Young Adult

Click on the arrow to read more about a title. Books marked with a 🎧 include (highly recommended) audio recordings. Books marked with a 👑 indicate a Christian author.

⚔️ Fantasy ⚔️

Adams, Gillian Bronte. The Songkeeper Chronicles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, Song of Leira. 👑

Twelve-year-old Birdie is the only one who can hear the Song. She thinks she’s cursed, until the soldiers of the Dark Lord arrive. With her peddler friend Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees to save herself and–eventually–all of Leira.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Alexander, Lloyd. The Prydain Chronicles. 🎧

Taran isn’t content to be Assistant Pigkeeper in peaceful Caer Dalben; he wants to be a hero like the Lord Gwydion. But can he face and overcome the challenges that shape a true hero?
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Alexander, Lloyd. The Rope Trick.

Lidi learned all the magic tricks she could from her father, but not even he could teach her the Rope Trick. She sets out to find the one man who can teach it to her, accompanied by a band of friends who all have with their own pasts to confront and enemies to face.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Alexander, Lloyd. The Westmark Trilogy.

An orphan printer’s apprentice, Theo agrees to print a pamphlet for a stranger and suddenly finds himself embroiled in the struggle to save–or destroy–all of Westmark.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Cobb, Hannah. Mortis. 👑

About to graduate the school of assassins, Jane must decide whether to keep the Code and stay, alive, in the dark of Mortis, or make her own choice and challenge the deadly school that raised her.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

FitzGerald, Heather L.L. The Tethered World Chronicles: The Tethered World, The Flaming Sword, The Genesis Tree. 👑

When sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen learns about her mother’s real job as a bigfoot expert, she’s skeptical–until her parents disappear, leaving behind nothing but traces of what could only be bigfoot himself. Sadie and her siblings leave their safe, homeschooling world behind in order to find their parents in the mysterious Tethered World.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Clean: 5/5

Flanagan, John. The Ranger’s Apprentice series.

Fourteen-year-old Will wants more than anything to carry on his father’s legacy and be chosen for Battleschool. But when the mysterious Ranger shows up instead, offering a far different opportunity, Will realizes his abilities could be useful after all–and could even save the kingdom.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 4/5 (smattering of D-words and H-words in books 2-6)

Hale, Shannon. The Books of Bayern series. 🎧

She calls herself Ani, until they no longer call her Crown Princess and send her away to marry a foreign prince. Then she calls herself Isi and becomes the goose girl–and the only person who knows of the threat to Bayern’s crown. (Based on the fairytale The Goose Girl.)
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Hale, Shannon. The Princess Academy series. 🎧

When the academy comes to the slopes of Mount Eskel to prepare the prince’s future bride, fourteen-year-old Miri is determined to be the best pupil. If the princes chooses her, she will prove not only her own worth but also the worth of all of Mount Eskel.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Hale, Shannon. The Book of a Thousand Days.

Fifteen-year-old Dashti has been locked in a tower with her mistress, the Lady Saren. The days pass, the months pass, and Dashti realizes their survival–and the reunion of true love–relies on her and her alone. (Based on the fairytale Maid Maleen.)
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Jacques, Brian. The Redwall series. 🎧

Set among the trees of Mossflower Forest, Redwall Abbey stands as a haven for all good and a fortress against all evil. Foes arise, friends bond, and someone with both courage and goodness must take up the sword of Martin the Warrior to save all of Mossflower. (My favorite: Taggerung.)
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Jacques, Brian. The Flying Dutchman trilogy. 🎧

Young Neb serves as a slave aboard the Flying Dutchman until the captain’s evil becomes so great that the ship and its crew are cursed. But Neb and his dog, Denmark, are spared the curse; instead, they are blessed with long life and a special bond and are sent to save an English village on the brink of destruction.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

McKinley, Robin. Beauty.

What if Beauty weren’t so beautiful? What if she weren’t an only child? But her father still touches the mysterious castle, the Beast still makes him promise, and Beauty is the one who must fulfill that promise. (A Beauty and the Beast retelling.)
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

McKinley, Robin. Outlaws of Sherwood.

