The Books That Defined YA


These books shaped the way we saw YA during our decade of coverage.

Is it any wonder why YA books have become cultural touchstones for minds both young and old?

YA can at the same time be fun and light-hearted while also profound and rich with meaning. When looking at the wide scope of these books, it becomes apparent that many authors have left a mark on the YA movement. After nearly a decade of covering these books, we asked ourselves which ones helped define and shape the landscape?

That’s a big question to tackle. You’re likely to get different answers depending on who you ask.

It would be wrong to claim that our answer is the definitive answer. After all, books belong to their readers, which means the YA experience isn’t the same from person to person. That said, when we started putting this list together, we considered books that caused a lot of buzz while also considering books that defied genres, explored important topics, started movements and some that were simply a good time.

During the course of Bookstacked’s life, YA underwent a few “eras.” In the site’s infancy, many of the books we read kicked off mega franchises, becoming household names. Science fiction, specifically anything dystopian, thrived. As time went on, YA authors focused more on the world around us and looked for ways to introduce more diversity into their stories. These voices reminded us that representation matters and that everyone — no matter who they are — has a story to share.

At each turn, there were always a few titles and authors leading the way. These were the books shaping the landscape.

Your list might look different, but these are the books that shaped the way we saw YA during our time covering the industry. This list is organized in no particular order.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

(Simon and Schuster)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

(Henry Holt Books For Young Readers)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

(Simon and Schuster)

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

(Balzer + Bray)

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas


Cinder by Marissa Meyer

(Katherine Tegen Books)

Divergent by Veronica Roth

(Delacorte Press)

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon


Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

(Henry Holt and Company)

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

(Hachette UK)

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(Simon and Schuster)

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao


Legend by Marie Lu

(Simon and Schuster)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

(Knopf Books for Young Readers)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(Disney Electronic Content)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

(Simon and Schuster)

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

(Balzer + Bray)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

(Bloomsbury Publishing USA)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

(Harper Collins)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

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