What are the best must-read dark young adult novels?

asked by Anonymous
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26 solutions
  1. 47

    #1Thirteen Reasons Why

    Thirteen Reasons Why
    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher narrates how Clay Jensen learns about the reasons why his classmate, workmate, and crush, Hannah Baker took her own life. Hannah Baker left cassette tapes so Clay and everyone involved could listen and discover why.
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    Christian Munoz
    Written on April 18, 2018
    "Thirteen Reasons Why is one fo my daughter's favorite novels. She was so obsessed with it she couldn't put it down when she read it the first time. Until now, she has always put it in a special place in her collection of good reads."
  2. 43

    #2The Fault in Our Stars

    The Fault in Our Stars

    The Fault in Our Stars tells the love story of Hazel and August, cancer-afflicted patients who met in a support group and developed a deep relationship revolving their situation.

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    Jean Porter
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "The Fault in Our Stars is a fantastic young adult novel by award-winning author John Green. The love story is both uplifting and heartbreaking and will take you on a roller coaster of emotions."
  3. 42

    #3The Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games is the first novel of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins which centers on Katniss Everdeen who volunteers as tribute to replace her younger sister in a game televised and ruled by a dictatorial government.

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    Matthew Lawson
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "This is one of my favorite YA novels ever! There are so many great characters and storylines. It's easy to forget that this is a book. I found myself caught up in this world so many times, thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it. Highly recommended!!"
  1. 40

    #4If I Stay

    If I Stay
    If I Stay is a young adult fiction book by Gayle Forman that tells the story of Mia, who was the only survivor of a car accident that killed her family. Critically injured, Mia must decide whether to stay and live or follow her family.
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    Magdalena Paredes
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "This book would be the book you need to read this story have a great meaning. To survive a accident where you lost your family is so hard and stressful."
  2. 36

    #5The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book by Stephen Chbosky that tells the story of Charlie. The book revolves around Charlie's writings in his diary. His struggle as a unique teen, trying to live his life happily. 

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    Joe Morales
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "it is a great book that can teach you to do what is good for your self"
  3. 35

    #6Speak

    Speak

    Speak is the multi-award winning novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is a harrowing young adult story about rape, post-traumatic stress disorder, and isolation in teens. It was published in 1999 and was adapted to film in 2004.

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    Danielle Hawkins
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is an age-appropriate novel for teens with believable characters and situations. It focuses on a 9th grade girl who suddenly finds herself without friends after an incident that occurred at a high school party. As time goes on, she becomes more and more isolated from her peers and finds her only outlet to be through her art. As she begins to heal, with the help of her Art teacher and some new, trustworthy friends, she finds strength in her own voice and realizes the importance of speaking up. I'm not sure if the author intended for this book to be used in the classroom, but, either way, teachers everywhere are thankful for Laurie Halse Anderson! It is written to be read, absorbed, and discussed. The carefully chosen words are put together in ways that are easily relatable to teens everywhere. The hardships the characters face, as well as how they act and react to situations, mirror those you would see in a typical American high school. In addition to the audiobook, I also purchased a few copies of the paperback to add to our classroom library. The paperback includes an interview with the author, as well as discussion questions at the end of the boo"
  4. 33

    #7The Lovely Bones

    The Lovely Bones
    Susie is a 14 years old girl who has the chance of seeing how life goes on after she dies: she is able to see how everyone copes with her loss, how her family still has hopes of finding her despite being already dead and how the man who raped and killed her continues his life.
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    Laura Alvarado
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "Talk about dark! The Lovely Bones fills the need for deep thoughts and contemplation while you read of Susie's experience. The story telling by the author, Alice Sebold, makes you feel like you are Susie and have lived her live with her. Although the subject matter is heavy, you grow to love the characters, at least the ones you are supposed to love. Susie's is raped and murdered, and then sees her rapist and murderer continue on with his life... How would anyone even cope with this?? This book really makes you think about the impact you've made in this world. Has it been good or bad? At least from the darkness of this book you can evaluate where you are at and what changes need to happen."
  5. 32