When Robin kills a man, he flees into Sherwood Forest to escape the death sentence. There he becomes the rallying point for friends and strangers alike who wish to end the injustice of the tyrannic Sheriff of Nottingham.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Munda, Rosaria. Fireborne.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders. But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 5/5

Nielsen, Jennifer A. The False Prince trilogy.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Oppel, Kenneth. The Airborn series. 🎧

Matt Cruse can’t imagine being anywhere else than on an airship and dreams of one day piloting his own. Then he meets Kate de Vries, and his simple life of airship cabin boy falls behind as they learn just how many thrills–and dangers–the skies can hold.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 4/5 (some language)

Paolini, Christopher. The Inheritance cycle. 🎧

Fifteen-year-old Eragon never imagined that the strange blue stone he found in the mountains would change his life. Soon all he values is torn away and he must rise to the calling of Dragon Rider if he is to help stop the evil King Galbatorix.
Story: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 5/5

Paul, Donita K. The Dragonkeeper Chronicles. 👑
Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul Wizard Risto.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Purdie, Kathryn. Bone Crier’s Moon.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.
Story: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4.5/5 (some d and h words)
Redwine, C. J. The Ravenspire series. 🎧
A series of fairytale retellings, telling the story of a princess who must use magic to reclaim her kingdom while staying one step ahead of the queen’s dragon huntsman (Snow White), a pair of illegitimate suddenly royal twins who must outwit a fairy trickster to save their kingdom (Rumplestiltskin), a prince deposed and thrown into the kingdom’s most dangerous prison who must escape with the help of a dark elf (the old Arabian tale “the False Prince”), and two childhood rivals who must come together to stop the violence and unrest in their kingdom (Cinderella).
Story: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island.

When Jim Hawkins keeps the dead pirate’s treasure map, he doesn’t know such a simple action will drag him into a series of adventures, thrills, and close calls. If he doesn’t get to the treasure first, Long John Silver will–at any cost.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Stroud, Jonathan. The Bartimaeus Trilogy. 🎧

Bartimaeus is a powerful djinn, summoned often from the underlord to do the bidding of the magician masters that rule Britain. But when he is summoned by a 12-year-old magician-in-training bent on revenge, they both get more than they bargained for.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4.5/5 (a few d and h words)

Sullivan, Annie. Tiger Queen.

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight her suitors in the arena to prove her right to rule. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Turner, Megan Whalen. The Queen’s Thief series.

It’s because of his thieving skills that Eugenides lands in prison, and it’s because of his thieving skills that he’s released–by the king’s magus himself. If he is to keep his head, Gen must put all his creativity to the test and steal from the gods themselves.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4.5/5 (few D-words)

📜 Historical Fiction 📜

Alcott, Louisa May. Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.

Thirteen-year-old Rose Campbell only knows life as a single child. Then her parents die and she is sent to live with a family of seven cousins (all boys) and six aunts, and Rose finds herself navigating a new world of challenges–and love.

Alcott, Louisa May. The Little Women series.

During the years of the Civil War, the four March sisters–Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy–face wars of their own within and without their quiet New England home.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Baroness Orczy. The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Brandes, Nadine. Fawkes. 👑
Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England. The problem: doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.
Story: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain.

Johnny Tremain works as an apprentice silversmith in colonial Boston until an accident leaves him maimed. A change of occupation leads to a change of perspective as the colonists prepare for war.

Graudin, Ryan. Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood. 
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo. Yael, a survivor of the Nazi experiment camps, is a skinshifter. She takes the place of last year’s winner for one purpose: to win the race, secure an audience with Hitler, and assassinate him. 
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4.5/5 (most cuss words are in German)
Hand, Cynthia; Ashton, Brodi; Meadows, Jodi. My Lady Jane.
Edward (the king of England, who is dying), Jane (more interested in books than romance, yet engaged) and G (her intended, who turns into a horse at dawn) are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads? 
Story: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Hand, Cynthia; Ashton, Brodi; Meadows, Jodi. My Plain Jane.
Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights. 
Story: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Henty, G. A. In Freedom’s Cause.

