Whether your teen has already blown right through their reading list for school or you're trying to get them to crack open a book and fall into the wonderful world of reading, the best young adult books of 2022 will whet their appetite.
Our favorite YA books aren't just entertaining, although they definitely check that box. They show teens, tweens and young adults something they recognize in their own life, since we know that feeling seen is a huge part of self-acceptance. Maybe that's a heart-melting LGBTQ+ romance plot, teens battling mental or physical illness, family struggles, bullying or racial discrimination. But we also love when YA books have an element of magic to them or spine-tingling thriller for the teen who can't watch enough horror movies. And of course, they have to be good books, period. All of the books on our list have the kind of plots that will have your teen begging to read just one more chapter before lights out, characters so vivid they jump off the page and settings that feel just as real as the ones we live in.
Books can be a great escape, a fun way to pass the time without screens or a conduit to an entirely new way of thinking and being. When you're lucky, they're all of the above. If you want to snag one of these fantastic new and most-anticipated YA books off your high schooler's nightstand when they're done with it, your secret's safe with us.
Told entirely in verse, this novel that circles around news coverage of a sexual assault case is both stirring and poignant. As Mimi undertakes the family tradition of journaling through her difficult relationship with her mother and her attempts to find her place in the world, she uncovers the truth about the women in her family, and how their strength lies within her too.
For teens navigating religion, family and first romances, this one will hit the spot. Dua's a Muslim teen trying to connect with her conservative relatives, say the right thing around the band member she's crushing on and trying not to chew her own arm off during Ramadan. It's a heartfelt, endearing read.
New-kid-at-school jitters? This book won't help. When misfit Lia scores a free ride to the tony Draycott Academy, she's determined to find her niche. But soon enough, the school starts to seem less than friendly — maybe even deadly.
When Sunny G's brother died, he left him a journal that Sunny vows to fill with rash decisions. First up: Cut his beard and his hair and ditch the turban that denotes his Sikh identity. He debuts his new vibe at prom, where a girl named Mindii makes her own rash decision in stealing his notebook. What follows is a series of hysterical hijinks your teen won't want to miss.
Kat Sanchez's life is pretty normal, if a bit boring. Except for one thing: She has a secret Instagram account where she's Max Monroe, a glamorous and popular influencer. But as Kat and Max's lives increasingly begin to collide, her web of lies begins to tighten around her. It's a fun read, not to mention a lesson in the importance of telling the truth.
In the aftermath of a terrorist attack near her home, Sabriya uses her blog You Truly Assumed to clap back at the rumors and prejudices she's facing as a Black Muslin teen. It starts to take off, and she enlists Zakat and Farah to help as the site goes viral. But with visibility comes trolls and threats that forces them to ask how much they'll risk to make their voices heard. It's a gripping, necessary read for anyone who's very online (and when we're talking teens, that's everyone).
In this hotly-anticipated fantasy, Olivia has grown up at the Merilance School for Girls with only her mother's journal to remember her past. But when she's invited back to the gothic manor Gallant, she discovers that it has secrets of its own. There's a shadow growing at the seam between two worlds, and Olivia has a choice to make: protect her world from the demons who would overtake it, or fulfill a much darker destiny?
Molly and Alex are like oil and vinegar, but you know what happens when you shake those up together. When Alex develops a new crush, Molly thinks it's the perfect chance to prove she can go the distance with her crush. But as they work together to try and snag the girls of their dreams, their attentions start to turn, well, you'll just have to read it to see where.
First, The Queen's Gambit made chess cool again. Now, it's Scrabble's turn. Najwa's best friend Trina died at a Scrabble competition, and she expects her first game back since the tragedy to avenge her friend. But when Trina's Instagram account suddenly springs to life with cryptic messages, Najwa starts to suspect foul play. How many points for "murder?"
In this magical twist on Groundhog Day, Barrett has to relive her disastrous first day of college over and over again. The worst part? Her nemesis has been stuck there too for months. As they work together to find a way to break the cycle, they slowly fall for each other. But nobody knows what happens when tomorrow finally comes.