Reading a book written in verse is an incredibly powerful experience. It takes reading to a whole other level, and I’m kind of obsessed with it. Check out these must-read books in verse!
17 Books in Verse You Need to Read ASAP
1. The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur
If you’ve listened to his songs, you know that Tupac’s verses held powerful calls for change and messages of hope. This collection of 72 poems published after his death is no different. Written in his own hand from the time he was nineteen, Tupac Shakur’s most intimate and honest thoughts can be found on the pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete. It’s a mirror into the legendary artist’s enigmatic world and embraces his spirit, his energy, and ultimately, his hope.
2. Your Heart, My Sky by Margarita Engle
Acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells a painful, poignant story of love in a time of hunger inspired by her own family’s struggles during a dark period in Cuba’s history.
3. The Dead Emcee Scrolls by Saul Williams
In the underground labyrinths of New York City’s subway system, beneath the third rail of a long forgotten line, Saul Williams discovered scrolls of aged yellowish-brown paper rolled tightly into a can of spray paint. His quest to decipher this mystical ancient text resulted in a primal understanding of the power hip-hop has to teach us about ourselves and the universe around us.
4. With a Star in My Hand by Margarita Engle
This stunning book in verse tells the story of Nicaraguan poet and folk hero, Rúben Darío. Author Margarita Engle, who was named after one of his poems, writes the beautiful story of how Rúben Darío lead the vibrant new literary movement called Modernismo.
5. Turtle under Ice by Juleah del Rosario
This beautiful book in verse is told from two perspectives as we see how sisters, Rowena and Ariana have and haven’t dealt with the death of their mother. Lyrical and full of imagery this novel explores aspects of the grieving process that aren’t normally voiced.
6. People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins
New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins tackles gun violence and white supremacy in this compelling and complex novel.
7. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
This fiercely stunning novel takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes Will to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.
8. Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle
In soaring images and powerful poems, this is the breathtaking story of what became known as the Zoot Suit Riots as only Margarita Engle, the Young People’s Poet Laureate, could tell it.
9. Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
Amid the brutality of Auschwitz during the Holocaust, a forbidden gift helps two teenage girls find hope, friendship, and the will to live in this novel in verse that’s based on a true story.
10. Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsy
A beautiful and haunting novel about an American-Japanese girl struggling with the loneliness of being caught between two worlds when the tragedy of 9/11 strikes an ocean away.
11. After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy
A novel in verse told from the perspectives of two girls—one of whom kisses the other’s boyfriend.
12. Crank by 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.
13. Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle
In this poetic memoir, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.
14. Glimpse by 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.
15. One of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies by 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.
16. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by 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.
17. Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle
In this powerful companion to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle recounts her teenage years during the turbulent 1960s.