YA Book Recommendations (Popular + Underrated Books This Year!!)

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Looking for a new selection of books to read from your favourite genre? Or trying to step outside of your comfort zone/explore new types? Well, here's the perfect place you can do both! With these varieties of genres, you may just find your next read or next favourite book :) Read on, and enjoy!


YA Novels In Verse:

- Clap When You Land By: Elizabeth Acevedo

➢ The author writes about the devastation of loss, grief and difficulty of forgiveness.

- The Truth Project By: Dante Medema

➢ This book is fast-paced, and is centred around a girl who's just trying to figure out her true identity and sense of self.

- Ronit & Jamil By: Pamela L. Laskin

➢ This lyrical novel is a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

➢ star-crossed lovers mixed with modern-day conflict

- Blood Water Paint By: Joy McCullough

➢ The book explores a young woman that faces setbacks from a system that is built to destroy her.

- Home Is Not a Country By: Safia Elhillo

➢ A novel in verse about family, identity and finding one's sense of self in the strangest of places.

YA Fantasy Novels (By Debuting Authors):

- Beasts of Prey By: Ayana Gray

➢ Fate binds two African-American teenagers together as they form an alliance to hunt down a creature destroying their home.

- Stalking Shadows By: Cyla Panin

➢ A gothic debut about a woman fixated on breaking her sister's curse and stopping the killing machine that's murdering people in her small town.

- The Wolf and the Woodsman By: Ava Reid

➢ This book follows a pagan woman with secret powers and a one-eyed captain as they make an unforeseen alliance to overthrow a tyrant.

- The Keeper of Night By Kylie Lee Baker

➢ This book revolves around a half reaper/half soul collector who seeks her fate in a dark fantasy set in 1890s Japan.

- Jade Fire Gold By: June C.L Tan

➢ A debut inspired by Chinese mythology, along with magic and a slow-burn romance.

YA Books With No Romance:

- Loveless By: Alice Oseman

➢ A story of self-acceptance and a discovery that true love isn't limited to solely romance.

- Ship Breaker By: Paolo Bacigalupi

➢ An adventure book about a teenager faced with unsteady loyalties, set in a dark American future ravaged by the fatal impacts of climate change.

- Monday's Not Coming By: Tiffany D. Jackson

➢ A story with complex characters, unnerving situations and blurred lines separating right and wrong.

➢ It also addresses race, age, and mental illness in the justice system.

- A Madness So Discreet By: Mindy McGinnis

➢ A combination of murders, mysteries, and madness in a gothic historical thriller.

- This Savage Song By: Victoria Schwab

➢ A novel about a metropolis parallel to Gotham, where a girl's hero face monsters intent on destroying everyone and everything, including those with monsters within.

YA Historial Fiction Books:

- Angel of Greenwood By: Randi Pink

➢ A love story set in Oklahoma, aka "Black Wall Street", and against the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

- The Forest of Stolen Girls By: June Hur

➢ A historial mystery about a teenager returning to her hometown to open up an investigation surrounding a missing father searching for 13 disappeared young women.

- Beyond the Mapped Stars By: Rosalyn Eves

➢ An adventure set in the late nineteenth century about science, love, and finding a place in the world.

- The City Beautiful By: Aden Polydoros

➢ A Jewish historical fantasy about a city, a boy, and the shadows of the past binding them together in a place where death lurks every corner.

- Daughters of a Dead Empire By: Carolyn Tara O'Neil

➢ A historial thriller about two girls from different world fleeing across the Russian countryside during a Civil War.

YA Retellings (Coming soon):

- Trouble Girls By: Julia Lynn Rubin (Coming June 1)

➢ A queer reimagining of Thelma & Louise with the aesthetic of Riverdale.

- Curses By: Lish McBride (Coming June 22)

➢ A retelling of the Beauty and the Beast.

- Red Wolf By: Rachel Vincent (Coming July 20)

➢ A retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood.

- Bright Ruined Things By: Samatha Cohoe (Coming October 5)

➢ A tale about ambition with the retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

- Gilded By: Marissa Meyer (Coming November 2)

➢ A haunting retelling of the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin.

