What are the best 80s and 90s young adult books?

asked by Anonymous
381 contributors
46 solutions
  1. 36

    #1Number the Stars

    Number the Stars
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry follows the journey of a Jewish family escaping from Copenhagen during the ruthless days of World War II. This novel also shows the strong power of friendship and how solid bonds can move people.
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    Anna Woods
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "Yeah... ummm not really sure I would go to Number the Stars as for this topic...I remember reading this in middle school English class and it was not something I would label as being "the BEST". I think The Outsiders would have been a little better. "
  2. 33

    #2Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. It welcomed the readers to Harry's magical world and his discovery of his true self where adventure and danger await him as he entered Hogwarts. 

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    Angela Herrera
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "As a young adult growing up in the 90's, I literally spent many nights and many summers obsessed with Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first book of the series and the start of a wonderful relationship for anyone who is interested in a bit of fun, a bit of magic, and a long love affair with Harry Potter. It is an amazing read for both adults and young readers. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. "
  3. 33

    #3Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)

    Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)
    Ender's Game is the first book in The Ender Quintet series by Orson Scott Card which has won the Hugo and Nebula awards. This science fiction novel centers on Ender being trained in military and combat to prepare against an alien attack. 
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    Ruth Little
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "Very good, classic book. You will probably end up re-reading it eventually. Try not to finish in a day or two because you probably will. I recommend this book and any other of the author's books as well."
  1. 29

    #4The Polar Express

    The Polar Express

    The Polar Express is Chris Van Allsburg's story of a boy who is starting to doubt the existence of Santa Claus but was then visited by a train going to the North Pole, to see Santa before he goes on his annual gift-giving spree.

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    Anna Lawson
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "I have read this book to my children and watched the movie when it came out. We all love this book, we would read it around Christmas time every year. This is a great book for young children that are still full of imagination. "
  2. 29

    #5The Handmaid's Tale

    The Handmaid's Tale

    The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. Set in a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government, the novel explores themes of women in such as individualism and independence.

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    Angela Rice
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "This history book is very interesting. This book is based on real story and its described so vividly, and it has a very unique style of writing. I can say that this is a book that is worthy reading it, and knowing this story, problems and challenges of that time."
  3. 27

    #6The Giver

    The Giver

    The Giver is a book by Lois Lowry that tells the story of Jonas, a boy who lives in a very structured society where everyone has a role. He will soon discover what his role is meant to be, and it will change his life.

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    Frances Walters
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "It is one of the best coming of sage book ever written. It applies to today's and the future way of thinking for many. This explores if every one is the same with no feelings, this is what the Utopia looks like when everyone is the dame until Jonas is rewarded with the ability to feel feelings. A wonderful story through and through"
  4. 26

    #7The Color Purple

    The Color Purple
    Set deep in the American South, The Color Purple by Alice Walker is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. After living a very hard life, she starts to discover joy and the power of her own spirit.
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    Wayne Silva
    Written on May 18, 2018
    ""The Color Purple" was written by the author Alice Walker. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983. This speaks volumes about her ability to weave a story together. It was a tough journey for a poor black woman named Celie. Her life is explained through a series of letters writing about the experiences growing up. All the characters felt very real and authentic to me."
  5. 25

    #8Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the Harry Potter Series. Harry is on his second year at Hogwarts and more exciting but dangerous things are yet to come. 

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    Alexander Ramos
    Written on May 4, 2018
    "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is one of my favorite book (and series) of all time. It's a great story that follows a young wizard, who didn't know he was a wizard until he was visited by Hagrid, a gameskeeper at a magical school called Hogwarts. This is a fantastic story for kids and adults of all ages and really a great series to get into."
  6. 22

    #9The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials)

    The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials)
    The Golden Compass is the first book in Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials, and mainly centers on Lyra and her adventures to find her missing friend Roger and her captured uncle, Asriel.
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    Jennifer Watkins
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) is a good trilogy, but not great. The trilogy won't satisfy all readers. I recommend reading something better. Of course it can't hurt to read the trilogy and fom your own opinions. Just don't say that I didn't warn you."
  7. 22

    #10The Alchemist

    The Alchemist

    The Alchemist is an inspirational fable written by the famous Brazilian author Paolo Coelho. The book gave Coelho the Guinness World Record for the most translations of the same book in 2009. It was originally published in 1993.

