Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently used words in YA

Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently used words in YA

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl

There are a lot of words which are used ALL THE TIME in YA book titles. So frequently, in fact, that it’s EXHAUSTINGLY HARD to keep track of which books are which. This can be difficult with books like The Bone Witch and The Black Witch – one celebrated for its diversity and the other torn apart for being utterly problematic – that are so easy to get confused.

Here are ten of the most used words in YA book titles, and ten books which they’re each used in (with some books appearing multiple times because their titles are practically randomly generated using generic words).

10) Heart

Often associated with love, but just as often not.

Found in: My Heart and Other Black Holes, The Heart of Betrayal, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Things We Know By Heart, The Secret of a Heart Note, Mortal Heart, Heartless, The Poison Heart, Rebel Heart, Black Heart

9) Ashes

It’s interesting to see what rises from the ashes, which is why this is so popular in YA titles.

Found in: An Ember in the Ashes, Snow Like Ashes, City of Ashes, Shards and Ashes, An Inheritance of Ashes, Kingdom of Ashes, Ashes on the Waves, Ashes and Ice, Ashes To Ashes, Kingdom of Ashes 

8) Blood

Any book with blood in the title seems likely to contain action and fighting, which makes them pretty exciting reads.

Found in: Blood and Sand, Children of Blood and Bone, Blood Promise, The Blood of Olympus, Anna Dressed in Blood, Days of Blood and Starlight, Blood Magic, Blood Red Road, Blood Rose Rebellion, Blood For Blood

7) Witch

Magic seems to universally appeal to young people.

Found in: The Bone Witch, The Black Witch, The Witch’s Kiss, Be Careful What You Witch For, The Witching Hour, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Iron Witch, How To Hang a Witch, The Witch Hunter

6) Shadow

Dark and gloomy and spooky and still super popular.

Found in: The Shadow Hour, Shadow and Bone, The Shadow Queen, Shadow Kiss, Lord of Shadows, A Gathering of Shadows, Silver Shadows, Reign of Shadows, Mask of Shadows, A Shadow Bright and Burning

5) King

Because who isn’t interested in royalty and the power that it brings?

Found in: King’s Cage, The Serpent King, The Scarecrow King, The Iron King, The Raven King, King of Scars, Daughter of the Pirate King, The Mirror King, The Return of the King, The King Slayer

4) Queen

For the same reason as ‘King’.

Found in: The Star-Touched Queen, The Iron Queen, The Shadow Queen, Queen Rising, Queen of the Tearling, Queen of Shadows, Red Queen, Queen of Zombie Hearts, The Queens of Innis Lear, The Orphan Queen

3) Girl

Basically half of the popular are girls, so it makes sense that there are a lot of them being written about.

Found in: If I Was Your Girl, Girl of Ink and Stars, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Fangirl, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Girl Online, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Girl Out of Water

2) Bone

We all have bones, and they’re closely related to both life AND death so deep meanings and stuff, I guess?

Found in: Bone Jack, Bone Sparrow, Children of Blood and Bone, The Bone Witch, Shadow and Bone, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Bone Season, Bone Gap, Ivory and Bone, Ink and Bone

1) Daughter

Half of the population are girls but ALL girls are daughters, so as soon as there’s a strong female protagonist this is the automatic choice for the title.

Found in: The Sin Eater’s Daughter, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Madman’s Daughter, Daughter of the Pirate King, The Iron Daughter, Daughter of Deep Silence, Daughters Unto Devils, Daughter of the Burning City, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Daughter of the Flames


I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! If you had to create a new YA book title using one of these commonly used words, which would you pick and why?