Teen Book Lists: In My Own Words: Books for Teens in Verse

[Printable book list]

[Printable book list]

Jaime Adoff / YP FIC ADOFF
The Death of Jayson Porter
In the Florida projects, sixteen-year-old Jayson struggles with the harsh realities of his life, which include an abusive mother, a drug-addicted father, and not fitting in at his predominately white school, and bring him to the brink of suicide.

Kwame Alexander / YP FIC ALEXANDE
The Crossover (also available in ebook)
Twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

Kelley L. Bingham / YP FIC BINGHAM
Shark Girl Series
Shark Girl
Formerly Shark Girl
After a shark attack causes the amputation of her right arm, fifteen-year-old Jane, an aspiring artist, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the changes it imposes on her day-to-day life and her plans for the future.

Pat Brisson / YP FIC BRISSON
The Best and Hardest Thing
When she is a sophomore in high school, Molly gets rid of her good-girl image but ends up becoming pregnant and having to make some difficult decisions.

Susan Taylor Brown / YP FIC BROWN
Hugging the Rock
Through a series of poems, Rachel expresses her feelings about her parents' divorce, living without her mother, and her changing attitude towards her father.

Jennifer Bryant / YP FIC BRYANT
Ringside: 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial: a novel
Visitors, spectators, and residents of Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925 describe, in a series of free-verse poems, the Scopes "monkey trial" and its effects on that small town and its citizens.

Ann E. Burg / YP FIC BURG
All the Broken Pieces: a Novel in Verse
Two years after being airlifted out of Vietnam in 1975, Matt Pin is haunted by the terrible secret he left behind and, now, in a loving adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events forces him to confront his past.

Emma Cameron / YP FIC CAMERON
Out of This Place
Follows three teens who struggle with hardscrabble realities, from Luke, who works at the local supermarket and tries to stay out of trouble; to Bongo, who drinks to avoid his abusive family; to Casey, who longs to escape her controlling father.

Talia Chaltas / YP FIC CHALTAS
Because I Am Furniture
The youngest of three siblings, fourteen-year-old Anke feels both relieved and neglected that her father abuses her brother and sister but ignores her, but when she catches him with one of her friends, she finally becomes angry enough to take action.

Talia Chaltas / YP FIC CHALTAS
Displacement
After tragedy strikes her family, Vera runs away to a small desert town where she tries unsuccessfully to forget her grief and sorrow.

Kristin Clark / YP FIC CLARK
Freakboy
Told from three viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Brendan, a wrestler, struggles to come to terms with his place on the transgender spectrum while Vanessa, the girl he loves, and Angel, a transgender acquaintance, try to help.

Sharon Darrow / YP FIC DARROW
Trash
Graffiti artists Sissy Lexie and younger brother Boy try to maintain a sense of family while living in a series of foster homes and staying with their older sister, until a tragic accident forces Sissy to make decisions about her future.

Carolee Dean / YP FIC DEAN
Forget Me Not
Ally discovers that she may have tried to kill herself and Elijah, recalling his own suicide attempt, tries to give Ally a reason to live and escape from the spirits that haunt their high school.

Margarita Engle / YP FIC ENGLE
The Firefly Letters: a Suffragette's Journey to Cuba
Poems describe early women's right pioneer Frederika Bremer's life-changing journey to Cuba in 1851, as her path crosses that of Cecilia, a translator and slave, and of Elena, a rich girl who feels limited by her place in society.

Margarita Engle / YP FIC ENGLE
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist
In free verse, evokes the voice of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, a book-loving writer, feminist, and abolitionist who courageously fought injustice in nineteenth-century Cuba.

Terry Farish / YP FIC FARISH
The Good Braider: a novel
Follows Viola as she survives brutality in war-torn Sudan, makes a perilous journey, lives as a refugee in Egypt, and finally reaches Portland, Maine, where her quest for freedom and security is hampered by memories of past horrors and the traditions her mother and other Sudanese adults hold dear.

Gene Fehler / YP FIC FEHLER
Beanball
Relates, from diverse points of view, events surrounding the critical injury of popular and talented high school athlete Luke "Wizard" Wallace, when he is hit in the face by a fastball.

Lucy Frank / YP FIC FRANK
Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling
In this novel in verse, two very different girls bond while hospitalized for Crohn's disease.

Helen Frost / YP FIC FROST
Crossing Stones
Four young people, Muriel, Frank, Emma, and Ollie, tell of their experiences during the first World War, as the boys enlist and are sent overseas, Emma finishes school, and Muriel fights for peace and women's suffrage.

Helen Frost / YP FIC FROST
Hidden
Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra's father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.

Alma Fullerton / YP FIC FULLERTO
Walking on Glass
A teenage boy recounts, in a free verse journal, his attempts to come to terms with the realities of his mother's near-death coma.

Nikki Grimes / YP FIC GRIMES
A Girl Named Mister
A pregnant teenager finds support and forgiveness from God through a book of poetry presented from the Virgin Mary's perspective.

Stephanie Hemphill / YP FIC HEMPHILL
Sisters of Glass
When a new glassblower arrives to help in the family business, the attraction Maria feels for him causes a web of conflicting emotions to grow even more tangled.

