The 21 Best YA Books Of 2013

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

1. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

Published: Feb. 26, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars

In this story about falling in love for the first time, teenage misfits Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus and connect over comic books and music. They deal with issues of race and child abuse, making this story both heartbreaking and intriguing.

2. Scarlet, Marissa Meyer

Feiwel & Friends

Published: Feb. 5, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 2)

A modern twist on classic fairytales, this book focuses on a girl named Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood) whose grandmother is missing. When she meets a street fighter named Wolf who has information regarding her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is hesitant to trust him, but also drawn to him. Along the way they meet a cyborg named Cinder (Cinderella) and must stay a step ahead of Lunar Queen Levana.

3. The Beginning of Everything, Robyn Schneider

Harper Collins

Published: Aug. 27, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.2/5 stars

Varsity jock Ezra Faulkner had every intention of being homecoming king until he got in a car accident that shattered his leg, his athletic career, and his social life. This coming-of-age novel tells the tale of new beginnings after tragic endings.

4. Allegiant, Veronica Roth

Harper Collins

Published: Oct. 22, 2013
Amazon Review: 3/5 stars
Series: Divergent (Book 3)

In the conclusion to the Divergent trilogy, a story about a dystopian society divided into factions based on personality traits, Veronica Roth’s Allegiant received very split feedback among readers. It was finally revealed what “divergent” means, and whether you’re a fan of the ending or not, it’s safe to say this book will make you feel lots of feelings.

5. This Song Will Save Your Life, Leila Sales


Published: Sept. 17, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.5/5 stars

Elise Dembowski was always an outsider, and in a last attempt to achieve popularity, she unfortunately fails. She stumbles upon a warehouse party and finds a love for DJing, as well as a new group of friends connected by the power of music.

6. Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare

Margaret K. McElderry Books

Published: March 19, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.7/5 stars
Series: The Infernal Devices (Book 3)

This is the third book of The Infernal Devices, a series set in Victorian England focusing on the Shadowhunters, a race that was introduced in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. The conclusion to the love triangle evokes a lot of emotions and there’s tears and laughs throughout the read.

7. Just One Day, Gayle Forman


Published: Jan. 8, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.4/5 stars

It was Allyson Healey’s last day of her three-week post-graduation European trip and she was just as organized as you would expect someone with a type A personality would be, until she met Willem. He’s free-spirited and everything opposite of Allyson, but in an unusual act of spontaneity, she decides to explore Paris with him, which changes her life. It’s a book about love, travel, and self-discovery.

8. The Elite, Kiera Cass


Published: April 23, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.3/5 stars
Series: The Selection (Book 2)

This series is very Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, with a prince inviting women from different castes to compete to be his princess. The story focuses on a girl named America, and she has to choose between her ex-boyfriend Aspen (whom she still loves) and Prince Maxon. Meanwhile, a war rages on and America, despite her romantic feelings, must decide if she’s even ready to lead a country.

9. Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, Michelle Tea

McSweeney’s McMullens

Published: May 14, 2013
Amazon Review: 4/5 stars

In the broken-down town of Chelsea, Mass., people have the same worn out stories, but the most hopeful one they tell is about a girl who will bring magic to their world. Sophie Swankowski, a girl with odd habits and visions of a swearing mermaid, might be the one to uncover the flowing power under Chelsea’s streets and fight the evil that lives there.

10. The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey

Penguin Group

Published: May 7, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.2/5 stars
Series: The 5th Wave (Book 1)

In a book described as The Passengers meets Ender’s Game, heroine Cassie is on the run from murderous beings as the fifth wave settles. She believes her best chance at survival is being alone, until she meets Evan Walker, who is perhaps her only hope of rescuing her brother and herself.

11. Being Henry David, Cal Armistead

Albert Whitman & Company

Published: April 16,2013
Amazon Review: 4.3/5 stars

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” finds himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of who he is or where he came from. The only possession he holds is an old copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau, and he therefore becomes Henry David, or “Hank,” and heads to Walden Pond in Concord, Mass. Pieces of his memory begin coming back to him, but the only way he’ll discover his present is to come to terms with his tragic past.

