Book List

12 YA Books in Verse You Need to Read

January 18, 2017
Sarah Jane Abbott
Riveted Editorial Board

Ever since I read my first Ellen Hopkins book in high school, I’ve loved novels written in verse. From the beautiful language to the raw emotion, they’re often as moving as they are fun to read. If you too are a fan of verse, hopefully you’ve been following along with our Month of Ellen Hopkins and have been reading Tricks and Crank! If you’ve read them already and are craving more verse, look no further: here are 12 more novels in verse you’re sure to love! Have any favorites we missed? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. Verse-lovers: the incomparable Jason Reynolds’s next novel Long Way Down (which was just revealed today!) will be written in verse! We foresee a future “12 MORE YA Books in Verse You Need to Read” book list…

The Crossoverby Kwame Alexander

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

After the Kissby Terra Elan McVoy

From the author of Pure, a novel in verse told from the perspectives of two girls—one of whom kisses the other’s boyfriend.

Bruiserby Neal Shusterman

New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman delivers a suspenseful, twisting novel that explores friendship, family, and the sacrifices we make for the people we love.

Crankby Ellen Hopkins

Crank is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster—crystal meth—that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree.

Enchanted Airby Margarita Engle

In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

Freakboyby Kristin Elizabeth Clark

In Freakboy’s razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story: Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.

Glimpseby Carol Lynch Williams

When her older sister, Lizzie, becomes an elective mute and is institutionalized after trying to kill herself, twelve-year-old Hope’s life is turned upside down.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Diesby Sonya Sones

Award-winning author Sonya Sones brings us the story of Ruby’s developing relationship with her estranged movie star father, vividly recounted in stunning free verse.

The Realm of Possibilityby David Levithan

Enter The Realm of Possibility and meet a boy whose girlfriend is in love with Holden Caulfield; a girl who loves the boy who wears all black; a boy with the perfect body; and a girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have.

Street Loveby Walter Dean Myers

A story of star-crossed urban love by two-time National Book Award finalist Walter Dean Myers, Harlem meets Shakespeare in this fresh, original free-verse novel.

I Heart You, You Haunt Meby Lisa Schroeder

Ava can’t see him or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here.

The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boyby Marie Jaskulka

Forgotten Girl, a fifteen-year-old poet, is going through the most difficult time of her life—the breakup of her parents, and her mom’s resulting depression—when she meets Random Boy, a hot guy who, like her, feels like an outcast and secretly writes poetry to deal with everything going on in his life.