YA Novels From The Early 2000s That You Definitely Forgot About

by Zoraida Córdova

As an author of young adult books, I'm often asked, "Why write YA?" The answer is simple: young adult novels are versatile; they span countless genres and subject matters; and these books contain some of the strongest protagonists out there. The options for YA readers are plentiful today, but in the early 2000s, it was a very different genre. You couldn't chat with fellow book-lovers on Goodreads or on Twitter or on Instagram or Tumblr. If you wanted an update from an author, you had to read their LiveJournal or their blog. What a wild time to be alive, right?

The young adult market underwent a huge market shift in the early 2000s. Remember, this was before Twilight, but after Baby-Sitter's Club. Paranormal books like Demon in My View were all the rage. From a reader's perspective, I couldn't get enough of the supernatural, especially with Buffy the Vampire Slayer at its peak popularity. But there were also incredible contemporary novels by some of today's most popular YA authors, including Jacqueline Woodson and Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

These 11 underrated young adult novels from the early 2000s (2000 - 2005, specifically) definitely deserve a little more love — and a re-read.


'Miracle's Boys' by Jacqueline Woodson

In this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel, three brothers work through grief together.

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'Sweetblood' by Pete Hautman

Goth-girl Lucy Szabo is trying to control her academic life, her home life, and her unchecked diabetes. But when she falls in with an online group of 'proto vamps', her world spins wildly out of control.

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'The Queen of Attolia' by Megan Whalen Turner

A thief and a queen clash in this sequel to Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief. This series is an absolute must-read, and the latest in the series, Thick as Thieves, is coming out later this year.

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'Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Welcome to a different Hollywood. Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood is the love story of two Mexican-American kids in a Chicano barrio in Hollywood, New Mexico.

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'Hawksong' by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

In this fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet, two royal shapeshifters — an avian queen and a cobra king — marry to create peace between their warring kingdoms only to discover that peace is not so easily won.

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'Trickster's Choice' by Tamora Pierce

Alianne has ambitions to become a spy, but when her parents object, she run away — only to get kidnapped by The Trickster God.

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'Valiant' by Holly Black

Valerie runs away to the labyrinthian tunnels of New York City and discovers a world of faerie drugs, deadly duels, and lovely monsters.

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'The Blue Girl' by Charles De Lint

A punk rock girl, an outcast, and the school's ghost battle bullies and their own personal demons in The Blue Girl, the fifteenth novel in Charles de Lint's Newford series.

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'Sirena' by Donna Jo Napoli

Sirena and her sisters lead sailors to their deaths. But when she rescues one of them, betraying Hera herself in the process, she finds herself as the lead character in a doomed love story.

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'Gingerbread' by Rachel Cohn

After Cyd's rebelliousness gets her shipped from San Francisco to New York City, the punk rock babe is forced to spend a summer getting to know her biological dad and step-siblings.

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'13 Little Blue Envelopes' by Maureen Johnson

Ginny sets off on the adventure of a lifetime when she receives 13 little blue envelopes, the first of which instructs her to buy a plane ticket to London and open the second envelope when she arrives...

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