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Some Novels in Verse
If you like novels written in poetry and want to find more of them, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve only read some of these young adult books, so I can’t vouch for every single one. Why don’t you read a few of them and let me know how they are?
A few of the themes in these stories are pretty heavy, so I’d recommend that you hold off on reading them until you are twelve years old—except for Looking for Me, Love That Dog, Hate That Cat, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, The Way a Door Closes, and Locomotion, which are fine for younger readers.
 
Many of these brief descriptions have been borrowed from lists published by The Horn Book.

(Note: books that have been newly added to this list
will have a blue starnext to them)

novels in verse
After the Death of Anna Gonzales by Terri Fields
The story of high school students coping with the suicide of a classmate.
Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse
In June of 1942, seven months after attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese navy invaded Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. This is Vera’s story, but it is woven from the same fabric as the stories of displaced peoples throughout history. It chronicles the struggle to survive and to keep community and heritage intact despite harsh conditions in an alien environment.
Almost Forever by Maria Testa
A spare, lyrical—and ultimately heartening—novel about one family’s experience during the Vietnam War that has much to say to a new generation of readers.
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
A winged red monster named Geryon struggles with his family, falls for the indifferent Herakles, and discovers photography as a means of comfort and escape.
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy—a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself.
Becoming Joe DiMaggio by Maria Testa
It’s 1936, and the Yankees have just hired a star center fielder whose name sounds like music. What could be a better time for Papa Angelo’s grandson to be born? Christened after the legendary ballplayer, young Joseph Paul learns much at his Italian grandfather’s knee.
Been To Yesterdays: Poems of a Life by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Chronicles Hopkins’ growing-up years between the ages of twelve and thirteen.
The Braid by Helen Frost
Two sisters are separated during the Scottish Highland Clearances (1850), when Jeannie goes to Canada and Sarah stays behind on the island of Mingulay. Their stories are braided together through language, and through images of the sea that connects them.
The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge
In a series of short interconnected poems, students at a high school nicknamed Brimstone reveal the violence existing and growing in their lives.
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
When a high school teacher in the Bronx begins to host open-mike poetry in his classroom on Fridays, his students find a forum to express their identity issues and forge unexpected connections with one another.
By The River by Steven Herrick
In 1962 Harry Hodby, 14, dreams of escaping his sleepy, riverside community, but he is held by the memories of loved ones lost in the seasonal floods—his mother and his lively, brilliant best friend, Linda.
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
As teenagers Brooklyn and Nico work to help each other recover from the deaths of Brooklyn’s boyfriend—Nico’s brother Lucca—and their friend Gabe, the two begin to rediscover their passion for life, and a newly blossoming passion for one another.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina—she’s fearless. Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul—her life.
CrashBoomLove by Felipe Herrera
After his father leaves home, sixteen-year-old Cesar Garcia lives with his mother and struggles through the painful experiences of growing up as a Mexican American high school student.
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Muriel and Ollie Jorgensen live across Crabapple Creek from Frank and Emma Norman. The four teens experience the events of 1917—World War I, the Suffrage Movement, and the beginning of the flu epidemic—as they cross into adulthood.
Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes
Teen-age Sam can barely contain his fury and hurt when his father gets married again, this time to a young white woman, who gives Sam a new baby brother.
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Sixteen-year-old Amber, hoping to spend one perfect day alone at the beach before her world is turned upside down, meets and feels a strong connection to Cade, who is looking for his own escape, for a very different reason.
Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
Set in Alaska, this is the story of twelve-year-old Willow and her sled-dog, Roxy. When Roxy is injured, Willow feels responsible and tries to make things right.
Escaping Tornado Season by Julie Williams
Allie’s swept up in a tornado of loss as she turns 14, but writing helps her survive the deaths of her father and brother, life with her emotionally unstable mother, and the challenges of moving to an ethnically divided community where friendship with an Ojibwe boy and girl is forbidden.
Exposed by Kimberly Marcusblue star
High school senior Liz, a gifted photographer, can no longer see things clearly after her best friend accuses Liz’s older brother of a terrible crime.
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
A novel-in-verse about sixteen-year-old Ali’s reluctant road trip with her stepmother and new baby sister, and the terror that ensues after they end up lost in the snow-covered woods.
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engleblue star
Based upon feminist Fredrika Bremer’s interviews of Cuban slaves, free blacks, and poor whites, this vibrant narrative offers the perspectives of a young slave mentioned in her accounts and a (fictional) slave-owner’s daughter
Foreign Exchange: A mystery in poems by Mel Glenn
A series of poems that reflect the thoughts of various people caught up in the events surrounding the murder of a beautiful high school student
Frenchtown Summer by Robert Cormier
A series of vignettes in which the writer reminisces about his life as a twelve-year-old boy living in a small town during the hot summer of 1938.
