April is National Poetry Month. Recently, a lot of YA authors have been writing novels-in-verse or novels told through poetry or through a series of poems. Here are few good novels-in-verse to check out.
Shark Girl by Kelly L. Bingham
On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything — absolutely everything — changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, “That’s her — that’s Shark Girl,” as she passes. In the meantime there are only questions: Why did this happen? Why her? What about her art? What about her life?
Hidden by Helen Frost
When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra’s father steals a minivan. He doesn’t know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too. Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth–that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long.
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there. Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run, Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood. Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?
Ellen Hopkins has written several other novels in verse.
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Addie Carle is opinionated, and sometimes…just a bit obnoxious. But as seventh grade progresses, Addie’s not so sure anymore about who she is. It seems her tough exterior is just a little too tough and that doesn’t help her deal with the turmoil she feels on the inside as she faces the pains of growing up. Addie confronts experiences many readers will relate to: the loss of a beloved pet, first heartbreak, teasing…but also, friendship, love, and a growing confidence in one’s self.
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs by Ronald Koertge
Fielding his social life is a bigger challenge for Kevin than hitting a fastball. Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland has a passion for playing baseball, a knack for writing poetry — and a cute girlfriend named Mira who’s not much interested in either. But then, Kevin doesn’t exactly share Mira’s newfound fervor for all things green. So when Kevin signs up for open mike night at Bungalow Books and meets Amy, a girl who knows a sonnet from a sestina and can match his emails verse for verse, things start to get sticky. Should he stay with Mira? Or risk spoiling his friendship with Amy by asking her out?
Sold by Patricia McCormick
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her desperately poor family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. When the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. He tells her he will find her a job as a maid but Lakshmi soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution. An old woman named Mumtaz cruelly rules the brothel. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn’t quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife. But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she’ll face issues she’s been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful. Perhaps she’s not so alone after all….
Look for Lisa Schroeder’s other novels in verse.