Highest-Rated YA Books of 2019 (So Far)

Posted by Cybil on July 15, 2019

Which books are YA readers heaping love and adoration on this year? You'll see plenty of new favorites from familiar names on this list as the accolades continue for the sophomore novels from both Angie Thomas and Elizabeth Acevedo. Meanwhile, Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo continue to delight YA fans with their epic fantasy series. Looking for a new voice? The debut novels Wilder Girls and I Wish You All the Best are standouts in the crowd.

To create this list, we focused on books that were published in the U.S. between January and July. We ranked these books by the number of reader reviews and then made sure each book had at least a four-star average rating—and that was a tough cut to make. Just missing this list are the popular new releases The Gilded Wolves, Two Can Keep a Secret, and Again, but Better.

How many of these top-rated novels are you most excited to read? Don't forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!


Must-Read Standalones
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Epic Sequels
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Hot New Series
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Which titles have you read? Let us know in the comments!

Check out complete coverage of YA Week:
The Most Anticipated YA Books
Can You be 'Too Old' for YA? Our Expert Opinion: No
Let's Play: Create Your Own Epic Young Adult Title

Comments Showing 1-50 of 75 (75 new)


message 1: by Juliet (new)

Juliet Smith The Wicked King was awesome, with lots of plot twists. And to the person who whines there's too many books with female narrators, that's a result of decades where the only female characters were delicate, damsels in distress.


Kilie (fallingbookshelf) Aurora Rising seriously disappointed me. :/ On the Come Up and Internment are high up on my to-read list!


message 3: by Lara (new)

Lara H the only way to describe aurora rising as "hot" is if you fish it out of the fire i threw it into, to get at least something out of the money spend on it, if only heat


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I've Read 2 :D

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer


message 5: by Tiffany (last edited Jul 15, 2019 07:56AM) (new)

Tiffany Robinson I have only read two on the list: On the Come Up and The Wicked King which I enjoyed both. I'm really looking forward to reading Wilder Girls.


message 6: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie Bitson Ummm, where is The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephen, y'all are missing out


message 7: by Evie (new)

Evie Hoff I've read and thoroughly enjoyed The Wicked King and Bloodwitch. Only 5 of these 20 books aren't on my TBR. Yet. :D


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Where is Maybe This Time by Kasie West The Beholder by Anna Bright Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

Skyward (Skyward, #1) by Brandon Sanderson


message 9: by Karen (new)

Karen Alexandra quiero leer todos los de tahereh Mafi, siento que es una de las autoras que logra atraparme en las historias que escribe, y con los personajes que se te meten en el corazon..Defy Me


message 10: by Shaylene (new)

Shaylene I read the king of scars, the wicked king, and finale. the king of scars in particular was an unexpected love of mine and wicked king was so hyped that I loved it too but didn't love it as much as I wanted to.
Aurora rising is on my to-read list.

Is sorcery of thorns any good? because I keep on seeing on the recommendations shelves


message 11: by Donna (new)

Donna Bijas The Crossover was very good.


message 12: by Carolina (new)

Carolina Carriço Ginny♥♡ Have Courage and Be Kind♥♡ wrote: "Where is Maybe This Time by Kasie West The Beholder by Anna Bright Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

Skyward (Skyward, #1) by Brandon Sanderson"


Skyward is from last year 😅


message 13: by NC (new)

NC Nerd The Wicked King was great! I can't wait to get the next book!!!! I am prepping to read Broken Throne and With the Fire on High. But, I want to read everything on this list!!!!


message 14: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Those Caraval books... they are sooo enchanting. Loved Wicked King too!


message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I am looking for my next series or standalone! I typically read YA contemporary and enjoy Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti to name a few!

For series I have read and loved Harry Potter, Divergent, and Delirium to name a few!

I am currently reading The Cruel Prince but it is taking me forever to get into and I'm not exactly enjoying it as much as I thought I would based on all the hype!

So anyway, I am open to finding my next series obsession but I am also looking for contemporary suggestions! Thanks!


message 16: by Mia (new)

Mia Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Jay Kristoff
Adored Aurora Rising and Lady Smoke was a good sequel!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Carolina wrote: "Ginny♥♡ Have Courage and Be Kind♥♡ wrote: "Where is Maybe This Time by Kasie West The Beholder by Anna Bright Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

Skyward (Skyward, #1) by Brandon Sanderson"..."


