20 Best Light Novels For Young Adults To Read In 2024

If you are looking for a suitable novel for young adults, we have created a list of the best light novels to help you. A light novel, or Ranobe, is a style of Japanese novel that is no more than 50,000 words. These time-tested novels are published in Bunkobon size (A6-105 x 148mm) and usually contain manga or anime-style illustrations. Like novellas, these young adult fiction books feature various themes and stories, making it difficult to choose the right one. So, take a look at our list of best-selling novels to find one that suits your requirements.

In This Article

20 Best Light Novels

1. Best Fantasy Novel:Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Vol.1

Arifureta is the story of a 17-year-old Hajime Nagumo. He and his classmates are summoned into a fantasy world where they are tasked with saving humankind from extinction. Hajime represents the dark hero in this amazing story. He thinks this is heaven, and it quickly becomes his biggest nightmare. This is one of Japan’s best fantasy light novels for young adults published in paper books in 2015. You can check this video out if you need to know more about the product.

Item Weight: 15.4 ounces

2. Best Parallel World:Konosuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World! Vol. 1: Oh! My Useless Goddess!

Kazuma Sato is a young boy living in Japan. One day, when he opens his eyes, he witnesses a gorgeous goddess who gives him a chance at life and lets him be reborn in another world. When he is reborn in a world full of violence and evil, his happy, normal life comes to an end. This is one of the most famous light novels that illustrate Kazuma Sato’s travel in parallel worlds. To find out more about this book, check out this book assessment cum review video.

3. Best Dark Novel:Overlord: The Men Of The Kingdom Part I, Vol. 5

This story takes place in the Kingdom of Re-Estize, where an evil organization named “Eight Fingers” controls the world of criminals. This dark novel is set in an ancient city and narrates how three men named Sebas, Climb, and Brian pose a threat to the corrupt “Eight Fingers” destroying the kingdom. It is one of the best science fiction light novels for young adults incorporating various elements, such as advanced technology and the presence of an evil organization.

Item Weight: 15.7 ounces
Our Reviewer's Experience

"I'm hafway through this book. The narrative is entertaining with moments of adventure, humor, and surprise. The author's creativity is evident, and I eagerly await the concluding part of this story."

4. Best Illustrations:The Saga Of Tanya The Evil, Vol. 1: Deus lo Vult

protip_icon Quick fact
Although “light novels” are a Japanese take on novellas, they share many similarities with manga literature since they also incorporate illustrations.

Tanya Degurechaff is an orphan, the Devil of the Rhine. She is one of the most outstanding and powerful soldiers in the empire’s life. But she witnesses memories of her previous life, where she was a former salaried worker and lived peacefully in Japan before the war broke out. The story is about Tanya struggling to survive in the present world. If you are an absolute beginner, this book assessment cum review video might be useful.

5. Best Adventure:Goblin Slayer, Vol. 4

In an adventure story, Goblin Slayer and his companions take up a quest from Sword Maiden. Spearman, Goblin Slayer, and Heavy Warrior join hands to create their team, but only time will tell whether they are enough to fight the demons and win in their adventure. The adventure light novel for young adults would make a suitable choice for a bibliophagist.

6. Best Fun-To-Read:So, I’m A Spider, So What? Vol. 10

So, I’m A Spider, So What?, is a Japanese light novel about a girl and her struggle to survive in this world. She has been reborn as a dungeon spider and is exploring her powers and learning new skills. It is one of the best teen light novels to read, with popular anime series and manga adaptations. If you liked its anime version, wait until you have read this book.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I find the book captivating with fantastic world-building and character development. Despite some repetitiveness in the inner monologues, the overall plot progression stands strong. I must admit that the stream-of-consciousness style sometimes slows the pace, yet, the appeal of the story remains. The ending has intrigued me."

7. Best Mystery:Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai

The light novel is about Sakuta Azusagawa and how she experiences unexpected twists and turns when she meets Mai Sakurajima, an actress dressed as a bunny girl, who wanders in the library unnoticed. The story revolves around “Adolescence Syndrome,” a mystery that Sakuta decides to resolve.

Item Weight: 8 ounces
Our Reviewer's Experience

"I decided to read this light novel after watching its anime adaptation, which I quite adored. I am pleased that the author delves deeper into the characters than seen in the show. This novel is worth owning."

8. Best Imaginative:So I’m a Spider, So What? Vol. 8

protip_icon Quick fact
Exaggerated themes, over-the-top fight sequences, and slapstick humor are some of the major features that young adults find alluring about light novels.

Shiraori and company continue their journey to the Demon Kingdom but get trapped in Renxandt Empire, south of the Mystic Mountains range, when an ogre causes destruction, forcing the Renxandt military to intervene. This supernatural light novel for young adults was released in 2018, and the English version of the novel was released in 2020.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"While the story remains intriguing, development felt slow and some characters seemed underdeveloped. This volume is more like a bridge, checking in on the characters' progress. That said, the narrative provides a fresh perspective into White's struggles without the system's support. Despite its shortcomings, I eagerly anticipate the next part, and I'm hoping for an exciting turn of events."

