Even though romance can give super feel-good vibes and make you feel like you’re floating among the stars, sometimes it can become too cliché and cringeworthy. For times when you’re in the mood for some feisty YA books but not the cheap romance that oftentimes accompanies it, we’ve got you covered! Here are 10 young adult books that will keep you hooked without romance.

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance - I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance – I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

This graphic novel is a YA mystery about two best friends, May and Libby who create a wonderful comic together, featuring a Princess X. But when Libby abruptly dies, May becomes solitary and distant. Years later, as a young adult, May discovers an underground webcomic focused around Princess X, which bears so many similarities to the original that it can mean only one thing – Libby is alive.

Mosquitoland de David Arnold

Mosquitoland de David Arnold
Mosquitoland de David Arnold

Mim, our protagonist is a sensitive girl who is heartbroken when her family falls apart. Her parents divorce, and she is forced to move across the country with her father and stepmother. But when her mother falls ill. Mim must return to her, and live through experiences she never thought she would.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance - Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance – Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

In this tender novel about coming of age as a coloured woman, we follow Jade, who comes from a poor Black background. Raised to believe that the only way to prover herself is to get a White education, she joins an elite private school. But when she is put into a program for ‘at-risk’ girls from ‘bad’ neighbourhoods, she realizes the way the world, and even her fellow Black teacher views her.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

This unique fantasy about the pursuit of knowledge follows Faith, who discovers her banished father’s manuscripts. These manuscripts point to a magic tree, which when told a lie, churns out an equal truth. Her search for the tree, and the truth, takes her to places fraught with danger.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance - This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance – This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This urban fantasy follows a world torn between benign monsters and evil kings. Our protagonists, Kate and August belong to different factions, but must team up to fight evil, fend for themselves and protect the world and themselves.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

In this scrutiny of mental health, Neal tells the tender yet powerful story of Caden. Caden is a schizophrenic who believes that he is a part of a ship crew headed to the deepest point on earth – the Mariana Trench. Meanwhile, his regular college life goes for a toss as people begin to discover exactly what goes on in his head.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance - A List of Cages by Robin Roe
10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance – A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Adam Blake, our protagonist is a highly regular college student, who signs up for becoming and aide to his school’s social psychologist expecting a free period to text his friends. But all his plans soon go awry when he begins to track his foster brother, in a delicious unraveling of family, friendship and human compassion.

Cher Martin par Nic Stone

Cher Martin par Nic Stone
Cher Martin par Nic Stone

This book, about a young Black boy from difficult neighbourhood who emerges as a star kid in his class, is a political commentary in itself. A young while officer arrests the protagonist in a complex story arch, with implications on racial identity and human rights. It is about racial inequality, prejudice and trauma, and will move you to tears without romance.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance - Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
10 Young Adult Books That Will Keep You Hooked Without Romance – Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

This is a beautiful war fiction unfolds amidst the turbulent regions of Burma and Thailand, which transports you to a different world altogether

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

In this fantasy, Montgomery buys a crystal amulet and discovers she now has the ability to do weird things to people she despises. And she starts dreaming that the power of this occult amulet will allow her to gain precedence over the preacher who has everyone under his right thumb.

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