Best Young Adult Books 2022

Article | Dec 2022

With the summer holidays here, our Good Reading for Young Adults team have put together a list of our top 10 favourite books from the past year which you can dip into over your break!

 

You Don't Know What War IsYou Don’t Know What War Is: The diary of a young girl from Ukraine
Yeva Skalietska
Age Guide 10+

This is the gripping and moving diary of young Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska. It follows 12 days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva’s life forever. She was woken in the early hours to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Russia had invaded Ukraine, and her beloved Kharkiv home was no longer the safe haven it should have been. It was while she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement that Yeva decided to write down her story. And it is a story the world needs to hear.

Yeva captured the nation’s heart when she was featured on BBC News with her granny as they fled Ukraine for Ireland. In You Don’t Know What War Is, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and travels from Kharkiv to Dublin.

Each eye-opening diary entry is supplemented by personal photographs, excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends and daily headlines from around the world, while three beautifully detailed maps (by Kharkiv-native Olga Shtonda) help the reader track Yeva and her granny’s journey.

You Don’t Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike.

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Demon in the Wood: A Shadow and Bone Graphic novel
Leigh Bardugo
Illustrated by Dani Pendergast
Age Guide 12+

The Darkling’s origin story comes alive in this exquisitely illustrated prequel to Shadow and Bone, the hit Netflix original series.

Before he led Ravka’s Second Army, before he created the Fold, and long before he became the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy burdened by an extraordinary power. Eryk and his mother, Lena, have spent their lives on the run. But they will never find a safe haven. They are not only Grisha – they are the deadliest and rarest of their kind. Feared by those who wish to destroy them and hunted by those who would exploit their gifts, they must hide their true abilities wherever they go. But sometimes deadly secrets have a way of revealing themselves …

Discover the start of a grand and sinister destiny in this must-have graphic novel prequel to the bestselling series and international Netflix sensation Shadow and Bone from spectacular new talent Dani Pendergast and No.1 New York Times bestseller Leigh Bardugo.

 

SHE GETS THE GIRL She gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott
Rachael Lippincott & Alyson Derrick
Age Guide 14+

Alex and Molly are two girls who don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus …

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand … not so much.

Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mum. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just … hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

When the girls’ paths cross unexpectedly, and Alex discovers Molly’s hidden crush, they realise they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex can help Molly to get her dream girl, she can prove to her ex that she’s serious about love.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling … for each other.

 

if You Could See the SunIF YOU COULD SEE THE SUN
Ann Liang
Age Guide 13+

No secret is safe.

Alice Sun has always felt invisible at her elite Beijing international boarding school, where she’s the only scholarship student in a sea of uber-wealthy classmates. But she has a plan: be top in the class, attend a prestigious university, secure a killer job, and finally lift her family out of poverty.

Then her parents drop a bomb – they can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship. But that’s the least of Alice’s problems, because she has started uncontrollably turning invisible. As in completely, physically invisible.

Alice realises there’s an upside to her strange new power – unparalleled access to the secrets of China’s most rich and influential teens.

Soon, Alice has a new plan: offer her invisibility services to find out what her classmates want to know – for a price. But between balancing schoolwork, a growing relationship with academic-rival-turned-business-partner Henry, and stealing secrets, things start to fall through the cracks. As the tasks escalate from petty scandals to actual crimes, Alice must decide if helping her family is worth losing her conscience – or even her life.

 

Milo and Marcus at the End of the WorldMILO AND MARCOS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Kevin Christopher Snipes
Age Guide 13+

Milo Connolly has managed to survive most of high school without any major disasters, so by his calculations, he’s well past due for some sort of Epic Teenage Catastrophe. Even so, all he wants for his senior year is to fly under the radar.

Everything is going exactly as planned, until the dreamy and charismatic Marcos Price saunters back into his life after a three-year absence and turns his world upside down. Suddenly, Milo is forced to confront the long-buried feelings that he’s kept hidden not only from himself but also from his deeply religious parents and community.

To make matters worse, strange things have been happening around his sleepy Florida town ever since Marcos’s return – sinkholes, blackouts, hailstorms. Mother Nature is out of control, and the closer Milo and Marcos get, the more disasters seem to befall them. In fact, as more and more bizarre occurrences pile up, Milo and Marcos find themselves faced with the unthinkable: Is there a larger, unseen force at play, trying to keep them apart? And if so, is their love worth risking the end of the world?

