rom youngling to seasoned elders, Star Wars storytelling has always been for all ages; but now more than ever before, we have a plethora of Young Adult stories to choose from. Young Adult fiction is written for teenagers, but don’t let that fool you. Plenty of adults love these books too!
With all these new titles coming out, where do we start?
Here at Youtini, we delight in guiding Star Wars readers upon their journey of discovery. So we’ve examined our archives and gathered up intel in order to come up with The Best Star Wars Young Adult Books of All Time.
But before we dive in, let’s do a mission briefing.
Young Adult novels are relatively new to Star Wars publishing, being born mostly with the Legends/Canon split after the Disney Acquisition in 2012. (For more on that, check out “The Difference Between Star Wars Canon and Legends”) Prior to that, most of the books one might think of as YA in Legends really read more like Middle Grade.
But not anymore! The current crop of Canon YA is as dark and gritty as ever.
What is Young Adult Fiction anyway?
Young Adult fiction refers to the age of its readers and protagonists, encompassing multiple genres from romance to adventure, political thriller to daring heist and epic war novel. It may be written for teenagers, but that doesn’t stop plenty of adults from reading it.
Because it explores powerful, timeless themes. And even though teenagers are its main stars, don’t be surprised if there is an adult villain skulking around in the shadows trying to thwart them at every turn. Kind of like life, right?
Just because it’s for teenagers and is about teenagers doesn’t mean it doesn’t contemplate some really dark and edgy topics. After all, this is Star Wars, and the galaxy teems with war, slavery, rebels, and spies.
All human beings confront loss, violence, betrayal, and the struggle for survival in a dangerous world. It’s just that Star Wars YA does it during the threat of a Galactic Empire or First Order or hidden Sith Lord trying to take over the universe.
Which is why it is SO MUCH FUN!
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all darkness. For every time the dark rises, the light responds in kind to meet it. Which is why Star Wars YA also thrums with love, loyalty, courage, friendship, and that most important quality of all—hope.
Before we dive into Youtini’s Top Ten Young Adult Novels, let’s take a look at our review system.
How We Review Star Wars Books
Originally, at Youtini, we rated stories on a 1-10 scale and even included decimals! Sheesh. However, in our mission to promote joy, we’ve decided that we can do things better. We love and respect all our authors, so we’ve jettisoned numbered scoring because we don’t want to pit books against each other as if it were some sort of competition, which it is not.
I mean, how can you boil a book down to a number anyway? You can’t.
Our mission at Youtini is to celebrate Star Wars storytelling while maintaining valuable discernment in our reviews so we can guide readers to their most positive experiences. (See our Youtini Book Review System for more on this topic.). As a result, we’ve adjusted our rating system as follows:
- Masterpiece: This is our highest recommendation for a book that is genuinely near a perfect experience.
- Incredible: These books are extraordinary in their own right and highly recommended as one of the best Star Wars books in the reading universe.
- Good: Reading this book was time well spent, and we came away from it with a generally positive experience, though not without some caveats.
- Fair: This book has some flaws that may take away from the reading experience.
- Mediocre: These books are problematic in a way that makes them very hard to recommend.
Now that we’ve covered all our bases, let’s jump straight into Youtini’s curated Guide to the YA Top Ten.
Best Young Adult Star Wars Books of All Time
by Claudia Gray, New Republic Era
We begin with the Queen of Star Wars storytelling: Claudia Gray. Her books crown numerous Youtini top ten lists, so it's no surprise that Lost Stars is rated a Masterpiece and is #1 in the Youtini Reading Order.
Whether you're a teenager or a silvered-haired elder, this novel has something for you.
Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell have been best friends ever since they learned to fly. For years they dreamed of joining the Imperial Academy to become ace pilots until one fateful day, their dreams came true. As their tactical skill grows and Ciena moves up in the ranks, their friendship blooms into something deeper, but destiny has other plans for them.
While Ciena holds firm to the Empire's values of loyalty and order, Thane becomes ever more conflicted about their tactics. And when Wedge Antilles recruits him to the Rebellion, it sets him and Ciena on opposite sides of the war.
Will love prevail, or will war tear them apart?
Lost Stars takes place during the original trilogy, and Claudia Gray narrates its main events from Ciena and Thane's POV. She explores questions such as why would people join the Empire and remain loyal? What was it like for Imperials to experience the destruction of the Death Star?
Relationships are always at the heart of Star Wars. The friendship of Luke and Han, the love between Anakin and Padmé, and the bond between master and apprentice. It's the friendship and love that truly creates the stakes for these characters. It's why we love Star Wars so passionately and keep coming back for more.
