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Novels in Verse: Teen Reads

an array of book covers from titles featured in the novels in verse teen reads post

A novel in verse can be free-form, a specific style of poetry, or have poetic structures and devices embedded within. Because of the format, novels in verse can often feel more approachable than traditional prose, using emotion and form to further appeal to the reader. Novels in verse can encompass any genre, and often present a different style of creative expression than is typically found in books. You just might feel inspired to create your own verse too. Happy reading!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – Xiomara Batista is an artist on a journey to self-discovery and poetry is her vehicle. She uses slam poetry as a way to interpret and to better understand more abstract parts of her life. Elizabeth Acevedo is an award winning slam poet herself, and she narrates this National Book Award winning book in audio format. When an author reads their own books, it’s like getting something new and special out of the book, as they know exactly what they want to emphasize. Also available as an ebook on Hoopla.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander – Basketball is the defining feature of this novel in verse from Kwame Alexander. Much like Acevedo, Alexander is a well known poet. Perfect for sports fans, it follows the lives of twins Josh and Jordan. Josh, nicknamed Filthy, and Jordan, nicknamed JB, both are the sons of basketball star Chuck Bell, who is experiencing medical issues. As the school year goes on, Filthy and JB discover things they never knew about family, life, and basketball. The audiobook is a fun, quick listen at just over 2 hours long.

One by Sarah Crossan – Tippi and Grace are conjoined twins who have just learned they have to start attending public school. They are bracing themselves for the onslaught of bullying and inevitable questions. This novel in verse centers on the sister relationship and how complicated life can be--and how everyone copes with their own issues. Also available on Hoopla.

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes – Garvey likes things like Star Trek, chess, and astronomy. His dad likes football and wants Garvey to play, just like he did when he was growing up. In this novel in verse written in Tanka form, Garvey works to overcome bullying at school to make friends and gain self confidence, but can he also make progress on his relationship with his dad?

The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill – Joan, or Jehanne as she is referred to in this book, is being prepared for a lifetime of cooking, mending, and family work. When she begins to hear God tell her that her life is intended for different things, Joan’s mission becomes saving France. Also available on Hoopla. If you are interested in the story of Joan of Arc, there is another novel in verse about her life titled Voices by David Elliott.

Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell – This fictionalized account of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving’s lives and eventual marriage explores interracial marriage in the 1950s. It culminates in the Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia, utilizing primary documents from the Lovings. Also available on Hoopla.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – Imagine an entire book taking place on an sixty second elevator ride. Seems impossible but the wordsmith himself, Jason Reynolds, does it with ease. Here Reynolds employs his signature empathetic style to put readers in the mindset of a boy set on revenge for a loved one. In the elevator, Will encounters people from the past, which help shape his ultimate decision. Reynolds reads the audiobook version himself. He is currently the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman – Veda is excited for the Bharatantyam dance competition. While it can be full of pressure, she loves to dance and perform. When Veda is hit by a car and her foot is amputated, she has to overcome immense odds to dance again. Can she rediscover her love for dance and heal in the process?

White Rose by Kip Wilson – Sophie Scholl is alarmed by the evil of Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party. She feels compelled to do something, and finds other people that feel the same way. But what will it cost Sophie to voice her opinions against the Third Reich? In this historically-based novel, you’ll see how Sophie Scholl and other members of the White Rose Movement were able to mount a resistance during World War II.

A lot of these authors also have other titles written in verse, if you are interested in further novels. If you’d personalized book recommendations, our teen librarians will create a list just for you. Visit our My Next Reads page to submit a request today.

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