9. Best Sea Adventures:Reincarnated As A Sword Vol. 7

When Teacher and Fran board the ship bound for Beatsman Nation, they carry the Beast King’s revelations. Little do they know that they would go through a series of adventures when they enter the sea. This is one of the most impressive light novels on Kindle that makes a worthy pick.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This volume is an enjoyable addition to the series. Despite the slower pace and somewhat brief character interactions, I liked the continuation of Fran's journey and the new characters introduced. It might seem more like a transitional installment, but plenty remains to keep you invested in the series."

10. Best Alien Invasion:Death March To The Parallel World Rhapsody, Vol.8

There are celebrations in the elves of Bolenan Forest as Mia returns safe and sound. Satao and crew enjoy the best hospitality, including luxurious feasts and music, and enter into the world of advanced technology they don’t understand. But their joy is short-lived by the threat of an invading species.

Item Weight: 7.8 ounces
Our Reviewer's Experience

"This is by far one of the best isekais I’ve read. Though there are sections you could skip without feeling lost, I recommend savoring every detail. I'm looking forward to the next one."

11. Best Secrets Of The Healing Herbs:Banished From The Hero’s Party, I Have Decided To Live A Quiet Life In The Countryside, Vol. 1

Red was a former member of the Hero Party, a powerful group that aims to save the world from the evil designs of Taraxon, the Raging Demon Lord. Red is banished from the Hero Party, and he decided to start a simple everyday life by opening an apothecary. The story takes a new turn when Rit arrives.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I found the main story engaging. While the pacing was slow at times, and some themes felt repetitive, the book is filled with interesting characters, and the underpinning romance between Red and Rit is endearing."

12. Best Elder Tales Awakening:Log Horizon: The Beginning OF Another World, Vol. 1

One day, 30,000 Japanese gamers wake up to discover the incredible fantasy world of Elder Tales. There is complete chaos when they experience a life where they witness food with flavors, monsters, and their inability to accept death. Then appear the heroes who take charge to change this world. The emotional light novel for young adults examines the struggles the characters face while adapting to their new reality.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I love Log Horizon, although the books take a darker tone. The character-driven nature, gorgeous art, and deep mystery surpass the anime. Reading the books after watching the series offers a fresh perspective on the characters. I'll be reading the subsequent volumes."

13. Best From Risk To Wisdom:Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Vol. 15

Bell and his companions Hestia, Lilly, Welf, Eina, and Lyu overcome the countless dangers of the Dungeon. After overcoming the risks, they grow wiser and stronger. Bell’s thoughts return to the day when everything started, while Hestia remembers the trials after leaving heaven.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This book creatively explores the backstories of different characters, revealing their rich personalities and past. Although I found most of the book filled with side stories, it was engaging and offered a relaxed read with an outstanding epilogue. I'm looking forward to further plot development in the next installment."

14. Best Beneath The Surface:86—Eighty-Six, Vol. 1

It has been a long time since the Giadian Empire’s army attacked the Republic of Saint Magnolia. After years of research, the Republic finally proposed its unmanned drone, which turned a unilateral offensive into a proper war. It is claimed to be a war without casualties, but the truth is something else. The novel takes you through an emotional yet thrilling roller coaster ride, making it one of the best engaging light novels for young adults to experience various human emotions.

Item Weight: 8.8 ounces
Our Reviewer's Experience

"I found this book so captivating that I couldn't put it down. It skillfully tackles themes like justice, freedom, and discrimination. Reading it felt like watching an anime in a good sense. The end left me wanting more, but thankfully, there are more volumes!"

15. Best Exploration Of Past And Present:Re: Zero- Starting Life In Another World, Vol. 14

Emilia rechallenges her past and recalls her childhood events. She finds out that her struggles had just begun. She lives in a dream world full of memories, but now is the time for her to overcome her past life’s pain and regrets. With a gripping plot and captivating story, it is one of the most popular light novels for young adults.

Item Weight: 10.5 ounces
Our Reviewer's Experience

"While the twists and turns in this book kept me hooked, the translation seemed rather mediocre. Regardless, the book manages to expand on the characters and their pasts."

16. Best Imagination Unleashed:The Eminence In Shadow, Vol. 1

Even in his previous life, Cid’s dream was not to become a protagonist. He maintains a low profile until it is time to reveal to the world that he is a mastermind. Now that he has been reborn in another world, he is ready to set perfect conditions to realize his dream to the greatest extent. With an overly active imagination, he starts recruiting people to his organization and fabricates a story about an evil cult that might turn out to be real in the end.

My Personal Experience

"This novel offers an amusing plot of an accidental underworld ring. The author's unique world is compelling, though, at times, the writing is too explanatory. Regardsless, I found myself engrossed till the last page."

