Young adult novels handle the tough issues that go hand-in-hand with coming of age and show how teens deal with all the firsts of life—and teach them how to come to terms with the hands they’ve been dealt. For teens with the indie spirit, here are the top ten YA releases of 2014:
A Boy Like Me by Jennie Wood (215 Ink)
This story of a trans boy falling in love with a girl in high school is delightful and heartwarming in all the right places.
Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian (Carolrhoda Lab)
Pitch-perfect dialogue and narrative prose reveal teen culture and the journey of self-discovery.
Star of Deliverance by Mandy Madson Voisin (Sweetwater Books)
A strong main character with a mission is someone for girls to look up to in this compelling teen-fantasy novel.
Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen (Bold Stroke Books)
This fun read takes on some serious issues but never forgets that it is a romance at heart.
Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner (Rogue Cannon Publishing)
From page one, this story transports its audience into the dark waters of the Atlantic with its engaging, conflicted main characters.
Edge of Nowhere by John Smelcer (Leapfrog Press)
Thematic reinforcements add interesting layers of complexity to this tale of wilderness survival.
Defy the Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn (Kregel Publications)
Sometimes parents just don’t understand … that kids just want to save the world.
Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend (FW MEdia)
These private-school gals are just so very pretty, witty, and privileged, you could die.
Counting to D by Kate Scott (Elliot Books)
Even certified geniuses have trouble in school now and then, especially if they have dyslexia.
Night Creatures by Jeremy Jordan King (Bold Strokes Books)
Could vampires cure one of the modern age’s most terrifying epidemics?
Aimee Jodoin is deputy editor at Foreword Reviews. You can follow her on Twitter @aimeebeajo.