This summer, many libraries are celebrating heroes as part of their summer reading theme, so I thought it was the perfect time to round up the wide array of young adult novels about superheroes. These books explore the moral ambiguities that come with superhuman abilities as well as the line between hero and villain, all with lots of action and adventure!
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
May and her childhood best friend Libby created Princess X stories, with Libby drawing and May writing—until Libby died in a car accident. Now that she’s a teenager, Princess X is everywhere: she sees sticker, patches, graffiti inspired by the character, and there’s even a webcomic. Does this mean Libby might be alive?
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Teens go to astronaut camp venture into space and develop superpowers, but still have time for a little romance.
Super Human by Michael Owen Carroll
Thousands of years ago, Super Humans with enormous amounts of strength and psychic powers walked the Earth. Now, plans are in motion to bring them back, but what does this mean for the rest of humanity? Packed with epic action sequences, this series will be a hit with fans of comic book superheroes.
A Hero at the End of the World by by Erin Claiborne
Ewan was ‘the chosen one’ destined to defeat an evil tyrant—that is until his friend Oliver steps up in his place. Now Ewan wants the life he thinks Oliver stole from him…but he might just have to become evil to do it. Great for fans of Harry Potter!
Hero by Perry Moore
Thom is keeping two secrets from his superhero dad: that he’s gay, and that he has the power to heal people. But when he and some other misfit superheroes uncover a plot to kill all superheroes, they band together to save everyone in this adventure-filled, fun novel.
Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
Audrey’s never had to worry about much, since her mom is a superhero. Then a new threat emerges, and it’s Audrey’s new psychic abilities that will be needed to save the day. Action, with a hint of romance.
Hero by Mike Lupica
Billy must step up and follow in his father’s footsteps—which means inheriting his superhero abilities and saving the world.
V is for Villain by Peter Moore
Brad has always been fine living in his brother’s shadow. While Blake is a superhero, Brad is a genius. When he becomes friends with Layla, a girl who has a secret and illegal superhero, he has to decide for once and all whether he’s a good guy–or a bad guy.
The Vindico by Wesley King
What’s the difference between a superhero and a supervillain? These teens join forces with a notorious group of villains in exchange for powers, then must fight their way out in this darkly funny superhero adventure.
Rise of the Heroes by Andy Briggs
What if you could download superpowers from the Internet?
Sidekicks by Jack D. Ferraiolo
Growing up as a sidekick is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be.
A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull
Jason was enjoying a day at the zoo, when he tumbles into a world ruled by an unjust wizard emperor, and has to become a hero to challenge him. This fantasy series is full of action and humor!
Gone by Michael Grant
Adults have disappeared, animals are mutating, and teens are developing superpowers in this action-filled series.
Hero Worship by Christopher E. Long
This superhero story is full of action and moral ambiguity!
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
Damien has trained his whole life to be a supervillian, only to find out he’s a superhero instead.
The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney
Ballerina Anthem is a privileged girl until she is drawn to Gavin and ventures to the dangerous part of Bedlam, then dies and wakes up with a bionic heart and a taste for revenge.
Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Criminals with superpowers are racing to find the source of their abilities in this action-adventure sci-fi thriller.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
10 years ago, a burst in the sky game ordinary people superhuman powers. Now, these Epics wish to rule over humans. Only the Reckoners, regular humans who study Epics, fight against them, and David wants to join their cause after an Epic killed his father. Every hero and villain has a weakness, and figuring out what it is is the key to bringing them down.
Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond
A teenage Lois Lane is new in Smallville, but it doesn’t take her long to land a gig as a report and take on the Warheads, a group of video gamers who are bullying a girl through the immersive video game they play.
Dull Boy by Sarah Cross
This team of misfit superheroes with inventive powers are here to save the day!
Any other superhero fiction I missed? Share in the comments.
— Molly Wetta, currently re-reading I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson