The Ultimate YA Bookshelf

the ultimate teen bookshelf YALSA's Ultimate Teen Bookshelf (PDF) highlights must-have teen materials for libraries. The Ultimate Teen Bookshelf, with titles listed on this webpage and as a PDF download, was developed in conjunction with the United We Serve initiative.

The list includes 50 books, five magazines and five audio books. Subscribers to the YALSA-BK electronic discussion list suggested titles for the Ultimate Teen Bookshelf, which were vetted by Pam Spencer Holley, former YALSA president and author of Quick and Popular Reads for Teens (ALA Editions, 2009), and Judy Sasges, district manager for Sno-Isle Libraries in Marysville, Wash., a 2002 Printz Award committee member and a 2010 YALSA Nonfiction Award committee member.

Librarians can use this collection to ensure they have quality materials to attract teens; parents and teens can use it to find interesting books and materials to keep reading skills sharp between school years.

“During the summer months it is critical for young people to continue to read and visit the library. Studies consistently show that teens who do not read over the summer lose important reading skills, beginning the next school year at a disadvantage,” said YALSA President Sarah Cornish Debraski. “This summer in particular the library will be definitely be a destination as many teens find themselves without summer jobs. The Ultimate Teen Bookshelf is a great place to get started finding terrific reads for teens.”

Download the full list (PDF)!


  1. Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  2. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  3. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
  4. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  5. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  6. Beauty by Robin McKinley
  7. Black and White by Paul Volponi
  8. Blizzard! The Storm that Changed America by Jim Murphy
  9. Bone series by Jeff Smith
  10. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
  11. Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  12. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  13. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank
  14. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  15. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  16. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going
  17. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  18. Fruits Basket series by Natsuki Takaya
  19. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
  20. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  21. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  22. The Guinness Book of World Records
  23. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  25. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  26. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  27. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
  28. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  29. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  30. The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin
  31. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  32. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  33. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
  34. My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  35. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  36. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  37. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  38. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  39. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  40. Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
  41. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
  42. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
  43. Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
  44. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  45. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
  46. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
  47. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  48. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  49. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
  50. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block


  1. Game Pro
  2. Seventeen
  3. Rolling Stone
  4. Shonen Jump
  5. Mad


  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Recorded Books)
  2. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (Listen and Live)
  3. The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin (Brilliance)
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Caedmon)
  5. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (HarperAudio)