Yes, novels for middle grade and YA audiences written solely in verse! Forget the horrors of long epic poetry, these novels are easy to read with language that flows simply and beautifully in a unique narration style. Each poem contributes to the overall plot, although often they are suited for stand-alone works as well. This trend in kid lit is small, but catching.
1) “Audacious” by Gabrielle Prendergast
Raphaelle is a strong willed girl with a Catholic background. She falls in love with Samir, a Muslim boy. Can their romance overcome their different cultural backgrounds? When Raphael’s art project challenges how society society views women, it comes with some unexpected consequences for Raphael and the people around her. This novel deals with some pretty mature topics and is more for the YA crowd.
2) “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai
A semi-autobiographical work about a family of Vietnamese refugees and their trip to the US and their subsequent adjustment to the new culture. This book is suitable for younger readers and the writing is beautiful.
3) “Red Butterfly” by A.L. Sonnichsen
A book about a orphaned girl with a disability living in China and her illegal American mother who adopts her without proper documentation. This is a story of a girl between cultures who is neither Chinese nor American and is forced to live in hiding. It is also a story about discovering the true meaning of family.
4) “Blue Birds” by Caroline Starr Rose
This is the story of two girls who meet in 1587. One girl is from England and has settled in the new world in Virginia. The other girl is from the Roanoke tribe. Even though the two girls don’t share a common language, they become close friends. However, tensions between the native people and settlers become high and their friendship is threatened.
5) “Capricious” by Gabrielle Prendergast
Raphaelle is back. This time she’s trying to navigate having two boyfriends among some unusual family dynamics. Definitely YA.