    #8Looking for Alaska

    Looking for Alaska
    Looking for Alaska is an award-winning young-adult fiction novel by John Green published in 2005. This book follows the story of a boy named Pudge who's obsessed with famous last words and his quirky group of friends. 
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    Amy Wong
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "Looking for Alaska is a dark young adult novel that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. It was a little graphic for a book that stars teenagers, but overall it is a good read."
  6. 28

    #9Go Ask Alice

    Go Ask Alice

    Anonymously written, Go Ask Alice is a diary—which may be real or fictional— of a teenage girl who got sucked into a drug-filled world. This book chronicles her descent into addiction, as she takes to drugs to escape real life.

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    Jose Schultz
    Written on April 11, 2018
    "Go Ask Alice is a very compelling story for young adults just discovering the world. There is a lot of temptation in the world and a lot of avenues to pursue. This story presents a lot and exposing much to young adults."
  7. 26

    #10Cut

    Cut
    Cut is a  young adult and realistic fiction novel written by Patrick McCormick. It was published February 1, 2002 by PUSH. It closely follows the struggle of a person with mental challenges.
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    Brenda Green
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "We need to speak up more about the challenges many of us face with our mental health. Helpful for teens and young adults to read and relate with the author. This book helps you feel like you're not alone!"
  8. 26

    #11Wintergirls

    Wintergirls
    An anorexic Lia Overbrook harms herself after finding out that her best friend Cassie died of bulimia. She blames herself for not being with Cassie during the time she needed her the most and the idea to live becomes even more difficult for her.

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    Cheshta Chavan
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "Definitely a dark novel, since one girl loses her life in the story trying to be thinnest. Over 4 stars in reviews after 510 people have rated though, so must be a gripping story. "
  9. 22

    #12Burned

    Burned
    Burned is the first book in the Burned series written by Ellen Hopkins. This young adult fiction verse book was originally published in 2006. This book is about the troubles that the main character gets herself into.
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    Timothy Stevens
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Burned, by Ellen Hopkins, is the best must-read dark novel for young adults that I have read since becoming a young adult. The main character gets into so many troubling situations, it's very entertaining!"
  10. 21

    #13Hate List

    Hate List
    Hate List is a young adult novel by Jennifer Brown about Valerie Leftman, who helped her boyfriend create a list of people they hated, a list that her boyfriend later used when he was choosing people to shoot at in school.
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  11. 19

    #14Impulse

    Impulse

    Impulse is a young adult fiction novel written in verse by Ellen Hopkins. This is the first novel in the Impulse series, and it was first published in 2007.

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  12. 17

    #15Glass

    Glass

    Glass is the second novel in the Crank series. This young adult fiction novel is written in verse by Ellen Hopkins. It was originally published in 2007.

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    Robert Keller
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "A tale of pathos that I found to drag on a little long as a second chapter. A bit of a masochistic read for those looking for a happy ending."
  13. 15

    #16Stolen

    Stolen

    Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist \- almost.

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  14. 11

    #17Crank

    Crank
    Crank is a young adult novel written in verse by Ellen Hopkins. Drawing from her own experiences with her daughter, Crank tells the story of Kristina, a girl with an addiction to crystal meth. 
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    Eugene Simmons
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Ellen wrote a fantastic young adult novel with Crank. So real and authentic it highlights the dark side of life."
  15. 5

    #18The Book Thief

    The Book Thief
    The Book Thief is a young adult novel by Markus Zusak set in Germany during the height of the Nazi regime which centers on a young girl named Liesel who is close to her foster parents, friends, and a Jewish fist fighter.
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  16. 0

    #19The Name of the Star (Shades of London)

    The Name of the Star (Shades of London)

    The Name of the Star is a young adult paranormal fantasy fiction and the first book in Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. It is first published in 2011.

