I’ve been a fan of alternating voices in novels. It gives more depth for the reader and really allows them to connect with the characters because their personalities, conflicts, realities, and relationships show through their voices. What’s even better is that we, as readers, become omnipotent and can only hope we could warn the characters what they’re getting wrong or right (but can’t!)
Here are a list of great YA novels with alternating voices. Includes author, publisher, genres and publisher summaries.
1. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham. 2017, Little Brown Books.
When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the present and the past.
Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.
Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important questions about the complex state of US race relations–both yesterday and today.
2. Lies you Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. 2018, Razorbill.
Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.Quiet, shy Elyse can’t believe it when she’s cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn’t sure she’s up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye-someone she knows she absolutely shouldn’t be with-she can’t help but be pulled into the spotlight.
Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable-breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She’s not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.
Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.
3. The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman. 2018, Swoon Reads.
The last thing Elise wants is to start over in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move to a sleepy coastal village to be closer to Elise’s sister-in-law and niece.
When Elise meets Mati during a beachside walk, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town, too. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.
But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact–Mati is Afghan.
4. I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman. 2018, Penguin Teen
A fateful accident draws three strangers together over the course of a single day:
Freya who has lost her voice while recording her debut album.
Harun who is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved.
Nathaniel who has just arrived in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose.
As the day progresses, their secrets start to unravel and they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in helping the others out of theirs.
5. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust. 2017, Flatiron Books.
At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone–has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina.
Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do–and who to be–to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.
6. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus. 2017, Delacorte Press
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
7. After the Fire by Will Hill. 2018, Sourcefire Books.
Realistic Fiction (technically not alternating voices, but has before and after alternating chapters)
The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.
Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything–and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences.
But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths.
Then came the fire.
8. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda. 2018, Feiwel and Friends.
Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard theUSS John Muirfor centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.
Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates theJohn Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.
When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide–literally–the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save theJohn Muir . . . and the whole human race.
9. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee. 2016, HarperCollins.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies asecret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her in to a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?
Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
10. All We Can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson. 2018, Razorbill.
In the hours after a bridge collapse rocks their city, a group of Boston teenagers meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital-
Siblings Jason and Alexa have already experienced enough grief for a lifetime, so in this moment of confusion and despair, Alexa hopes that she can look to her brother for support. But a secret Jason has been keeping from his sister threatens to tear the siblings apart . . . right when they need each other most.
Scott is waiting to hear about his girlfriend, Aimee, who was on a bus with her theater group when the bridge went down. Their relationship has been rocky, but Scott knows that if he can just see Aimee one more time, if she can just make it through this ordeal and he can tell her he loves her, everything will be all right.
And then there’s Skyler, whose sister Kate-the sister who is more like a mother, the sister who is basically Skyler’s everything-was crossing the bridge when it collapsed. As the minutes tick by without a word from the hospital staff, Skyler is left to wonder how she can possibly move through life without the one person who makes her feel strong when she’s at her weakest.
11. Tradition by Brendan Kiely. 2018, Margaret McElderry Books.
Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy.
Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, avoid distractions, and get into the right college, so she can leave Fullbrook and its old-boy social codes behind.
Jamie Baxter feels like an imposter at Fullbrook, but the hockey scholarship that got him in has given him a chance to escape his past and fulfill the dreams of his parents and coaches, whose mantra rings in his ears: Don’t disappoint us.
As Jules and Jamie’s lives intertwine, and the pressures to play by the rules and to keep the school’s toxic secrets, they are faced with a powerful choice: remain silent while others get hurt, or stand together against the ugly, sexist traditions of an institution that believes it can do no wrong.
12. Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell. 2017, Chronicle Books
Richard and Mildred Loving were sentenced to a year in prison for marrying each other at a time when interracial marriage was prohibited by law in their home state of Virginia.
Their determination to be together led them to bring this case all the way to the Supreme Court where, in a landmark decision, the court invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
The decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages in the U.S., and is remembered annually on Loving Day, June 12.
This documentary novel vividly brings to life this inspiring story.
13. Layover by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer. 2018, Crown. Realistic Fiction
FLYNN-At first we were almost strangers. But ever since I moved to New York, Amos was the one person I could count on. And together we were there for Poppy. (I mean, what kind of parents leave their kid to be raised by a nanny?) I just didn’t expect to fall for him–and I never expected him to leave us.
AMOS-I thought I was the only one who felt it. I told myself it was because we were spending so much time together–taking care of Poppy and all. But that night, I could tell she felt it, too. And I freaked out–you’re not supposed to fall for your stepsister. So I ran away to boarding school. I should have told her why I was leaving, but every time I tried, it felt like a lie.
One missed flight was about to change their lives forever. . . .