YA Novels in Verse

YA Novels in Verse

Books written in new and different ways: verse and poetry, as well as music-themed stories, across genres and interest levels. 

Compiled by:
Sam O. and Lizzy S.
The Black Flamingo

Dean Atta
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Atta)

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he's navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican--but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. As he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in.

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Woo)

The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems. She shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.


David Elliott
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Elliott)

A modern twist on the Theseus and Minotaur myth, told in verse.

Chlorine Sky

Mahogany L Browne
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Browne)

Picked on at home, criticized for talking trash while beating boys at basketball, and always seen as less than her best friend, a girl struggles to like and accept herself.

Every Body Looking

Candice Iloh
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Iloh)

A multi-heritage dancer's coming of age within the African diaspora is shaped by abuse at the hands of a cousin, her mother's descent into addiction, and her father's efforts to create a Nigerian-inspired home in America. Will she find the courage to shape a life of her own?

Inside Out and Back Again

Thanhha Lai
(Juvenile Fiction – J Lai)

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Long Way Down

Jason Reynolds
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Reynold)

As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

Patricia Hruby Powell
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Powell)

Written in blank verse, this is the story of Mildred Loving, an African American girl, and Richard Loving, a Caucasian boy, who challenge the Virginia law forbidding interracial marriages in the 1950s.


Tami Charles
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Charles)

For Denver, music is everything. But her ultimate goal is to escape her very small, white hometown. Her best friends sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world. He gives them everything, plus hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it, until they're not.

Other Words for Home

Jasmine Warga
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Warga)

Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative's home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises.

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Acevedo)

Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers-- especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Poisoned Apples

Christine Heppermann
(Adult Nonfiction - 811.6 Hep)

Christine Heppermann's powerful collection of free verse poems explore how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, their friends--as consumers, as objects, as competitors, based on classic fairy tale characters and fairy tale tropes.

Punching the Air

Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Zoboi)

At just sixteen years old, Amal's bright future is upended––he is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

Saving Red

Sonya Sones
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Sones)

Fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg reluctantly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica's annual homeless count. But when she ends up meeting Red, a spirited homeless girl only a few years older than she is, Molly makes it her mission to reunite her with her family in time for Christmas.


Laurie Halse Anderson
(Adult Nonfiction - 811.54 And)

Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts.


Kwame Alexander
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Alexand)

Seventeen-year-old Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past and navigate the challenges of his former rock star father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.

A Time to Dance

Padma Venkatraman
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Venkatr)

In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling

Lucy Frank
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Frank)

In this novel in verse, two very different girls bond while hospitalized for Crohn's disease.

The Watch That Ends the Night

Allan Wolf
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Wolf)

Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others—including the iceberg itself.

White Rose

Kip Wilson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Wilson)

Tells the story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenges the Nazi regime during World War II as part of the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.