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    Eugene Freeman
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "Apparently this is quite a good seller, having sold many copies and even having celebrity reviews. The story sounds interesting, and even at my age I'd probably pick it up. "
  8. 20

    #11Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps)

    Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps)
    Welcome to the Dead House is the first book from R.L. Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. It was first published in 1992 and was republished by Scholastic Paperbacks on September 1st, 2003. 
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    Beverly Jones
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "If you are a child of the 80s or 90s, you might remember this one. Welcome to Dead House is a Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine and it's a classic. I recommend anyone of any age to read this. It brings back fond memories of middle school for me. "
  9. 18

    #12The First Evil (Fear Street Cheerleaders)

    The First Evil (Fear Street Cheerleaders)

    The First Evil is the first book in Fear Street Cheerleaders by R. L. Stine. Bad things happen to cheerleaders when Corcoran sisters are named to the team. Can Corky and Bobbi stop the killer before the entire cheerleading squad is destroyed? 

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    Aarav Chopra
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "The 80s and 90s were filled with young adult books because there wasn't an internet yet to entertain teens. The First Evil (Fear Street Cheerleaders) stays on my mind because my sister couldn't stop raving about how great it was."
  10. 10

    #13Heaven

    Heaven

    Heaven is the first book in Angela Johnson's dramatic and inspirational series for young adults, the Heaven Trilogy. It was published in August 2000. It is about a young girl and her discovery of her past.

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    Robert Johnston
    Written on May 15, 2018
    "A young, black girl discovers the past of her mother and sees the world through her eyes from heaven. Its spiritual exploration of the life after death is intriguing and at times, inspirational with its motifs of elegant, poetic paradise. The story is ultimately about the passing of the mother and the wishes she passes onto her daughter, and the author certainly demonstrates an uplifting story of family and childhood."
  11. 4

    #14Double Love (Sweet Valley High)

    Double Love (Sweet Valley High)

    Double Love is the first book in the young adult series Sweet Valley High written by Francine Pascal which centers on identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield who like the same guy Todd Wilkins from their high school. 

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    Huang Dong
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "Sweet Valley High books are part of the upper echelon of quintessential 80s and 90s books. The way they capture high school life and the problems therein of the 80s are what put Sweet Valley High above all others."
  12. 1

    #15Good Intentions

    Good Intentions

    Good Intentions is a mystery suspense fiction novel written by Joy Fielding.This book is set in Canada and it is first published in 1989 by Doubleday Books. 

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    Joshua Rios
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "Good Intentions is a mystery that deals with friendships and marriage. Joy Fielding's writing is fairly predictable and makes for good beach reading. Great book if you want to read about love and betrayal."
  13. 0

    #16Secrets of the Heart (Mail Order Bride)

    Secrets of the Heart (Mail Order Bride)

    Secrets of the Heart is a historical fiction and the first book in Mail Order Bride series written by JoAnna and Al Lacy. It is first published in 1998 by Multnomah. 

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    Mark Martin
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "This book has a terrible message for young readers. Since it was written by Christian authors I thought it would have a good influence over my children. Instead it says that if you marry a rich man and pray, God will just magically make everything work out in the end. God provides happiness in all kinds of forms and not just rich husbands. The book also spends way to much time providing useless background information. There were chapters devoted to useless details about the characters."
  14. 0

    #17Here on Earth

    Here on Earth

    Here on Earth is a romance fiction novel written by Alice Hoffman. It is about March Murray and her daughter Gwen returning to Massachusetts and published in 1999 by Berkley. 

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    Joan Fuller
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "The characters were interesting. They kept you wanting to read more. It was a good solid story."
  15. 0

    #18The Last King of Scotland

    The Last King of Scotland

    The Last King of Scotland is a non-fiction historical book written by Giles Foden. This book is set in Uganda and it is first published in 1998 by Vintage. 

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    Jean West
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "The best 80s and 90s young adult books is what I wanted and found out about The Last King of Scotland. The book in set in Uganda and it non-fiction. An interesting read for most people."
  16. 0

    #19The Screech Owls' Home Loss

    The Screech Owls' Home Loss

    The Screech Owls' Home Loss is a young adult mystery fiction and the eighth book in Screech Owls series written by Roy MacGregor. It is first published in 1998. 