The Geography of Girlhood by Kirsten Smith
The story of a girl navigating the unknown, the difficult limbo between youth and adulthood.
Girl Coming in for a Landing by April Halprin Wayland
A series of poems about a teenaged girl who secretly likes to write poetry.
A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimesblue star
Fifteen-year-old Mary, nicknamed Mister, describes her fall from grace with a poignant, genuine voice. For comfort, Mister looks to the experiences of another pregnant teen: Mary, mother of Jesus.
God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant
In God Went to Beauty School, Cynthia Rylant imagines a God inspired to go out and experience human things. But what would God do if He could live in a human world? Would He write a fan letter? Get a dog?
Hard Hit by Ann Turner
Mark lives and breathes baseball. Sure, there’s pressure from his coach and his dad, who both push him hard, but it’s nothing that time with his buddy, Eddie, or with his crush, Diane, can’t diffuse. But all that changes when Mark’s dad is diagnosed with cancer, and everything Mark has ever believed in—love, God, and baseball—is called into question.
Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
When last we saw Jack he had learned to love the poet Walter Dean Myers and to accept that his dead dog was gone. Now it’s an entirely new school year and Surprise! Miss Stretchberry is unexpectedly his teacher again. Of course, she’s not too pleased with the series of anti-cat poems he’s been writing lately. Lately a fat black cat has been terrorizing Jack at his bus stop and he is in a full-on anti-feline mode as a result.
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
Run run run. That’s what twelve-year-old Annie loves to do. When she’s barefoot and running, she can hear her heart beating ... thump-THUMP, thump-THUMP. It’s a rhythm that makes sense in a year when everything’s shifting: Her mother is pregnant, her grandfather is forgetful, and her best friend, Max, is always moody. Everything changes over time, just like the apple Annie’s been assigned to draw. But as she watches and listens, Annie begins to understand the many rhythms of life, and how she fits within them.
Hidden by Helen Frost
Though they have never actually met, Wren and Darra recognize each other when they meet at summer camp. When the girls were eight, Wren was in a van that Darra’s father stole, and each of them have different pieces of the story that changed both their lives. Now, at age fourteen, they try to put the story together.
Hold Me Tight by Lorie Ann Grover
I’m leaving. Dad’s words come as a complete shock to Essie. How can he just walk out on her and the family, especially when Mom is pregnant? Essie keeps her dad’s leaving a secret. Then Essie’s classmate, Chris Crow, disappears, and everyone finds out he’s been kidnapped.
Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown
When her mom runs away from home, Rachel is left behind with her emotionally distant father and many questions she cannot answer. Over time, she learns the truth about her mom. But, it’s only when she learns the truth about her dad, the rock—immoveable and always there for her to lean on—that Rachel can move toward understanding.
Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck by Margarita Engleblue star
First-person narratives by star-crossed lovers of Cuban legend; two historical figures, a pirate and a ruthless conquistador; and a fictional slave give readers spare pieces of one overall story.
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
Ava can’t see or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here. Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.
I’ll Be Watching by Pamela Porterblue star
In 1941 Saskatchewan, Nora, Jim Ran, and Addie are orphans struggling to survive winter; their ghostly parents watch over them. Multiple perspectives offer oral histories of a desperate time.
Jinx by Margaret Wild
About a girl who starts calling herself Jinx when her two boyfriends both die.
Judy Scuppernong by Brenda Seabrooke
Three best friends are drawn into the world of their new neighbor, Judy Scuppernong, and soon discover the elusive Judy’s terrible secret.
Jump Ball: A Season in Poems by Mel Glenn
The story of a high school basketball team’s season through a series of poems reflecting the feelings of students, their families, teachers, and coaches.
Karma by Cathy Ostlereblue star
Maya’s Sikh father hides from vengeful mobs after Sikh extremists assassinate the Indian prime minister. Alone in an unfamiliar place, Maya befriends teenage boy Sandeep. A haunting exploration of what it means to be an outsider.
Keesha’s House by Helen Frost
Keesha finds shelter in a house in her inner-city neighborhood and helps other troubled teens find home and family there.
The Language Inside by Holly Thompsonblue star
Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.
Learning to Swim: A memoir by Ann Warren Turner
A series of poems convey the feelings of a young girl whose sense of joy and security at the family’s summer house is shattered when an older boy who lives nearby sexually abuses her.
A Lion’s Hunger: Poems of First Love by Ann Warren Turner
Poems follow a year in a girl’s life as she meets a boy, starts dating him, falls in love, and sees their special relationship come to an end.
