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Jen's YA Book Bucket List
YA dystopian bestsellers

Do you like YA novels like The Fault in Our Stars or The Hunger Games? If you're looking for recommendations for original new books to read with similar appeal, here's my YA Book Bucket List. Although these young adult novels are good books for teens, they also appeal to adults who enjoy young adult fiction. Some are popular hot new bestselling releases. Others are timeless beloved classics. Some are (or could be) set in the world today. Others are set in a dystopian future. All of these books feature the journeys of great teen characters. All have the ability to touch your heart and leave you a better person on the other end. And all are fantastic and worth the read. Which ones are you adding to your Book Bucket List (AKA: your TBR (To Be Read) list)?

P.S. The top eight books below are FREE to read with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited.

You can also visit my YA Dystopian Book Bucket List and my YA Contemporary Book Bucket List OR you can go on a blind date with a YA book!

 

Books to add to your bucket list ...

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Teenage girl fights for her life in a government-sponsored death match.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Above the Sky by J.W. Lynne Above the Sky
by J.W. Lynne

A teenage girl discovers that she lives in a world full of lies.

Eighteen-year-old Seven lives where all is peaceful ... except for the violent war raging above the sky. Lifelike humanoid robots and self-operated drones tend to everyone's needs, leaving people free to enjoy life's pleasures. But there are strict rules and few choices.

Every year, on Assignment Day, the path of each eighteen-year-old's life is laid out. Some are given the jobs for which they have shown exceptional aptitude and are "paired" for mating. The others are sent off to fight in The War and never return.

When Assignment Day comes for Seven, the assignments shatter everything she's ever believed. The rules force everyone to accept their fates, but Seven decides to do something unprecedented: to go against the Decision Makers' wishes.
The Giver by Lois Lowry The Giver
by Lois Lowry

A boy is assigned to an important position in his community and learns the truth about the past.

This haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
Lost in Los Angeles by J.W. Lynne Lost in Los Angeles
by J.W. Lynne

A traumatized teen girl searches for hope in the city of Los Angeles.

Just weeks after eighteen-year-old Erin tragically loses her best friend, she is brutally betrayed by her high school crush. Plagued by crippling panic attacks and disconcerting visions of her dead friend, Erin travels to Los Angeles, searching for a sign that life is still worth living. Shortly after she arrives, she meets Ben, a mysterious man who captures both her curiosity and her heart. As they explore Los Angeles together, Ben reveals shocking secrets of his tragic childhood and helps Erin believe that she can heal from the wounds of her traumatic past. But Ben is hiding one horrible secret. A secret that could destroy her.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl cover Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
by Jesse Andrews

A high-school senior is forced to befriend a girl who is dying of cancer.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.
This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life. 
The Gender Game cover The Gender Game
by Bella Forest

A nineteen-year-old girl lives on a world divided by gender.


A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender. Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes. But one decision could save her life. To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit. 
More Than This cover More Than This
by Jay McLean

A girl's world is torn apart and a stranger wants to help her put it back together.

When Mikayla imagined her prom night, she envisioned a fairy-tale evening full of romance. So when betrayal and tragedy come in quick succession, Mikayla is completely destroyed. Suddenly, everything she loved and everyone she relied on are tragically, irrevocably gone.

Jake, a handsome stanger, happens to witness her loss. With no one to turn to, Mikayla is forced to depend on Jake. Despite their growing closeness and intense chemistry, Mikayla tries to keep her distance and protect her heart. As he does everything in his power to win her trust, Mikayla must choose between remaining alone or letting love in. 
Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan Reason to Breathe
by Rebecca Donovan

An abused teen girl finds love.

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection—pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises, not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth―at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.
Divergent by Veronica Roth Divergent
by Veronica Roth

In a society where everyone must choose one faction, a teen girl discovers that she's Divergent, and therefore does not fit in to one faction.

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

A teen girl with cancer falls in love with a teen boy with cancer.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

A teen boy copes with first love, the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness.

Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey

A teenage girl tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of an alien invasion that have devastated the Earth's population.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
Before I Fall cover Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver

A teen experiences multiple versions of the last day of her life.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined. 
Red Queen cover Red Queen
by Victoria Aveyard

A seventeen-year-old common girl learns she has  magical powers.

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

Awakening in an elevator, remembering nothing of his past, a teen boy emerges into a world of about thirty other boys, all without past memories.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run. 
Looking for Alaska by John Green Looking for Alaska
by John Green


A boy falls in love with a self-destructive girl at his boarding school.

Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. 
If I Stay by Gayle Forman If I Stay
by Gayle Forman

A teenage girl who is critically injured in a car accident is caught between life and death.

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. 
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

A teen boy discovers a mysterious and dangerous place.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher

A teen boy learns that there are thirteen reasons why a girl at his school decided to end her life, and he is one of them.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Matched by Ally Condie Matched
by Ally Condie

A teen girl who lives in a society where people are matched with their life partners questions whether she was matched with the right person.

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. 
Legend by Marie Lu Legend
by Marie Lu

A teen girl goes searching for her brother's murderer.

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day is the suspect. Day and June are caught in a game of cat and mouse. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.