While working in the Vortex lately, I’ve gotten quite a few requests for young adult poetry and books written in verse. I discovered verse when I was in high school and it remains one of my favorite genres to this day. There is so much emotion and meaning that can be conveyed through stanzas; in my opinion some of the most beautiful writing comes from these books. So I decided to compile a list of recently published young adult books written in verse. Whether you’re brand new to verse or simply looking for new YA poetry, this is the list for you!

Solo by Kwame Alexander

“The heart is a small
and lonesome place.
She is a country,
her eyes hold
the river
I used to swim
her skin, the morning fruit I touched and tasted.

The heart is a small
and lonesome place.

She is a country
I no longer live in.”

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Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle

“The musicians call us owls
because we’re patriotic girls
who stay up LATE after working all day,
so we can DANCE with young sailors
who are on their way
to triumph
or death
on distant
ocean waves.”

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The Language of Fire by Stephanie Hemphill

“Even if I can’t change
the direction of the wind,
why must I agree
that foul air smells sweet?”

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The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

“My mind //whirls// and clicks.The erasers clap.
The door bursts open. An idea doesn’t just flutter in—
it f l i e s.”

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When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur

“scream
so that one day
a hundred years from now
another sister will not have to
dry her tears wondering
where in history
she lost her voice.”

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Ronit & Jamil by Pamela Laskin

“When I do not see you
my heart is in a tomb.
The whisper of your words
I carry in my tomb.
The shadow of your smile
creeps out from the tomb,
the warmth of your body
without it, I am a tomb.
If I can’t be with you
bury me in the tomb.”

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Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

“Perhaps I don’t have blood at all.
Not really.
Only paint.
Perfectly pure
ruby red paint
flowing straight
to my heart:
my canvas.”

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500 Words or Less by Juleah Del Rosario

“Maybe I was broken inside,
with a moral compass
that no longer pointed north.
Or maybe I just wanted
to be wanted,
to be heard,
to be seen,
by someone.
Anyone.”

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The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones

I’ve always been in love with Luke.
For as far back
as I can remember.
I used to climb into his lap,
throw my arms around his neck,
and tell him I was gonna marry him
when I grew up.
And Luke would smile down at me
and say,
“I’ll wait for you, Lily. I promise.”

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White Rose by Kip Wilson

“Attacks on freedom
can be countered by appealing
to intellect.
Attacks on people
must be countered by appealing
to morality.
I can only hope
all morals aren’t
already lost.”

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