Skip to main content

YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2014

Each year, YALSA presents the Best Fiction for Young Adults list after ALA's Midwinter Meeting. This year’s list of 98 books was drawn from 175 official nominations. The books, recommended for ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. The list comprises a wide range of genres and styles, including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction and novels in verse. We list the top ten below, and click here to see the complete list.

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light.

Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

From the outside, Brendan Chase is a star wrestler, a video game aficionado and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong --- why he sometimes fantasizes having long hair, soft skin and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Or is Brendan just a freak?

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Jeremy Johnson Johnson once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits --- smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love --- and just how hard it pulled you under.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? 

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

It’s 1950 in  French Quarter of New Orleans and, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Winger by Andrew Smith

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean West, a 14-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids, manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different --- light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Only his sister Asu loves him well, but even she can't take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame. Seeking refuge at his aunt's house in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. But in Mwanza, albinos are hunted because their body parts are thought to bring good luck. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

His whole life, Nate Foster has wanted to star in a Broadway show. But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one appreciates a good show tune? Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for "E.T.: The Musical" and it could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

More books like the ones on this list »