Stephanie Hemphill / YP FIC HEMPHILL
Things Left Unsaid: a Novel in Poems
After a lifetime of conforming to the image of what her parents and high school friends want her to be, Sarah must come to terms with her own identity when her destructive best friend tries to commit suicide.

Stephanie Hemphill / YP FIC HEMPHILL
Wicked Girls: a novel of Salem Witch Trials
A fictionalized account, told in verse, of the Salem witch trials, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692.

Juan Felipe Herrera / YP FIC HERRERA
Skatefate
Lucky Z, a Chicano foster child, loved living on the edge until a drag racing accident left him in a wheelchair, but as he struggles to find his place in a new high school, he begins writing poetry everywhere about anything, and in finding his voice he also discovers the beauty around him.

Steven Herrick / YP FIC HERRICK
By the River
A fourteen-year-old describes, through prose poems, his life in a small Australian town in 1962, where, since their mother's death, he and his brother have been mainly on their own to learn about life, death, and love.

Steven Herrick / YP FIC HERRICK
Cold Skin
In a rural Australian coal mining town shortly after World War II, teenaged Eddie makes a startling discovery when he investigates the murder of a local high school girl.

Steven Herrick / YP FIC HERRICK
Kissing Annabel
Jack woos beautiful Annabel, and through their relationship, copes with his mother's death.

Steven Herrick / YP FIC HERRICK
A Place Like This
Jack and Annabel hit the road where they find fifty acres of unpicked apples and a farmer who lets them live in his shed while they search for their own identities.

Steven Herrick / YP FIC HERRICK
The Simple Gift
Billy leaves behind his drunken, abusive father, takes refuge in an abandoned freight train, falls in with the wealthy, restless Caitlin, and discovers the true meaning of friendship and family.

Linda Oatman / YP FIC OATMAN
Planet Pregnancy
Sahara struggles with an unplanned pregnancy, and all its conflicting emotions, in this novel told in free verse.

Ellen Hopkins / YP FIC HOPKINS
Ellen Hopkins is the reigning queen of verse fiction. She looks at realistic, dark and gritty sides of teenagersí lives with unflinching honesty and beautiful prose.
Burned
Crank (also available in audiobook)
Fallout
Glass (also available in audiobook)
Identical (also available in audiobook)
Impulse (also available in audiobook)
Perfect (also available on audiobook)
Rumble (also available on audiobook)
Smoke (also available on audiobook)
Tilt (also available on audiobook)
Tricks

James Howe / YP FIC HOWE
Addie on the Inside
Outspoken thirteen-year-old Addie Carle learns about love, loss, and staying true to herself as she navigates seventh grade, enjoys a visit from her grandmother, fights with her boyfriend, and endures gossip and meanness from her former best friend.

Meg Kearney / YP FIC KEARNEY
The Girl in the Mirror
In a series of poems and journal entries, seventeen-year-old Lizzie grieves over the death of her adoptive father, as her plans for college and search for her birth mother are put on hold.

Stasia Ward Kehoe / YP FIC KEHOE
The Sound of Letting Go
Daisy feels imprisoned by her brother Steven's autism and its effects and her only escape is through her trumpet into the world of jazz, but when her parents decide to send Steven to an institution she is not ready to let him go.

Ron Koertge / YP FIC KOERTGE
Coaltown Jesus
Praying for help after the sudden death of his brother, Walker is astonished by the appearance of an irreverent Jesus in his bedroom who imparts unexpected strength and comfort while helping him understand some of life's biggest questions.

Ron Koertge / YP FIC KOERTGE
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs
Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland, poet and first baseman, is torn between his cute girlfriend Mira and Amy, who is funny, plays Chopin on the piano, and is also a poet.

Ron Koertge / YP FIC KOERTGE
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup
When a fourteen-year-old baseball player catches mononucleosis, he discovers that keeping a journal and experimenting with poetry not only helps fill the time, it also helps him deal with life, love, and loss.

Martine Leavitt / YP FIC LEAVITT
My Book of Life
16-year-old Angel struggles to free herself from the trap of prostitution in which she is caught.

Kimberly Marcus / YP FIC MARCUS
Exposed
High school senior Liz, a gifted photographer, can no longer see things clearly after her best friend accuses Liz's older brother of a terrible crime.

Tara Elan McVoy / YP FIC MCVOY
After the Kiss
In alternating chapters, two high school senior girls in Atlanta reveal their thoughts and frustrations as they go through their final semester of high school.

Kathy Ostlere / YP FIC MCVOY
Karma: a Novel in Verse
In 1984, following her mother's suicide, Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi to place her mother's ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.

Wendy Phillips / YP FIC PHILLIPS
Fishtailing
Four troubled students--half-Japanese Tricia, Miguel, a Latin American refugee, Natalie, a new student with a painful past, and Kyle, a talented working-class boy--try to cope in spite of the responses of their poetry teacher.

Pamela Paige Porter / YP FIC PHILLIPS
I'll Be Watching
In 1941, the four Loney children, orphaned and alone in a small Saskatchewan prairie town, manage to pull themselves up and survive under the watchful eye of a pair of ghosts.

Gabrielle Prendergast / YP FIC PENDERG
Audacious
Ella reinvents herself at her new school by focusing on her artistic talents, but she and fellow art class student Sam land themselves in the midst of controversy when they create explicit work for the school art show.

Jame Richards / YP FIC RICHARDS
Three Rivers Rising: a Novel of the Johnstown Flood (also available in audiobook)
Elestia is a wealthy member of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, where she meets and falls in love with Peter, a hired hand who lives in the valley below, and by the time of the torrential rains that lead to the disastrous Johnstown flood of 1889, she has been disowned by her family and is staying with him in Johnstown.

Lisa Ann Sandell / YP FIC SANDELL
Song of the Sparrow
Elaine describes her changing perceptions of war and the people around her as she becomes increasingly involved in the lives of King Arthur and his knights.

Lisa Schroeder / YP FIC SCHROEDE
Chasing Brooklyn
Brooklyn and Nico work to help each other recover from the deaths of Brooklyn's boyfriend--Nico's brother Lucca--and their friend Gabe, the two begin to rediscover their passion for life, and a newly blossoming passion for one another.

Lisa Schroeder / YP FIC SCHROEDE
Far From You
A novel-in-verse about sixteen-year-old Ali's reluctant road trip with her stepmother and new baby sister, and the terror that ensues after they end up lost in the snow-covered woods.

Lisa Schroeder / YP FIC SCHROEDE
The Day Before
Amber, hoping to spend one perfect day alone at the beach before her world is turned upside down, meets and feels a strong connection to Cade, who is looking for his own escape, for a very different reason.

Samantha Schutz / YP FIC SCHROEDE
You Are Not Here
Annaleah's grief over the tragic death of her boyfriend is compounded by the fact that her friends did not like him, while his friends and both of their families knew nothing of their intimate relationship.

Sherry Shahan / YP FIC SHAHAN
Purple Daze
Six high school students in Los Angeles cope with everyday life amid the turbulent events of 1965, as one girl gets involved with drugs and a boy gets drafted and sent to Vietnam.

Sonya Sones / YP FIC SONES
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know
Robin Murphy is so unpopular at high school that his name is slang for "loser," and so when he begins dating the beautiful and popular Sophie her reputation plummets, but he finds acceptance as a student in a drawing class at Harvard.

Sonya Sones / YP FIC SONES
What My Mother Doesn't Know (also available in audiobook)
Sophie describes her relationships with a series of boys as she searches for Mr. Right.

Sonya Sones / YP FIC SONES
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies
Ruby Milliken leaves her best friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and her mother's grave in Boston and reluctantly flies to Los Angeles to live with her father, a famous movie star who divorced her mother before Ruby was born.

Sonya Sones / YP FIC SONES
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy
A younger sister has a difficult time adjusting to life after her older sister has a mental breakdown.

Sonya Sones / YP FIC SONES
To Be Perfectly Honest: a Novel Based on an Untrue Story (also available in audiobook)
Sophie describes her relationships with a series of boys as she searches for Mr. Right.

Holly Thompson / YP FIC THOMPSON
Orchards
Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate's suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

Holly Thompson / YP FIC THOMPSON
The Language Inside
Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother's breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma's heart remains with her friends recovering from the tsunami.

Sarah Tregay / YP FIC TREGAY
Love & Leftovers: a Novel in Verse
When her father starts dating a man, fifteen-year-old Marcie's depressed mother takes her to New Hampshire but just as Marcie starts falling for a great guy her father brings her back to Iowa, where all of her relationships have become strained.

Ryan G. Van Cleave / YP FIC VANCLEAV
Unlocked
While trying to impress a beautiful, unattainable classmate, fourteen-year-old Andy discovers that a fellow social outcast may be planning an act of school violence.

Padma Venkatraman / YP FIC VENKATRA
A Time to Dance
In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

Carole Boston Weatherford / YP FIC WEATHERF
Becoming Billie Holiday
Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday looks back on her early years in this fictional memoir written in verse.

Carol Lynch Williams / YP FIC WILLIAMS
Glimpse
Living with their mother who earns money as a prostitute, two sisters take care of each other and when the older one attempts suicide, the younger one tries to uncover the reason.

Carol Lynch Williams / YP FIC WILLIAMS
Waiting
As the tragic death of her older brother devastates the family, teenaged London struggles to find redemption and finds herself torn between her brother's best friend and a handsome new boy in town.

Allan Wolf / YP FIC WOLF
New Found Land
The letters and thoughts of Thomas Jefferson, members of the Corps of Discovery, their guide Sacagawea, and Captain Lewis's Newfoundland dog, all tell of the historic exploratory expedition to seek a water route to the Pacific Ocean.

Allan Wolf / YP FIC WOLF
The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic (also available in audiobook)
Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.

Virginia Euwer Wolff / YP FIC WOLFF
This Full House (also available in audiobook)
High-school-senior LaVaughn's perceptions and expectations of her life begin to change as she learns about the many unexpected connections between the people she loves best.