The 10 Best Short Young Adult Books to Read Right Now

In today’s fast-paced world, finding time to read can be a challenge. Short young adult (YA) books provide a perfect solution, offering engaging stories that are easy to digest within a busy schedule. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of short YA books and highlight the 10 best ones to read right now, split evenly between contemporary and fantasy/sci-fi genres.

The 10 Best Short Young Adult Books to Read Right Now

Why Short Young Adult Books are Perfect for Busy Readers

Short young adult books prove to be an excellent choice for readers with limited time, as they can be quickly consumed in one or two sittings. These compact storylines leave no room for lengthy digressions, ensuring that every scene and character interaction builds on the core narrative. The result is a focused and rewarding reading experience that respects your time.

The Benefits of Shorter Reads

Shorter reads have several advantages that make them particularly appealing to busy or reluctant readers. First and foremost, they are less intimidating than longer novels. With fewer pages to conquer, readers are more likely to pick up and finish the book. This sense of accomplishment can motivate them to delve further into reading, creating a positive feedback loop that expands their literary horizons.

Another benefit of short YA books is that they often prioritize character development and emotional depth over complex world-building, making them more accessible to a wider audience. These powerful stories can still elicit profound emotional responses in readers, making them just as impactful as their longer counterparts.

Moreover, shorter books can be a great way to explore new genres or authors without committing to a lengthy read. This can help readers discover new favorites and expand their literary tastes.

How Short YA Books Keep You Engaged

Short YA books maintain a high level of engagement by employing tight plots, sharp pacing, and intriguing character dynamics. These stories will often plunge you directly into the action, leaving no room for boredom or stagnation. As a result, short YA books can easily keep you hooked throughout each limited-page adventure.

Additionally, the authors of short YA books must use their words economically and effectively, which means that every sentence is crafted with care. This emphasis on writing quality leads to a memorable and satisfying reading experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Furthermore, shorter books can be perfect for those who enjoy reading on-the-go. They are easy to carry around and can be read during a commute or a lunch break, allowing readers to squeeze in some quality reading time into their busy schedules.


Short young adult books are a fantastic option for busy readers who want to enjoy a fulfilling reading experience without sacrificing too much time. With their concise yet impactful storytelling, they offer a unique and engaging way to explore new worlds and characters. So whether you’re a seasoned bookworm or a reluctant reader, give short YA books a chance and discover a whole new world of literature.

The Importance of Representation in Young Adult Literature

Representation in young adult literature is a crucial factor in shaping the perception and understanding of diverse communities and experiences. By offering a varied selection of stories featuring characters from multiple backgrounds, lifestyles, and perspectives, short YA books help readers feel seen, understood, and empowered.

However, the need for representation in literature goes beyond just providing a diverse cast of characters. It also means creating complex and nuanced storylines that accurately reflect the experiences of marginalized communities. For example, a book featuring a character with a disability should not only focus on their disability but also explore their personality, relationships, and aspirations. This kind of representation can help to break down harmful stereotypes and create a more accurate and realistic understanding of diverse communities.

Diverse Characters and Storylines

A high level of diversity in characters and storylines exposes readers to different cultures, beliefs, and ways of living. This can help to broaden their worldview, foster empathy, and combat stereotypes, prejudice or narrow-mindedness. Having access to a wide range of voices within literature is essential for promoting understanding and diversity in society, and short YA books play an important role in this mission.

Moreover, diverse narratives also help to break down the barriers created by traditional or classic literature, which often revolved around a limited demographic. By embracing a more inclusive range of protagonists and storylines, short YA books strive to create a more equal footing within the literary world.

Another important aspect of representation in young adult literature is the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. For many young adults, seeing positive and accurate representation of LGBTQ+ individuals can be life-changing. It can help them feel accepted and understood, and can even save lives by providing a sense of hope and belonging.

Empowering Readers Through Representation

Seeing oneself reflected in the pages of a book can be a powerful and validating experience. It allows readers, particularly young adults, to feel seen and heard. It sends the message that their stories are important and worth telling. This sense of empowerment can translate to various aspects of their lives, fostering a strong sense of self and confidence in their identities.

For those who may not share the same experiences as the characters depicted, reading about diverse storylines and perspectives can also be an essential tool for building empathy and understanding. Fostering an appreciation for diversity through literature can have long-lasting, positive consequences both for individuals and broader society.

Furthermore, representation in young adult literature can also have a positive impact on mental health. For example, reading about characters who struggle with mental health issues and come out stronger on the other side can be incredibly empowering for readers who may be going through similar experiences. It can provide hope and a sense of validation that they are not alone in their struggles.

In conclusion, representation in young adult literature is crucial for promoting diversity, empathy, and empowerment. By offering a wide range of diverse characters and storylines, short YA books have the power to shape the perception and understanding of diverse communities and experiences, and to create a more equal and inclusive literary world.