The devastating war between England and Scotland in the 1300s frames the lives of great heroes like William Wallace and Robert the Bruce–and unlikely heroes like the young Archibard Forbes.

Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie.

Sixteen-year-old Jeff Bussey wants nothing more than to win glory for the North. But when he arrives at the front of the War Between the States, he quickly learns that fighting isn’t such a glorious adventure–and that there can be friends as well as foes on both sides.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Marlow, Susan K. The Circle C Milestones. 👑

Sixteen-year-old Andrea Carter is just stepping from childhood to adulthood when she meets a series of friends–from the rough-and-tumble Macy to the handsome young wrangler, Riley Prescott–who will challenge her to be a young woman of both courage and virtue.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. Mara, Daughter of the Nile.

A slave in Ancient Egypt, Mara will do anything for her freedom–even if it means selling herself as an agent to two opposing sides. But the deeper she falls into her own game, the more she realizes just how much is at stake: her life, her heart, and Egypt’s future.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. Moccasin Trail.

Jim Keath knows what it’s like to live as a white man–and as an Indian. After six years with the Crow people, he reunites with his siblings with the promise to see them safely to their own land in the West. But their lifestyles fail to meld, and when danger looms Jim must decide who he really is.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Nielsen, Jennifer A. Mark of the Thief series.
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.
Story: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 5/5
Sutcliffe, Rosemary. The Eagle of the Ninth.

Young centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila only knows the Britons as the enemy. They’re the ones who injured him in battle, killed his father, and stole the pride and glory of his father’s legion: the golden eagle. With his Briton slave, Esca, Marcus sets out to find the lost eagle and restore the name of his father’s legion.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Taylor, Mildred. The Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry series.

Growing up in Mississippi during the Great Depression, Cassie Logan faces–and overcomes–the challenges of Jim Crow racism.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Huck Finn is sick and tired of trying to be civilized. So when his new life is threatened by a man from his past, Huck escapes down the Mississippi River with a friend he never would have expected.

🌌 Science Fiction 🌌

Brouwer, Sigmund. The Mars Diaries series. 👑
The Mars Diaries feature 14-year-old virtual reality specialist Tyce Sanders. Paralyzed as a child by the same operation that gave him the ability to control robots, he lives on Mars and uses his abilities to explore his strange surroundings. Life on the red planet is not always easy, but it is definitely exciting.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Graudin, Ryan. Invictus
The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. But when he meets a mysterious girl armed with dangerous knowledge, they find themselves on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: history is not as steady as it seems.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Heinlein, Robert A. Podkayne of Mars.
Podkayne Fries, a clever young woman from Mars with dreams of becoming the first female starship pilot, is delighted to join her diplomatic uncle on an interstellar journey. But her uncle’s power makes her a political target, and her genius younger brother is involved in dangerous dealings with the wrong people. 
Story: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Lowry, Lois. The Giver. 🎧

Jonas is twelve years old when he is chosen not for a typical job like the other twelve-year-olds but for the unique–and rare–position of Receiver of Memory. As he begins to learn what the world used to be like, he sees for the first time how much his people are missing and determines to make a change, no matter the cost.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Martin, S. Alex. Embassy.

After his father’s death, Arman Lance believes he can only be happy if he finds the girl he once loved. In order to find her, he joins the Embassy Program and trains for space travel. In the program, however, he meets friends and embarks on adventures that show him how much more there really is to life.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Clean: 5/5

Meyer, Marissa. The Lunar Chronicles series.
A futuristic YA fairytale saga with the tale of a teenage cyborg who must fight for Earth’s survival against villains from outer space. Contains retellings of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White, all intertwined in a compelling sci-fi adventure.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4/5 (some guy-girl kissing moments, no sex scenes)
Sanderson, Brandon. Skyward. 
Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5
Sanderson, Brandon. The Steelheart trilogy.

