Best Fiction for Young Adults

About the Best Fiction for Young Adults The books, recommended for ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. The list comprises a wide range of genres and styles, including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction and novels in verse.

YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) Committee evolved from a committee established under the School Libraries Section of ALA, which was charged with producing a list of 1930s "Best Books for Young People."  The committee has undergone several changes of focus and names over the years, including the Book Selection Committee (1954), and later the Committee for the Selection of Significant Adult Books for Young People (1963). It became the Best Books for Young Adults Committee (BBYA) in 1966. As publishing for the young adult market grew exponentially (over 2,000 titles per year in 2008) and seven other YALSA selection and award lists for young adults were created since its inception, Best Books for Young Adults was restructured and named Best Fiction for Young Adults by the YALSA Board of Directors at the midwinter meeting in 2010.  

Administered by:

Young Adult Library Services Association logo

2013 Selection(s)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Saenz, Benjamin Alire. Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012.

Aristotle and Dante could scarcely be more different, but through the years of growing up, they become more to each other than they ever imagined.

Boy 21

Author: Quick, Matthew. Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

A chronicle of grief paralleling Finley's silence and immersion in the repetition of basketball with Boy 21's belief that his murdered parents will return from space and take him to the cosmos.


Author: Pratchett, Terry. Publisher: HarperCollins, 2012.

Dodger is the canniest cove in all of London, scheming with Dickens, glad-handing Disraeli, and even getting the upper hand over Sweeney Todd in his quest to protect an anonymous girl.

The Encyclopedia of Me

Author: Rivers, Karen. Publisher: Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2012.

Pick a letter and let Tink take you on a journey.


Author: Schrefer, Eliot. Publisher: Scholastic, 2012.

A book of friendship that endures through hardship. A book of human cruelty and human compassion. A book that crosses cultures and species, to connect us with one another.

The Freedom Maze

Author: Sherman, Delia. Publisher: Big Mouth House, 2011

Forced to spend her summer at her grandmother's Southern house in the 1960's, Sophie unwittingly finds herself transported to the Civil War era as a slave of her ancestors.

Sons of the 613

Author: Rubens, Michael. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion, 2012.

Having skimped on his prep sessions for his bar mitzvah, Isaac gets schooled in what it means to be a man by older brother Josh, who could use some lessons on responsibility and sanity himself.

The Sweetest Spell

Author: Selfors, Suzanne. Publisher: Walker, 2012.

Emmeline Thistle has survived sure death a couple of times due to cows coming to the rescue but will she be able to find true love and the long lost secret of chocolate?

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls

Author: Schumacher, Julie. Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, 2012.

What would you do if you were forced to join a book club with girls that you never met? But that’s not the worst part your mom and their moms are part of this book club as well, a mother-daughter book club. Ugh, that is exactly what Adrienne Haus thinks when her mother informs her that she is now part of this endeavor and has no choice but to join.

Under the Never Sky

Author: Rossi, Veronica. Publisher: HarperCollins, 2012

Aria has grown up living in the safety of the domes, while Peregrine is a savage outsider. When a series of events leads to Aria's banishment, Peregrine helps her survive.