Lost Stars builds an intense and heart-rending love story. This is a galactic romance. Ciena and Thane continue the Star Wars legacy of war-forged friendship and passionate star-crossed love. If you're ready for your heart to melt and pound, Lost Stars will not disappoint.
For more info about Lost Stars, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Leia: Princess of Alderaan
by Claudia Gray, Age of Rebellion Era
Leia: Princess of Alderaan is a classic coming-of-age story, and for fans of Star Wars, there are tons here to enjoy. If you've ever wondered how Leia became involved in the Rebellion, what the planet of Alderaan was really like, and how this woman became such a powerful leader, then this is the book for you.
Our story begins with 16-year-old Leia preparing for her Day of Demand, which will prove her worthy of being named heir to the throne of Alderaan. But her parents are strangely distracted, and she doesn't understand why. And although she's been extensively groomed for her role as future queen and senator, Leia longs for respect and struggles to gain her feet as a leader.
Claudia Gray takes us into the heart of Alderanian culture. We come to know and love its citizens. Never again will you watch the destruction of Leia's home world in A New Hope and not be horrified.
We also explore Leia's relationship with her adopted parents, Bail Organa and Queen Breha. We see the birth of her fateful friendship with a young and quirky Vice Admiral Holdo from The Force Awakens. Even Captain Panaka from The Phantom Menace plays a part. And we visit the planet Crait!
Princess Leia will make big mistakes. She will fail. Yet the deep foundation of her family's support and her own powerful heart will guide her to learn and become a wiser leader. Leia will choose a path and chart her course. This is the beauty of YA. The becoming. The transition to adulthood that is so challenging and poignant.
For more info about Leia: Princess of Alderaan, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
by E.K. Johnston, Fall of the Jedi Era, LGBTQ +
Queen's Peril lands second in the threesome and yet is a prequel to Queen's Shadow, the first. It begins with 14-year-old Padmé's election as a queen and shines a light on her mysterious handmaidens in The Phantom Menace. In the process, it does an excellent job of expanding the universe of the movie.
Along with the weight of the throne, Padmé will be challenged with uniting her five young handmaidens tasked with her protection. And when Trade Federation forces invade Naboo, it will take all of their skill, cunning, and strength to defend each other and their planet.
E.K. Johnston tells her story from multiple viewpoints, even touching upon the thoughts of Palpatine, Darth Maul, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon Jinn! Through small and intimate moments, she infuses all of the handmaidens with emotional depth, especially fan favorite Sabé. She also delves deeply into the culture of Naboo and the purpose behind Padmé's elaborate costumes.
Ultimately this is a story about a group of young women learning the values of teamwork, loyalty, and sacrifice. Not only do we experience Captain Panaka choosing handmaidens for their special traits and abilities, but we also witness their courageous growth as they unite as a team, growing into friends willing to die for each other and their planet.
But there's fun here too. After all, we're talking about a story with six teenage girls! Which, after reading Queen's Peril, you will never underestimate again!
For more info about Queen's Peril, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
by Daniel José Older, The High Republic Era, LGBTQ +
The High Republic is a grand publishing initiative set centuries before the Prequel Trilogy when the Jedi were at their peak in numbers and power. It includes interrelated novels, manga, comics, and audio dramas that encompass adult, young adult, and middle-grade fiction.
Daniel José Older, the intense yet always funny author, sets the stage on one of the galaxy's most exciting planets – Corellia, specifically in the capital, Coronet City.
The Republic has experienced staggering destruction at the hands of the Nihil, an anarchic terrorist group bent on meaningless chaos. The Jedi have experienced the worst trauma of their lives. Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jomaram are still reeling when they're sent to Corellia to investigate a new potential threat. There they'll team up with Crash, a fiercely determined security specialist bent on protecting her team and planet. While the Master Jedi are off conducting an investigation, Reath, Ram, and Crash will devise their own ingenious scheme and end up smack dab in the middle of chaos!
Author DJO, as he's commonly known, weaves together characters from various High Republic books and comics like gleaming strands in a thrilling tapestry. There's incredible diversity represented here, including the confusing stirrings of first desire. It's also about wounded people healing through friendship and service to a greater cause.
Amidst the action and calamity, moments of merriment sparkle like starlight.
Midnight Horizon, the last in the High Republic Phase 1 YA trilogy, is laced with darkness and light. You'll turn the final page longing for more of these endearing characters. Especially after reading the ending, which strikes like a lightning bolt to the very core of your heart.
For more info about Midnight Horizon, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
by Beth Revis, Age of Rebellion Era
"You never know. Something small and broken really can be powerful."
