YA Best Books of 2023

Check out The Ground Floor Staff's favorite books from 2023! Discover the best books, graphic novels, and manga that we read this year.

Compiled by:
Tyana H.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Sue Lynn Tan
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Tan)

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celesial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing the elixer of immortality. But when Xingyin's magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind. To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies.

Delicious Monsters

Liselle Sambury
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Sambury)

Told in alternating timelines, Daisy and her mother move into her deceased uncle's mansion, only to find horrors waiting inside. 10 years later, Brittney investigates the mystery behind the Miracle Mansion that turned her mother's life around.

Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

Neal Shusterman
(Young Adult - Y Shuster)

A collection of stories that span the time when humans live in a world without hunger, disease, or death—and Scythes act as the living instruments of population control.

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Collins)

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the 12 districts against one another, 16-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Becky Chambers
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Chamber)

Rosemary Harper doesn't expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers a bed, a chance to explore the galaxy, and some distance from her past. They are offered a job tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. It's a lucrative job, but a host of unexpected mishaps force the crew to depend on each other.

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

Maggie Tokuda-Hall
(Young Adult - Y Tokudah)

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. When the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. The pair set into motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

Our Crooked Hearts

Melissa Albert
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Albert)

Told in alternating voices, years after it began, 17-year-old Ivy and her mom Dana's shared story comes down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never should have messed with.

Rules for Vanishing

Kate Alice Marshall
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Marshal)

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister—at all costs.


Rebecca Caprara
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Caprara)

Arachne turns to weaving for solace, but when word spreads of her skill, she is confronted by the goddess Athena and the two enter a weaving contest that results in both transformation and redemption.

The Star-Touched Queen

Roshani Chokshi
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Chokshi)

Treated with scorn and fear in her father's kingdom because of a formidable horoscope, 16-year-old Maya commits herself to her education only to land in an arranged marriage that culminates in her sudden elevation to the throne, a situation that is threatened by dark secrets and Otherworldly magic.


Lisa Fipps
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Fipps)

Bullied and shamed her whole life for being fat, 12-year-old Ellie finally gains the confidence to stand up for herself, with the help of some wonderful new allies.

Sunbearer Trials

Aiden Thomas
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Thomas)

Transgender demigod Teo is unexpectedly selected for the Sunbearer Trials, a fierce competition among demigod heroes where the winner sacrifices the loser to Sol, their blood fueling the Sun Stones that protect Reino del Sol.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends

Ellen Oh
- Editor
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Thousan)

15 authors of Asian descent reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia, in short stories ranging from fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge.

Warrior Girl Unearthed

Angeline Boulley
(Young Adult - Y Boulley)

With the rising number of missing Indigenous women, her family's involvement in a murder investigation, and grave robbers profiting off her Anishinaabe tribe, Perry takes matters into her own hands to solve the mystery and reclaim her people's inheritance.

The Weight of Blood

Tiffany D. Jackson
(Young Adult - Y Jackson)

An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father. After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High's racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school's first integrated prom as a show of unity. But some of her classmates aren't done with her just yet. And what they don't know is that Maddy still has another secret one that will cost them all their lives.


Daniel Kraus
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Kraus)

Jay Gardiner has given himself a fool's errand—to find the remains of his deceased father in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Monastery Beach. The dive begins well enough, but suddenly, Jay is caught in a giant squid's tentacles and drawn into the whale's mouth where he is pulled into the first of its four stomachs. He quickly realizes he has only one hour before his oxygen tanks run out-one hour to defeat his demons and escape the belly of a whale.

Graphic Novels and Manga
The Adventure Zone, Vol. 1: Here There Be Gerblins

Clint McElroy
(Graphic Novels - GN Adventure Zone v. 1)

Join Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it's based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.

Cursed Princess Club, Vol. 1

(Graphic Novels - GN Cursed Princess Club v. 1)

Gwendolyn, the youngest of the King's three daughters, is living proof that princesses don't always have it all. She isn't like a typical fairy-tale princess, or other princesses in the Pastel Kingdom. So when her father proposes marriage for her and her sisters to make an alliance with the Plaid Kingdom, it breaks Gwendolyn's heart to hear that Prince Fredrick thinks she's "really ugly." She runs away into the forest and encounters the twisted world of the Cursed Princess Club, where her life will never be the same.

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, Vol. 1

Kanehito Yamada
(Manga - MANGA Frieren Beyondj v. 1 Yamada)

Elf mage Frieren and her courageous fellow adventurers have defeated the Demon King and brought peace to the land. With the great struggle over, they all go their separate ways to live a quiet life. But as an elf, Frieren, nearly immortal, will long outlive the rest of her former party. How will she come to terms with the mortality of her friends? How can she find fulfillment in her own life, and can she learn to understand what life means to the humans around her?

The Moth Keeper

Kay O'Neill
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Oneill Moth Keeper)

Kit is excited to prove her worth as a Moth-Keeper, a protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year, but she quickly finds that life as a Moth-Keeper is not what she imagined it would be.

The Out Side: Trans & Nonbinary Comics

The Kao
- Editor
(Graphic Novels - GN 306.768 Out)

The Out Side: Trans & Nonbinary Comics includes 29 creators' tales of self-love and affirmation that detail their experiences with gender and identity.

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Deya Muniz
(Graphic Novels - GN Muniz Princess And The Grilled Cheese Sandwich)

Lady Camembert wants to live life on her own terms, without marriage. Well, without marrying a man, that is. She disguises herself as a man and moves to the capital city of the Kingdom of Fromage to start over as Count Camembert. But it's hard to keep a low profile when the beautiful Princess Brie, with her fierce activism and great sense of fashion, catches her attention.

Solo Leveling, Vol. 1

(Manga - MANGA Sololev v. 1 Chugong)

Known as the the Weakest Hunter of All Mankind, E-rank hunter Jinwoo Sung's contribution to raids amounts to trying not to get killed. Unfortunately, between his mother's hospital bills, his sister's tuition, and his own lack of job prospects, he has no choice but to continue to put his life on the line. So when an opportunity arises for a bigger payout, he takes it, only to come face-to-face with a being whose power outranks anything he's ever seen!

Space Trash, Vol. 1

Jenn Woodall
(Graphic Novels - GN Space Trash v. 1)

In 2115, Earth has been abandoned as a lost cause, and humankind has moved on to space colonization. At a decrepit high school for underprivilged youth on the moon, Stab, Yuki, and Una are three teenagers who try to keep their boredom and resentment at bay by fighting rival gangs and cliques, hanging out, and sleeping their way through class, all while trying to avoid punishment from the student council.