The 15 best YA novels of 2019: Our highest-rated books of the year

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So many wonderful young adult books and stories hit bookshelves this year, but these are the ones we’ve deemed as the very best YA novels of 2019.

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been pretty busy reviewing books this year on Hypable. We’ve seriously been reading up a storm, everything from YA fantasy to historical fiction to contemporary romance and beyond.

So we’d like to think that we know what we’re talking about when it comes to choosing the best YA novels of 2019. We’ve read the good, the great, and the disappointing, and tallied all of our star ratings to bring you this list.

Each and every one of the books below received a perfect 5-star rating and glowing reviews from our staff. They’re books we all felt passionately about when we first read them (and still champion to this day).

Before you dive into making your to-read list for books that are coming out in 2020 and beyond, add some of these YA books to your list. This list has a little something for everyone, no matter your taste in stories or genre, and will be sure to please!

The 15 best YA novels of 2019

‘Even If I Fall’ by Abigail Johnson

Even If I Fall

Even If I Fall is one of the first books we read in 2019 and it really set the standard by which we judged every other novel throughout the year. This YA novel is both heart-warming and heartbreaking, demonstrating how overwhelming grief can be and how comfort can be found in the most unexpected places.

Related: Even If I Fall review: An emotional character piece that’s hard to put down

‘The Vanishing Stair’ by Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair

We were already hooked on Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series after finishing the first book, but it’s The Vanishing Stair that really got us on board. The characters’ relationships and interactions, not to mention the fascinating mysteries that follow Stevie, the main character, everywhere she goes, are truly what make this book one of the best YA novels of 2019.

Related: The Vanishing Stair review: All killer, no filler

‘Serious Moonlight’ by Jenn Bennett

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Serious Moonlight is one of the best contemporary YA romance novels we’ve read in a long, long while. It’s incredibly sweet, but not too saccharine. The characters have their issues, but they don’t brood silently. Plus, there’s a mystery at the center of it that is more important that its laid out to be. It’s a cute “anytime” novel that provides a much-needed escape from today’s stressors.

Related: Serious Moonlight book review: A sweet and wonderfully charming YA romance

‘Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale’ by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart

'Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale'

Out of all of the DC YA graphic novels that have come out so far, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is probably our favorite. It not only gives a classic comics character new life and context, but is also just a really solid story. It’s one of our picks for the best YA novels of 2019 because it captivates from start to finish and lingered in our minds for a while after we finished it.

Related: Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale book review: A refreshing new origin story for a classic DC character

‘Sorcery of Thorns’ by Margaret Rogerson

standalone ya fantasy

Also selected as one of our favorite books of 2019, Sorcery of Thorns is a wonderful addition to the legacy of YA fantasy. It has a captivating story, unforgettable (and root-worthy) characters, and impeccably-done world-building. This is one of the best YA novels of 2019 because it’s one you’ll want to curl up with and read in a single sitting.

Related: The 2019 books we love: Hypable Staff pick their favorites

‘Storm and Fury’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Spin-off series are hard. Authors have to maintain the world they’ve already built but also take it to another level with a different story, new characters, and fresh perspectives on the original series. Storm and Fury does that and so much more. It’s a fantastic way to keep the world of the Dark Elements alive while also adding so much more to it.

Related: Storm and Fury book review: Everything Zayne deserves… and so much more

‘Capturing the Devil’ by Kerri Maniscalco

One of our most anticipated books of 2019, Capturing the Devil did not disappoint. This novel had the perfect balance of humor, romance, comedy, and suspense (not to mention some pretty graphic horror). We’ve named it one of the best YA novels of 2019 because it excels in both introducing a new mystery/villain and tying everything into the overarching story the series has been telling for the past four years. We’re so sad to see the series end, but are so grateful for this installment.

Related: Capturing the Devil book review: My love for thee is eternal

‘The Secret Commonwealth’ by Philip Pullman

At long last, 2019 brought us The Secret Commonwealth, the second book in a new trilogy that centers on Lyra and her life as an adult. Most readers do not get the chance to see characters from their childhood become adults and face challenges that appear once we all reach a certain age. This book handles that transition perfectly and has us all the more excited to jump back into this world that we already love so much.

Related: The Secret Commonwealth review: A welcome return to Lyra’s world

‘Her Royal Highness’ by Rachel Hawkins

Royal meets commoner. Royal and commoner fall in love. It’s a story we’ve all read or seen play out at least a few times (probably more), but Her Royal Highness puts its own lovely twist on it. Not only is the story incredibly fun and heartfelt, but it’s also important in that it features a bisexual and lesbian falling in love. It’s one of the best YA novels of 2019 because it’s one of the ones that stole our hearts and wouldn’t let go.

Related: Her Royal Highness book review: Scottish charm is impossible to resist

‘The Dead Queens Club’ by Hannah Capin

As fans of historical fiction, sassy writing, and badass ladies, there was no chance of us not loving The Dead Queens Club, but the book far exceeded our expectations. It reimagines the story of the six wives of Henry VIII in a present day high school setting, and in doing so, powerfully reasserts a narrative that our patriarchal society caused us to forget. It’s a must-read for fans of well-done retellings and girl gangs.

Related: The Dead Queens Club book review: History has its eyes on you, Henry VIII

‘Rage’ by Cora Carmack

'Rage' (Stormheart #2) by Cora Carmack

Rage has been on our staff’s to-read list since Roar first came out. This YA high fantasy romance is positively enthralling and will keep you glued to the page from start to finish. It’s a solid second installment in this sweeping saga and really sets up an exciting series finale. Our expectations were high for Rage and they were not disappointed in the slightest.

Related: Rage book review: Like one of her stormhunters, Cora Carmack has claimed my heart

‘The Merciful Crow’ by Margaret Owen

The Merciful Crow

Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow is an absolute must-read for YA fantasy fans. It’s a story that tells us not only that we can change, but that we are capable of burning down the castle and overturning the system (which is a much-needed reassurance in this day and age). The world-building is practically perfect and the characters are unforgettable. When putting together this list of the best YA novels of 2019, we thought of this title almost immediately.

Related: The Merciful Crow book review: An incredible fantasy story of fire and fury

‘The Speed of Falling Objects’ by Nancy Richardson Fischer

The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer

The Speed of Falling Objects follows one young woman’s journey toward discovering her true-self that she chose to hide away long ago. It just happens to also include terrifying survival situations and a higher-than-anticipated death toll. This is one of our picks for best YA novels of 2019 because it’s all about facing your fears, including those about your own traits and perceived flaws, and finding strength from within.

Related: The Speed of Falling Objects book review: A thrilling story of survival and strength

‘Dangerous Alliance’ by Jennieke Cohen

What do you get when you cross Jane Austen storytelling with a fun mystery? Dangerous Alliance! About 14 pages into this book, you’ll have the overwhelming urge to make yourself a cup of tea, sit in front of a fireplace, and devour it in one sitting. Complete with headstrong female characters and a swoon-worthy romance, this is one Austin-inspired YA book you won’t want to sleep on.

Related: Dangerous Alliance book review: An Austen-inspired romance with an edge of mystery

‘Wayward Son’ by Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son

Starting as a plotpoint within Rainbow Rowell’s excellent novel Fangirl, it’s amazing to see just how far the story of Simon and Baz has come in just a few short years. Wayward Son takes the two fanfiction-primed characters and continues to weave a fun and exciting tale for them. This second installment in their story is an entertaining one that we can’t recommend enough.

Related: Wayward Son: How Rainbow Rowell conquered trilogy fatigue

What are *your* picks for the best YA novels of 2019?

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