100 Best YA Books of All Time

Need a no-fail list of book recommendations? Whether students are searching for a new SSR book to start the fall semester or you’ve been given permission to add more “modern classics” to your curriculum list, a great starting spot is this list of the 100 Best Young Adult/Y.A. Books of All Time just released yesterday.

The editors at TIME magazine worked with a panel of leading YA authors (Elizabeth Acevedo, Kacen Callender, Jenny Han, Jason Reynolds, Adam Silvera, Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon) to craft the list. You can read more about their selection process here: https://time.com/6085061/how-we-chose-100-best-ya-books/

Their web gallery of book covers is lovely, but I also wanted a single-sheet version to use as a checklist. Feel free to grab a print-and-go copy of the list here: https://laurarandazzo.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/timelist100bestyabooks-2.pdf

As you’ve likely noticed, the last few years have brought a significant shift in the YA publishing world with many top-sellers focusing on themes of social justice and featuring a diverse array of relatable and lovable voices. The editors note that 2017 was an especially significant year in this “boom in great YA fiction” with major titles including Thomas’ The Hate U Give, Reynolds’ Long Way Down, Nic Stone’s Dear Martin, and Erika Sánchez’s I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter all being released that same year. 

“In its evolution to the present movement toward more diverse and inclusive storytelling, YA has passed through many stages – from the novels of the ’70s that explored coming-of-age in refreshingly frank terms to the splashy fantasy epics and teen-girl-led dystopias of the 2000s to the queer love stories and so-called ‘sick lit’ novels of the 2010s,” the TIME editors wrote. Their list reflects the most influential titles of those movements along with plenty of newer works that will appeal to teens (and us adults, too – just keeping it real) who are trying to figure out how to navigate today’s world. In fact, more than half of the books on the list were published in the last decade, resulting in a list that feels timely and useful.

If I were in the classroom, I’d have a couple of copies of the list on hand to give to kids needing to find a book. If I were in a library (hey, I am!), I’d get busy building a new display for students. I’m also excited to add a few of these titles to my “must read” list, as there are plenty here I haven’t yet read.

Special thanks to my friend and middle school teacher Abraham Angel who alerted me to the list this morning. You can follow him on Instagram @mr_angel_teaches_english. I’m there, too, @randazzo_laura. Photo image credit: Cottonbro via Pexels.com, public domain.

Teach on, everyone!

4 thoughts on “100 Best YA Books of All Time

  1. Anne Atchison says:

    Thank you so much, Laura, for sharing Time’s newest YA list and for providing a one-page copy I can have easily accessible for my students.

  2. My pleasure, Anne. No list with a title like that can ever be perfect, but I thought it’d be a handy starting spot when we’re asked the “What should I read next?” question. Glad you found me here! 😀

  3. This is a great resource. The only thing I wish they’d included was the nationality of each author so we could see the spread across the English-speaking world. Thanks for compiling this – a real time saver!

  4. That’s a great idea, AB! Glad the handout is helpful. 🙂

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