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


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