Can you imagine being a child raised by resistance fighter Saw Gerrera?
Jyn Erso was that child.
Rebel Rising is a gritty YA novel that expands upon Rogue One and fills in Jyn Erso's story from the moment she climbs underground and waits for rescue until she's sprung from Imperial prison and joins the Rebellion.
Beth Revis does an incredible job of diving into Jyn's hardscrabble life and painful psychology. We see Galen Erso's daughter make terrible mistakes yet still come through for people in big ways. We experience the pain, loss, and grief she feels after losing her mother and father, just to have Saw, her adopted parent, leave her as well.
Revis also takes us inside the life of Saw Gerrera's resistance fighters. Or are they terrorists? Jyn isn't so sure. Blood has been shed by both Imperials and Rebels, and the lines between good and bad guys are an ever-deepening shade of blood-stained gray.
Beth Revis probes the depths of Jyn's soul. Although this is a YA novel, it doesn't shy away from subjects of abandonment, terrorism, and suicide and is as heartbreaking and gritty as Jyn Erso herself. In this coming-of-age story, a deeply traumatized girl will learn to chart her own path. Along the way, she will vacillate between abetting the Empire and the Rebellion. Jyn wants to forgo all sides and simply live her life. But fate will not give her that luxury. At some point, she will have to choose.
If you've seen or read Rogue One, we know what choice she'll make, but Beth Revis takes us on an incredible journey to Jynn's ultimate path: a true hero of the Rebellion.
For more info about Rebel Rising, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
by Rae Carson, Reign of the Empire Era
"What keeps you flying is having one person in all the galaxy to fly with. Someone you can trust to have your back."
Han Solo is one of the most beloved Star Wars characters, but where did he come from? Solo: A Star Wars Story gave us an exciting look into his back story, but Most Wanted takes us back even earlier in time to explore Han's hardscrabble life on Corellia and the origin of his romance with Qi'ra.
Our adventure begins with Han and Qi'ra surviving as street kids in the bowels of Corellia, part of a criminal underbelly ruled by the ruthless Lady Proxima and her White Worms. When Lady Proxima sends them both out on the same job, pitting them against each other as rivals, they each have a chance to move up in the ranks. Until things go perilously wrong. (How could they not with Han involved?) And the two Corellian scrumrats who dream of more will learn that sometimes you have to trust someone if you're going to survive.
Most Wanted has a real Star Wars feel to it with murderous droids, stormtroopers, and seedy crime syndicates. It brims with lore and expands on the relationship between Han and Qi'ra, making key moments in Solo even more meaningful.
Rae Carson writes a fast-paced heist adventure full of intrigue, humor, and heart. It deepens Qi'ra's character and shines a light on Han's origins, his penchant for trouble, and, most importantly, his capacity for loyalty and love.
If you're a fan of the original trilogy, Han, Qi'ra, or the planet Corellia, this is a read you won't want to miss.
For more info about Most Wanted, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
by E.K. Johnston, Fall of the Jedi Era, LGBTQ+
In the Star Wars saga, the fate of the galaxy spins around Padmé Amidala, and Queen's Shadow is a deep character study of this most complex and heroic woman.
In a time of galactic upheaval, Padmé's reign as the queen has ended, and she is now living in the new queen's shadow. But the current monarch has plans for her: the Republic senate. Here we see Padmé begin the career so excitingly portrayed in The Clone Wars and Attack of the Clones. But she's still new to it all. And she'll have to navigate this treacherous political system, evading hidden enemies while forming new allies with powerful players like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma.
Queen's Shadow is ultimately a book about relationships. We see Padmé's relationship with the Organas grow, which will one day lead to them adopting her daughter, Leia. And we experience Padmé's relationship with her handmaidens evolve while they all embark upon new paths. Especially Sabé, who has deep, unrequited feelings for her former queen. (See our reading guide to LGBTQ+ characters.)
There is great world-building here. E.K. Johnston expands upon the lore, culture, fashion, politics, and customs of Naboo and gives us a deeper view of Alderaan. She broadens the stories of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, fleshing out characters, customs, and worlds.
This is the first novel in the Queen's Trilogy. It takes place four years after Queen's Peril, which is its prequel. We know it's confusing! That's why we created the Youtini timeline!
For more info about Queen's Shadow, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
by E.K. Johnston, Reign of the Empire Era
"When Ahsoka opened her hands, she was not surprised to find that two lightsabers, rough and unfinished, were waiting. They would need more work, but they were hers. When she turned them on, they shone the brightest white."