- Within These Wicked Walls By: Lauren Blackwood

➢ An Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

YA Anti-Hero Books:

- Forest of a Thousand Lanterns By: Julie C. Dao

➢ An East Asian fantasy retelling of The Evil Queen legend about a peasant girl's quest to become Empress, and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

- And I Darken By: Kierten White

➢ A gender-bent take on history giving a brutal heroine, an intriguing time period and the themes of love, family, and power.

- How to Lead a Life of Crime By: Kirsten Miller

➢ A fast-paced action novel full of danger, mystery, humour, and violence, with plot twists that keep readers guessing.

- The Shadows Between Us By: Tricia Levenseller (one of my favs!!!)

➢ A gripping mystery, as well as a tale of love/pursuit of power.

➢ A Slytherin romance with layered characters that is dark, mesmerizing and addictive to read.

- Renegades By: Marissa Meyer

➢ Back-stabbing plot twists and hidden agendas that will have readers attempting to discover the truth themselves.

LGBTQ+ YA Fantasy Books:

- Beyond the Black Door By: A.M. Strickland

➢ A dark fantasy about unlocking the mysteries around and within the characters, no matter the cost.

- The Never Tilting World By: Run Chupeco

➢ An epic teen fantasy duology with star-crossed lovers, immortals, and magic.

- Otherbound By: Corinne Duyvis

➢ An adventure story containing agonizing loyalties, the allure of magic, and element of surprise.

- Girls Made of Snow and Glass By: Melissa Bashardoust

➢ A feminist fantasy retelling of the Snow White fairytale.

- The Afterward By: E.K. Johnston

➢ A high fantasy story of romance and lady knights exploring what happens after the heroes save the world.

YA Enemies to Lovers Books:

- Ruined By: Amy Tintera

➢ A fantasy trilogy in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

- Stolen Songbird By: Danielle L. Jensen

➢ A fantasy story with well-developed characters, romantic tension, and political intrique.

- Dark of the West By: Joanna Hathaway

➢ A story of dangerous politics, impending war, star-crossed lovers, and dangerous secrets that will keep readers riveted until the last page.

- The Orphan Queen By: Jodi Meadows

➢ A fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and a girl's battle to reclaim her place in the world.

- Sorcery of Thorns By: Magaret Rogerson

➢ A gothic story about a race against time, alongside magic, vivid settings, and romantic tension.

YA Forbidden Romance Books:

- Delirium By: Lauren Oliver

➢ A trilogy about forbidden love, revolution, and the power to choose one's own destiny.

- Of Fire and Stars By: Audrey Coulthurst

➢ A romantic, bold and nuanced fantasy with star-crossed lovers.

- Since We Last Spoke By: Brenda Rufener

➢ A heartbreaking and uplifting novel capturing the ups and downs of star-crossed lovers in the face of grief, unsteady family relations, and the rocky journey to healing, peace, and forgiveness.

- The Winner's Curse By: Marie Kutkoski

➢ A story of lethal games where everything is at stake.

- To Kill a Kingdom By: Alexandra Christo

➢ An action-packed novel with stunning world building and enough activity to keep the readers hooked.

➢ A retelling of The Little Mermaid.


BONUS: Simple Ways To Discover New Books!

  • Ask your local librarian for help.

  • See what books your library is recommending on their website/social media.

  • Browse "What's Popular" or "What's New" on Libby or Overdrive.

  • Browse Goodreads' genre lists or search online by "recently published".

  • Check out past award-winning books.

  • Read blog posts (like this one *wink wink*) for inspiration and recommendations.

  • See what your favourite authors are currently reading.

  • Check out accounts that specifically post book recommendations (like @uppercaseya, @YA.Buzz, @lifeinlit on Instagram).

  • Follow publisher accounts, such as @PenguinTeen or @GetUnderlined.

  • Add books to your TBR based on their cover (I know this totally contradicts the whole 'don't judge a book by its cover' motto, but it actually works!)

  • Go to a bookstore or library (or shop online) and close your eyes and choose blindly—have fun with that ;)

credit goes to https://www.instagram.com/uppercaseya/?hl=en (@uppercaseya on Instagram)


Let me know if you would like a part 2 of this type of post, I had a lot of fun myself researching different books! My TBR will be super full by next week, I already know. *cries*

Anyways, that's all for now, I'll see you in the next post! Comment down your current read, or message me on my other socials (handles will be at the top of the website!) Until next time <3


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