20 Terrific Novels in Verse

You don't have to be a poetry fan to get hooked on novels written in free verse. They attract many a reader -- and even reluctant readers -- with their knack for telling a story using few words in an engaging way. All that welcome white space on the page can make reading seem more inviting. And even the grittiest topics can seem easier to handle in this spare poetic form. Our list of novels in verse for kids and teens includes historical fiction, straight-from-the headlines stories about current issues, an immigrant tale, and family- and sports-themed coming-of-age stories. For more books with compelling free verse and poetry, see our lists Poetry for Tweens and 10 Powerful Poetry Books for Teens. 

Browse 20 Terrific Novels in Verse

May B. Book Poster Image
Riveting and moving account of girl's struggle for survival.
By Caroline Starr Rose
(2012)
(2012)
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The Crossover Book Poster Image
Soaring, poignant, novel in verse hits all the right spots.
By Kwame Alexander
(2014)
(2014)
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Full Cicada Moon Book Poster Image
Girl beats stereotypes in powerful free-verse novel.
By Marilyn Hilton
(2015)
(2015)
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Red, White, and Whole Book Poster Image
Emotional novel in verse follows 1983 Indian American teen.
By Rajani LaRocca
(2021)
(2021)
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Rez Dogs Book Poster Image
Lyrical celebration of culture, connection in time of COVID.
By Joseph Bruchac
(2021)
(2021)
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Before the Ever After Book Poster Image
Tween copes with father's illness in touching verse novel.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2020)
(2020)
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Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
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Emmy in the Key of Code Book Poster Image
Coding, music, and friendship in inspiring free-verse novel.
By Aimee Lucido
(2019)
(2019)
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Inside Out and Back Again Book Poster Image
Inspiring, educational immigrant story told in free verse.
By Thanhha Lai
(2011)
(2011)
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Rebound Book Poster Image
Heartfelt, soaring, fast-break story of loss and growth.
By Kwame Alexander
(2018)
(2018)
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American Ace Book Poster Image
Moving, fast-paced novel-in-verse; great for teen boys.
By Marilyn Nelson
(2016)
(2015)
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Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots Book Poster Image
Vibrant novel in verse shows anti-Latino racism in '40s L.A.
By Margarita Engle
(2018)
(2018)
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Long Way Down Book Poster Image
Gripping, unnerving story of teen boy contemplating revenge.
By Jason Reynolds
(2017)
(2017)
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Under the Mesquite Book Poster Image
Latina teen faces mom's cancer in award-winning verse novel.
By Guadalupe Garcia McCall
(2012)
(2011)
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Kent State Book Poster Image
Powerful novel-in-verse tells story of university shooting.
By Deborah Wiles
(2020)
(2020)
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One Book Poster Image
One
Beautiful, emotional free-verse novel about conjoined twins.
By Sarah Crossan
(2015)
(2015)
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Punching the Air Book Poster Image
Jailed teen finds his voice in poignant novel in verse.
By Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam
(2020)
(2020)
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The Sound of Letting Go Book Poster Image
Relatable tale in verse about life with brother with autism.
By Stasia Ward Kehoe
(2014)
(2014)
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Clap When You Land Book Poster Image
Moving novel in verse about grief, family, and forgiveness.
By Elizabeth Acevedo
(2020)
(2020)
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Every Body Looking Book Poster Image
Teen explores identities in brave novel in verse.
By Candice Iloh
(2020)
(2020)
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