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Lonnie Collins Motion is a New York City fifth grader with a gifted teacher who assigns her class to write different forms of poetry. The house fire that killed Lonnie’s parents and the four years of trauma and slow healing that follow are gradually revealed through his writings.
Looking for Me by Betsy Rosenthalblue star
In some free verse and some loosely rhymed poems, Rosenthal tells the story of her mother Edith’s Depression-era childhood in a Jewish family with twelve children. The novel is episodic but gives individual personalities to the many siblings. Edith’s voice is touching and genuine; readers will maintain hope that she someday realize she’s more than “just plain Edith / who’s number four.”
Loose Threads by Lorie Ann Grover
A seventh grader tries to deal with her grandmother’s battle with breast cancer.
Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay blue star
Marcie’s dad comes out as gay, and she moves from Idaho to New Hampshire with her depressed mother. Missing her boyfriend and crew of friends nicknamed “the Leftovers,” she struggles to acclimate (and remain faithful). She returns to Boise midyear, but everything is different—including her. The first-person verse narration wrought with satisfying angst makes Marcie’s woes and joys palpable.
Love Ghosts and Facial Hair by Steven Herrick
Jack’s got a lot on his mind: He’s trying to figure out the mystery of the opposite sex, he can’t stop wondering about facial hair, and he won’t let go of his mother’s ghost, even though she died seven years ago. Jack knows he can’t hang on to the past forever, but what he doesn’t know is how to let go.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
A young boy deals with the death of his beloved dog through writing a series of poems in different forms.
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
In order to earn money for college, fourteen-year-old LaVaughn babysits for a teenage mother.
North Of Everything by Craig Crist-Evans
A new beginning and a simpler life—that’s what Mom and Dad and their young son are looking for when they move north of everything, leaving the city life of Miami for a farm in Montpelier, Vermont. But even as the now-rural family takes careful note of the changing seasons, they encounter their own unexpected series of beginnings and endings.
One Night by Margaret Wild
Gabe is the best looking guy in school—that’s why his friends send him to get girls to their party. Helen is not much to look at—that’s why her friends want her to come along. But Helen gets under Gabe’s skin in a way no other girl has.
On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover
For ten long years Clare has been taking ballet lessons, watching what she eats, giving up friends and a social life, and practicing until her feet bleed, all for the sake of that dream. And now, with the audition for City Ballet Company right around the corner, the dream feels so close. But what if the dream doesn’t come true?
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
Fifteen-year-old Ruby has to leave the boy she loves and move from the East Coast to Hollywood to live with her famous movie star father who she’s never even met because he divorced her mother before she was even born.
Orchards by Holly Thompsonblue star
After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family’s wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.
A Place Like This by Steven Herrick
Jack and Annabel have decided to put off university and drive around the country. It all seems wildly romantic, but when their car dies two days into the trip, things change.
The Realm Of Possibility by David Levithan
Meet a boy whose girlfriend is in love with Holden Caulfield; a girl who loves the boy who wears all black; a boy with the perfect body; and a girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have.
Running Back to Luddie by Angela Johnson
Tells the story of a young teen living with her father and aunt who reflects on her family while she waits to meet her mother, whom she has never known.
Scout by Christine Ford
Cecelia prides herself on being the lookout in the woods behind her Texas home. After all, a person as skinny and gullible as Redbud, the new kid at school, needs someone to watch over him. Besides, with Pop spending all his time in the garden, Sis off with her boyfriend, and Cecelia’s mom dead and gone, it’s not like Cecelia has anything else to do.
The Secret of Me by Meg Kearney
Being adopted is a fact of life in the McLane household: fourteen-year-old Lizzie, as well as her older brother and sister were adopted as infants. But dry facts rarely encompass feelings, and what it feels like to be adopted is something Lizzie never dares openly discuss with her loving parents—let alone with outsiders. More and more Lizzie yearns to confide in others, especially her boyfriend, Peter. But something stops her. Will Peter think she is "less" because her birthmother gave her away?
Seventeen by Liz Rosenberg
Seventeen-year-old Stephanie journeys from childhood to adulthood as she experiences first love and faces her fear that she may have inherited her mother’s mental illness.
Shakespeare Bats Clean Up by Ron Koertge
Kevin, the narrator, writes about his love for baseball and poetry as well as the ups and downs of love.
Shakespeare Makes The Playoffs by Ron Koertge
The sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup in which Kevin’s love life gets very complicated and his team has a chance to be the best.
The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick
Weary of life with his alcoholic, abusive father, sixteen-year-old Billy packs a few belongings and hits the road, hoping for something better than what he left behind. He finds a home in an abandoned freight train outside a small town, where he falls in love with rich, restless Caitlin and befriends a fellow train resident.
