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Riot Recommendation

17 Of Your Favorite Best Contemporary YA

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

This Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Penguin Teen.

Turtles All the Way Down is about love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship. But at its heart is Aza Holmes. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.




So many contemporary YA novels come to mind, from Fangirl to The Hate U Give, that choosing a best is hard! From the fun, to the romantic, to the ones with social justice themes we just can’t narrow it down—there are so many excellent choices!

So we asked you to tell us what you thought was the best contemporary YA and you responded. Here are 17 of your favorites!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I’ll Give You the Sun by  Jandy Nelson

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by  Jenny Han

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

The Education of Margot Sánchez by Lilliam Rivera

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero