The Greatest "Fiction, Teen & Young Adult" Books Since 1980

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Fiction

Teen & Young Adult

The "Teen & Young Adult" category in literature encompasses a broad range of fiction and non-fiction books specifically tailored for readers aged roughly between 12 and 18 years old. These books often feature protagonists and experiences that resonate with the challenges, emotions, and transitions characteristic of adolescence and young adulthood. Themes such as identity, romance, friendship, family dynamics, and self-discovery are commonly explored, with settings ranging from realistic to fantastical. The genre aims to provide a relatable and engaging reading experience, offering both escapism and insight into the complexities of growing up. While primarily targeting teenagers and young adults, these books often possess a crossover appeal, attracting adult readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories and the fresh perspectives of youthful narratives.

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  1. 1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

    "His Dark Materials" is a fantasy trilogy that follows the journey of a young girl named Lyra Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon, across parallel universes. Throughout their adventures, they encounter a variety of mythical creatures, confront religious and political systems, and grapple with complex themes such as free will, original sin, and the nature of consciousness. The series also delves into the mysteries of Dust, a strange particle integral to the multiverse's function.

    The 342nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K Rowling

    In this fourth installment of a popular fantasy series, a young wizard finds himself unexpectedly entered into a dangerous tournament between rival schools of magic. He must compete in a series of challenging tasks, including a deadly dragon chase and a terrifying underwater rescue mission. Meanwhile, he's dealing with regular teen issues like crushes, jealousy, and school dances. But as he unravels the mystery behind his selection for the tournament, he uncovers a dark plot that puts his life in danger and hints at the return of a powerful dark wizard.

    The 493rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    Set in Nazi Germany during World War II, the novel follows the story of a young girl who finds solace in stealing books and sharing them with others. In the midst of the horrors of war, she forms a bond with a Jewish man her foster parents are hiding in their basement. The story is narrated by Death, offering a unique perspective on the atrocities and small acts of kindness during this period. The girl's love for books becomes a metaphor for resistance against the oppressive regime.

    The 552nd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

    A young Indian boy named Pi Patel survives a shipwreck and finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Over the course of 227 days, Pi uses his knowledge of animal behavior and survival skills to coexist with the tiger, ultimately leading to an unusual and deeply spiritual journey. The story explores themes of faith, survival, and the interpretation of reality.

    The 566th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

    The book is set in a seemingly perfect community without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, where everything is under control. The protagonist is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world. He discovers the dark secrets behind his fragile community and struggles to handle the burden of the knowledge of pain and the concept of individuality. He must decide whether to accept the status quo or break free, risking everything.

    The 601st Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

    The book is a collection of interconnected vignettes that detail the experiences of a Latina girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago. It explores her struggles with her identity, her desire for a better life, and her experiences with poverty and gender roles. The protagonist's observations and experiences weave a vivid picture of life in a Latinx community, and her dreams of a better future give the narrative a sense of hope and resilience.

    The 666th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K Rowling

    In the fifth installment of this iconic series, the young wizard Harry Potter returns for his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, only to discover that much of the wizarding world, including the Ministry of Magic, is in denial about the teenager's recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry is also beset by disturbing dreams while the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been stationed at Hogwarts to protect the school, and Harry's budding abilities as a wizard are put to the test. Meanwhile, a secret society, the Order of the Phoenix, is working to fight Voldemort and his followers, and Harry's role in the coming conflict is becoming ever more significant.

    The 692nd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

    The book is a humorous and touching glimpse into the life and mind of a British adolescent boy, navigating the challenges of teenage life. Written in diary format, the protagonist grapples with everything from acne, unrequited love, school bullies, family issues, and his aspirations of becoming an intellectual. His misinterpretations of the adult world around him, coupled with his overly serious and introspective nature, provide plenty of comedy and make for an endearing and relatable coming-of-age story.

    The 712th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K Rowling

    In the sixth installment of the series, the protagonist returns for his sixth year at a magical school, where he excels in potions class with the help of an old textbook once belonging to the mysterious "Half-Blood Prince". As he delves deeper into his enemy's past through private lessons with the headmaster, he learns more about the Dark wizard's history and his own destiny. Amidst this, the school is no longer the safe haven it once was, and danger lurks within the castle walls. The year ends with a devastating loss, setting the stage for the final showdown.

    The 730th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Obasan by Joy Kogawa

    The book is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of a Japanese-Canadian woman named Naomi, who reflects on her experiences during World War II. As a child, Naomi was forced into internment along with thousands of other Japanese-Canadians, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The narrative explores the themes of racism, identity, silence, and the power of memory, as Naomi grapples with the trauma of her past and the impact of her cultural heritage on her present life.

    The 841st Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Set in a dystopian future, the novel revolves around a teenager named Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic nation where the government, in order to maintain control, forces each of its twelve districts to send a boy and girl to participate in a televised annual event. This event, known as the Hunger Games, is a fight to the death. When Katniss's younger sister is selected to participate, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The book follows her struggle for survival in the cruel game, against the backdrop of a brewing rebellion against the oppressive regime.

    The 865th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K Rowling

    In the final installment of this popular series, the protagonist and his friends decide to leave their school to complete the mission left to them by their late headmaster - to destroy the remaining pieces of the antagonist's soul, hidden in various objects. As they journey through the wizarding world, they uncover the truth about the antagonist's past and the legend of the Deathly Hallows. Amidst the escalating war, they are captured and narrowly escape, leading to the ultimate battle at their school where many lives are lost. The protagonist learns he must sacrifice himself to truly defeat the antagonist, but is given a second chance at life and finally triumphs, ending the war. The story concludes with a glimpse into the peaceful future they have all earned.

    The 878th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

    The novel centers around the coming-of-age story of the protagonist, Annie John, in Antigua. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, she grapples with her complex relationship with her mother, her self-identity, and the colonial influence of the British on her island home. As she matures, her once close bond with her mother becomes strained, and she struggles with feelings of separation and independence. The narrative explores themes of colonialism, gender, and the complexities of mother-daughter relationships.

    The 898th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

    The book follows the journey of a young girl in a parallel universe where people's souls exist outside of their bodies as animal companions, called daemons. When her friend is kidnapped by a mysterious organization, she sets off on a quest to rescue him, armed with a truth-telling device known as the golden compass. Along the way, she encounters a variety of characters, including witches, armored bears, and aeronauts, and uncovers a sinister plot involving the children of her world.

    The 926th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

    "Noughts and Crosses" is a thought-provoking novel set in a dystopian society where racial segregation is reversed. It follows the lives of two main characters: a girl from the ruling class (Crosses) and a boy from the underclass (Noughts). Despite their different backgrounds, they form a deep bond that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, challenging the societal norms and prejudices. The novel explores themes of love, racism, and power, offering a poignant commentary on the repercussions of societal divisions.

    The 950th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

    In a magical land where witches and wizards exist, a young hat maker named Sophie is cursed by a jealous witch and transformed into an old woman. Determined to break the curse, Sophie seeks refuge in the mysterious moving castle of the feared wizard Howl. As Sophie navigates the castle's enchanting rooms and encounters its eccentric inhabitants, she discovers the power of love, friendship, and self-acceptance. Together with Howl and his apprentice Michael, Sophie embarks on a captivating journey filled with adventure, magic, and unexpected twists that will change their lives forever.

    The 1100th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. A Boy's Own Story by Edmund White

    This novel is a coming-of-age story about a young boy grappling with his homosexuality in the repressive 1950s America. It follows his journey from his midwestern childhood, through his expulsion from a military academy and his escapades in the seedy underbelly of New York City. As he navigates through his adolescence, the protagonist battles with self-loathing and isolation due to his burgeoning sexuality, providing a poignant exploration of the pain and confusion of growing up.

    The 1280th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

    The book is a fantastical children's novel that explores the importance of storytelling. It follows the journey of a young boy named Haroun who sets out on a magical adventure to restore his father's ability to tell stories. Along the way, he encounters a vast array of colorful characters and strange lands, including a Sea of Stories. The narrative addresses themes of censorship, the power of storytelling, and the struggle between light and darkness.

    The 1398th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Holes by Louis Sachar

    This book follows the story of a young boy who is falsely accused of stealing a pair of sneakers and is sent to a juvenile detention center in the middle of a desert. Here, the boys are made to dig holes every day as a form of punishment. As the protagonist digs, he discovers the truth about the warden's obsession with the holes, the mystery of a hidden treasure, and a curse that has been haunting his family for generations. The story is a blend of adventure, mystery, and coming-of-age themes.

    The 1425th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

    This novel follows the poignant journey of two teenagers, both cancer patients, who meet in a support group and fall in love. Their shared experiences and unique outlook on life and death bring them closer together, and they embark on a trip to Amsterdam to meet a reclusive author they both admire. Through their journey, they explore the harsh realities of living with a terminal illness while also experiencing the beautiful and tragic aspects of first love.

    The 1457th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

    A 12-year-old genius and criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl, kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short, for a large ransom of gold with the help of his bodyguard, Butler, to restore his family's fortune. In the process, he discovers an underground world of armed and dangerous fairies. The fairies fight back with magic, cunning, and technological weapons leading to a high-stakes battle of wits.

    The 1605th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One: Lightning Thief, The by Rick Riordan

    The first book in the series introduces Percy Jackson, a young boy with dyslexia and ADHD, who discovers he's actually a demigod, the son of Poseidon. Percy is sent to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods on Long Island, where he learns about his divine ancestry and powers. When Zeus's master lightning bolt is stolen, Percy, along with his friends Annabeth (daughter of Athena) and Grover (a satyr), is tasked with preventing a war among the gods by retrieving the bolt. The trio embarks on a cross-country adventure to confront the thief and restore peace in the divine world.

    The 1921st Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

    "Jacob Have I Loved" is a coming-of-age novel that follows the story of Louise, a twin sister overshadowed by her talented and beloved sibling, Caroline. Set in a small fishing village on the Chesapeake Bay during World War II, Louise struggles to find her own identity and pursue her dreams amidst the challenges of family dynamics, societal expectations, and the limitations of her environment. As she navigates the complexities of adolescence, Louise must confront jealousy, resentment, and the search for self-worth, ultimately discovering the strength to forge her own path and claim her independence.

    The 2130th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

    The final installment in a fantasy trilogy, this novel follows the young protagonists as they continue their journey through parallel universes. They find themselves in the world of the dead, where they lead a rebellion against the oppressive authorities. Meanwhile, celestial forces are gathering for a final, apocalyptic battle. The young heroes must also confront their own destiny, which is tied to a mysterious object known as the amber spyglass. The story explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the nature of consciousness.

    The 2165th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

    The book follows the life of a teenage girl who discovers that she is the heir to the throne of a small European principality. Navigating the complexities of high school, she must also learn the intricacies of royalty and diplomacy. With the help of her grandmother, the reigning queen, she undergoes a transformation from an awkward adolescent to a confident young woman, all while dealing with the pressures of her newfound status, the media's attention, and the challenges of her personal relationships. Her journey is filled with humor, self-discovery, and the trials and tribulations of growing up.

    The 2226th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download