Must-Read Young Adult Books of Fall 2017: Feminist Revolutions, Frenemies, and Turtles

Must-Read Young Adult Books of Fall 2017: Feminist Revolutions, Frenemies, and Turtles

School is back in session and we have some very important required reading for young adult fans. We know readers are already counting down the days until they can read new tales from favorites like John Green and E. Lockhart. This fall also brings emotionally-charged stories from Adam Silvera and Jason Reynolds, plus inspiring works from Christina Lauren and Jennifer Mathieu. Whether you’re looking for a touching romance or a backstabbing frenemy, we’ve got you covered.

Genuine Fraud

The actress starring in your bad dreams

E. Lockhart blew us away in 2014 with We Were Liars, and now she’s back with a new tale of deception, intrigue, and international thrills. Jule and Imogen have a friendship unlike any other. They come from different worlds, but they understand each other in a way no one else can. Or at least, they seem to. The novel opens with Jule alone and on the run. From there, the story is told in reverse, with each new chapter taking readers a step further into Jule’s past to uncover the reasons behind the choices she’s made.

On shelves: September 5

They Both Die at the End

Spoiler alert

Rufus Emeterio and Mateo Torrez have 24 hours left to live and they don’t want to spend them alone. Adam Silvera’s novel is set in an alternate-present world where a company called Death-Cast accurately predicts people’s deaths and calls them the day before to inform them that the end is near, though not how it will come. Rufus and Mateo each receive a call and then find each other on the Last Friend app, created to unite people who are about to die, and decide to have one epic final day together. Knowing the ending by no means detracts from this incredible story of forged friendship.

On shelves: September 5


Story of a boy

There’s only one semester of high school separating Tanner Scott from graduation and a future far away from Provo, Utah. Tanner never felt at home in the Mormon town, especially since living there meant going back into the closet. Hiding his bisexuality doesn’t seem too hard, until Sebastian Brother walks into his life. Sebastian, perfect Mormon and writing prodigy, is brought in to mentor Tanner’s senior seminar, where students are given four months to write a full-length book. When Tanner falls behind in the class, Sebastian steps in to help and sparks begin to fly. Christina Lauren delivers a heartfelt coming-of-age story about falling in love and finding yourself.

On shelves: September 12


The revolution’s coming

Vivian Carter never thought she’s be the leader of a movement. She’s always preferred to sit back and go unnoticed, but one day something within her snaps and she decides to take action. Drawing from her mom’s Riot Grrrl zines of the 90s, Viv creates Moxie, an anonymous zine that she begins to distribute around her school, calling out her school’s sexist dress code and preferential treatment of football players. Soon Moxie becomes a movement and begins connecting girls from diverse cliques and backgrounds. Jennifer Mathieu’s novel is an inspiring rallying cry to stand up and take action.

On shelves: September 19


What does the brain matter compared with the heart

Patrick Ness’ latest novel offers readers two narratives: One follows the ghost of a murdered girl as she hunts for her killer, and the second follows Adam Thorn, a 17-year-old preparing to attend his ex-boyfriend’s going away party. Not only is this the day that Adam must say goodbye to the boy he might still love, he also has to deal with his homophobic parents, an ultimatum from his lecherous boss, the news that his best friend is also moving away, and his newfound intimacy with his new boyfriend, Linus. Ness peppers the tale with allusions to both Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever…, though readers don’t need to be intimately familiar with either to connect to Adam’s emotional and heartfelt story.

On shelves: September 19

Far from the Tree


Sixteen-year-old Grace isn’t ready to become a mother, which is why she puts her baby up for adoption. It’s a moment that brings a lot of emotions to the surface, especially because she was adopted herself. Grace decides to search for her birth mom, something her adoptive parents support. Along the way, she discovers that she has two biological siblings: Maya and Joaquin. Though their first meeting goes off without a hitch, getting to know each other reveals that Maya and Joaquin’s home lives aren’t as supportive and stable as Grace’s.

On shelves: October 3

Turtles All the Way Down

Infinite forever

After five years of waiting, the new John Green novel is finally here. This one centers on 16-year-old Aza, who is struggling to be the best daughter and friend she can be. She’s also trying to solve a mystery with her best friend Daisy. If they can, there’s a hundred thousand dollar reward coming their way. To crack the case they need to get close to Davis Pickett, son of Russell Pickett, a fugitive billionaire. Green is known for making us sob uncontrollably, so we’d recommend grabbing a box of tissues when you pick this one up.

On shelves: October 10

The Nowhere Girls

Who run the world?

Lucy Moynihan and her family were driven out of town after she accused three popular jocks of raping her at a party. Some people in Prescott, Oregon have already forgotten about Lucy, but three high school girls refuse to. Grace Salter, Rosina Suarez, and Erin Delillo want justice. They form an anonymous group called the Nowhere Girls and start fighting back against sexism and rape culture. Grace, Rosina, and Erin each take turns narrating, along with sections titled “Us” that give voice to a wide range of girls. This is a compelling novel that shows the strength found when women support other women and what can be accomplished when they work together.

On shelves: October 10

The 57 Bus

Eight minutes

Oakland, California teenagers Sasha and Richard attended different schools, lived in different neighborhoods, and ran in different circles of friends. But they both took the 57 bus every day, sharing the space for a total of eight minutes. It was on that bus, in 2013, that Richard took his friend’s lighter and lit Sasha’s skirt on fire. Sasha, who identifies as agender, survived but was severely burned. Richard, a 16-year-old black student, was charged for the hate crime as an adult. In this work of nonfiction, journalist Dashka Slater takes readers into the lives of these two teenagers, carefully and thoughtfully exploring themes of gender, racism, and privilege.

On shelves: October 17

Long Way Down

Rules made to be broken

Fifteen-year-old Will has never held a gun… until now. When his brother Shawn is murdered, Will knows he has to follow their neighborhood’s rules: don’t cry, don’t snitch, get revenge. He grabs Shawn’s gun, gets in the elevator, and hits the button for the ground floor. But it’s a long way down, and before Will reaches the bottom he’s visited by six people from his past, all victims of gun violence, who make him question what he knows and what he plans to do. Through free verse poetry, Jason Reynolds delivers a powerful and heartbreaking tale that readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

On shelves: October 24

The Closest I’ve Come

Go the distance

High school sophomore Marcos Rivas is desperate to get out of Maesta, his Tampa neighborhood, but he doesn’t see that happening anytime soon. His mom doesn’t encourage him; she doesn’t even do anything to stop her boyfriend from verbally and physically abusing Marcos. But someone in Marcos’ life does see his potential and enrolls him in an after-school program meant for smart underachievers. It’s there that Marcos meets Amy, a punk girl, and Zach, a theater geek. Fred Aceves’ novel explores the nuances of class and ethnicity through the eyes of a hero that readers will love rooting for.

On shelves: November 7

Ready to Fall

Take arms against a sea of troubles

Sixteen-year-old Max Friedman believes he has a tumor. Specifically, he believes that the cancerous tumor that killed his mother is now in his own head and trying to kill him. Distracted and distant, Max is sent to a private school for artists, a move his father hopes will help him confront and come to terms with his grief. At Baldwin School Max meets a pink-haired girl named Fish and an upperclassman named The Monk who bring him into their circle of friends. He also joins a steampunk production of Hamlet that pushes him to deal with the ghosts in his past.

On shelves: November 28


  1. I love that the new YA trend is ‘serious things teens are actually dealing with’ like gender, sexuality, racism, sexism, etc. I need all of these books!!

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