Weekend Reading: Novels in Verse

YA Books in VerseCelebrate National Poetry Month in a slightly different way, with a full-length novel written in verse. While these titles are from the Young Adult collection, they have broad appeal. Novels in verse often are a quicker read, and the poetic language can increase the emotional impact of the story.

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ronald Koertge
Fairy tale characters tell the dark truth behind their stories, from a modern Little Match Girl who sells CDs on the streets to Bluebeard’s wife’s discovery that she married a serial killer. These poems will show you the darkness behind these childhood stories.

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle
This fictionalized biography told in verse is the story of the life Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, a book-loving writer, feminist, and abolitionist in nineteenth-century Cuba. Growing up at a time when reading was a forbidden activity for young ladies and facing a likely marriage in exchange for slaves, Tula became a strong voice against both slavery and arranged marriages.

To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story by Sonya Sones
Colette is a compulsive liar. Her friends joke that the way you know Colette is telling a lie is if her mouth is open. Facing a summer in a small town babysitting her 7-year-old brother while her mother, an actress, films on location, Colette thinks things may have begun to look up when handsome Connor rides into her life. But is Colette the only one telling lies?

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Travel to India for the story of Veda, a young woman who lives and breathes to dance. Her bright future as a dancer is shattered in an instant when an accident leaves her an amputee. As Veda struggles to find a way to still pursue her dreams, she meets a boy who will help her learn what dance truly means to her. This is a beautiful story of overcoming adversity and learning to live again.

Find more novels in verse for teens on the JMRL Teen Novels in Verse Goodreads shelf.

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