17. Best Transformation Tale:High School DxD, Vol. 1

Issei begins to believe that all his fantasies become a reality when a lovely girl proposes to him, but this girl stabs him on the first date. He is saved by Rias Gremonry, the most beautiful girl in school. Issei becomes a demon and makes her his servant. Give it a try if you are interested in romance novels.

Item Weight: 6.4 ounces
Our Reviewer's Experience

"The book lives up to my expectations. It is rich in detail and is a must-have for fans of the genre. I recommend diving into this book for the sheer pleasure of sublime storytelling."

18. Best Dystopian Light Novel:That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, Vol. 10

After Tempest Founders Festival’s great success, Advanced Dungeon has become a popular tourist attraction in Tempest. Rimuru’s next goal is to join the Western Council, but an influential person works in the background and does not want someone as strong as Rimuru. Highlighting the power struggles and conflicts between different factions and races, it is one of the best dystopian light novels for young adults.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Ths novel had me hooked with its riveting secrets and refreshing cliffhangers. This series, intriguing and character-driven, left me eager for what's next."

19. Best Action-Packed Adventure:Failure Frame: I Became The Strongest And Annihilated Everything With Low-Level Spells: Vol. 1

The world’s resident goddess has summoned Mimori Touka and his classmates to serve as heroes. Except for Mimori, most of the students showcase some exciting skills as they arrive. The goddess then sends Mimori to a dungeon where there is no coming back if one goes. The rest of the story is about Mimori trying to survive. It is a great choice if you are looking for action light novels for young adults.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I found this tale to be a singular take on the traditional betrayed hero story. Its well-crafted characters outshine the overly powered main character. Framed around a unique revenge narrative, it diverges from the common isekai archetype, offering an exciting, different power dynamic."

20. Best Light Novel Journey:Suppose A Kid From The Last Dungeon Boonies Moved To A Started Town, Vol. 1

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Lloyd has always dreamt of serving the country by becoming a soldier in the royal capital, but everyone thinks of him as the weakest lad. To their surprise, everyone in their town is blessed with some powers, and so is Lloyd. The story talks about the incredible powers possessed by Lloyd that make him an exceptional person.

Light novels are a popular choice of fiction in Japan and are a significant part of Japanese culture. There is a vast pool of genres ranging from mystery light novels for young adults to historical light novels for young adults for you to dive into. Through the best light novels listed here, you can now explore a world full of magical characters with incredible powers. Pick one or more to get a taste of this genre of writing. If you like one, we’re sure you will like all of them.

My Personal Experience

"This novel is light-hearted absurdity at its finest with a dash of situational comedy. While It could benefit from more character development, the immersive setting and artwork are praiseworthy. A good read on the whole - maybe not the best, but entertaining nonetheless."

How To Choose The Right Light Novels For Young Adults?

Consider the following features when choosing the right light novel for young adults.

  1. Theme: Consider the preferred genres, themes, and the author’s literary expertise to choose a suitable novel. These novels mostly fall under the fantasy adventure genre, so consider different storylines and tones to choose accordingly.
  2. Fast-paced narratives: Ensure the novel has a fast-paced narrative to make it a quick read.
  3. Demographics: Consider the recommended age to ensure the novel is suitable for your child. Age-appropriate novels will help you avoid excessive violence, foul language, and other inappropriate content.
  4. Illustration: Check out the different art styles and illustrations to find one your child will like. Choose contemporary light novels with vibrant and detailed illustrations to keep your child engaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I read a light novel legally?

Instead of reading a novel online, it’s always more sentimental to buy one. Since they are your first steps towards becoming a potential avid reader, it’s always memorable to possess their physical copies for keepsakes while ensuring authenticity most of the time.

2. Is a light novel worth reading?

If you are fascinated by anime, love fantasy as a theme, and/ or want to instill the evergreen habit of reading books, light novels can be a stepping stone on your way toward becoming a bibliophile someday.

3. What are some popular light novel genres?

Some of the most popular genres for light novels are fantasy, parallel world, adventure, slice of life, and even illustration-based books.

The Bottom Line

Written for young adults and teens, light novels contain less than 50,000 words and feature anime-like illustrations. These books let young readers embark on an adventure of fantasy and fiction and include a range of themes for children of all ages. They are popular among anime fans and some of these stories also have their own anime adaptations. Our favorites include Overlord: The Men Of The Kingdom, a science fiction novel, and The Saga Of Tanya The Evil, which has beautiful illustrations. If your teen enjoys stories about alien invasions, the book Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody can be the ideal choice. Before choosing the right book for your little one, ensure that it is age-appropriate and is not too complex for them. And regardless of the book you choose, ensure it can stimulate your child’s interest.

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Why Trust MomJunction?

For this list of the best Japanese light novels, our in-house writer and reviewer, Wedetso Chirhah, has ensured to deliver well-researched content that meets the reader’s demands. He has scoured hundreds of websites, customer reviews, and testimonials to bring you this interesting list. The novels have intriguing stories that paint a creative illustration in your mind when you read them. Furthermore, Wedetso has included a summary of each book.

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