 

Only a MonsterONLY A MONSTER
Vanessa Len
Age Guide 13+

Don’t forget the rule. No one can know what you are. What we are. You must never tell anyone about monsters.

Only a monster would
kill a hero. Right?

Every family has its secrets, but the summer Joan Chang-Hunt goes to stay with her Gran in London, she learns hers is bigger than most. The Hunts are one of twelve families in London with terrifying, hidden powers.

Joan is half-monster. And what’s more, her summer crush, Nick, isn’t just a cute boy – he’s hiding a secret as well; a secret that places Joan in terrible danger.

When the monsters of London are attacked, Joan is forced to go on the run with the ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family who are sworn enemies of her own. Joan is drawn deeper into a world that simmers with hostilities, alliances and secrets. And her rare and dangerous power means she’s being hunted. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story … she is not the hero.

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As Long as the lemon Trees GrowAS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW
ZOULFA KATOUH
AGE GUIDE 12+

Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom broke out in Syria. She still had her parents and her big brother; she still had her home. She was even supposed to be meeting a boy to talk about marriage. Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors. She knows that she should be thinking about leaving, but who will help the people of her beloved country if she doesn’t? With her heart so conflicted, her mind has conjured a vision to spur her to action. His name is Khawf, and he haunts her nights with hallucinations of everything she has lost. But even with Khawf pressing her to leave, when she crosses paths with Kenan, the boy she was supposed to meet on that fateful day, she starts to doubt her resolve in leaving home at all. Soon, Salama must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are – not a war, but a revolution – and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.

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The Blood Traitor by Lynette NoniTHE BLOOD TRAITOR (THE PRISON HEALER BOOK 3)
LYNETTE NONI
AGE GUIDE 14+

She’d failed them. All of them. And now she was paying the price.

Kiva thought she knew what she wanted – revenge. But feelings change, people change … everything has changed.

After what happened at the palace, Kiva is desperate to know if her friends and family are safe, and whether those she wronged can ever forgive her. But with the kingdoms closer to the brink of war than they’ve ever been, and Kiva far away from the conflict, more is at stake than her own broken heart.

A fresh start will mean a perilous quest, forcing mortal enemies and uneasy allies together in a race against the clock to save not just Evalon, but all of Wenderall. With her loyalties now set, Kiva can no longer just survive – she must fight for what she believes in. For who she believes in. But with danger coming from every side, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, does she have what it takes to stand, or will she fall?

 

THE WORDS WE KEEP
ERIN STEWART
AGE GUIDE 14+

It’s been two months since the Night on the Bathroom Floor – when Lily found her sister, Alice, hurting herself. Now Alice is coming home after treatment and it’s getting harder for Lily to outrun the compulsive thoughts she’s having.

Meeting Micah, a guy with a troubled past of his own, the pair embark on a poetry project that helps Lily to see that the words she’s been holding back desperately want to break through. But what will Micah think if he finds out who she really is?

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Tracks of the MissingTRACKS OF THE MISSING
CARL MERRISON & HAKEA HUSTLER
AGE GUIDE 12+

‘There must be payback.’ 

‘There must, you are right’, Grandfather agrees. 

What can you offer in exchange? Grandfather holds up his arms, open, offering himself as a sacrifice. I am old. 

Deklan ‘Dek’ Archer and his mates arrive at school to a tense atmosphere. ‘Old Mate’, Mr Henry, who has lived in town for a long time, has been found murdered. He had been selling grog on the black market for years. To add to these worries, the Year 12s, who were on camp, are now missing. The police think there is a link between the missing students and the murder. 

Dek and his friends are torn. Dek and Willum, his best mate, have an important football match that evening – professional recruiters are in town. Neither wants to let their coach down but they feel they must search for their friends. 

Deklan’s grandfather, a renowned tracker with certain otherworld gifts turns up, and expects him to go bush. This choice will change Dek’s life and family forever. A journey that moves deep into an ancient landscape uncovers secrets, and the past, which is never far away, continues to call them. 

Both are tracking the truth but something is watching and hunting them. 

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