2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults
This year’s list of 58 books was selected from a group of 113 official nominations.
“The 2015 list reflects the results of Committee members’ dedicated reading of hundreds of YA novels to formulate its final list. It is also a reflection of both the splendid diversity of literature for young adults and the wide-ranging interests of teen readers,” said Michael Cart, Chair of the BFYA Committee. “The titles range from a novel in verse about identical twin brothers who are gifted basketball players to an imaginative novel about a boy who is revived five years after his head was cryogenically frozen.”
The members of the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee are Michael Cart, Chair, Columbus, Indiana; Julia Casas, Santa Monica Public Library, Santa Monica, California; Rebecca Denham, Houston Public Library, Houston, Texas; Roxanne Hsu Feldman, The Dalton School, New York, New York; Suzzanne Fuchs, Bismarck, North Dakota; Thea Hashagen, San Francisco, California; Beth Anne Klein, Prospect Heights Public Library, Hoffman Estates, Illinois; Adele Lamphier, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Adam Mendelsohn, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California; Lisa Lynn Morris-Wilkey, Casa Grande Union High School, Casa Grande, Arizona; Kefira Philippe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, Illinois; Edwin Rodarte, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California; Lyndsey Runyan, Whatcom County Library System, Bellingham, Washington; Nicole D. Santiago, Berkeley Public Library, Berkeley, California; Kelly N. Trowbridge, Port Orange Regional Library, Port Orange, Florida; Laurie Bartz, Administrative Assistant, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, Wisconsin and Daniel Kraus, Booklist Consultant, Chicago.
* denotes the title was selected as a top ten.
Download a handout of the list here.
100 Sideways Miles. By Andrew Smith. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781442444959). Finn feels trapped in his writer father’s novel until he meets Julia and takes a road trip with surprising results.
The Accidental Highwayman. By Ben Tripp. Tor, $17.99 (9780765335494). After being mistaken for his master, the notorious highwayman Whistling Jack, Kit Bristol and his horse Midnight are thrown into a world of magic they thought only existed in fairy tales.
Afterworlds. By Scott Westerfeld. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $17.99 (9781481422345). Westerfeld offers two novels in one. The first is the story of 18-year-old Darcy, who has just sold her first novel for publication. The second is the novel itself, an enthralling paranormal romance.
Althea & Oliver. By Cristina Moracho. Viking, $17.99 (9780670785391). When Oliver heads to New York to participate in a clinical study regarding his rare sleep disorder, his estranged friend Althea follows, but it might be too late to save their relationship.
And We Stay. By Jenny Hubbard. Delacorte, $16.99 (9780385740579). Emily’s boyfriend Paul kills himself in front of her. Now in boarding school, she uses the spirit of Emily Dickinson to slowly reveal her hidden truths through her own poetry.
Breakfast Served Anytime. By Sarah Combs. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763667917). Spending the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted students, Gloria struggles with the recent death of her beloved grandmother as she strives to make new friends.
* The Carnival at Bray. By Jessie Ann Foley. Elephant Rock, $12.95 (97809895115597). Maggie has only recently moved to Ireland when tragedy strikes and her goal becomes seeing Nirvana perform in Rome.
Complicit. By Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin’s/Griffin, $18.99 (9781250044594). After two years in juvenile detention, Jamie’s sister Cate has been released, threatening the boy’s sanity as he seeks the truth about their shared past.
Conversion. By Katherine Howe. Putnam, $18.99 (9780399167775). Colleen struggles to figure out what is at the root of the mystery illness plaguing students at her school.
* The Crossover. By Kwame Alexander. Houghton, $16.99 (9780544107717). Josh, aka Filthy, is a twin, a talented basketball star, and a son who adores his father but discovers parents are not infallible.
The Devil’s Intern. By Donna Hosie. Holiday, $16.95 (9780823431953). The Devil has an intern. Who knew? His name is Mitchell and he thinks he may have found a way out of hell. Or has he? The Devil’s in the details.
Egg & Spoon. By Gregory Maguire. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763672201). When Elena, a Russian peasant, and privileged Ekaterina meet, an enchanted adventure begins.
Everything Leads to You. By Nina LaCour. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525425885). When Emi discovers a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, she must move beyond her carefully crafted world to track down a decades-old secret.
Evil Librarian. By Michelle Knudsen. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763660383). Think librarians are a yawn? Then you haven’t met Mr. Gabriel, the new librarian at Cynthia’s school. He’s not dull; he’s a demon!
Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders. By Geoff Herbach. Sourcebooks/Fire, $16.99 (9781402291418). Paperback edition title is Gabe Johnson Takes Over ($9.99; 9781492608653). When the school’s band program is cut to fund the cheerleader dance team, Gabe, the band’s “fat kid,” decides to make a stand.
Free to Fall. By Lauren Miller. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062199805). When Rory is accepted to the prestigious Theden Academy, she discovers a biotech conspiracy that could change civilization. The question: will she survive her discovery?
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. By Isabel Quintero. Cinco Puntos, $17.95 (9781935955948). Seventeen-year-old Latina Gabi feels her life comes straight out of a telenovela. This is the drama-filled diary of her tumultuous senior year.
Girls Like Us. By Gail Giles. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763662677). Special education grads Quincy and Biddy move in together and forge an unlikely friendship as they attempt to navigate the challenges of living in the real world.
The Glass Casket. By McCormick Templeman. Delacorte, $17.99 (9780385743457). Tragic deaths, loves lost, and superstitious beliefs lead Rowan on a journey not only to save herself, but also her friends and family.
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. By A. S. King. Little, Brown, $18.00 (9780316222723). Beware of drinking liquefied bats! Glory O’Brien does and suddenly finds she can see the past and future of everyone she encounters. Everyone except herself. What does her future hold?
* The Gospel of Winter. By Brendan Kiely. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $17.99 (9781442484894). As Aidan’s family disintegrates, he turns to Father Greg for love and comfort, an act that transforms into something dark and unexpected.
Grasshopper Jungle. By Andrew Smith. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525426035). Poor confused Austin is in love with both his girlfriend Shann and his best friend Robby. Meanwhile the two boys unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that unleashes giant, carnivorous praying mantises.
Half Bad. By Sally Green. Viking, $18.99 (9780670016785). Sixteen-year-old Nathan is a Half Code, and must find his elusive father and receive three gifts from him before his seventeenth birthday—or he will die.
Heir of Fire. By Sarah J. Maas. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (9781619630659). This third installment in the Throne of Glass series finds Celaena Sardothien in a foreign country where she must learn how to control her magic.
How It Went Down. By Kekla Magoon. Holt, $17.99 (9780805098693). A community grapples with the shooting death of 16-year-old Tariq. How did it happen?
* I’ll Give You the Sun. By Jandy Nelson. Dial, $17.99 (9780803734968). Artistically gifted twins, Jude and Noah, tell their compelling family story in rich alternating voices.
The Impossible Knife of Memory. By Laurie Halse Anderson. Viking, $18.99 (9780670012091). Haley’s former soldier father, who self-medicates with drugs and alcohol, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. How can she possibly help him?
In the Shadows. By Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo. Illus. by Jim Di Bartolo. Scholastic, $21.99 (9780545561440). Five lives are intertwined and forever altered by the mysterious events of a single summer.
Into the Grey. By Celine Kiernan. Candlewick, $16.99 (978-0-7636-7061-0. When Patrick’s family moves into a house in Ireland, they discover it’s haunted and the ghost is taking possession of Patrick’s twin brother. How can Patrick stop it?
* Jackaby. By William Ritter. Algonquin, $16.95 (9781616203535). Answering an odd help-wanted ad that cautions “Do not stare at the frog,” Abigail finds that her life is about to change in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
The Kiss of Deception. By Mary E. Pearson. Holt, $17.99 (9780805099232). When 17-year-old Princess Lia flees an arranged marriage, the prince she has jilted sets off in pursuit. But so, too, does a trained assassin. Who will find Lia first?
Lost Girl Found. By Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca. Groundwood, $16.95 (9781554984169). Her village in war-torn Sudan destroyed, Poni walks to a refugee camp, where she must make difficult choices to survive.
A Mad, Wicked Folly. By Sharon Biggs Waller. Viking, $17.99 (9780670014682). In 1909 London, 17-year-old Victoria must figure out just how much she is willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.
Mortal Heart. By Robin LaFevers. Harcourt, $17.99 (9780547628400). Annith, a trained assassin loyal to Death, takes matters into her own hands to help her country at war.
* Noggin. By John Corey Whaley. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781442458727). Travis Coates has lost his head—literally. Dying of leukemia, he has had his noggin surgically removed and cryogenically frozen. But when he’s revived, all is not the same as it once was.
Of Metal and Wishes. By Sarah Fine. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $17.99 (9781442483583). There are whispers of a wish-granting ghost in the slaughterhouse where 16-year-old Wen assists her doctor father. Are they true?
