Book List

15 Noteworthy Nonfiction YA Books

May 11, 2023
Diego Molano Rodriguez
Riveted Editorial Board

We love reading nonfiction books. A well-told factual account of a historical or personal event can rival even the most inventive fictional story. These are our favorite nonfiction books that we think everyone should read!

15 Noteworthy Nonfiction YA Books!

I Have Something to Tell You—For Young Adults by Chasten Buttigieg

The young adult adaptation of the hopeful and refreshingly candid bestselling memoir by the husband of a former Democratic presidential candidate about growing up gay in his small Midwestern town. Completely rewritten with new stories, including resources for readers, parents, and teachers.


Limitless by Leah Tinari

In the spirit of She Persisted, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, and Rad American A-Z, acclaimed artist Leah Tinari offers a spectacular collection of portraits, celebrating iconic, inspirational, and groundbreaking American women.


Period Power by Nadya Okamoto

PERIOD founder and Harvard College student Nadya Okamoto offers a manifesto on menstruation and why we can no longer silence those who bleed—and how to engage in youth activism. Period Power aims to explain what menstruation is, shed light on the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.


I Have the Right To by Chessy Prout

The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story, in the form of a gut-wrenching memoir, of one of those girls.


Life Inside My Mind by Jessica Burkhart

Your favorite YA authors including Ellen Hopkins, Maureen Johnson, and more recount their own experiences with mental illness in this raw, real, and powerful collection of essays that explores everything from ADD to PTSD. Pick up a copy on April 10th! 


Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD by Allison Britz

This is the heart wrenching and inspiring story of Allison Britz, a young woman who developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder after a horrifyingly vivid nightmare that she had brain cancer. Her disorder threatened to derail her life, with everyday tasks becoming impossible to perform until she was able to reach out for help.


One Cut by Eve Porinchak

One Cut tells the story of the events surrounding the death of Jimmy Faris, a young teen killed during a scuffle in 1995. Though initially believed to be a straightforward case, the prosecution painted the crime as a gang murder, and the fears of gang war in a mostly white neighborhood created a media circus. This is a deep analysis of racism, media, and the consequences of California’s felony murder laws. True crime is a hot subject right now, with the popularity of podcasts like My Favorite Murder, Serial, and In the Dark, and One Cut is a fantastic read for fans of the genre.


Deep Water by Katherine Nichols

The companion book to One Cut for the Simon TRUE release, Deep Water focuses on a group of teens from Coronado, California, in 1971. Under the tutelage of their high school swim coach, they begin running drugs from the US to Mexico. This small operation quickly bloomed into a 100 million dollar empire. Like the other titles in the series, this title is perfect for fans of true crime.


Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

This remarkable book charts 16 year old Melba Patillo’s experience as she finds herself on the front lines of school integration in 1957. One of the first black teenagers to choose to attend the previously all white Central High School in Little Rock, she endures taunting, death threats, and acid attacks. Powerful and moving, Warrior’s Don’t Cry feels even timelier in today’s political environment.


Tweak by Nic Sheff

This raw and moving portrait of addiction follows author Nic Sheff, a man who dealt with addiction to a bevy of substances starting from childhood. Though he is consistently able to pull himself out of the clutches of addiction, a destructive relapse convinces him that he cannot continue his destructive lifestyle. Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, Tweak is a fantastic read for fans of Go Ask Alice. Tweak is soon to be a major motion picture!


Breakway by Alex morgan

Alex Morgan is the face of the World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist US Women’s National Soccer Team, and her story is a touching reminder of the power of sports and the potential of young women. A role model for boys and girls of all ages, her memoir is fun, inspiring, and guaranteed to make you want to get up and get on the soccer field.


The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez & Jenna Glatzer

This memoir tracks the story of Gaby Rodriguez, a high schooler who decided to fake a pregnancy for a school project. Her goal? To chart the way that her community, her family, and her schoolmates would change their behavior towards her after hearing that she is pregnant. Going to incredible lengths to conceal the truth, even from her siblings and her boyfriend’s parents, she experienced the authentic vitriol and judgment of a community that now saw her as a lost cause, despite her high GPA and extracurricular activities. This one will definitely spark some conversation between you and your friends.


Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

This book reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.


When Can We Go Back to America? by Susan H. Kamei

In this dramatic and page-turning narrative history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after their World War II incarceration, Susan H. Kamei weaves the voices of over 130 individuals who lived through this tragic episode, most of them as young adults.


The Other Talk by Brendan Kiely

Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Brendan Kiely starts a conversation with white kids about race in this accessible introduction to white privilege and why allyship is so vital.


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