12. Perfect Ruin, Lauren Destefano

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Published: Oct. 1, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.1/5 stars
Series: The Internment Chronicles (Book 1)

In the floating city of Internment, citizens know that getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Morgan Stockhour’s brother was a Jumper, but she vowed to never follow his steps, despite her wonderment about the forbidden ground below her city. When a rare murder occurred in Internment, Morgan could no longer abstain her curiosity and she goes to investigate, especially because she believes Judas, the person being blamed for the murder, is innocent. Nothing prepares Morgan for the secrets she uncovers and the people she might lose.

13. This Is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith


Published: April 2, 2013
Amazon Review: 4/5 stars

Teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends an email to small-town girl Ellie O’Neill, and the two have an unforgettable correspondence, disclosing everything but their names and backgrounds. Ellie’s hometown happens to be the perfect location for Graham’s new film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in person. It’s unclear if famous Graham can be in a steady relationship with a girl like Ellie, and it’s odd that Ellie will do anything to avoid the media.

14. Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo


Published: June 4, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars
Series: The Grisha Trilogy (Book 2)

In a sequel to Shadow and Bone, the story follows a girl named Alina, who must try to make a life with Mal in unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But when the Darkling emerges from the Shadow Fold, Alina returns to the place she abandoned to fight dark forces. As her power grows, she slips further into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and risks losing everything in the oncoming storm.

15. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

St. Martin’s Griffin

Published: Sept. 10, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars

After their mother left, Cath and Wren, twins, became a part of the Simon Snow fandom to help cope with their family situation. When it’s time for college, Cath is still obsessed with the fandom and Wren has grown apart from it. Wren doesn’t want to room with Cath anymore, and now she’s out of her comfort zone. It’s a coming-of-age novel that focuses on self-discovery.

16. Where the Stars Still Shine, Trish Doller

Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Published: Sept. 24, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.3/5 stars

Taken from her big family as a child, Callie has been on the run with her mother for more than 10 years, living a life that’s far from normal. She’s never had a home or gone to school, but when her mother is arrested for kidnapping her, Callie returns to the life she was intended to have. She needs to let go of the past and learn to embrace her family and the idea of love.

17. These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Disney Hyperion

Published: Dec. 10, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars
Series: Starbound Trilogy (Book 1)

What appeared to be a normal night on the Icarus, catastrophe strikes when the luxury spaceliner crashes into a planet. Sole survivors Lilac and Tarver, a rich girl and a young war hero, must work together to seek help on the deserted terrain. The pair have different backgrounds, but the fateful tragedy sparked an unforgettable romance and a desire to stay together on this new land. When they uncover the truth about the planet, they must find a way to escape it.

18. Golden, Jessi Kirby

Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Published: May 14, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.5/5 stars

Goody two-shoes Parker Frost has never broken the rules or experienced typical teenage things, until she finds a journal that could solve a town mystery. The journal, belonging to a girl named Julianna, uncovers doubts about Julianna’s boyfriend, Shane, and a forbidden romance she had with an older man. These secrets between the golden couple (or so people believed) were buried the night Shane’s car plunged into an icy river. Parker is inspired by the journal, and starts to live her life. She also enlists the help of her friend, Kat, and her longtime crush, Trevor, to help solve the mystery of Julianna and Shane.

19. Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

Disney Hyperion

Published: Sept. 10, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars

In this WWII thriller, pilot and amateur poet Rose Justice is captured by the Nazis and sent to a women’s concentration camp. Even with the horrific conditions, Rose finds hope through bravery and friendship with her fellow prisoners, but that might not be enough to survive what’s in store for her. Highly recommended if you’re seeking a powerful read.

20. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published: Sept. 3, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.3/5 stars

In Tana’s world, cities called Coldtowns exist, and they are home to a mix of quarantined monsters and humans. One morning after a party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. Only three have survived the horrendous massacre — her ex-boyfriend, who’s infected, a mysterious boy, and herself. In an attempt to save all three, Tana races against the clock to the heart of Coldtown itself, but once you enter, you can never go back.

21. Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys

Penguin Group

Published: Feb. 12, 2013
Amazon Review: 4.6/5 stars

Set in New Orleans in 1950, daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie Moraine, wants more than the Big Easy has to offer and devises a plan to escape. When a mysterious death rocks the Quarter, Josie gets tangled in an investigation that delays her plans and tests her allegiance to her mother and Willie Woodley, the madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld, lured by New Orleans in her quest for truth.

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