Picture this: you’re five pages from the end of an amazing book. You’ve been reading all night, and you’re almost at the end. Then you realize – this story isn’t wrapping up any time soon. There’s going to be a sequel. So now you’re going to be lying awake at night contemplating the dubious fates of your new favorite characters.
If this has ever been you, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that the standalone novel is the unsung hero of YA. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting sucked into a good series, but I don’t always have the time or energy to fully commit to one. Sometimes I want the magic, the romance, the intricate world-building, and the (hopefully) satisfying ending – all in one book.
These books will give you all the feels you’re looking for, all within the pages of a single novel.
8 Standalone Novels You Can Read in One Sitting
1. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
The chapters of Afterworlds alternate between Darcy, a young woman whose teen novel is finally being published, and Lizzie, the protagonist of Darcy’s novel, who guides spirits to the afterworld after surviving a devastating attack. Even though the stories are so different, the fun is watching the way they intertwine. And you’re essentially getting two books in one, which is a huge win.
2. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Beautifully written world of faeries? Check. Headstrong heroine? Check. Star-crossed romance between the said heroine and a faerie prince? You bet. All of this in one gorgeous standalone novel? It’s basically a dream come true.
3. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Sparrow is a cursed town where every year, three witches seek revenge on the town by possessing the bodies of three girls in order to lure boys into the harbor and drown them. For Penny, this is just the way things are, but when Bo comes to town, clueless to their curse, Penny may be the only one who can help him.
4. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Sometimes when a series includes a romance, it can take several books for your OTP to get together. And sometimes that’s just too long to wait. In Starry Eyes, two teens – former friends turned enemies – are forced to reconcile during a camping trip gone wrong. It’s hugely entertaining and completely satisfying.
5. Feeder by Patrick Weekes
Lori hunts dangerous aliens alongside an inter-dimensional creature whose massive jaws can bring the monsters into another dimension. But when she finds a group of mutant teenagers being held captive, she quickly goes from hunter to hunted. Feeder is a high-concept adventure with a diverse cast of characters and a rapid-fire pace that will keep you hooked.
6. Freefall by Joshua David Bellin
In this dual narrative that jumps between present and future, Cam and his friends prepare to leave a dying Earth behind for a new planet, while 1,000 years later he wakes to find that their ship is far off course. Social commentary combines with sci-fi adventure as Cam races to discover what went wrong – and if he had anything to do with it.
7. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
A year after a classmate is forced from school in the aftermath of her sexual assault, three outcasts join forces to overturn the damaging rape culture at their school. The Nowhere Girls is a personal favorite of mine, with nuanced characters that feel unbelievably real, and a deeply affecting story about healing and the power of female camaraderie.
8. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
When Alys was a young girl, two soul eaters killed all the adults in her village, feeding off their souls. Raised in the fearful but devout neighboring village, Alys dares not speak of the connection she feels with the soul eaters or the beast that is said to control them. This is a mesmerizing, gripping tale with a wholly original legend that is easy to get lost in.