Yeah I Know!


message 18: by d🌻vyn (new)

d🌻vyn Aurora Rising was absolutely fantastic!!! I was blown away [again] by the author duo!! Already thinking about the sequel and when I can buy it. Also Crown of Feathers looks really good.


message 19: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Griffin I read a SO CURSE and LONELY.


Althea | themoonwholistens ☾ sorcery of thorns is amazing 😍😍😍


message 21: by Nancy (last edited Jul 15, 2019 04:57PM) (new)

Nancy Foster I haven't heard of any of these books. But I mostly read indie novels and save for Senlin Ascends, those books are never featured on these lists.


˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗ y'all just gonna ignore four dead queens?? right in front of my ambrosia??


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Juliet wrote: "The Wicked King was awesome, with lots of plot twists. And to the person who whines there's too many books with female narrators, that's a result of decades where the only female characters were de..."
I Got it from the library, cannot wait to read it. Heard it ends horrible, but I still want to read it.


message 24: by Jude (new)

Jude Hannah wrote: "Juliet wrote: "The Wicked King was awesome, with lots of plot twists. And to the person who whines there's too many books with female narrators, that's a result of decades where the only female cha..."
the end ripped my heart appart so i deeply suggest you wait in november because thats when the third (final) book will come out, so you won't have to wait a horrible 6 months to find out what will happen (unlike me). Then you should read the 3 books one after the other. Anyways the first 2 books were soo good, i finished them in less than 2 days!!


message 25: by Kamiko (new)

Kamiko The Wicked King was absolutely amazing


message 26: by Whitney (new)

Whitney I’ve read With The Fire On High and The Wicked King. I’m currently reading Wilder Girls and it’s SO good! I DNF’d On The Come Up (main character was whiny, a toxic friend, not as interesting as Starr and WOULD. NOT. SHUT. UP. ABOUT. BLACK. PANTHER!) I read one chapter of Aurora Rising, regretted buying it (thankfully I bought the cheaper eBook) and haven’t picked it up since. And I’ve heard similar things from friends lol


Althea | themoonwholistens ☾ Whitney wrote: "I’ve read With The Fire On High and The Wicked King. I’m currently reading Wilder Girls and it’s SO good! I DNF’d On The Come Up (main character was whiny, a toxic friend, not as interesting as Sta..."

I didn't really like Aurora Rising either hehe


message 28: by Janett (new)

Janett I've read:
Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5) by Tahereh Mafi _ Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber _ Shadow Me (Shatter Me, #4.5) by Tahereh Mafi _ The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

Out of that lot "The Wicked King" proved to be the most disappointing. I did rate it 4 stars because the last couple of chapters and that ending... wow!


Kate (Feathered Turtle Press) Reading Crown of Feathers and rather liking it! I've got my eye on all the standalones, plus most of the sequels.

I've heard mixed things about Aurora Rising, which is weird, because Kristoff usually puts out solid work?

But Lady Smoke was somehow WORSE than the first book. The characters are stupid, the main character is stupid AND whiny, and I don't think the author has researched anything. Ever. I also have very little regard for the Red Queen and Shatter Me series after some really crappy first books.


message 30: by Fain (new)

Fain Read - The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

TBR - Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson & King of Scar by Leigh Bardugo

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo


COMPLETELY_BOOKISH Wilder Girls literally has a 3.99, how is it considered one of the highest rated?


message 32: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Obida I've read two, King of Scars and the Wicked King, On the come up and A sorcery of thorns is on my tbr.


message 33: by Jaymie (new)

Jaymie Shook I recently read With the Fire on High and absolutely loved how real the characters were. Just because a book is YA doesn't mean it has to have dragons or dictators. Real life is just as interesting.

On the flip side, I also enjoyed Wilder Girls, which is a step away from reality.


message 34: by Jaymie (new)

Jaymie Shook COMPLETELY_BOOKISH wrote: "Wilder Girls literally has a 3.99, how is it considered one of the highest rated?"

