NatWest & Women’s Prize Young Adult Reading List


We’re delighted to announce the launch of our new NatWest and Women’s Prize for Fiction Young Adult Reading List, a selection of 12 of the most inspiring Young Adult novels written by women.

Over the next year, we will celebrate a must-read title each month to encourage young women to discover new worlds, strong characters, powerful storylines and inspiring authors which together we hope will empower the next generation of female leaders. It’s a reading list for both avid bookworms and new readers alike.

TV and radio presenter, writer and book lover, Vick Hope is championing the list online and we’d love your support too, by sharing each month’s title with the young women you know and getting involved in the discussion online at @natwest and @WomensPrize, and don’t forget to tag your posts with #youngadultreadinglist.

Our YA Reading List:


Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman

Noughts & Crossesis a dystopian fiction based in a 21st century parallel universe and is part of a wider series under the same name. In the series, history has been reversed to depict a society in which black people exercise control and authority over white people. The book is written from the perspectives of a black girl called Sephy and a white boy called Callum and follows the trajectory of their friendship in a world that’s divided by the colour of your skin.


The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

The Hate U Giveis an award-winning young adult novel that follows a protagonist drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her friend. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful, gripping and piercingly relevant YA novel about inequality, police violence, 21st century prejudice and one girl’s struggle for justice.


The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normalis a rare mainstream YA novel which explores the struggles of being a transgender teen. The novel focuses on David and Leo, two very different teenagers navigating their difficult adolescence by attempting to be invisible.


Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone is a young adult fantasy novel by Nigerian-American novelist Tomi Adeyemi, published in 2018. The story follows Zélie Adebola, who sets out on a task to restore magic in the country of Orïsha. Adeyemi drew inspiration from Yoruba religion and Western fantasy fiction like Harry Potter and Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is Adeyemi’s debut novel and the first book in a planned trilogy.


A Swift Pure Cry – Siobhan Dowd

A Swift Pure Cry is a 2006 novel about a teenager named Shell who lives in County Cork, Ireland. After Shell’s mother dies, her obsessively religious father descends into alcoholic mourning and Shell is left to care for her younger brother and sister. This is a story of love and loss, religious belief and spirituality


The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M Danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a novel that centres around Cameron Post, a 12-year-old Montana girl who is discovering her own homosexuality. After her parents die in a car crash, she is sent to live with her conservative aunt. She develops a relationship with her best friend and is sent to a conversion camp. According to the author, the novel was influenced by the 2005 Zach Stark controversy, where teenager Zach Stark was sent to a de-gaying camp run by Love In Action after coming out to his parents.


How to be a Bawse – Lilly Singh

From actress, comedian and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman) comes the definitive guide to being a BAWSE – a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side. Told in her own voice and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success.


Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon

Everything Everything is a novel that centres around 18-year-old Madeline Whittier, who is being treated for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), also known as “bubble baby disease”. Due to her condition, Madeline is stuck inside her house in Los Angeles, where she lives with her mother, a doctor.


Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

Girl Online is a 2014 romance and drama novel written by internet celebrity Zoe Sugg (AKA Zoella). The novel draws from Sugg’s own experience and focuses on fifteen-year-old anonymous blogger, Penny Porter, and what happens when her blog goes viral.


Between Shades of Grey – Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Grey is a novel that follows the Stalinist repressions of the mid-20th century, in particular the life of Lina as she is deported from her native Lithuania with her mother and younger brother, and the journey they take to a labour camp in Siberia. The novel was originally intended as a YA novel due to Sepetys meeting many teenage survivors in Lithuania with a greater will to live than their adult counterparts, however, there has since been several adult publications.


How I Live Now– Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now is the first-person story of Daisy, a smart, stroppy, self-absorbed 15-year-old who arrives from New York’s Upper West Side to stay with her English cousins. There she discovers what real love is – something violent, mysterious and wonderful – at the same time her world is turned upside down by war.


The Hunger Games– Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is a 2008 dystopian novel written from the perspective of its 16 year old protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the future, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games is an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death. The novel is the first in a trilogy.