Revolution. By Deborah Wiles. Scholastic, $19.99 (9780545106078). The Freedom Summer of 1964 has come to Greenwood, Mississippi, and Sunny becomes involved with the movement in this unusual half-documentary novel.
Road Rash. By Mark Huntley Parsons. Knopf, $16.99 (9780385753425). Drummer Zach has the best summer of his life when he goes on the road with his band, Bad Habit.
Salt and Storm. By Kendall Kulper. Little, Brown, $18.00 (9780316404518). All 16-year-old Avery Roe wants is to become the next witch of Prince Island. But what is she prepared to sacrifice to make that wish come true?
The Scar Boys. By Len Vlahos. Egmont, $17.99 (9781606844397). Harry bears the physical and emotional scars of a terrible childhood accident, but finds relief and rescue in his band, The Scar Boys.
She Is Not Invisible. By Marcus Sedgwick,. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781596438019). Laureth, a blind teenager, impulsively decides to journey to America to look for her writer father, who has gone missing from their British home.
* The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim. By E. K. Johnston. Carolrhoda/Lab, $17.95 (9781467710664). Dragons live everywhere and they’re threatening to exterminate a Canadian town unless dragon slayer Owen, and his bard Siobhan, come up with a plan to save them all.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. By Leslye Walton. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763665661). Ava Lavender, a girl born with wings, narrates a modern folktale featuring four generations of women in her star-crossed family.
Stranger. By Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. Viking, $18.99 (9780670014804). All electronics now useless, the world is a dark and dangerous place. Ross must decide whether to run or confront the tyrant coming for him and his secret.
Sway. By Kat Spears. St. Martin’s/Griffin, $18.99 (9781250051431). High school senior Jesse, also known as Sway, could sell a cape to Superman. He’s a high school fixer, so who could guess his untouchable heart might get broken?
Tease. By Amanda Maciel. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062305305). Sara Wharton is a bully but not, she insists, a murderer. But Emma Putnam is dead from a suicide—she was literally bullied to death—and Sara has been criminally charged.
Threatened. By Eliot Schrefer. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545551434). Hired by a professor to help him research chimpanzees, Luc is left alone in the jungle when the professor vanishes, setting of a struggle for survival.
A Time to Dance. By Padma Venkatraman. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $17.99 (9780399257100). When an accident leaves Veda, a classical dancer in India, a below-knee amputee, she becomes determined not to give up her passion.
Trouble. By Non Pratt. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781442497726). Hannah is pregnant, but who is the father? Aaron, the new boy in school, certainly isn’t the father, and yet he volunteers to play the part.
The Tyrant’s Daughter. By J. C. Carleson. Knopf, $17.99 (9780449809976). Laila’s father, the king of an unnamed Middle Eastern country, was killed in a coup. Now living in exile, Laila searches for the truth about her family’s past and its prospective future.
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone. By Adele Griffin. Soho Teen, $17.99 (9781616953607). Sensationally popular 18-year-old artist Addison Stone has died and this faux biography recounts her story in the form of interviews, photographs, and examples of her art.
* Vango: Between Sky and Earth. By Timothee de Fombelle. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763671969). Moments before his ordination as a priest, 19-year-old Vango, falsely accused of murder, must flee for his life.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. By Kate Hattemer. Knopf, $16.99 (9780385753784). When their school decides to host a reality TV show of dubious distinction, four students band together to save the school and its students from commercial exploitation.
* We Were Liars. By E. Lockhart. Delacorte, $17.99 (9780385741262). Suffering from serious injuries, Cadence doesn’t remember much from the summer of her fifteenth year on Beechwood Island. Two years later, she returns to try to fill in the gaps.
When I Was the Greatest. By Jason Reynolds. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781442459472). Ali and brothers Noodles and Needles are neighbors. While those on the street accept Needles (who suffers from Tourette’s), the three boys—attending a forbidden party—discover that not everyone is so forgiving.
Wildlife. By Fiona Wood. Little, Brown, $18.00 (9780316242097). Classmates and new friends Sibylla and Lou spend a semester in the wilderness and see their lives changed.
The Winner’s Curse. By Marie Rutkoski. Farrar, $17.99 (9780374384678). Life as a general’s daughter has trained Kestrel to be a brilliant strategist. As she prepares to decide between the military and marriage, an impulsive investment at a slave market results in unexpected consequences.
* The Young Elites. By Marie Lu. Putnam, $18.99 (9780399167836). An intense fantasy about Adelina, an outsider girl who is rescued by the legendary Reaper, the leader of the Young Elites. But can Adelina keep her friends and sister safe?