Try a novel written in free verse poetry (ie it doesn't rhyme) for a quick read with depth!
*Updated with new selections 3-10-11
Adoff, Jamie. The death of Jayson Porter
In the Florida projects, sixteen-year-old Jayson struggles with the harsh realities of his life, which include an abusive mother, a drug-addicted father, and not fitting in at his predominately white school, and bring him to the brink of suicide.
Bingham, Kelly. Shark girl
After a shark attack causes the amputation of her right arm, fifteen-year-old Jane, an aspiring artist, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the changes it imposes on her day-to-day life and her plans for the future.
Block, Francesca Lia. Psyche in a dress
A young woman, Psyche, searches for her lost love and questions her true self in a modern retelling of Greek myths.
Chaltas, Thalia. Because I am furniture
The youngest of three siblings, fourteen-year-old Anke feels both relieved and neglected that her father abuses her brother and sister but ignores her, but when she catches him with one of her friends, she finally becomes angry enough to take action.
Collins, Pam Lowery. The fattening hut
A teenage girl living on a tropical island runs away to escape her tribe's customs of arranged marriages and female genital mutilation.
Ellis, Ann Dee. This is what I did
Bullied because of an incident in his past, eighth-grader Logan is unhappy at his new school and has difficulty relating to others until he meets a quirky girl and a counselor who believe in him.
Frost, Helen. Keesha's house
Seven teens facing such problems as pregnancy, closeted homosexuality, and abuse each describe in poetic forms what caused them to leave home and where they found home again.
Fullerton, Alma. Walking on glass
A teenage boy recounts, in a free verse journal, his attempts to come to terms with the realities of his mother's near-death coma.
Grover, Lori Ann. On pointe
In this novel written in free verse, Clare and her grandfather must deal with changes in their lives when Clare's summer growth spurt threatens to end her dream of becoming a ballet dancer and her grandfather suffers a stroke.
Hemphill, Stephanie. Things left unsaid
After a lifetime of conforming to the image of what her parents and high school friends want her to be, Sarah must come to terms with her own identity when her destructive best friend tries to commit suicide.
Herrick, Steven. Cold skin
In a rural Australian coal mining town shortly after World War II, teenaged Eddie makes a startling discovery when he investigates the murder of a local high school girl.
Hesse, Karen. Out of the dust
In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.
High, Linda Oatman. Planet pregnancy
Sixteen-year-old Sahara struggles with an unplanned pregnancy and all its conflicting emotions.
Hopkins, Ellen. Crank & sequel Glass
Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter, gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina. Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul - her life.
Jenkins, A.M. Beating heart: a ghost story
Following his parents' divorce, seventeen-year-old Evan moves with his mother and sister into an old house where the spirit of a teenager who died there awakens and mistakes him for her long-departed lover.
Levithan, David. The realm of possibility
A variety of students at the same high school describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of interconnected free verse stories.
Marcus, Kimberly. Exposed
High school senior Liz, a gifted photographer, can no longer see things clearly after her best friend accuses Liz's older brother of a terrible crime.
McCormick, Patricia. Sold
Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking that she is to work in the city as a maid only to find that she has been sold into the sex slave trade in India.
Myers, Walter Dean. Street love
This story told in free verse is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.
Sandell, Lisa Ann. Song of the sparrow
Living with her father and brothers in the encampments of Arthur's army, seventeen-year-old Elaine describes her life during the struggle against invading Saxons.
Schroeder, Lisa. I heart you, you haunt me
When her recently deceased boyfriend, Jackson, reappears as a ghost, Ava is thrilled to have him in her life in any way she can, but when she finally begins to move on with her life, Jackson must find a way to let her go.
Smith, Kristen. The geography of girlhood
A novel written in verse follows Penny Morrow in her transition from middle school to high school as her father remarries, she acquires a new stepbrother, and she experiences her first dance, first kiss, and other hazards of growing up.
Sones, Sonya. What my mother doesn't know
Sophie describes her relationships with a series of boys as she searches for Mr. Right.
Sones, Sonya. One of those hideous books where the mother dies
Fifteen-year-old Ruby Milliken leaves her best friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and her mother's grave in Boston and reluctantly flies to Los Angeles to live with her father, a famous movie star who divorced her mother before Ruby was born.
Stone, Tonya Lee. A bad boy can be good for a girl
Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself.
Wild, Margaret. One night
In this novel written in free verse and narrated by alternating characters, a teenaged girl decides to have her baby and care for it on her own after a "one night stand" results in pregnancy.
Wolff, Virginia Euwer. Make lemonade & sequels True believer & This full house
In order to earn money for college, fourteen-year-old LaVaughn babysits for a teenage mother.
Wong, Joyce Lee. Seeing Emily
Relates in free verse the experiences of sixteen-year-old Emily, a gifted artist and the daughter of immigrants to the United States, as she tries to reconcile her American self with her Chinese heritage.