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Novels in Verse

Yesterday I made a display of poetry books and novels in verse at my library in honor of National Poetry Month. Novels in verse always seem popular with my teens-they read fast, they can pack a lot into a short book, and they're a great way to discover poetry. I get asked for novels in verse a lot, so here are some of my favorites:

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones (and sequel, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, as well as Sones' other titles)
-The first novel in verse I read and I read it all in one sitting. It's beautifully written and the reader relates so well to Sophie. This is one of my go-to books when teens ask me for a good read.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder (and Schroeder's other titles)
-An emotional ghostly love story, readers will be haunted by this one for a long time.

Burned by Ellen Hopkins (and Hopkins' titles)
-I've enjoyed all of the Ellen Hopkins books I've read, but this one stood out to me and is my favorite. It's a heartbreaking story of a girl who comes into her own, religion gone bad, and first love.

A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
-One bad boy, three girls, and a string of relationships that teaches them all. Every girl should read this one!

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
-A fantastical re-telling of the Lady of Shalott. Rich with history, romance, and Arthurian legend, fantasy fans will love this.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (and sequel Hate That Cat)
-A young boy learns to love poetry in this fast fun read from Sharon Creech.

Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli
-A young girl looks forward to her family's summerhouse time, but this year things are different. Her favorite cousin won't talk to her, she starts to notice boys, and things with the family are changing. A great novel in verse for tweens.

Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge(and sequel Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs)
-Baseball and poetry-somehow Ron Koertge make them work together seamlessly. Two great books that teach you poetry without even realizing it! Plus, with the male main character, give these to guys looking for novels in verse or books about sports (so many novels in verse seem to have female main characters)

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits (also Technically, It's Not My Fault)
-While not a novel in verse, both these books have concrete poems, which means the poems themselves take shape of what the poem is about. The poem about volleyball looks like a volleyball net, lips tell the story of Blue Lipstick. There's a lot of turning the book all around to read the poems which makes it even more fun-and the poems are great. I read the tongue ring poem on my school visits and it's always a hit.

Have any other novels in verse you enjoy? I'd love to hear about them!

Comments

  1. Burned was my favorite Ellen Hopkins book as well, but I also really loved Identical. It's a haunting story of twins in an upper middle class family with a lot of secrets.

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  2. I only have read Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder and thought it was okay. I'm not that poetry kind of girl.

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  3. Michelle-I still need to read Identical. I read a review that ruined the ending, so I put off reading it.

    Nina-I'm not a poetry fan either, but I love novels in verse!

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  4. Thank you for posting this list! I've made a poetry display as well and was trying to remember all the books in verse. You have a few I didn't catch.

    Also, there's a book called Keisha's House that I think is in verse too. I also included Bronx Masquerade because it's about an English class doing poetry slams. It's a pretty cool one. :)

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  5. I simply loved SONG OF THE SPARROW. What a gorgeous retelling.

    And the Sones books were both great!

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  6. Emily-Thanks for those! I included only ones I've read, but there are so many more. Tons of people in my lit class last semester read and enjoyed Make Lemonade, which is in verse. I'll add your titles to my display!:)

    Angiegirl-It's a great book and I recommend it all the time. I'd love to see another verse novel from her. And I think all of Sonya Sones books are great.

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  7. Sonya Sones is my favorite of the bunch you've listed. I also really like Locomotion as a novel in verse - have yet to read Peace, Locomotion.

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  8. I haven't read Locomotion-I'll check it out!:)

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  9. I haven't gotten up "nerve" enough to read a novel in verse yet BUT I did buy one - I Heart You, You Haunt Me. It looks good. I just need to jump it and read it!

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  10. While I enjoyed What My Mother Doesn't Know, I absolutely ADORED her other novel-in-verse, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies. Unwieldy title, lovely, lovely story and verse. Sold by Patricia McCormick is heart-wrenching, a story about the sexual slavery in Nepal (at least I think it's Nepal). Love the list!

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  11. Jill-I hope you get a chance to read it-it's one of my favorites. Chasing Brooklyn is also wonderful.

    Steph Su-Sold was on our state book list a couple years ago but I didn't get a chance to read it. But I love how verse novels work so well with tough isses-I think they're a very powerful way to tell the story. I too liked One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies-Sonya Sones is great!

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  12. Thanks so much for including SONG OF THE SPARROW on your list! It's in such amazing company; I'm really honored!

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  13. I haven't heard about all of these. Thank you for making this list. (Song of the Sparrow is one of my favorite verse novels that I've read so far).

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  14. Why do you think teen verse novels have become so popular for teens?

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About Me

Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee