suburban New Jersey, discover the possibilities and limitations of love and personal commitment and some interesting names for body parts.

Yearning for knowledge and power, Sparrowhawk, a young student at the School for Wizards, becomes overanxious and tries his dangerous powers too soon, unleashing a terrible evil throughout the land, as he prepares for his destiny as the greatest sorcerer in the history of Earthsea.

The series that began withEragonfollows poor farm boy Eragon as he grows into a master swordsman who fights alongside his dragon, Saphira, to help save the Empire from evil and darkness.

Fourteen-year-old Mia, who is trying to lead a normal life as a teenage girl in New York City, is shocked to learn that her father is the Prince of Genovia, a small European principality, and that she is a princess and the heir to the throne.

Eleven-year-old Alanna wants to be a knight. Her brother Thom wants to be a wizard. So she disguises herself as a boy and the two switch places, leading Alanna to a lifetime of adventure as the Kingdom of Tortalls first Lady Knight.

While going through the possessions of a deceased guest who owed them money, an innkeeper and her son find a treasure map that leads them across the Spanish Main to a notorious pirates treasure. This classic novel introduced the world to the dreaded Long John Silver.

In a dystopian near future America, the government has classified love as a disease. All citizens, once they turn 18, receive a government operation to cure the unwanted emotion. Lena looks forward to her operation and a safe, predictable and happy life until, just a few months before her 18th birthday, she meets the mysterious Alex and falls in love.

When Annas romance-novelist father sends her to an elite American boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school, she goes reluctantly and meets the amazing Etienne St. Clair. Will their year of near-misses lead to love?

In the first volume of the Hush, Hush saga, high school sophomore Nora Grey must deal with her feelings for Patch, a classmate and biology partner who turns out to be a fallen angel.

When 17-year-old Ginny receives a bequest a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt Peg, she leaves New Jersey to crisscross Europe on a whirlwind tour and scavenger hunt that transforms her life.

An ambitious new student at Manhattans prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, Craig Gilner suddenly discovers that he has become an average kid among a group of brilliant students, a discovery that leads to increasing anxiety and a battle with clinical depression, during which he encounters a motley crew of fellow patients battling their own problems.

After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, 16-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school. There, she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world. But what will she find in that strange world?

After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering that the children once kept there including his own grandfather may have been dangerous, and may be still alive.

For Esperanza, a young girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, life is an endless landscape of concrete and rundown tenements. She tells her story in a series of vignettes, as she tries to rise above the hopelessness of her surroundings and come into her own power.

When a sinister carnival comes to town just before Halloween, two boys unearth the terrifying and horrible secrets that lurk within Cooger & Darks Pandemonium Shadow Show and learn the consequences of wishes, as an evil force is at work in Green Town, Ill.

The world of Trinity School is turned upside down when freshman Jerry Renault refuses to sell chocolates for the schools annual fundraiser. Jerry becomes a nonconformist hero for some and a target of hatred for others.

Suddenly unpopular 16-year-old Annabel finds an ally in classmate Owen, whose honesty and passion for music help her to face what really happened at the end-of-the-year party that changed her life.

Struggling to confront her grandfathers impending death, 16-year-old Vicky Austin finds herself the center of attention for three young men, one of whom is a dolphin researcher. When the inevitable crisis comes, she must rely on the love of others both human and dolphin to overcome her grief.

The summer after her fathers death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp; instead, she goes to work at a catering business where she makes new friends and finally faces her grief.

In an alternate London, where magic is real and the Crystal Palace never burned down, magicians apprentice Nathaniel summons the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus but summoning and controlling are two different things.

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, Calif. There, amid the wealthy students, Sydney and Jill must attempt to pass as normal.

Luce ends up at reform school after her boyfriend dies in a mysterious fire. While there, she finds herself drawn to Daniel feeling almost as if shed met him before. That feeling turns out to be true: Luce and the supernatural Daniel are doomed lovers, fated to lose each other in lifetime after lifetime.

Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is Marked as a fledging vampyre and joins the House of Night school, where she will train to become an adult vampyre if she makes it through the Change. And even for Changed vampyres, the House of Night can be a treacherous place.

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain lives with her older sister, blocked-writer father and bohemian stepmother in a crumbling English castle. Then, a well-to-do American family buys the castle, becoming the Mortmains landlords. Cassandra uses a diary to record the tumultuous months that follow.

High school student Nick OLeary, member of a rock band, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his ex-sweetheart. That fateful five minutes leads to an all-night quest to find their favorite bands secret show.

Popular, thoughtless Samantha dies in a fiery car crash but wakes up the next morning, and ends up living out her last day alive seven times in a row, until she finally unravels the mystery of her death.

In a future world where those between the ages of 13 and 18 can have their lives unwound and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to survive until they turn 18.

The last unicorn leaves the protection of her enchanted lavender forest to search for her own kind, with the assistance of Schmedrick, the only occasionally successful magician, and dreamer Molly Grue.

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up in the middle of a maze, with no memory, and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape. But once he escapes, he discovers the outside world is a new and dangerous place.

Seventeen-year-old Mia is in a coma after a terrible car accident that killed her parents. Awakening, she has no memory of the accident, and must put her life back together piece by piece and decide what to do with it.

Harry Crewes boring life in the remote orange-growing province of Daria is disrupted when shes kidnapped by a native king. She discovers power within herself and becomes the heroic Harimad-sol, Kings Rider and heir to a magical sword.

Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, until she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs. She becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind, as she grows up and has children of her own.

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her, so when Xander appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate until Ky Markhams face appears for an instant before the screen fades to black.

Cammie Morgan can speak 14 different languages, hack CIA computer codes and kill a man seven different ways. She and her friends are students at the elite Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, where martial arts and chemical warfare are on the curriculum, and the real mission is training spies.

On her way to marry a prince shes never met, Princess Anidori is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting, and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers.

Alianne, the teenage daughter of Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall, is kidnapped and sold into slavery, forced to serve an exiled royal family in the remote Copper Islands, where she is immersed in a world of murder, intrigue and warring gods.

The dull and drab life of Ed, an underage cab driver with a coffee-addicted dog, takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally stops a bank robbery and finds himself being placed in charge of watching out for the entire town.

Thirteen-year-old Daines magic allows her to speak to animals, hear their thoughts, and shift into their forms. She uses her powers to help battle an invasion of terrible immortal creatures and prevent the overthrow of her king.

Princess Cimorene of Lindenwall decides shes had enough of being a princess, and hires herself out to cook for the dragon Kazul. This boxed set follows her adventures, and those of her son Daystar.

On a New World where all men can hear each others thoughts but women remain private Todd and Viola are pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron as they search for answers about their colonys true past, and seek a way to warn a ship bringing settlers from the Old World.

Having been sent to Winding Circle Temple, Daja, Briar, Tris and Sandry begin to feel that they have finally found a place where their magical gifts are respected. As they learn and grow in their skills, they must face down everything from pirates to strange diseases.

Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student living in Prague, has a necklace of wish-granting beads and a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

In the future, most people will have a Feed chip implanted in their heads that connects everyone to an evolved version of the Internet at the cost of even basic privacy. During spring break on the moon, Titus and Violet meet and build a relationship when their Feeds are hacked.

Five novels of life in a magical modern Los Angeles, where Weetzie Bat and her friends and family Dirk, Duck, My Secret Agent Lover Man and baby Cherokee interact with ghosts from their past and with each other as they search for love, connection and acceptance.

When Auden goes to stay with her father, stepmother and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and learning that theres more to life than schoolwork and perfectionism.

The lives and loves of British teenager Georgia Nicolson and her friends in the Ace Gang, and also Georgias mad cat Angus. Can Georgia choose between hunky Robbie, Italian stallion Masimo and close friend Dave? And can she keep Angus out of trouble?

Its 1914 and Europe is on the precipice of war the German Clankers and British Darwinists are armed with futuristic weaponry and biotechnology; in the midst of the chaos, Alek, a royal and potential threat to the throne, and Deryn, a common Darwinist, meet on the run and forge an uneasy alliance that will dramatically change the course of the Great War and their lives.

In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States. Escape is his only chance to survive but even that may not save him.

Christopher Chant is a young boy who struggles with even the most basic spells but when a wizard tests him, he discovers hes actually a powerful enchanter with nine lives, destined to become the next Chrestomanci, a government official in charge of supervising magic.

Remy, a girl who always knows how to end a relationship before it becomes emotional, meets her match in Dexter, a musician who embodies everything that she despises and reminds her of the father who abandoned her. Remy finds herself unable to dump Dexter and learns to follow her heart.

When everyone over the age of 14 suddenly disappears from a California town, a battle erupts between the remaining residents and the students from a local school, as well as those who have The Power and those who do not.

Grace has been visited each winter by a yellow-eyed wolf a werewolf, it turns out, who becomes her boyfriend in his human form as Sam. Grace and Sam must fight to stay together, while fellow werewolf Cole wrestles with his attraction for rich girl Isabel.

Aerin, with the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword Gonturan, wins the birthright due her as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North.

Estranged best friends Lia and Cassie both struggle with anorexia and bulimia. When Cassie dies, Lia must find a way to hold on to hope, and eventually to recover.