Young Adult Books Set in North Carolina

Thursday, June 25, 2020

In several recent blog posts, we highlighted some books with connections to North Carolina for middle-grade readers. Today, we’ll be spotlighting some young adult books set in NC, so even older readers can find stories set close to home. These books may be available through your local public library or the NC Kids Digital Library, so you can read from your own devices. 

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

book jacket featuring two male high school students sitting on bleachers and two male and three female high school students around the title

When Ollie moves to fictional Collinswood, North Carolina for his senior year, he ends up enrolling at the same school as Will, the boy with whom he had a summer fling. But the Will he meets in school isn’t the same—this one is a closeted bully jock. Throughout this breezy romantic comedy, Ollie must figure out how to navigate a relationship with someone who isn’t who they seemed.

We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

 book jacket featuring a piece of paper and seven paper airplanes

Told in letters, this emotional novel reveals how a teenager ends up on death row. Best friends Luke and Toby grew up together in Hickory, North Carolina, and depended on each other to deal with unstable, sometimes abusive families and dreamt of leaving their small town. But, during their senior year, they begin to drift apart and, in the process, lose the support they needed to survive.

Made for You by Melissa Marr

book jacket featuring an open box with a jewel insect inside

This southern gothic thriller with a touch of romance set in small-town NC follows Eva, who wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the car accident that sent her there. However, she also realizes she has the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. Eva begins to realize that someone is after her and she must figure out who it is and how to stop them before it’s too late.

Elemental by Antony John

book jacket featuring a stormy beach

This fast-paced fantasy adventure follows Thomas, the first child born without the power of an element in his small colony on the Outer Banks. When pirates kidnap the colony’s Guardians, Thomas and his friends must fight for survival but, along the way, they discover a mysteriously abandoned colony where they discover Earth-shattering secrets.

The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

book jacket featuring two girls standing on a log bridge overlooking mountains

Set in the mountains of North Carolina, this touching story follows Len and Sage, two girls whose difficult pasts have made them into loners. A chance encounter brings them together and gives them the chance to heal from trauma and open up to the possibility of friendship.

Stephen Ashley, User Experience Librarian