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    Ralph Walker
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "I was not a huge of this book or really this series in general. I am not sure why I read this far into the series as no book ever left me wanting more. There is not really a lot in the book that is exciting. The writing is okay but not great. I would say there are better series out there to read. "
  17. 0

    #20The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed (Nina Tanleven)

    The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed (Nina Tanleven)

    The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed is a young adult mystery fantasy and the third book in Nina Tanleven series written by Bruce Coville. It is first published in 1991 by Yearling. 

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    Charvi Chauhan
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed is one of the best 80s and 90s young adult books. This book is a mystery fantasy book in the Nina Tanleven series. If you enjoy suspense and paranormal activities then you will enjoy this novel."
  18. 0

    #21Legacy (Journeys of the Stranger)

    Legacy (Journeys of the Stranger)

    Legacy is a historical fiction and the first book in Journeys of the Stranger series written by Al Lacy. It is first published in 1998 by Five Star (ME). 

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    Mark Carroll
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "To say this book is among the best books from the 80s and 90s for young adults might be pushing it quite a bit, but it does stand out in its niche. It's a western, you see, with a Christian moral slant to it. That said, it manages to tell a pretty great story and avoids being overly moralizing. Definitely worth it for any fan of westerns. "
  19. 0

    #22Witness in Heaven (The Appomattox Saga)

    Witness in Heaven (The Appomattox Saga)

    Witness in Heaven is a historical fiction and the tenth book in The Appomattox Saga written by Gilbert Morris. It is first published in 1998 by Tyndale House Publishers. 

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    Daniel Ryan
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "Witness in Heaven is a little-known book from the 1990s, the tenth book in Gilbert Morris' Appomattox Saga. It's based off of Pygmalion, so I like it."
  20. 0

    #23With You and Without You

    With You and Without You

    With You and Without You is a young adult fiction book written by Ann M. Martin. It is first published in 1986 by Scholastic. 

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    George Hall
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "With You and Without You is a good book for young adults. It is both sad and uplifting at the same time, and has a good message. It is a gripping tale of love, family, and dealing with loss. It teaches the value of love, compassion, and kindness. "
  21. 0

    #24Void Moon (Harry Bosch Universe)

    Void Moon (Harry Bosch Universe)

    Void Moon is a mystery crime fiction and the twelfth book in Harry Bosch Universe series written by Michael Connelly. It is first published in 1999 by Random House Large Print. 

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    Lisa Kelly
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "I have to disagree with a Michael Connelly book being chosen for the young adult category. The Young Adult category is hard to classify, but I would place Lois Lowry's The Giver at the top of the list. Published in 1993, it is a dystopian world where the questions are being raised by kids. A quick and fantastic read that stays with you for years after."
  22. 0

    #25Eleven Kids, One Summer (The Rosso Family)

    Eleven Kids, One Summer (The Rosso Family)

    Eleven Kids, One Summer is a young adult fiction and the second book in The Rosso Family series written by Ann M. Martin. It is first published in 1991. 

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    Walter James
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Eleven Kids, One Summer (The Rosso Family) is the best young adult book of the 80s and 90s. It was written by Ann M. Martin and is the second book int he series. I absolutely loved this book!"
  23. 0

    #26Saturday Night

    Saturday Night

    Saturday Night is the first book in the young adult series Saturday Night written by Caroline B. Cooney which centers on Beth, Anne, Molly, Emily, and Kip after they share a Saturday night at the Autumn Leaves Dance.

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    Justin Carter
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "Saturday Night is the perfect young adult book for anyone who likes good romance with a little twist! Written by Caroline B. Cooney in 1992, the stories about these girls are simply timeless."
  24. 0

    #27Bummer Summer

    Bummer Summer

    Bummer Summer is a young adult realistic fiction written by Ann M. Martin. This fiction book is first published in 1983 by Scholastic. 

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    Lorena Vásquez
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "I read this book in the 4th grade and I remember really enjoying it back then. This is probably one of the best of 80's YA fiction. "
  25. 0

    #28The Dark Garden

    The Dark Garden

    The Dark Garden is a young adult paranormal fiction book written by Margaret Buffie. This mystery fantasy novel is first published in 1995. 

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    Frances Webb
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "Nothing about this book really looks appealing to me. The title, reviews, and description are all very meh."
  26. 0

    #29Kaddish in Dublin (Inspector Matt Minogue)

    Kaddish in Dublin (Inspector Matt Minogue)

    Kaddish in Dublin is a mystery fiction and the third book in Inspector Matt Minogue series written by John Brady. It is first published in 1990. 

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    Alan Grant
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "When the body of Paul Fines washes up on a beach near Dublin, inspector Matt Minogue identified the death as an execution as Paul had been shot three times in the head. The PLO took credit for the killing of the member of Dublin's Jewish community. Matt discovers second murder which causes him to change directions as he discovers another group that has political leanings and more disturbing a connection to law enforcement. "
  27. 0

    #30The Fool's Progress

    The Fool's Progress
    The Fool's Progress is fiction novel written by Edward Abbey which centers on misanthropic anarchist Henry Holyoak Lightcap who has been left behind in Tucson by his third wife. 
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    Helen Scott
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "This book is so intense. I suggest reading this book during free time at home, and i am sure you will like it. It has very special stories and situations, with many colorful characters and it will engages your imagination in maximum."
  28. 0

    #31I Love You, Stupid

    I Love You, Stupid

    I Love You, Stupid! is a standalone young adult fiction novel written by Harry Mazer which follows the love story between Marcus and Wendy Barrett.

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    Billy Perry
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "I think this is an ok solution. The book seems like an interesting young adult novel but unfortunately is only available from third party sellers "
  29. 0

    #32The Deep End

    The Deep End

    The Deep End is a mystery suspense thriller fiction novel written by Joy Fielding. It is first published in 1981 by Seal Books.

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    Paul Young
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "If you are looking for the best books generally, I would be confident to say that you should not look for books with reviews lower than a rating of four stars. I am a very forgiving reader to be honest but I will not pick this up based on the very intricate reviews it received and most of it are not very appealing."
  30. 0

    #33The Mystery of the Green Ghost (The Three Investigators)

    The Mystery of the Green Ghost (The Three Investigators)

    The Mystery of the Green Ghost is a young adult and children's mystery fiction and the fourth book in The Three Investigators by Robert Arthur. It is first published in 1965. 

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    Kevin Wright
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "It's an old book but it's not too dated. This series is great for children, along with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew for example. It's a mystery without scaring your children too much."
  31. 0

    #34In Praise of the Stepmother

    In Praise of the Stepmother
    In Praise of the Stepmother is a thrilling and suspenseful mystery novel written by the famous Hispanic author Mario Vargas Llosa. It was first published in 1990 as Elogio de la madrasta. Helen Lane translated it into English.
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    Ralph Campbell
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "In Praise of the Stepmother is a nice throwback novel that is a classic. Originally published in late 20th century, but applicable and relevant always, this story of a blended family is very helpful for young adults. The story is a great thriller with suspense and mystery as well as heartwarming. This is one of my favorites and a great look in to the period of time. "
  32. 0

    #35The Quality of Mercy

    The Quality of Mercy

     The Quality of Mercy is a historical mystery fiction book written by Faye Kellerman. This British mystery thriller fiction novel is first published in 1989 by Avon. 

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    Sean Howell
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "Rebecca Lopez enjoys a life of privilege in Elizabeth's England -- yet she guards secrets she dares not reveal. The beautiful, tempestuous daughter of the queen's own physician, Rebecca is also a converso -- a Jew who practices her prohibited religion clandestinely -- helping others of her banned faith escape persecution and death"
  33. 0

    #36The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure (The Three Investigators)

    The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure (The Three Investigators)

    The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure is a young adult mystery fiction and the fifth book in The Three Investigators series written by Robert Arthur. It is first published in 1966. 

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    Emily Hansen
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "These books are for people who enjoy good fun mysteries. Great books for young summer reading."
  34. 0

    #37Center Line

    Center Line

    Center Line is a young adult fiction book written by Joyce Sweeney. This adventure novel is first published in 1984 by Delacorte Press. 

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    Jorge Bravo
    Written on May 4, 2018
    "Classic 80s type kids story. Would have been a John Hughes film or something like that. Why doesn't anyone make things like this anymore."
  35. 0

    #38The Mystery of the Moaning Cave (The Three Investigators)

    The Mystery of the Moaning Cave (The Three Investigators)

    The Mystery of the Moaning Cave is a young adult mystery fiction and the tenth book in The Three Investigators series written by Robert Arthur. It is first published in 1968. 

