I’ve read some great young adult fiction over the last few years but there are always those books that rise above the rest. These are novels that have stuck with me over the years, the books that are still vivid in my memory even if its years since I read it. Some of them are hugely popular, others are quite obscure but each one has timeless writing, memorable characters and a story that won’t let go.

They’re all too good to rank from 1 – 10 so I’ll list them in alphabetical order instead.

A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson
Genre: contemporary fiction
Why I love it: Fun, quirky and fresh, it’s fast-paced, the dialogue is pitch perfect and each of the characters is well-rounded.

Day Boy by Trent Jamieson
Genre: speculative fiction
Why I love it: Evocative, gorgeous prose with sentences that capture emotion with a minimum of words, Day Boy is a wonderful read from start to finish that will completely change your mind about what a horror novel can be.

Jackdaw Summer by David Almond
Genre: contemporary fiction
Why I love it: There were times when I was reading it that I literally stopped breathing. Almond’s writing is superb, the way he weaves the underlying menace, building up tension leading towards the climax is some of the best writing I’ve read.

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody
Genre: speculative fiction
Why I love it: Lyrical, lush and magical, these stories straddle the reality we see and that which is just out of reach, and knits them together into spell binding stories.

Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
Genre: contemporary fiction
Why I love it: Every one of Hartnett’s books is brilliant but this is the first of hers I read. Haunting, gripping, unflinching, it grabs you by the heart and never lets go.

The Fat Man by Maurice Gee
Genre: contemporary fiction
Why I love it: This book is a brilliantly chilling with a villain who makes your blood run cold. Edge of your seat reading.

The Innocents by Nette Hilton
Genre: contemporary fiction
Why I love it: It’s incredibly intense. Every page is packed with foreboding and dread. I was torn between not wanting to put it down and being too scared about what would happen next.

This is Shyness by Leanne Hall
Genre: speculative fiction
Why I love it: Fresh, original, great characters. Atmospheric with an excellent sense of place that really draws you into the dark world of Shyness.

The Tribe trilogy by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Genre: speculative fiction
Why I love it: All 3 books in this series (The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, The Disappearance of Ember Crowe, The Foretelling of Georgie Spider) work together to build a compelling picture of a potential future world that is both horrifying and hopeful.

What I Was by Meg Rosoff
Genre: contemporary fiction
Why I love it: A moody and evocative book that focuses on emotion, rather than action, to drive the narrative, and with a twist I didn’t see coming.

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Image of the interior of the Liverpool Library, UK, is from my personal collection.  Image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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