BEST OF 2017: Our Favorite Books for Teens

In a year that the new John Green book doesn’t make our Best of the Year list, you know it was a great year for Young Adult literature. In fact, there were so many additional books we loved this year, that we can’t resist also adding a Honorable Mentions list!

The 2017 committee includes:

  • Chris, Circulation Clerk, Mt. Washington Branch Library
  • Crystal, Circulation Clerk, Mt. Washington Branch Library
  • Heather, BCPL Public Relations Administrative Assistant
  • Stephanie S., Reference Services, Hillview Branch Library
  • Tracy (that’s me), BCPL Public Relations Coordinator & Committee Organizer


American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Chris says:
From the start, this book grips you in an emotional struggle and doesn’t let go.
Tracy says:
Magical and gritty and completely original. I usually move from one book to the next easily, but with this book, I was compelled to pause a bit to breathe it in and absorb the experience fully.

At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Heather says:

A bizarre, intriguing journey into a brilliant mind that made me think I was losing mine! Incredible relationship dynamics and characters I wanted to drown in.
Tracy says:
Gripping from the first page, this mind-bending sci-fi gem delivers a little of everything, from complex, dynamic characters and stunning writing to a visceral, almost claustrophobic level of suspense.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Crystal says:
Loved, loved, LOVED this one! I cannot recommend this series enough.
Steph says:
THIS WAS FANTASTIC! I am amazed that a third book in a series is keeping up so well, maybe even surpassing its prequels.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner 
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Heather says:

A wild romp from page one! Written in a conversational, bantering tone from the point-of-view of an itinerant man of privilege, this book is absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before, and I didn’t want it to end! I’m so excited there’s a sequel coming in 2018!
Tracy says:
This book is a wild, delightful romp from page 1. I didn’t even know or care where the plot was going for the first quarter of the book—I simply hung on for the ride. I loved almost everything about it from beginning to end: the sometimes stunning writing that caught me unaware, moving me quickly from laughter to admiration for the writer’s skill; the deliciously layered characters and relationships; the breakneck pacing; and most of all Monty’s witty, brash, incorrigible, and occasionally vulnerable voice. Although I am gutted that the next book will have a different narrator, I can’t wait for the sequel from Felicity’s POV!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Heather says:

This book has wickedly clever writing, and a narrator whose voice is pure gold. I read it two days, hooked and unable to stop!
Tracy says:
A well-written, fast-paced read with substance! This is an important book that is also enjoyable to read, featuring a great, authentic voice and wonderful character development.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Steph says:
What a haunting and heartbreaking story about the foster care system and the power of love. The two main characters are so well-developed and relatable, you will love them. This story will stick with you. But seriously, you will need tissues.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Crystal says:

I really liked this one. It left you wondering what choice Will was going to make.That kind of ambiguity usually bothers me in endings, but I think it worked really well with this book.
Heather says:
Breathtaking and poetic; raw and anguished. I loved this and walked away from this book with a total author crush on Jason Reynolds.
Tracy says:
The verse is strong, and there is a mesmerizing tension that will transfix even the most reluctant reader. I was stunned by the power, emotion, and insight Reynolds was able to infuse into this short book that essentially takes place in a matter of minutes. Reminds me of a strange, magical mashup of both Walter Dean Myers’s Monster and A Christmas Carol.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Chris says:
I loved this book. There were so many moments that made me stop and close the book so I could digest them. A very powerful read.

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland
Tracy says:
This graphic novel is creepily, eerily good! The intentionally messy art took some getting used to, but the frenzied lines and vivid, loud colors create the perfect backdrop for Westerfeld’s mysterious, nightmarish world. This first installment of an intended duology introduces intriguing characters and plotlines full of complexity and nuance—I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Steph S. says:

A beautifully written story about an underdog who dared to dream. This book will remind you of why you fell in love with reading, or make you fall in love for the first time.
Crystal says:
This was my first time reading anything by this author. The world Taylor has created is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Skillfully written characters and an intriguing story. I could not put it down.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Heather says:
This entirely un-put-downable book starts deep in the thick of tension and stays heart-pounding till the end. The tension is incredible, and the two narrators are the perfect voices to tell a story about dying too young—and knowing it’s coming. Silvera has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Chris says:
This book feels very personal and genuine. One of the most realistic depictions of modern teens I’ve seen in a book.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Heather says:

Jae-Jones is an author with a true talent for painting with words. I couldn’t put this book down! Rich and majestic, with an aching depth to the protagonist and a cruel vulnerability to the Erlking. Reckless and dark and oh-so-beautiful.

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Chris says:
The characters felt like real people. I was surprised at how easy it was to be pulled in.
Steph says:
Strong characters and a great story.

Honorable Mentions:
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Bang by Barry Lyga
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley


The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Saved Their Lives 
by Dashka Slater
Tracy says:
This is a powerful story about the flawed legal system, gender identity, and perception, centered on  two teens whose lives were changed by an impulsive crime—one the the victim, the other the perpetrator. An artful exploration in the healing power found in simple humanity, tolerance, and forgiveness.

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
Tracy says:

A gut-wrenching and inspiring memoir about growing up in a conflict zone, adapting to life in the U.S., and finding your voice. Told in conversational language with almost brutal honesty, Sandra’s story is both eye-opening and thoughtful, neither sensationalizing nor downplaying her experiences.
Spinning by Tillie Walden
Heather says:
Gorgeous illustrations and an incredibly realistic story combine to make this memoir something that teens (and even adults) can relate to—particularly in aspects of bullying, sexual identity, and a feeling of isolation. I didn’t put it down once I picked it up.

Source: Book News and Reviews