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Jul 27

YA Reads: Teen novels in verse

Posted on July 27, 2017 at 11:57 AM by Elizabeth Land

Staff Note: Young Adult Reads is a series of posts reviewing items that are geared toward teens, but are of interest to all York County Public Library readers.

In honor of National Poetry Month, this month’s YA Reads post is highlighting teen books written in verse. According to, a verse novel “filters the devices of fiction through the medium of poetry." The novel may be comprised of a series of short verse poems or one long poem. Some authors also incorporate a sense of visual style to their work as well.

YA verse novels often deal with complex social issues, emotional or physical problems, or turbulent situations. The quick pace of the novels may resonant with reluctant teen readers. In addition, readers who are not the biggest fans of poetry may enjoy verse novels due to their sense of narrative and plot.

Here are some of the young adult verse novels that we offer in the York County Library system:

  • Book cover for The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander — Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.
  • One by Sarah Crossan — Despite problems at home, sixteen-year-old conjoined twins Tippi and Grace are loving going to school for the first time and making real friends when they learn that a cardiac problem will force them to have separation surgery, which they have never before considered.
  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins — Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and then becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.
  • The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy by Marie Jaskulka — Per Amazon, “Forgotten Girl, a fifteen-year-old poet, is going through the most difficult time of her life—the breakup of her parents, and her mom’s resulting depression—when she meets Random Boy, a hot guy who, like her, feels like an outcast and secretly writes poetry to deal with everything going on in his life. In The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boy, the couple’s poems come together to tell their unique love story. The two nameless teenagers come from opposite sides of the tracks, yet they find understanding in each other when they lay bare their life stories through the poetry they write and share with each other.”
  • Book cover for Ronit and Jamil by Pamela LaskinRonit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin — Ronit, an Israeli girl, and Jamil, a Palestinian boy, fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered.
  • Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz — A novel in verse about the March 2011 tsunami that sent Japan into chaos, told from the point-of-view of Kai, a biracial teenaged boy.
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick — Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking she is to work in the city as a maid only to find that she has been sold into the sex slave trade in India and that there is no hope of escape.
  • Street Love by Walter Dean Myers — Told in free verse, this story is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.
  • Loving vs. Virginia: A documentary novel of the landmark civil rights case by Patricia Hruby Powell — Written in blank verse, the story of Mildred Loving, an African American girl, and Richard Loving, a Caucasian boy, who challenge the Virginia law forbidding interracial marriages in the 1950s.

Visit our online catalog today to request these titles.