YA Friday: Puns are Bad, but Poetry is Verse


As we near the end of National Poetry Month, I thought it would be an excellent time to highlight some fantastic YA novels that are written in verse, blending together poetry in a format traditionally used for prose. Books written in verse tend to be quick reads that often convey a lot of emotion and depth of character because every word matters. Even if you don't love poetry, you can find an enjoyable and compelling story in each of these novels.

YA Novels In Verse

Long Way Down book cover

Long Way Down, written by Jason Reynolds

Driven by the secrets and vengeance that mark his street culture, 15-year-old Will contemplates over the course of 60 psychologically suspenseful seconds whether or not he is going to murder the person who killed his brother.

The Poet X book cover

The Poet X, written by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

Bull book cover

Bull, written by David Elliott

A modern twist on the Theseus and Minotaur myth told in the seven distinct voices of Poseidon, King Minos, Queen Pasiphae, her half-man/half-bull son Asterion, his sister Ariadne, Daedalus, and—in a minor but critical role—Theseus, prince of Athens and, possibly, Poseidon’s son.

Solo book cover

Solo, written by Kawame Alexander

Seventeen-year-old Blade, who endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past to navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.

Vanilla book cover

Vanilla, written by Billy Merrell

Two boys Van (called Vanilla) and Hunter tell of their relationship which began before they were teenagers, but foundered in high school, mostly because Hunter thinks they should be having sex and Vanilla is not so sure.

Ronit and Jamil book cover

Ronit & Jamil, written by Pamela L. Laskin

A retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence and Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.

Further Reading

Girls Like Me book coverUp From the Sea book coverOne book coverThe You I've Never Known book coverThis Impossible Light book coverAudacity book cover