Top 5 Contemporary Short Young Adult Books

Young adult literature has been on the rise in recent years, with authors taking on important and relevant topics that resonate with readers of all ages. Here are five of the best short young adult books that are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age novella that explores the life of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl living in Chicago. Told in a sequence of vignettes, this novel manages to capture the essence of growing up while also delving into themes of identity, culture, and belonging. Cisneros’ writing is poetic and poignant, painting a vivid picture of Esperanza’s life and struggles.

In addition to its literary merit, The House on Mango Street has become an important cultural touchstone for Latinx readers, who see themselves reflected in Esperanza’s experiences. The book has been widely taught in schools and universities, and has even been adapted into a play.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down

This unique novel, written in verse, revolves around 15-year-old Will who embarks on a journey of revenge after his brother’s murder. The story takes place during a sixty-second elevator ride and features encounters with the ghosts of people killed due to gun violence, culminating in a gripping and powerful narrative.

Long Way Down is a masterful exploration of the cycle of violence and trauma that plagues many communities. Reynolds’ writing is spare and impactful, with each word carrying weight and meaning. The book has been widely praised for its ability to tackle difficult topics with sensitivity and nuance.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak: (National Book Award Finalist)

Speak is a powerful and gripping novel that tackles the harrowing topic of sexual assault. Protagonist Melinda struggles to find her voice after a traumatic event leaves her ostracized from her peers. The book is both heartbreaking and inspiring as Melinda navigates her way through high school and discovers the strength to speak up.

Speak has become a seminal work in the #MeToo movement, with many readers finding solace and validation in Melinda’s story. The book has been widely taught in schools and has sparked important conversations about consent and sexual violence.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1)

This dystopian masterpiece invites readers into a seemingly utopian society, devoid of suffering and conflict. However, as protagonist Jonas discovers the dark truth behind this world, he must grapple with the concept of personal and societal freedom. The Giver asks important questions about the human condition and leaves a lasting impact on its audience.

The Giver has been widely praised for its ability to explore complex themes in a way that is accessible to readers of all ages. The book has been adapted into a film and has spawned several sequels and spin-offs.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

A suspenseful and emotionally gripping novel, We Were Liars is essentially a modern-day tragedy. It follows the tangled lives of the Sinclair family, who struggle with hidden secrets, lies, and the weight of their privileged existence. The book’s vivid prose and shocking conclusion will captivate and haunt readers long after they’ve finished the final page.

We Were Liars has been widely praised for its ability to subvert readers’ expectations and keep them guessing until the very end. The book has been a bestseller and has won several awards, cementing Lockhart’s place as a master of the young adult genre.

Top 5 Fantasy and Sci-Fi Short Young Adult Books

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

This enchanting novel tells the tale of a man who, upon returning to his childhood home, recalls extraordinary events from his youth. A blend of fantasy, mystery, and horror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a bewitching exploration of the line between reality and the fantastic.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children Book 1)

Every Heart a Doorway is the first installment in the Wayward Children series. It centers around a group of young people who have returned to Earth after spending time in magical realms. This short novel delves into themes of identity, loss, and longing, all set within the confines of a unique and intriguing world.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (Ender Quintet Book 1)

Classic science fiction at its finest, Ender’s Game tells the story of a young boy, Ender Wiggin, who is trained as a military genius to defend humanity against an alien threat. With its perfectly drawn characters, thrilling action, and challenging questions about morality, this short novel remains a beloved favorite among sci-fi enthusiasts.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1)

Set in an alternate universe, The Golden Compass is a fantasy tale about a girl named Lyra and her adventures in the North. With a cast of fascinating characters, including witches, armored bears, and talking animals, this novel is a captivating and original story of love, betrayal, and discovery.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Illustrated Edition

This comedic science fiction classic invites readers to join hapless human Arthur Dent as he traverses the galaxy alongside alien friend Ford Prefect. This absurd and hilarious novel combines British wit and marvelous sci-fi imagination to create a truly unforgettable adventure across the cosmos.

You can find this book here.

In summary, these 10 short young adult book are perfect for busy readers who want to experience captivating stories with compelling themes, engaging characters, and relevant issues. They offer a diverse range of choices in contemporary, fantasy, and science fiction genres, catering to a variety of interests and providing meaningful representation within their pages. So go ahead, dive into one of these fantastic novels and reap the benefits of short YA books today!


Can adults read young adult fiction?

Yes – many adults continue to read YA books. Despite being targeted towards 12 to 18-year-olds many of the themes and tropes of YA fiction remain prevalent for older readers.

What genres does young adult fiction include?

The most popular genre for YA fiction is fantasy. However, there is no limit to the genres that can be adapted for the young adult target audience.

Who are the best young adult authors?

There are several authors who have remained at the top of YA bestseller lists for years, including John Green, Sarah J. Maas, Rainbow Rowell, and Leigh Bardugo.

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