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Book Suggestions by Genre for Grade 9–12 Readers

Book Suggestions by Genre for Grade 9–12 Readers

Now, more than ever, young adult fiction is booming with tons of titles that cover a variety of modern-day topics and issues. While you may find yourself in a class of students who love to read or those who dread it, there is something out there for everyone. Encouraging all of your students to read (or at least make an attempt) is much easier when you’re armed with a list of suggestions according to genres.

Here are a few of our favorite, new, young adult titles that are sure to please a variety of your students:

When Students Love Realistic Fiction:

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

In this sequel to the adored Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (adapted into the movie Love, Simon), we follow Simon’s BFF Leah. When her tightknit group of friends starts to fracture, it’s hard for Leah to come to terms with changes brought about by the end of high school. Readers can relate as she grapples with changing friendships, first love, and senior-year angst.

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Unlike a panda, life isn’t always so black and white. That’s the message behind American Panda, the debut from author Gloria Chao. In this charming book, seventeen-year-old Taiwanese American Mei is a freshman at MIT with a predetermined future assigned by her parents. Everything is in place to make her parent’s dreams for her a reality—except Mei. When she reconnects with her brother, who is estranged from the family for not following their parent’s rules, Mei starts to wonder if the secrets are really worth it. Can she find a way to be herself?

When Students Love Science Fiction and Horror:

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

The West is wild again after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones is offered a life of fame and fortune for being the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West. Readers follow along as she struggles with the price she pays for freedom in the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city. This book will haunt readers long after the story is finished.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

In this walking dead thriller, a new America has been established when the Civil War ends in a comprise after the dead rise from their graves. Safety for all depends on the work of a few. Laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require children to attend combat schools to learn how to put down the dead. Seventeen-year-old Jane McKeene is almost finished with her training and is set to return to her Kentucky home where she can continue to pay no mind to rebel politics of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. When families start to go missing, her plans change. She finds herself in a desperate fight for her life against powerful enemies and the restless dead.

When Students Love Modern Fairy Tales:

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

This first installment of a two-book series is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, where half-sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close. When the faerie queen who cursed them at birth begins to prepare for war, a sleeping sickness falls upon the kingdom, and Aurora is trapped in an enchanted dream realm, while Isabelle must cross land and sea to break the curse. It’s up to these two unforgettable heroines to find their strengths and work to save their kingdom.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the bad luck biting at their heels. When Alice’s grandmother, a reclusive author of cult-classic dark fairy tales, dies on her estate (the Hazel Wood), Alice learns how bad her luck can get. Her mother is stolen by a figure who claims to come from her grandmother’s stories. Alice has no choice but to ally with her classmate, a superfan of her grandmother’s books, to save her mother and uncover the truth behind her family’s tales.

When Students Love Mysteries:

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

When a modern-day “breakfast club” group of students walks into detention on a Monday afternoon, one never makes it out. According to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. Was it one of the others in detention? Or are they an easy cover for the real killer? Everyone has secrets, right? How far are people willing to go to protect them?

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

In this first entry of a trilogy, Ellingham Academy is a famous private school where “learning is a game.” Shortly after its opening, the founder’s wife and daughter are kidnapped. The only evidence left behind in the school filled with riddles and twisting pathways is a list signed “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the greatest unsolved crimes of American history. Fast-forward to present day where Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at the academy, and her goal to solve the cold case once and for all becomes more complicated when Truly Devious makes a return visit to the campus with a new murder.

When Students Love Adventure and Fantasy:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Scarlett has always dreamed of seeing Caraval, the once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show. When her invitation finally arrives, she and her sister, Tella, run away to the show, escaping their cruel, abusive father. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s organizer, Legend. When it’s uncovered that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, Scarlett will stop at nothing to win her sister back.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Under the orders of a ruthless king, the maji of Orïsha were killed. Everyone believed that this was the night magic disappeared—that is, until Zélie has the chance to bring magic back and strike against the monarchy. With help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is determined to eradicate magic for good. Children of Blood and Bone will have readers ready to rise up and claim their own magic within.

Looking for more ways to encourage literacy in your classroom? Check out this guide on how to strike a balance between reading for pleasure and reading for skill!