This week, The Bookseller published an article summarising the bestselling Young Adult titles of 2023 according to Nielsen data. The figures showed that there weren't many surprises amongst the list of bestsellers, with many authors featuring in the Top 20 for the second or even third time.
The love of Holly Jackson continues, with A Good Girl's Guide to Murder author ranking number one for the second year in a row. Jackson not only took the top spot but celebrated four of her titles being in the Top 10. Described as the Queen of UKYA crime novels, Holly Jackson's star will doubtlessly shine brighter with the upcoming adaptation of the unusual and clever YA whodunnit for the BBC. Starring Wednesday's Emma Myers, seeing A Good Girl's Guide to Murder on the small screen will no doubt provide another boost to this already popular series.
Talking of adaptations, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes took silver in this year's bestseller list, with a significant increase in sales of the original and movie tie-in versions of the book as well as the original Hunger Games novels.
It's great to see the enduring popularity of so many YA authors and novels. But what about when you've read these evergreen bestsellers? With the 2023 bestsellers not offering much inspiration in terms of original fiction from new authors, we thought we'd step in and highlight some of the YA books that we have loved from the past year and might have slid under your book radar.
2023 saw some brilliant new YA fiction from a range of genres. The books in this collection all come with our wholehearted recommendation; some might be from authors you recognise, others may open doors to the work of wholly new authors to adore. We've squeezed a few 2024 published books in here too!
If you're a fan of Holly Jackson, take a look at How to Die Famous by Benjamin Dean. Abel has landed the role of a lifetime in an upcoming blockbuster. He may look like the latest teen star but he's actually an undercover journalist determined to expose the industry that played a role in his brother's death. Full of twists, this is a pacy book you’ll want to read in one sitting. Unputdownable!
For those looking for the next big thing after The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, why not try the Gilded series? Starting with The Gilded Ones, meet sixteen-year-old Deka who lives in a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom where women must bleed to show their purity. An exhilarating West African-inspired fantasy series. The second book in the series is The Merciless Ones and the finale The Eternal Ones is out in February.
Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher brings us back to our world with a powerful exploration of how teenagers can be swept up into county lines. Erik's mum is juggling the challenge of two small babies and the recent death of her husband. Erik is deeply affected by this too, struggling to complete his homework as the babies cry or his mum needs help. When these difficulties spread into school, Erik falls in with the wrong crowd and is tempted to earn some easy money. A stunning debut that makes full and highly skilled use of the narrative verse format, with imaginative use of font and layout, to tell an important story.
Perhaps you're on the lookout for something a little lighter and more like To All the Boys I Loved Before? Check out The Thing About Lemons by Tasha Harrison. It's a super summery read with lots of LOL moments and relatable romantic dilemmas. This fabulously funny page-turner sparkles with the magic (and complications) of summer holiday romance in sunny France.
The Songs You've Never Heard by Becky Jerams and Ellie Wyatt is a debut novel dual-written by a BAFTA-winning children's composer and a K-pop hit writer. Meg and Alana seem to be opposites, but when their worlds collide they realise that appearances can be deceiving in this rollercoaster story that sings loud, proud positive messages about sisterhood and treading your own path.
A new release for 2024 from the author of the award-winning Flying Tips for Flightless Birds Kelly McCaughrain is Little Bang which explores teen pregnancy and the magic and mess of first relationships. Set in Northern Ireland in 2018 when abortion is still illegal, this is a moving, compassionate and beautifully told story that is an essential and important taboo-breaking book for young people to read.
We also have to say that you shouldn't let these brilliant reads solely sit in the reading realm of young adults. Although they are categorised as YA, they are for everyone. And our whole team, young and old are big, big fans of the genre.
Keep scrolling to discover even more YA fiction stars and comment to let us know your favourite recent reads.