Ten years ago, Calamity came and created the Epics, people with extraordinary powers. But Epics are no friend of man. The Reckoners are the only people who stand up to them, spending their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. David wants in. He wants to kill Steelheart, the Epic who killed his father and is said to be invincible. He has something they need–he’s seen Steelheart bleed.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

🏙 Contemporary/Other Fiction 🏙

Blacker, Terrence. Racing Manhattan.

Jay Barton doesn’t fit in anywhere–until she meets the discarded gray mare named Manhattan. Determined to prove both her worth and the horse’s, she sets out to fulfill her dreams of being a female jockey–with Manhattan.
Story: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Clean: 5/5

Carter, Ally. Gallagher Girls series.
The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?
Story: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 5/5
Carter, Ally. Heist Society series.
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 5/5
Farnes, Catherine. The Rivers of Judah. 👑

Fifteen-year-old Rebekah Cahill can’t imagine anything better–for her, for her family, for her church–when the new assistant pastor arrives with his wife and three teenaged children. But something isn’t right–Pastor Ewen’s youngest son, Judah, has brought with him a tragedy from the past that threatens to undo everything his family has come to build.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves.

Julie is an Eskimo, but she lives like a white person: she goes to school, bobs her hair, and even has a pen pal in San Francisco. But when her security is threatened, she runs away and finds herself relying on all the “old ways” of the Eskimos for survival.

George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain. 

Sam Gribley is tired of living in New York City with his family. So he runs away to the Catskill Mountains, where he relies on his few belongings, his falcon, and his extensive knowledge of the wilderness to survive.

Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders. 🎧

Ponyboy Curtis is a Greaser–and the bad guys are the Socs. Until a regular gang fight escalates into knives and blood and the death of a Soc, and Ponyboy begins to question if what separates the two gangs could actually unite them.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4.5/5 (some language)

Kjelgaard, Jim. The Big Red series.

Seventeen-year-old Danny Picket sees the dog once and knows they were meant to be together: the boy and the beautiful Irish Setter. Red’s owner, Mr. Haggins, wants to show the dog but Danny wants to train him to accompany him into the vast forests of New York, where a danger lurks that threatens them all.

Montgomery, L. M. The Anne of Green Gables series. 🎧

Anne wasn’t supposed to come to Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. But Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert take her in anyway, and soon they can’t imagine Green Gables without the help–and the mishaps–of Anne and her imagination.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Montgomery, L. M. The Blue Castle.

Valancy Stirling is 29, unmarried, and has never been in love. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt and pushed into the background by her opinionated family, Valancy realizes she’s never lived her life. But after receiving terrible news from the doctor, Valancy decides to say what she means and seize what is left of her life, embarking on a journey full of love and adventure.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Alone on an island off the coast of California, Karana must learn to depend on the sources around her–as well as her own creativity and bravery–if she is to survive.

Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows. 🎧

Billy Coleman wants nothing more than a pair of coon hounds. After two years of saving, he finally buys his very own dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, and sets out to make them the best coon hounds in the Ozarks.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Rawls, Wilson. Summer of the Monkeys.

When fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee finds a tree full of monkeys in the Ozark mountains, he thinks he’s struck it rich–if he can capture the monkeys and get the circus’s reward money. But capturing a tree full of monkeys turns out to be a bigger challenge–and bring him more adventures–than he expected.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Sperry, Armstrong. Call it Courage.

Raised on the islands of Polynesia, young Mafatu fears nothing but the sea. Determined to conquer this fear once and for, Mafatu takes his canoe and begins a journey of survival, resourcefulness, and ultimate bravery.

🔎 Mystery 🔎

Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game.

Sam Westing has died and left an inheritance of $200 million dollars behind. But who will be the lucky heir? That’s what the sixteen players of the Westing Game have to find out as they solve clues, face challenges, and learn about each other.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Winterfeld, Henry. Detectives in Togas.

Who wrote “Caias is a dumbbell” on the wall of Minerva’s temple? Was it really Caias’s classmate Rufus? The seven students of the Xanthos school must work together to solve the crime and save Rufus before it’s too late.