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    Benito Saldaña
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "All I can say is that I love this book. Whenever I want to sit all cozy and read a book I read this book. It is a very great murder mystery. "
  17. 0

    #20Hotel Honolulu

    Hotel Honolulu
    Hotel Honolulu is a comedic and light young adult novel written by Paul Theroux. It was released in 2001 and became a New York Times Bestseller. It is about Hotel Honolulu and all the crazy happenings in the hotel.
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    Christopher Davidson
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "My favorite books are dark young adult novels, in fact that's about all I read. That's okay though, because there are so many books of this style that I don't feel like I'm missing out on much because I've got so many must-reads in this genre. Anyway, while Hotel Honolulu is a young adult novel, it's far too comedic and light-hearted to be considered "dark", which is one of the important factors I consider when adding books to my shelf. It's a pretty bizarre story so I kind of like it, but there are much better works that match my interests."
  18. 0

    #21As You Wish

    As You Wish

    As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti is a young adult fiction book originally published in January 2018. This book follows the small town of Madison hidden in the midst of the desert and nothingness as its secrets slowly unfold.

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    Larry Simpson
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "There are very few must-read books that I tell people about but As You Wish is for sure one of them. This book has dark elements in it but there are also a lot of things that really made me reflect and just learn from my past experiences. This book is a must-read for sure!"
  19. 0

    #22Monkey Taming

    Monkey Taming

    Monkey Taming is a standalone young adult novel written by Judith Fathallah which centers on teenager girl named Jessica who has spiraled down into madness and was admitted to a psychiatric unit to become better. 

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    Brenda Larson
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "Understanding mental health is so important that I think this book is a must read for all students in high school. It delves into problems young adults encounter and how it is possible to overcome them with hard work. "
  20. 0

    #23Web of Dreams

    Web of Dreams

    Web of Dreams by V.C. Andrews is a young adult horror and speculative fiction novel originally published in February 1990. This is the fifth book in Andrews' Casteel series. It was preceded by Gates of Paradise in 1989.

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    Brittany Perry
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "This is the last book in this dark series that you have to read. I couldn't put it down. It wrapped up the series wonderfully. Young adults or adults of any age will enjoy reading these dark novels. "
  21. 0

    #24Seeds of Yesterday

    Seeds of Yesterday

    Seeds of Yesterday by V.C. Andrews is a gothic fiction novel originally published in 1984 by the Simon & Schuster. This is the fourth book in Andrews' Dollangager series. It was followed by the Garden of Shadows in 1986.

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    Keith Johnston
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "The fourth and final book in the Foxworth series. It's nice to know the end, I couldn't put it down. Neither will you. "
  22. 0

    #25All That Glitters

    All That Glitters

    All that Glitters by V.C. Andrews is a young adult horror fiction novel originally published in June 1995. This is the third book in Andrews' Landry series. It was followed by the Hidden Jewel in December 1995.

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    Ryan Matthews
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "I did not really like this book that much. I am part of a book club at my school and we decided to read this book for a couple of weeks. I would read the book before and after my college classes trying to understand why it was so hyped and I did not get it, The book was more edgy than dark and it did not really surprise me. Once I finished the book I met up with my book club members and they were not impressed either. The characters seemed flat to them and me and we decided to never read a book by this author again."
  23. 0

    #26Valhalla

    Valhalla

    Valhalla is a fictional young-adult novel written by Ari Bach. Valhalla was published on February 13, 2014 by Harmony Ink Press. Valhalla is set in the year 2330, where only smart minds are valued.

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    Gerald Hunt
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "Valhalla is scary fun. I enjoyed being spoked. It shows how interesting young minds can be. "

Summary

Best What are the best must-read dark young adult novels
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1Thirteen Reasons WhyBooks 47 Paid
2The Fault in Our StarsBooks 43 Paid
3The Hunger GamesBooks 42 Paid
4If I StayBooks 40 Paid
5The Perks of Being a WallflowerBooks 36 Paid
6SpeakBooks 35 Paid
7The Lovely BonesBooks 33 Paid
8Looking for AlaskaBooks 32 Paid
9Go Ask AliceBooks 28 Paid
10CutBooks 26 Paid
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