It’s finally time to share my best YA books of 2019! I know I disappeared for a minute after sharing my 2019 middle-grade favorites, but it’s just a really busy season of life right now.
I read less and less YA toward the end of this year, just because it’s hard to find the kind of YA I enjoy. As a mostly middle-grade reader, I like the sweet and simple. I’ve also awarded my picks to reflect what I especially loved about them. Obviously, as with any “best of” list, this is completely subjective. Now, let’s get to it! These are the best YA books of 2019.
One last thing: I use affiliate links, so if you purchase any items through my links, I may make a cent or two — at no extra cost to you.
10 Best YA Books of 2019
I Wanna Be Where You Are
The Perfect Roadtrip Book
Published: June 4, 2019
I read and enjoyed this young adult novel. I Wanna Be Where You Are is a heartwarming contemporary young adult novel about friendship, dance, the power of dreams, and redemption. I loved meeting Chloe and Eli, and while it took a while to warm up to Eli, he ended up being one of my favorite parts of the book. His character growth and determination (followed by action) to change certain parts of his life impressed me. I also enjoyed the entire road trip and all its associated hi-jinks. If you’re looking for a book about road trips, parental pressures, or just one full of heart, you’ll enjoy I Wanna Be Where You Are.
Related: Read my interview with author Kristina Forest.
The Silence Between Us
Best YA Book About Disability
Published: August 13, 2019
I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to everyone, but especially those wanting to learn more about the Deaf community and how to be respectful to people with a disability.
10 Blind Dates
Published: October 1, 2019
10 Blind Dates is an entertaining young adult novel, perfect for lovers of Hallmark movies or anyone looking for a festive, fluffy read. It won’t satisfy you if you’re on the hunt for a richer plot or more complex characters. But if you love a good rom-com featuring crazy large families and a good ol’ friends to lovers trope, this is for you.
The Silence Between Us is a rousing young adult novel with a Deaf protagonist who never lets her disability set her back. It explores the challenges of a Deaf/hearing relationship and addresses the strain a sibling’s chronic illness can have on a family.
Truly Madly Royally
Best YA Royal Romance
Published: July 30, 2019
Truly Madly Royally is a charming young adult novel featuring a positive representation of Black teens. There are also strong undercurrents of community outreach, strong female friendships, and being true to oneself. If you’re a sucker for royal romances, this one will steal your heart.
No Place Like Here
Best YA Book Set in Summer
Published: May 21, 2019
No Place Like Here is refreshing young adult novel chock-full of summer vibes. Yet, this one is not all a fluff pick. This novel features parental mental illness, parental incarceration, and mature female friendships. No Place Like Here is a perfect summer read for lovers of camp stories, books featuring tough family dynamics, and stories with strong female friendships.
We Are the Perfect Girl
Best YA Book About Mental Health
Published: May 21, 2019
I really liked this book — so many elements all worked together. We Are the Perfect Girl is a clever young adult novel which dissects the idea of conventional beauty and attraction. With two strong female protagonists, this novel is an ode to childhood friendships. If you’re interested in psychology, books about body dysmorphia, or books with female rowers, you’ll enjoy this book!
If You’re Out There
Best YA Book About Female Friendships
Published: March 3, 2020
I enjoyed this YA mystery featuring smart girls, a sweet story of friendship, with just a dash of romance. Sometimes it felt like there was far too much narration than action, but overall, would recommend.
I Love You So Mochi
Most Memorable Destination
Published: May 28, 2019
I Love You So Mochi is a delightful, delicious young adult novel, perfect for anyone desperate for a trip to Japan on a page. Yet, it isn’t all fluff. It features a determined, artistic heroine and sheds light on all the ways parental pressures can change a person’s path in life. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of American Panda, fashion aficionados, and anyone whose dreams have run contrary to parental wishes.
The Boy Next Story
Favorite Classic Retelling
Published: May 21, 2019
The Boy Next Story is an even better installment in the Bookish Boyfriends Series. I would especially recommend it for YA lovers looking for a sweet, fresh take on the classics. Can’t wait to read the next one in the series! If you’d like a sneak peek at the title, check out my interview with author Tiffany Schmidt.
The Beauty of the Moment
Favorite Female Protagonist
Published: February 26, 2019
Loved this strong YA novel following an Indian girl, Susan, who moves from Saudi Arabia to Canada where she forms a friendship with certified “bad boy,” Malcolm.
This one surprisingly grew on me! I loved that the main characters form a genuine friendship and that this novel addresses so many themes. Susan is a talented artist whose immigrant parents want her to pursue a “professional” degree, and Malcolm’s issues with his dad are serious issues I haven’t seen tackled by many YA books.
I also enjoyed all the minor characters and their storylines, especially how Susan’s parents navigate their marital relationship. Refreshingly, also, the characters in this novel deal with problems more important than the romance in this book.
There they are: 10 of my best YA books of 2019! I remember each of these stories vividly and I’m glad they landed in my hands. I’ll likely be reading much less YA this year, but I’m excited anyway for all the 2020 releases ahead.
What were your best YA books of 2019? And which ones are you eager to read next year? I’d love to know!
The best YA I read was Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys……not traditional YA but so good! 👍
Afoma Umesi says
Ooh I haven’t heard of that one. Thanks for the rec!
I seldom get to say this, but I read ALL of these books. IWBWYA introduced me to Forest, and she writes the kind of YA I tend to love. I am very much looking forward to her next book. 10 Blind Dates was a 5 star read for me. That family just won my heart, and I am so happy we are getting more of their stories. Kaplan is a favorite of mine, and I am ecstatic to see her book on your list. It was stupendous! No duds here for me. Great list!
Afoma Umesi says
Yay!! Thank you so much! Yes, Forest just has a way with YA! I really loved Kaplan’s book too. Thank you for reading. I love your blog!!