Best YA Books of 2017

With much fanfare, here it is — CA Library’s Best YA Books of 2017! With so many great books out there, it can be a daunting task to pick out the best of the best. After spending a few weeks compiling titles from various sources, I came up with the books that appear on the most lists.

This year, I again tried to include as many reputable best books lists as I could find. I go to my usual sources of book reviews (School Library Journal, Booklist, etc.), then check out a few other media outlets that have year-end reviews as well. Here are my Top 24 Best Books list sources of 2017…

Each list is a little different — some include just fiction or nonfiction, some include both, and some include books for all ages, from which I pick the ones written for teens and young adults (again, it’s a daunting task!)

This year, from the 24 lists I drew from, one title showed up on an amazing 22 of them: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. One book was on 15 best-of lists: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. One book appeared on 13 lists: The Gentleman’s Guide to Virtue and Vice by Mackenzi Lee. Three titles were on 11 lists: American Street by Ibi Zoboi, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi each appeared on 9 best-of lists. Two titles made it onto 8 best-of YA lists, three books were on 7, and one was on 6. Those 15 books make up the CA Library Best YA Books of 2017 Superlist!

The Best of the Best…

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. “An inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership” (Booklist starred review).

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green — Aza Holmes is a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. “In an age where troubling events happen almost weekly, this deeply empathetic novel about learning to live with demons and love one’s imperfect self is timely and important” (Publishers Weekly starred review).

The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee — In this 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age, a young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. “A witty, romantic, and exceedingly smart look at discovering one’s place in the world” (School Library Journal starred review).

American Street by Ibi Zoboi — When Fabiola’s mother is detained upon their arrival to the United States, Fabiola must navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit’s west side, a new school, and a surprising romance all on her own. “Filling her pages with magic, humanity, tragedy, and hope, Zoboi builds up, takes apart, and then rebuilds an unforgettable story” (Kirkus starred review).

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds — 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. “In this all-too-real portrait of survival, Reynolds goes toe-to-toe with where, or even if, love and choice are allowed to exist” (Booklist starred review).

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman — Pullman returns to the parallel world of his groundbreaking novel The Golden Compass. When Malcolm finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust, he finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring enforcement agents from the Magisterium, a woman with an evil monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra. “Luminous prose, heady philosophical questions, and a lovable protagonist combine with a gripping plot sure to enchant fans and newcomers alike” (School Library Journal starred review).

…and the Rest of the Best!

Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Warcross by Marie Lu

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


New Nonfiction at CA Library

Here are some of the latest nonfiction titles added to the New Books section at CA Library! Follow the link for more details and to check availability…

Added November 2nd…

Because I Was A Girl: True Stories For Girls of All Ages, edited by Melissa de la Cruz — A collection of true, personal stories from girls and women of all ages–about the barriers they’ve faced, the battles they’ve fought, and the dreams they’ve brought to life. “Thoughtful, encouraging, and honest, this compilation should inspire readers looking for guidance in charting the directions their own lives take” (Publishers Weekly).

Fire On The Track: Betty Robinson and the Triumph of Early Olympic Women by Roseanne Montillo — A group portrait of the female track stars who won gold at the Olympics — in 1928, 1932, and 1936 — breaking barriers for female athletes and overcoming personal odds. “A must-read, certain to inspire a new generation of athletes with its fascinating slice of Olympic and women’s sports history” (Booklist starred review).

Quakeland: On The Road To America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles — Miles descends into mines in the Northwest, dissects Mississippi levee engineering studies, uncovers the horrific risks of an earthquake in the Northeast, and interviews the seismologists, structural engineers, and emergency managers around the country who are addressing this ground-shaking threat. “A cautionary look at how changes to the Earth, both natural and human-made, are transforming the scientific field as well as what those changes might hold for cities and individuals” (Library Journal).

The Vietnam War: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward — The companion book to the PBS documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novik. “A powerful work that adds value and insight to any collection. Fans of Burns and Ward will be awed by their mastery in creating an accurate, thorough historical narrative” (Library Journal).

Added in October…

#notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale — Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book through an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. “A stunning anthology of creative writing and art-a love letter, indeed. All YA collections will want this” (School Library Journal).

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater — Sasha and Richard were both high school students from Oakland, California — Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school, while Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. One afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. “Slater artfully unfolds a complex and layered tale about two teens whose lives intersect with painful consequences. This work will spark discussions about identity, community, and what it means to achieve justice” (School Library Journal).

Bernie Sanders Guide To Political Revolution by Bernie Sanders — Independent congressman, presidential candidate and activist Bernie Sanders continues his fight against the imbalances in the nation’s status quo, and shows readers how to make a difference to effect the changes America–and the world–need to create a better tomorrow.

Fault Lines In The Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights and the Flaws That Affect Us Today by Cynthia and Sanford Levinson — The Levinsons take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced, and offer possible solutions. “Much food for thought on the application and relevance of many of the Constitution’s stipulations. Essential for class discussions, debate teams, and reports” (School Library Journal).

Now of Never! : 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War To End Slavery by Ray Anthony Shepard — The riveting dual biography of two little-known but extraordinary men in Civil War history — George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding. These Union soldiers served in the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, the well-known black regiment, and served as war correspondents who published eyewitness reports of the battlefields. “This well-researched volume is recommended for students who want to dig a little deeper into the history of the 54th Massachusetts” (Booklist).

Older Than Dirt: A Kinda-Sorta Biography of Earth by Don Brown & Dr. Mike Perfit — Almost 14.5 billion years ago, it all started with a BIG BANG and what began as a cloud of gas, dust, and rock eventually took shape and bloomed into a molten sphere. Battered by asteroid collisions, ice ages, and shifting tectonic plates, our fledgling planet finally pushed forth continents. Today, geological activity continues to sculpt the earth’s landscape, sometimes with terrible consequences for its inhabitants: earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. “Comics have always held a strong suit in high accessibility for young readers, and this could serve as a good beginning research source” (Booklist).



YA Novels For Adults

Young adult (or YA) books is one of the fastest-growing segments of the book publishing market — growth in YA book publishing far exceeds that for mainstream adult books (see “Young Adult and New Adult Book Market”).

One of the reasons for the high sales of YA books is the popularity of YA novels among readers outside of the genre’s main demographic (12 to 18-year-olds):

“By some market estimates, nearly 70% of all YA titles are purchased by adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Of course, some of those are parents but, assuming that the majority of actual young adults are old enough to make and do make their own book purchases, a lot of “non-young adults” are reading those teen books” (source).

Here is a great list compiled by Tara Sonin for the B&N Reads blog with her picks for great YA reads for adults:

“50 YA Novels Adults Will Love, Too”

Most are available at CA Library — check our catalog here!