Time travel is one of the most captivating concepts in the world. Whether you're 12, 25, or 60, time travel will always represent an appealing idea.

Some may want to travel in the future, while others would rather go back in time. No matter what you’re after, time travel books can definitely give you some great vibes.

Now, choosing the best YA time travel books is a bit challenging. You don’t want them to be too sophisticated and difficult to understand, but you don’t want books for small children either.

With these thoughts in mind, here are some interesting titles that will definitely help you get into the main characters’ boots.

What Are The Best Time Travel Sci-fi Books for Young Adults?

Independence (A Forest of Giant Oaks Book 1), by J.M. Rasinske (2022)

This is the first book in the series, and based on its success, there's plenty more action to come. The action follows Christopher, better known as Topher.

He's 17, and he enjoys living off the grid due to some hacks. But when the cards he was milking go empty, it looks like his happy days are reaching an end.

Things go from bad to worse. He gets shot at, and later on, he is exposed to a group of weirdos known as the Regents. They know everything about him, so they’re about to start hunting him.

To get his details removed from the system, he gets employed as a janitor.

One thing leads to another, and he stumbles upon a group of time travelers who made it from 1776 to 2011.

From this point on, my imagination got to another level. From connections with past presidents to changes to various laws, anything is possible in this book.

And somehow, Topher has to convince time travelers about potential changes that might change the country today.

Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1), by Rysa Walker (2014)

Timebound is one of those time travel books that will make you dream about going to different periods of time. It’s a must for those who like the idea.

Anyway, the story follows Kate. Her grandma gives her a medallion that looks anything but ordinary. She also tells her a bit about time travel, but 16 year old Kate thinks her grandma is just a bit delusional.

But then, everything goes real…

A murder from the past destroys Kate’s current present.

Unexpectedly, her medallion is the only thing that can keep her alive. Kate starts digging, only to find out that the murder from 1892 was actually part of a more sinister plan. That murder affected plenty of events overtime.

Just like you might have thought already, Kate is the only one who can change the outcome of history by going back in time.

This book builds up tension like no other, but it also feels a bit dramatic later on when Kate needs to choose between a better life and the boy she loves. I won't give you any other spoilers, though.

A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray (2015)

If you’re into time travel books, you might recognize some ideas from other books in A Thousand Pieces of You. There's not much more you can come up with in this genre, is it?

Well, you’d think so, but wait until you read this one.

Marguerite is the daughter of a genius family. Her physicist parents are world renowned for their impressive work in the industry. They’re also known for inventing and patenting various technologies.

They’re better known for the so called Firebird, an invention that allows them to go from one universe to another. It’s an invention that can change the face of science, no doubt about it.

However, Marguerite’s father is killed one day. Everyone knows Paul was the killer, her parents’ assistant.

He used the Firebird to jump into another universe before he could get arrested. But Marguerite refuses to let things go, and she decides to chase him, regardless of where the machine takes her.

She keeps jumping from one version of herself to another, and she starts getting more and more clues… But the more she finds out, the more she doubts Paul’s involvement in the murder.

Soon, Marguerite discovers that what seemed to be a simple murder was actually part of a bigger conspiracy. I won’t tell you what it was, but the plot twist will blow your mind.

The Girl from Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (2017)

Nix is a time traveler. She's only 16, and she keeps traveling from one universe to another along with her family and a crew of refugees.

They do it with a pirate ship known as The Temptation, full of all kinds of treasures.

Relying on a bunch of ancient maps, the crew travels to different parts of the world, as well as different parts of the universe too. However, there’s a catch and this is when the story gets interesting.

You can’t go twice to the same place.

Nix's father is mainly interested in going back to Honolulu, in 1868. Back then, her mother was still alive, but Nix didn't exist.

Nix knows about her father’s goal, but she believes it won’t work. However, one day, he finds a map that could change everything.

This story is not just about time travel, because I found myself as a part of it when I was trying to figure out what I really want in life and who I am.

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken (2016)

This is the first book in the series with the same name and one of the best YA time travel books out there. Etta has an apparently perfect life, but one night changes everything.

She loses almost everything, apart from her life. Somehow, she gets pushed through time and ends up in 1776, right in the middle of a sea battle.

Nicholas is a privateer on the ship and notices the unusual passenger. He's struggling to try to escape a powerful family that won't let him go.

Now, the family is looking for a magic item, and it seems Etta is the only one who can find it. The two embark on an incredible journey not only miles away, but years away too.

Etta needs to find her way back, while Nicholas wants to find the stolen object and gain his well-deserved freedom.

Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor (2016)

Hope Walton is only 16 and loses his mom to a natural disaster, far away from home. Everything she knew crumbles into pieces. She feels like she has to start all over again, and she needs to get over it pretty quickly.

She agrees to spend her next summer in Scotland. While learning more about her mom and her passion, she finds out that she was more than just a professor. She was also a time traveler.

One thing leads to another, and Hope finds out that her mother is still alive, but quite a few centuries ago.

The bad news is she only has three days to get there, rescue her mother and get back to her time. However, getting back into medieval times can expose her to a series of brutal dangers.

Perfect book, if you ask me, especially since that’s where I’d like to go back in time if I could.

All Our Yesterdays, by Cristin Terrill (2014)

Em is a prisoner, somewhere in a military base, that no one can locate. There’s no one around, apart from a boy in the next cell, but Em can only hear his voice.

Then, as she tries to find a way out, she finds some instructions hidden in the drain. She’s against time traveling, but this list she finds in the drain holds quite a few secrets.

The story flies to Marina and her best friend James, who she loves from the bottom of her heart. An unfortunate event ruins their world, and now they need to find a way to survive.

It’s an intricate story of details, but you’ll love the challenge. Besides, everything falls into a massive puzzle as you reach the end, at least for me. It’ll all make sense before you finish the book.

The Here and Now, by Ann Brashares (2014)

This is one of those time travel books that feels like a blockbuster. Everything is about following the rules. And then, there’s one main rule, never fall in love.

Prenna James comes from a world that’s in ruins right now. She has managed to survive, along with a few other people. Their goal is to save humanity, but they do need to stick to some rules.

Fail to stick to those rules, and everything will fall apart, family, friends, morals, and dreams.

Then, you have Ethan Jarves, who’s trying to find out more about Prenna. But Prenna has a secret. She’s not from that time. I’ll let you discover the rest.

Bottom line

These YA time travel books will definitely satisfy your hunger for time travel adventures and action.

Whether it comes to disastrous scenarios, love, rescue or impossible tasks, there’s a little of everything in these books. The list can go on, of course, but these titles are excellent if you’re just getting into this genre.​

Check also our selection of time travel romances.

Featured on Joelbooks