Ahsoka is on the run. The Empire has executed Order 66 and is determined to hunt down any remaining force users. Ahsoka, lost and heartbroken, takes refuge on Raada, a remote moon in the Outer Rim, posing as a mechanic under the name of Ashla, trying to keep a low profile. But it won't be long until her need to protect people pulls her into the fray.
In E.K. Johnston's third YA novel on our list, we find an adrift and heartbroken Ahsoka, learning how to survive without her mentors and comrades. Ruthless Inquisitors are stalking her kind, and she'll have to forge a new identity while keeping her true abilities hidden. But when the Empire and the Sixth Brother arrive on Raada, endangering the entire moon and her newfound friends, what will she do?
Ahsoka takes place between Clone Wars and Rebels and explores how she adapts after the Jedi Purge. She doesn't know what the future holds, but by the time E.K. Johnston ends her story, Ahsoka's life will be on a powerful new path. One that leads to Bail Organa, Fulcrum, and the burgeoning Rebellion.
For more info about Ahsoka, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Galaxy's Edge: A Crash of Fate
by Zoraida Córdova, Rise of the First Order Era
It's true that Disney's theme park, Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, inspired A Crash of Fate, and although this could have been an elaborate marketing ploy, to our surprise, it only adds to the sheer fun of this book.
Only a few Star Wars stories have a locale you can actually explore in person, and the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu is incredibly exciting. In fact, the setting of A Crash of Fate is so rich and detailed that it becomes an actual character of the book.
But it's not the only one!
Jules and Izzy were close childhood friends until fate tore Jules away from the spires of Batuu. Thirteen years later, when she returns to deliver a mysterious package to Dok Ondar, destiny hurls them together again. And when a smuggling job goes wrong, and they end up on the run, they'll have to work with all sorts of questionable characters in order to survive.
All this and more while experiencing the thrills of first love.
A Crash of Fate takes place over a single whirlwind day and is packed full of thrills, romance, and wild adventure. Zoraida Córdova writes a fun, fast, heist romance with a memorable star-crossed pair. We've got smugglers, gangsters, lovers on the run, and even a cantina gunfight.
In other words, pure Star Wars!
For more info about A Crash of Fate, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
The High Republic: Out of the Shadows
by Justina Ireland, High Republic Era, LGBTQ+
Justina Ireland has written five High Republic stories, so it's safe to say she knows this era and its players. In A Test of Courage, she introduced us to fan favorite Vernestra–don't call me Vern– Rwoh, a green Mirilian Jedi with a purple light whip! She's also the youngest padawan to be promoted to the rank of Jedi Knight at the age of 15. (Anakin would have been jealous.)
Out of the Shadows presents an eclectic group of characters. We have our favorite Jedi: Vern Rwoh and Reath Silas; the tough Jordanna Sparkburn, cousin of the San Tekka family; Xylan Graf, a rich hyperspace prospector with a flair for high fashion; and really our main star: Sylvestri Yarrow, aka Syl. She's a regular girl who lost her mother and is just trying to get by in the galaxy until Nihil steals her ship, galvanizing her to seek justice.
Out of the Shadows begins with a slow burn and constructs a complex plot. It's the characters that emotionally anchor the story, drawing us in, especially Syl, still reeling from loss when she's thrust into the mysterious plot between Jedi, Nihil, and powerful hyperspace prospecting families. She's new to political intrigue, and we see things through her eyes as she tries to figure out the roles everyone is playing, including her sexy ex-girlfriend Jordanna Sparkburn who suddenly re-enters her life.
Vernestra Rwoh is a fascinating Jedi, especially when she duels with Padawan Reath Silas and later begins to have strange hyperspace visions. She is a prodigy. But as a young rookie Knight, it will take all of her wisdom, maturity, and power to guide her padawan Imri Cantaros, protect the impetuous Syl and Jordana, and navigate the treacherous Nihil. Vern is Justina Ireland's creation, and it's such a treat to see her grow throughout this series.
One of the fun things about Out of the Shadows is the lore it builds upon with references to ancient Sith and Jedi and the origins of hyperspace prospecting. Hyperspace is a dangerous business, and those who own the paths have the power.
Out of the Shadows is the second Young Adult High Republic novel to make it onto our top ten list.
For more info about Out of the Shadows, visit our Official Book Profile, where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
The Star Wars Universe is ever expanding, and new Young Adult novels are being released all the time. Here at Youtini, we update our guides on a regular basis, but the best way to explore Star Wars novels is to read them! It’s okay if your opinions differ from ours. There is no right or wrong way to do this. So dive in and enjoy. The galaxy is vast, and this is just the beginning.