Wednesday, January 18, 2012

List of Popular YA Novels Word Counts

If you're like me, you obsess over the word count of your novel. Which is totally understandable, since length can be an important factor that agents and publishers look at when they receive your query letter. Is 120,000 too much? Is 52,000 too little? These are important questions, and it seems everyone has an answer, from agents to editors to randomguy123 on that writer's forum you visited. When I look for word counts, however, I like to cut right to the chase and see what is actually out there. Plus, it's always nice to know if your novel will be fatter or skinnier than the latest shelf buster at Barnes and Noble. =)

But lists of YA word counts are hard to find, so I wanted to make it easy for you guys. I've made a list of some of the bestselling and most current YA novels on the shelves, hunted down their word counts, and assembled them here for you. Could it get any easier? ;-) If you want to know whether your novel is a scale-tipper or a lightweight contender, measure it against these blockbuster hits:

Twilight: 118,975
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone: 77,508
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: 198,227
Matched: 89,124
Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief: 87, 223 
Eragon: 157,220
The Hunger Games: 99,750
The Giver: 43,617
Across the Universe: 98,469
Divergent: 105,143
Graceling: 115,109
Thirteen Reasons Why: 62,496
Inkheart: 146,809
The Golden Compass: 112,815
The Book Thief: 118,933
Uglies: 87,274
City of Bones: 130,949
Speak: 46,591
Looking for Alaska: 69,023
City of Ember: 59,937
A Great and Terrible Beauty: 95,605
The Luxe: 88,982
Shiver: 94,502

I could go on and on with these, but I think this gives you a pretty good start. If there is a novel I haven't listed that you would like to know the word count for, just leave a comment and I'll reply quickly! =)

As a freebie, here's some light but heartwarming reading for you by The Boston Globe on "Young adult novels heating up the charts!" Who among us doesn't love the sound of that?

NEXT ON AUTHORIAL INTENT: I will be announcing the title of my YA debut AND it's publisher! Stay tuned!



  1. Tee hee....comparing novel sizes makes me chuckle. It's a great idea, though, and I obsess over mine all the time. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yay, I'm so excited to hear your announcement! And thank you very much for this post. I often feel paranoid about my manuscript being over 100,000 words (only by a few thousand, but still), so this was greatly encouraging to read. :)

  3. Thanks for the list, but I wonder if it's necessary to note that HP & Sorcerer's Stone was a children's novel when it published. I know HP is a bit weird, as the protagonist ended the story as a young adult. Does that mean they're now all considered YA? At any rate, I am positive that when Sorcerer's Stone was published, it was considered children's lit, which is why publishers rejected it for its colossal size.

  4. That's a good point, Rhen. It's true that the first few HPs are really MG, and the last few YA. But on the other hand it's not like you can split them between sections in bookstores, you know? I included Sorcerer's Stone to show the difference in its count compared to Deathly Hallows, which is incredible, and just shows if you sell enough of Book One, there's pretty much no limit to what you can do next. :)

  5. 43,317 to 198,227! What a huge range! Definitely more wide-ranging than adult crime! I'm excited to hear about your announcement. You must be super-excited!

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. :)

  6. This made me curious about other books as well; namely The Lord of the Rings and a Song of Fire and Ice so I googled and ran across this:

  7. What about Perks Of Being A Wallflower?

    1. From what I found, it's around 120k--pretty long! =)

    2. 'Perks' is a 200 page book so I doubt it's 120,000 words. Try again.

    3. You're right; I went back and checked my original source: and they were definitely off! The word count for Perks is actually 62,376! Half that long!

  8. Oooh, this is such a wonderful, helpful list. Thank you! (I just saw your pin on Pinterest.)

  9. Thanks for this!

    I'm currently trying to get my book published, and I actually discovered this website via your FAQ section, the list of your favorite books. Since it is almost the same as mine. Then I started exploring your website. I really appreciate this post, my novel is 102 000, right in the middle of most!

    Anyway, I also love your book, and think you're a fantastic writer. It's brilliant that you're so up for helping people using your experience.


  10. This is such great information to have. Thank you so much!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

  11. This makes me feel so much better about my 102K sci-fi. *wipes forehead* Phew ... Thank you.

    Stori Tori's Blog

  12. Another YA on the short end - STORY OF A GIRL is 44K.

  13. I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.
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  14. The first draft of my story (I can;t bring myself to call it a Novel yet) is ~35k... Working on making it longer, but not making it feel too stretched out.

  15. Thank you so much for this! I am just about to reach 45K and, I have typed a little less than what I have written up by hand! It is very exciting!

  16. Thank you for this helpful and encouraging information. In the past I have obsessed over my word count. But it has recently occurred to me that many novels, especially older classics, are much smaller than many of the new 'epics'. If a story is told well and told completely, should the word count matter so much?

  17. Great to know. I'm currently working on my first piece of young adult fiction. I'm wrapping it up now and it's at 42,000. I was wondering if my book was going to be too short. I've already edited out around 30,000 words that seemed repetitive, like I was introducing too many characters that didn't actually help with the plot development. It was a little discouraging to see that in the end, I may only make it to 50k if I'm lucky. But now that I've seen (at least one) other book published at around my word count I'm beginning to feel better about everything again! It's a vicious cycle, but I live for it. ;) Thanks for the great post.

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