This year has delivered some incredible Young Adult fiction. Hard-hitting books are being adapted for film (I’m looking at you An Ember in the Ashes and My Heart & Other Black Holes), beloved series have come to a close (farewell, The Lunar Chronicles) and inaugural titles in new series are taking over bookstores (all hail the Red Queen).
After devouring dozens of exciting novels, I’ve rounded up the best YA reads of 2015. Enjoy!
30. Half Wild by Sally Green
The second book in Sally Green’s bestselling Half Bad Trilogy, Half Wild continues the story of Nathan, a teen caught between two warring factions of witches. In the first book, Nathan’s trained to be a killer and treated as a monster. He’s the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful witch, and he goes on a journey to find his father and unlock his own powers. Half Wild picks up with Nathan beginning to master his abilities and go on the run. Magical and thrilling, it’s a series you really should explore before the finale, Half Lost, hits shelves in March.
29. For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Huang’s debut is everything you want in a YA novel about music… because it’s not completely about music. It’s about love, friendship, achieving your dreams and the reality of those dreams. In For the Record, readers meet Chelsea, a teen girl who has always dreamed of being a rockstar—and she suddenly finds herself as one, touring with a band as the leader singer. Between the band not really liking her, the bassist adoring her a bit too much and a teen idol who’s smitten with her, the drama and complexities of life on the road appear not as mesmerizing as Chelsea’s previous small town existence. It’s honest, fun and simply one of the best books this year.
28. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
One of the best YA contemporary romances of the year is Dahlia Adler’s followup to her debut novel, Behind the Scenes. This book is packed full of humor, heart and lots of kissing. The novel focuses on Josh and Vanessa, two teens cast in the popular Daylight Falls television show. Josh is unsure about his life in the spotlight—but he’s quite sure about himself around the ladies. Vanessa, she’s secure in her life as a star, but she finds herself stumbling when it comes to everything else…until Brianna. The alternative POV works so well, and the characters are absolutely lovable. Hilarious and charming, it’s a romance story you’ll adore.
27. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Magonia is one of the most unique novels of the year, with a stunning cover to boot. Within Magonia’s pages, readers will find themselves thrust into a world of floating airships, superpowers and a war brewing between Earth and a world and the one here on Earth. Caught in the middle is a girl who is terribly ill while on Earth, but super powerful in the sky. Will she be able to save the world below from the world above? Check out this gripping adventure before the second book in Headley’s series debuts in early 2016.
26. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Red Rising was one of the biggest surprises of 2014 for this reader. The Hunger Games-esque sci-fi novel set on Mars introduced readers to an interstellar caste system made of nightmares. From the all-powerful Golds who rule over the universe to the lowly Reds who toil beneath the Martian surface, everyone is born into a specific role in society. When Darrow discovers the horrifying truths behind his existence as a Red, he joins a plot to tear down the Golds’ rule. Golden Son picks up with Darrow continuing to infiltrate the world of the Golds in a story both violent and imaginative, possessing twists and turns and betrayals in practically every chapter. The final book in the trilogy, Morning Star, is scheduled for a February release.
25. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Jump into the enthralling world of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy once more with a her new Six of Crows series. The novel takes you back to Bardugo’s fantasy realm, featuring a ragtag crew of outcasts who must pull off a major heist. The result is a fast-paced story that will keep you turning the (beautifully designed) pages for hours. And if you haven’t read Bardugo’s original trilogy, don’t worry! Six of Crows stands on its own.
24. Tracked by Jenny Martin
When you discover a book that reads like a sci-fi, YA version of The Fast and the Furious, you’ll hold it close to your heart—which is exactly what you’ll do with Tracked. Set on a planet where corporations run society, a young street racer finds herself caught up in political intrigue and corporate corruption on a universal scale. With a love triangle, dark family secrets and an imaginative, futuristic world, it’s a rip-roaring read that’s impossible to put down.
23. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
There’s magic everywhere in The Girl at Midnight, but everyone wanders through life oblivious to the wonders smack in front of their faces. Well, except for Echo, a lucky human who gets wrapped up in the world of the bird-like Avicen and dragon-ish Drakharin, two magical species at war. It’s this young pickpocket who might hold the key to ending the fighting and saving the magical world. This book is a must-read for fans of fantasy novels like The Daughter of Smoke & Bone and The Mortal Instruments series.
22. Those Girls by Lauren Saft
Lauren Saft’s debut novel, Those Girls is about… well, those girls. You know, the clique of high school queens that everyone knows and everyone wants to party with. But what are their lives really like? What happens beyond what their classmates think they know? Incredibly raw and hilarious, this book is full of complicated characters who have even more complicated, toxic friendships. Pick it up.
21. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Courtney Alameda’s Shutter focuses on one of the final descendants of the Van Helsing bloodline, Micheline Helsing, who exorcizes ghosts with her camera. She’s what’s known as a tetrachromat; she’s gifted with the ability to see the auras of the undead. When a curse infects Micheline and her group of friends, they only have a few days to reverse it before they’ll die. A great read for the Comic-Con crowd, Shutter will fill that Buffy the Vampire Slayer-shaped hole in your life. (Bonus: You can read an amazing short story set in Micheline’s world here.)