• Shea Simmons

2018 Best Young Adult Novels

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

If I'm not working on my own novel, writing for Bustle, or wrapping my face in fourteen different masks, I'm probably reading. While I didn't exactly meet my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, I was lucky enough to find some seriously amazing novels this year. If you're looking a new read in the new year, here are my 2018 best young adult novels.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

children of blood and bone

Tomi Adeyemi's debut novel may be one of the greatest debuts I've ever read, and it's certainly my favorite book of the year. This West African-inspired fantasy story isn't just a gorgeous story but a compelling and important allegory for the black experience in America. Get it here.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I've been a fan of Holly Black since I was a teenager, and nothing has changed. If you love novels about fae, court intrigue, a complicated family dynamic, some romance, and a scene that's definitely the YA equivalent of the Red Wedding, The Cruel Prince is for you. Plus, its sequel, Wicked King, comes out this month! Get it here.

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Admittedly, I'm not much of a binge reader. The last time I stayed up into the wee hours with a book was probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Stephanie Garber's Legendary was the exception. I enjoyed her first release, Caraval, but it's her protagonist, Tella, who made Legendary the book it was for me. Headstrong, unapologetically attracted to all things beautiful, and smart as a whip, Tella is everything I love. Get it here.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is another author I've loved since high school, and while The Raven King didn't come out in 2018, it was new to me. The Raven King is the final book in Stiefvater's Raven Cycle. Since this is the final book, I'll just share that the novel follows Blue Sargent, a non-psychic girl from a family of psychics, as she meets four teenage boys at a local prep school who are searching for a centuries old, lost king in Virginia. It's magic, and you should read it. Get it here.

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

If you love a book that you'll be borderline scared to read in the dark, Libba Bray's Before the Devil Break You is it. The novel is the third in Bray's Diviners series which follows a set of supernaturally gifted teenagers in the 1920s. Not only is the plot amazing on its own, but the novels draws some haunting parallels between the politics of the 1920s and today and takes a deep look at the dark underside of the supposed "American Dream." The series also features an incredibly diverse set of characters including a character who is disabled, people of color, and people of different sexualities. Get it here.

Of course, there were tons of other novels I read and loved this year (like Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and Strange the Dreamer by Lanie Taylor), but these books are my top five YA novels. What are your 2018 best books?

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