Sister Slam and the Poetic Motormouth Roadtrip by Linda Oatman High
Laura Crapper, a seventeen-year-old combat-boot-wearing poet with spiked red hair, renames herself Sister Slam and hits the road with her best friend, Twig. The girls and their fresh style of poetry take the city by storm, but when Laura’s father back in Pennsylvania has a heart attack, she must face her fears about home and the still-raw loss of her mother.
Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill blue star
Before his death, their father, a respected glassblower, declared that younger daughter Maria must marry Venetian nobility, leaving elder Giovanna to stay on Murano with the family. The sisters each long for the other’s future (and suitor); creative ingenuity allows for a satisfying resolution. A vivid fifteenth-century Venetian setting, true-to-life family tensions, and fairy-tale romance complete this novel told in elegant verse.
Soda Jerk by Cynthia Rylant
A series of poems spoken by a young soda jerk in a small town as he observes the people and places around him.
Soul Moon Soup by Lindsay Lee Johnson
About a girl who goes to live with her grandmother in the country when her father leaves and she and her mother are unable to survive in the city.
Spinning Through the Universe by Helen Frost
Twenty-three students in Mrs. Williams’ 5th grade class tell of their lives, in and out of school. The poems are written in different poetic forms, explained in an end-note.
Stardust Otel by Paul B. Janeczko
A series of poems in which a young boy describes his life with his flower children parents, his friends, and neighbors.
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones
The story of what happens when thirteen-year-old Cookie’s big sister has a nervous breakdown and has to be hospitalized.
Taking of Room 114: A hostage drama in poems by Mel Glenn
A series of poems reflect the thoughts of school officials, parents, police, and especially a class of seniors who have been taken hostage by their high school history teacher.
Talking In The Dark by Billy Merrell
This is a memoir that is lived in moments. The moments you know—when you see your parents’ marriage dissolving, when you realize you’re a boy who likes boys, when you speak the truth and don’t know if it will be heard. The moments you don’t recognize until later—when you leave things unsaid (even to yourself), when you feel your boyfriend letting go, when you give up on love. And the moment you get love back.
This Full House by Virginia Euwer Wolff
This is the satisfying ending to the Make Lemonade trilogy by the brilliant Virginia Euwer Wolff.
Tilt  by Ellen Hopkinsblue star
Mikayla, Shane, and Harley alternate narration as they struggle to find balance amidst poor choices, family issues, and personal crises; snippets from secondary characters add perspective. The issues-laden plot and labyrinthine web of characters is the stuff of soap operas, which older teens may relish. Hopkins’s free verse, with thoughtful line breaks and word choices, is by turns poised and visceral.
True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The sequel to Make Lemonade tells more of LaVaughn’s story as she learns from old and new friends, and inspiring mentors, that life is what you make it.
Under the Pear Tree by Brenda Seabrooke
This sequel to Judy Scuppernong revisits the same three girls, this time during the summer when the narrator’s cousin Rusty visits from the city.
The Voyage of the Arctic Tern by Hugh Montgomery
A high-seas adventure that spans several centuries.
The Way a Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith
There are so many ways that a door can close, but it’s not just the closing; it’s the knowing. And thirteen-year-old CJ knows too much-about losing his father, about his family’s pain, and especially about what it means to hold things together when times are the toughest.
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Fourteen-and-a-half year old Sophie is having a hard time trying to figure out the difference between love and lust.
What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
The sequel to What My Mother Doesn’t Know, only this part of the story is told from the point of view of Robin, my first time writing in the voice of a boy.
Whitechurch by Chris Lynch
Describes the stresses and strains in the triangular relationship of two aimless teenage boys and a girl living in a small town.
Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? A mystery in poems by Mel Glenn
About the reactions of students, colleagues, and others when a high school teacher is shot to death.
Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
The story of a half-American-Indian high school student who tries to convince school officials to get rid of offensive Indian mascots used by the sports teams.
Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphillblue star
This plausible interpretation of the Salem Witch Trials is a Puritan Mean Girls, with peer pressure driving the accusers. Perspective shifts among three girls with distinct personalities and motivations.
Witness by Karen Hesse
A series of poems express the views of various people in a small Vermont town, including a young black girl and a young Jewish girl, during the early 1920s when the Ku Klux Klan is trying to infiltrate the town.
World’s Afire: The Hartford Circus Fire of 1944 by Paul Janezcko
An account of a horrific event that killed 167 people, mostly women and children, and injured 500. In a collection of narrative poems, Janeczko describes a circus fire that took place on July 6, 1944 in Hartford, CT, from the viewpoints of those who were there.
You Remind Me of You: a Poetry Memoir by Eireann Corrigan
An anorexic girl recovers when her boyfriend tries to kill himself.
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