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    Lauren Castro
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "The Mystery of the Moaning Cave is a classic YA book. It's a cool, fun mystery book that is suitable for teens and young adults. It's been a long-time favorite of many who grew up in the late 80's and early 90's."
  36. 0

    #39The Mystery Off Glen Road (Trixie Belden)

    The Mystery Off Glen Road (Trixie Belden)

    The Mystery Off Glen Road (Trixie Belden) is a young adult mystery fiction and the fifth book in Trixie Belden series written by Julie Campbell. It is first published in1956.

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    Timothy Scott
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "These days I feel like a lot of literature from the 80's and 90's has been overlooked. One of the best books from this time frame has to be The Mystery Off Glen Road (Trixie Belden). I really connected with this book growing up and feel like a lot of people would benefit from this read."
  37. 0

    #40The Day They Came to Arrest the Book

    The Day They Came to Arrest the Book

    The Day They Came to Arrest the Book is a young adult book written by Nat Hentoff, first published in 1982. It tells the story of Barney Roth as he fight against the call for the banning of Huckleberry Finn from their school library.

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    Steven Ramos
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "This seems like it would be a good story plot-wise; a teenager fighting the banning of a very popular book. It reminds me of Fahrenheit 411 for some reason. I'm not sure how easy or difficult it would be for readers to relate to the character, though, since this is more of an activist type of stand and I imagine activists are in the minority for this target population."
  38. 0

    #41The Happy Valley Mystery (Trixie Belden)

    The Happy Valley Mystery (Trixie Belden)
    The Happy Valley Mystery is a young adult mystery fiction and the ninth book in Trixie Belden series written by Kathryn Kenny. It is first published in 1962.
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    Andy Gu
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "I remember reading the entire series when I was younger. It is one of those books that one seems to go back to. I really enjoyed the story telling. This is a very well written book."
  39. 0

    #42In The Stone Circle

    In The Stone Circle

    In The Stone Circle is a young adult mystery fantasy fiction novel written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. This paranormal fiction book is first published in 1998. 

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    Carol Reynolds
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "Still can't read these books. It is boring subject to me and I didn't finish it."
  40. 0

    #43Sharpe's Gold (Richard Sharpe)

    Sharpe's Gold (Richard Sharpe)

    Sharpe's Gold is a historical adventure fiction and the ninth book in Richard Sharpe series written by Bernard Cornwell. It is first published in 1981. 

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    Ananya Shah
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "Sharpe's Gold was first published in 1981 but it does not have wide appeal for young adults. It is the 9th book in a series about the character Richard Sharpe. However, I found some of the earlier books more entertaining and more compelling. "
  41. 0

    #44Fearless (Fearless)

    Fearless (Fearless)

    Fearless is the first book in the young adult series Fearless written by Francine Pascal which centers on the life of Gaia Moore who is born with the gene for fear. 

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    Cheryl Carroll
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "This sounds very good and intriguing! I think I would enjoy reading this"
  42. 0

    #45Mystery at Lake Placid (Screech Owls)

    Mystery at Lake Placid (Screech Owls)

    Mystery at Lake Placid is a children's mystery fiction and the first book in Screech Owls series written by Roy MacGregor. It is first published in 1995. 

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    Barbara Williamson
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "While this solution does get the time period correct in what I want this is not for young adults it is for children. Overall not a bad try but it gives me a book that is not in the reading level I want so there would be issues there. I think this solution is kinda bad honestly."
  43. 0

    #46The Makeover Club

    The Makeover Club

    The Makeover Club is a standalone young adult fiction novel written by Suzanne Weyn which follows the adventures of high-school freshmen Marsha, Clarrissa, and Sara. 

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    Christopher Ruiz
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "This book is perfect for your teenage daughter. The insecurity they face is very real. I read this book as a teen and it helped me. This book helps the young adult find themselves and their own beauty inside themselves. The book helps build self confidence , friendship and self esteem. "

Summary

Best What are the best 80s and 90s young adult books
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1Number the StarsBooks 36 Paid
2Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneBooks 33 Paid
3Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)Books 33 Paid
4The Polar ExpressBooks 29 Paid
5The Handmaid's TaleBooks 29 Paid
6The GiverBooks 27 Paid
7The Color PurpleBooks 26 Paid
8Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsBooks 25 Paid
9The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials)Books 22 Paid
10The AlchemistBooks 22 Paid
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