The young adult genre has gone through quite a transformation over the last few years, and though I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, it has caused certain novels to go unnoticed. The YA novels on this list may be older, but will most likely give you a sense of nostalgia as you remember what you used to check out from the library as a high school, middle school, or even an elementary school student.
Here are 16 YA novels that prove important messages, fresh premises, and simply phenomenal writing will never go out of style:
The synopses in this post were provided by Goodreads
Disclaimer: The images in this post do not belong to Paperback Paris but to their respective content creators.
1. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.
Why it’s worth a re-read: The whole Artemis Fowl series is set of books that are completely different than anything else you’ve ever read. It’s a crazy saga that welcomes you to some interesting characters and a vividly imagined world.
2. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
Synopsis: Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.
That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This book has the power to pull on your heartstrings no matter how old you are. It’s just one of those stories that are beautifully sad, and it should be appreciated.
3. Every Soul a Star, Wendy Mass
"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates #everysoulastar #wendymass #wendymassbooks #childrensbook #bookobsessed #goodreads #bookrec #bookporn #bookpost #booksandcoffee #booksinthecar #timhortons #icedcoffee #caffeinated #bookcover #bookphotography #booknerd #bookstagram
Synopsis: At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It’s also where three lives are about to be changed forever: Ally likes the simple things in life–labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way. Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide?Overweight and awkward, Jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations.
Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one’s place in the universe.
Why it’s worth a re-read: It’s might sound like a silly premise, but this book was of my favorites. It’s a coming-of-age story with a fun twist, considering that it’s centered on a solar eclipse. This book happens to be both light-hearted and insightful.
4. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
World's book day ❤ everyone ☺ This book came to our life's as inspiration ❤ who changed our minds and made us believe that we can survive no matter what happens. It's my personal experience how i survived big tragedy of my life . I was standing on the situation just tfios quotes were roaming all over thinking that I can survive in this too . Hazel grace Lancaster inspires me and thousands of you too as how strong she was , how she was confident person ❤. Augustus waters character was like no matter worst life you have but you need to give a big smile and get over ❤. Cheers to our phenomenal, liberating book "the fault in our stars" by @johngreen saved thousands of life's. Thank you for coming in our life's as saviour ❤💯 #worldsbookday #thefaultinourstars Comment "maybe okay will be our always " If you're thankful of tfios ❤
Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few 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 Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This book is quite well-known since it became a popular movie, but the clever prose and the cast of unique, intriguing characters make this love story worth a second look.
5. Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen
Titus "Flipped" for this book. Told in his and her point of view. I enjoyed this book. I like books that make you think, do I do that? It also touches on how we judge others when we don't know the whole picture. #bookscatsnwine #read #ya #librarybook #ilovetoread #flipped #wendelinvandraanen #neighbors #chickens #family #orangecats #reading #readmorebooks #readya #bookstagram #beopenminded #highschool #pisspoor #bookclubs #talkaboutbooks #climbtrees
Synopsis: Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This is a cute love story that will make you feel all sorts of nostalgia. It’s the type of pure and innocent romance that seems to be lacking from a lot of YA novels nowadays.
6. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Synopsis: The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This is one book that contains many relevant themes that deserve another look. Not to mention, it also is a gripping story that features an extremely strong female protagonist.
7. If I Stay, Gayle Forman
Hello lovelies! How was your day? 😄 i watched three episodes of 13 reasons why today out of curiosity but i don't think i'll continue watching it, mostly because of the graphic scenes coming up and i'm just not that interested in the show. I hope this doesn't sound insensitive but i feel kinda 'meh' about this show because of all the hype and controversy. I haven't read the book either and i don't think i will. I understand both the book and tv show shed light on important topics but it just isn't for me i guess… 😕 – I absolutely adore this gorgeous music note bookmark from @charmedfiction 😍 black and gold is simply 👌🏼👌🏼 do you know that they are currently having a birthday sale? You can get 25% off with the code BIRTHDAY25 and it ends at midnight tomorrow! ✨ don't forget that they are also holding a rep search and it ends on the 23rd, so get your entries in quick 😉
Synopsis: Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind? Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.
Why it’s worth a re-read: For a YA novel, this is one intense read. It features a tragic – yet hopeful – story that will make you want to keep turning the pages.
8. Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
The lilac bush at my house has finally bloomed and I can't even deal with how gorgeous it is. Not to mention how amazing it smells! I definitely took advantage of the sunshine and my afternoon off to take some pictures outside finally. ☺ The Inkheart series was one of my favorites growing up, and I might be in need of a reread for this magical series sometime soon. #bookstagram #bookish #inkheart #inkspell #inkdeath #corneliafunke #bookishfeature
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.
Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This richly imaginative world comes alive thanks to a one-of-a-kind premise and in-depth characters. I am positive that this book will be just as compelling upon another read.
9. Life As We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer
Synopsis: Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This detailed and emotional dystopian novel will consume your thoughts as soon as you begin to read it. You won’t believe what these characters have to go through in order to survive.
10. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
Taking me an age to finish this one but I keep getting distracted by writing and work and the audiobook I'm listening to. I'll get there. That's not to say I'm not enjoying it, in fact I think it's a work of sheer genius but I'm a slow reader and highly distractible. Oh look, a penny! Also I bought blue food colouring specifically for this photo then struggled to get a decent shot and then used a filter that made it look purple. Poseidon, give me strength. #rookiereader #book #books #bookstagram #percyjackson #thelightningthief #rickriordan #middlegrade #reading
Synopsis: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This entire book series is gold, but the first book will always be the best in my opinion. If you love mythology, this book puts a modern twist on it and creates an extraordinary story.
11. Lock and Key, Sarah Dessen
Synopsis: Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.
That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
Why it’s worth a re-read: This story takes a rough-around-the-edges kind of girl and places her into a cushy lifestyle. The transition alone is compelling, but add that with realistic characters and a plot full of tension, you won’t want to put it down.
12. Looking for Alaska, John Green
»Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. […] You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.« • Dem kann ich nichts mehr hinzufügen… Ich wünsche dir mit dieser unüblich knappen Caption einen guten Start in die Woche und einen schönen restlichen Abend! Du kannst mir gerne in die Kommentare schreiben, ob du 'Eine Wie Alaska' gelesen hast. 📖 [ #booksofinstagram #white #reading #buch #lookingforalaska #johngreen #readingissexy #reading #books #book ]
Synopsis: Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . Nothing is ever the same.
Why it’s worth a re-read: I believe this to be the best book veteran YA author John Green has ever written. Everything is so tangible, from the characters to the setting to the ideas. It’s one of those books that you could read over and over and never tire of it.
13. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.
Why it’s worth a re-read: Set during the Holocaust, this book will always be relevant. The plot is gripping and the characters offer a fresh perspective on this horrific event in human history.
14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
"I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have." • Everything that Charlie says in this book is just real and so truthful and he is the most beautiful fictional soul and i adore him. I adore this book. Even if you have seen the movies (which i also loved) you have to read it!! 💚. • #perksofbeingawallflower #ficton #novel #ilovetoread #quotesfordays #love #booklove #lovebooks #bookish #bookworm #bookreview #bookcommunity #bookaholic
Synopsis: The critically acclaimed debut novel follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This book addresses several important, yet tough, issues that most teenagers face. It’s unique in the fact that it wavers between light-hearted and sober, and is one of those books that will bring a strong emotional response with every read.
15. Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Welcome to your… Podcast? Would Hannah leave a set of tapes in 2017 as well? 🤔#ThenVsNow . . . . #books #bookish #bookworm #instabooks #booksofinstagram #fortheloveofbooks #forthoveofreading #read #reading #readers #booklover #nerd #bibliophile #bookclub #bookshelf #bookaholic #bookaddict #onthesamepageclub #likeforlike #ilovebooks #13reasonswhy #HannahBaker #ClayJensen #jayasher #mustread #mustwatch
Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
Why it’s worth a re-read: Everyone seems to know about the hit Netflix series now, but I assert that the book far surpasses the TV show. Covering suicide, bullying, and other difficult topics, this book is a must-read for both teens and adults alike.
16. Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
I have been trying to catch up on some of the older titles in my library. I just finished "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech. Loved this story of one girls journey of love and loss. "Don't judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." Great middle grade read. (AR level 4.9) #walktwomoons #librarianschoice
Synopsis: “How about a story? Spin us a yarn.”
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind. “I could tell you an extensively strange story,” I warned.
“Oh, good!” Gram said. “Delicious!”
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold — the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.
In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.
Why it’s worth a re-read: This was one of my favorite books while growing up, and I believe that a re-read as an adult would bring on the discovery of important themes and symbols that might have been missed by younger eyes.
Some books were made to be read again… and again. I believe that these YA novels deserve another read because of their relevance, message, and the overall great writing on the author’s part. Take a trip down memory lane by re-reading one of your old favorites.