15 Critically-Acclaimed Novels You Should Have on Your Shelf
If you’re looking for some incredible reads that will make you think, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 15 of our recommendations for amazing, critically-acclaimed novels you should have on your shelf!
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award
An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.
Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
A Finalist for the National Book Award. When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a HBCU, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family—and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her sexuality, Ada must brush off the destiny others have chosen for her and claim full ownership of her body and her future.
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a teaching job and a place to live on an isolated part of the Northern California coast, she immediately accepts. The farm is a refuge, but it’s also haunted by the past, and Mila’s own memories are starting to rise to the surface.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Named a best book of the year by: The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Publishers Weekly, BookPage, A.V. Club, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Vulture, and many more.
Aza Holmes never intended to pursue the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Pickett’s son Davis. John Green returns with a novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram
In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better?
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
A New York Times bestseller • Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award • A Stonewall Honor Book
At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.
Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.
The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
A William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist
An Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Honor Book
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The award-winning, genre-defining debut from John Green, the #1 bestselling author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars
Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet François Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young, who will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
A BookPage Best Book of 2020, A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2020, A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020, and A New York Public Library 2020 Top 10 Best Book for Teens.
A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray comes a gripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
A William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist
2018 National Book Award Longlist
Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her.
How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of the Year
Debut author Helena Fox tells a story about love, grief, and inter-generational mental illness, exploring the hard and beautiful places loss can take us, and honoring those who hold us tightly when the current wants to tug us out to sea.
Dig by A.S. King
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Medal. With her inimitable surrealism, award winner A.S. King exposes how a toxic culture of polite white supremacy tears a family apart and how one determined generation can dig its way out.
And if you love A.S. King, remember to get your copy of…
Switch by A.S. King
A surreal and timely novel about the effects of isolation and what it means to be connected to the world from the Printz Award-winning author of Dig.
Time has stopped. It’s been June 23, 2020 for nearly a year as far as anyone can tell. Frantic adults demand teenagers focus on finding practical solutions to the worldwide crisis. Not everyone is on board though. Javelin-throwing prodigy Truda Becker is pretty sure her “Solution Time” class won’t solve the world’s problems, but she does have a few ideas what might. Truda lives in a house with a switch that no one ever touches, a switch her father protects every day by nailing it into hundreds of progressively larger boxes. But Truda’s got a crow bar, and one way or another, she’s going to see what happens when she flips the switch.