Book List: Verse

Verse can so often be a scary undertaking for readers but today we’ve listed some titles that make verse novels relevent and appealing to even the most reluctant.

Song of Sparrow FNL JKT.inddSong of the Sparrow – Lisa Ann Sandell

The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters, lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere— joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry.

Words cannot accurately encapsulate how much I adore this book.  It is my number gifted book and I am yet to meet a person who fails to realise its magnificence.  Even the verse adverse appreciate the gentle turn of phrase, the emotional plight of the heroine and the lovely spin on Arthurian legend.


badboyA Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl – Tanya Lee Stone

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy, a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

A verse book that uses Judy Blume’s Forever as an important plot point?  Check.

A book that depicts girls are proactive and strong without needing to excel in archery.  Check.

A flowing style that weaves the tale of three independent girls who find themselves confused by their hormones and their choices?  Check.


starjumpsStar Jumps – Lorraine Marwood

A poignant verse novel depicting the joys and heartbreaks of a farming family as they struggle to cope with the devastating effects of long term drought. Told through the eyes of Ruby, day to day farm life involves playing in grassy paddocks with siblings, doing jobs and helping out, and witnessing birth, death and sacrifice. The family are devastated when they have to sell off some of their herd, but in the spirit of hope it is Ruby who tries in her own small way to help the family by making miniature bales of hay.

Skewing a little younger, this award winning title depicts the difficulties of living in Australian rural areas and the stresses that places upon the families that work the land.  Marwood has a lovely way with words


There is also:

  • Steven Herrick ( Do-Wrong Ron)
  • Margaret Wild (One Night)
  • Thalia Chaltas (Because I Am The Furniture)
  • Sonja Sones (Stop Pretending, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know, Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies)
  • Mel Glenn (Split Image, Jump Ball)


I would like to take the opportunity to specifically mention Ellen Hopkins, NY Time best seller and frequently challenged author.  Hopkins often tackles weighty subject matters but does so in a skillful way that cuts right through and hits the heart, and the head.

  • Burned (2006)
  • Glass (2007)
  • Identical (2008)
  • Impulse (2007)
  • Tricks (2009)
  • Fallout (2010)

If you are unfamiliar with Hopkins’ work consider visiting her website and read excerpts from her novels.

As always, please feel free to suggest titles of your own in the comment section below.



  1. Peter Williams says:

    Thanks for the list.
    I really enjoy Herrick’s verse books – Cold Skin,On the River. (BTW – Slice is not a verse novel)
    Hopkins’ books really do hit home – quite confronting. They always seem to be on the shelf, but borrowing history seems to show they go out.

  2. Mike says:

    what are the order of the books in the crank series by ellen hopkins

  3. narmstrong says:

    Hi Mike,

    It goes Crank, Glass and Fallout (although Fallout is technically a companion to Crank and Glass). The rest are separate books.

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