I'm guessing that means it's a darling of critics. I read an ARC. Great story line, not perfectly executed.


message 35: by Jaymie (new)

Jaymie Shook Kristina wrote: "Those Caraval books... they are sooo enchanting. Loved Wicked King too!"

I just recently read Caraval and am now on the waitlist at the library for Legendary. Waitlists are killers.


message 36: by Людовика (new)

Людовика Фьюртенде Where is Thunderhead by Shusterman? How can it be that nobody mentioned this epic and totally awesome book?


message 37: by Sharon711 (new)

Sharon711 turner stepsister and warrior of the wild sound interesting to me!


message 38: by Dakotah (new)

Dakotah Kennedy Stephanie wrote: "I am looking for my next series or standalone! I typically read YA contemporary and enjoy Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti to name a few!

For series I have read and loved Harry Potte..."


Emery Lord!!


message 39: by Paula (new)

Paula I've already read six and have a few on my tbr


message 40: by Dara (new)

Dara Stephanie wrote: "I am looking for my next series or standalone! I typically read YA contemporary and enjoy Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti to name a few!

For series I have read and loved Harry Potte..."



The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord is a great contemporary!

I love the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco; it's got mystery, history, romance, and feels magical, even if there's technically no magic. Plus, the last book comes out soon, so there won't be a long wait to finish the series!


message 41: by Donna (new)

Donna Bijas Dara wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "I am looking for my next series or standalone! I typically read YA contemporary and enjoy Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti to name a few!

For series I have read and..."


Not YA, but a fun read is The Rosie Project series (Rosie Effect and Rosie Result are the other two). Also, The Bear and the Nightingale Series is excellent (very long but really great).


message 42: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Stephanie wrote: "I am looking for my next series or standalone! I typically read YA contemporary and enjoy Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti to name a few!

For series I have read and loved Harry Potte..."


Waiting For August is a fun standalone YA story of young love, what if's with a touch of summer magic.


message 43: by Manuela (new)

Manuela Amiouny Wilder Girls was amazing!


message 44: by Marisa (new)

Marisa Shaylene wrote: "I read the king of scars, the wicked king, and finale. the king of scars in particular was an unexpected love of mine and wicked king was so hyped that I loved it too but didn't love it as much as ..."

Sorcery of Thorns is my favorite book this year so far (and I've read over 50). The title, cover, synopsis don't do it justice to how interesting the world is and how beautiful the writing.


message 45: by Jolene (new)

Jolene Crown of feathers! Love!


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan Sewald No wonder high school boys don't read. All the books are geared towards girls. This is frustrating for a librarian to constantly see this.


message 47: by Joanna (new)

Joanna I only have praise for A Curse So Dark and Lonely ! I wish I could forget it and re-read it again !


message 48: by Abdisparta (new)

Abdisparta Kilie (fallingbookshelf) wrote: "Aurora Rising seriously disappointed me. :/ On the Come Up and Internment are high up on my to-read list!" it almost feels like six of crows but why do I get the feeling it's no where as good as it


message 49: by Ron (new)

Ron Johnson Stephanie wrote: "I am looking for my next series or standalone! I typically read YA contemporary and enjoy Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti to name a few!

For series I have read and loved Harry Potte..."



Stephanie, if you are not getting into a book, drop it. There’s no rule that says you have to finish a book you’re not enjoying. Life is too short, Find a book you enjoy. Nuff said.
As far as recommendations—you might like the Rainbow Rowell series starting with Carry On which is a revionist Harry Potter. You might like her stand-alone Eleanor and Park. You would probably enjoy books by Lauren Oliver. She has a couple of series. An Australian author Melina Marchetta has a trilogy the Lumatere chronicles. Most of her other books are contemporary YA and they are excellent.


message 50: by Stella (new)

Stella K. Svanberg Juliet wrote: "The Wicked King was awesome, with lots of plot twists. And to the person who whines there's too many books with female narrators, that's a result of decades where the only female characters were de..."

I want to continue the series but I had big problems with the toxic and abusive relationship between Jude and Cardan in "The cruel Prince."
Should I Still continue the series ?
Thank you!:)


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