The first year of high school can be a scary and exciting time of self-realization. Ninth graders want to read stories about characters that are experiencing the same realities they are. First or second loves, anxiety, popularity, bullying, challenging new curriculums, and most importantly - meeting new people. This first year of high school is generally the division between middle grade and young adult literature (YA). YA books feature teens in the midst of adolescence. Often, they are facing greater challenges and have greater independence than protagonists in middle grade books. You’ll see that the books on this list begin to treat heavier topics, and authors often write candidly and with truth.