Iowa: A Literary Landscape

Young Adult Books
Introductory Note: Citations feature first edition of the work, with later editions asterisked chronologically. Self published works are noted within the citation. Notes are added for pseudonyms, major fiction awards, setting locations/timeframes, and alternative titles.

NOTE: Only stories set in Iowa are included in this bibliography.  Authors may have other works not included here.

Alger, Horatio. Bob Burton, or, The Young Ranchman of the Missouri. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1888.
*Philadelphia: J.C. Winston, 1888.
*New York: A.L. Burt, c1890.
*Cleveland, OH: World Syndicate Publishing, c1900.
*Chicago: M.A. Donohue, 1900, 1911, 1922.
*New York: New York Book Company, 1909, 1911.
*Philadelphia: Polyglot Press, 2005
SETTING NOTE: Iowa ranch targetted by scheming real estate agent
NOTE: Grades 6-12

Backes, M. Molly. The Princesses of Iowa. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2012.
*Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2012 (e-book)
* Paw Prints, 2014.
* Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2014 (1st paperback edition)
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Willow Grove, Iowa: Popular girl's life affected by car accident
NOTE: Grades 8 and up

Bauer, Joan. Squashed.New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994.
*New York: Speak, 2001.
*New York, N.Y.: Speak, 2005. (E-book)
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Rock River, Iowa: Teenager tries to win pumpkin contest and impress new boy in town.
NOTE: grades 7 and up

Bognanni, Peter. The House of Tomorrow. New York: Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010.
*[S.l.]: Penguin Group US, 2010. (E-book)
*New York: Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010. (E-book)
*New York: Berkley Books, 2011. (Berkley trade paperback edition)
SETTING NOTE: Fictional North Branch, Iowa
NOTE:: Homeschooled teenager leaves dome and joins punk rock band
NOTE: Tagged as young adult

Brouwer, Sigmund. Degrees of Guilt: Tyrone's Story. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2003.
*[S.l.]: Thirsty Books, 2003.
SETTING NOTE: Mason, Iowa high school seniors deal with death of classmate
NOTE: Work is third title in "Degrees of Guilt" series

Burd, Nick. The Vast Fields of Ordinary. New York: Dial Books, 2009.
SETTING NOTE: Gay young man experiences his teen years in suburban Iowa town

Butler, Ellis Parker. Jibby Jones: A Story of Mississippi River Adventure for Boys. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1923.
*Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924.

NOTE: Also titled as:
Jibby Jones and the Alligator: The Story of The Young Alligator-Hunters of the Upper Mississippi Valley.
SETTING NOTE: Novel set in Muscatine, Iowa area (Muscatine County)
NOTE: tagged as young adult

Cabot, Meg. Jinx. New York: HarperTeen, 2007.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa girl sent to live with affluent, New York City relatives
NOTE: Grades 7 and up

Carlson, Melody. Degrees of Guilt: Miranda's Story. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2003.
*[S.l.]: Thirsty Books, 2003.
SETTING NOTE: Mason, Iowa high school seniors deal with death of classmate
NOTE: Work is second title in "Degrees of Guilt" series

Chan, Crystal. Bird. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2014].
*Melbourne, Vic.: The Text Publishing Company, 2014.
*London: Tamarind, 2014.
*New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015.
*London: Tamarind, 2015.
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Caledonia, Iowa: Girl befriends new boy in town while learning about family secrets.
NOTE: Grades 4-6

Cousins, Amy Jo. Nothing like Paris. Cincinnati, OH: Samhain Publishing, 2015.
* Cincinnati, OH: Samhain Publishing, 2015. (E-book)
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Colchester Falls, Iowa: Teen forced to give up study abroad opportunity
NOTE: tagged as young adult and college/adult fiction

Drexler, Sam, and Fay Shelby. Lost in Spillville. Boulder, CO: Aunt Strawberry Books, 2000.
SETTING NOTE: Bily Clocks Museum in Spillville, Iowa (Winneshiek County)
NOTE: Grades 5-9

Dutton, J.T. Stranded. New York: HarperTeen, 2010.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa teen girls find baby in cornfield and discovery polarizes town
NOTE: Grades 9 and up

Fakih, Kimberly Olson. High on the Hog. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1994.
*New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1996.
SETTING NOTE: Modern-day, Iowa farm mystery
NOTE: Grades 5-8

Eliason, Rachel. The Best Boy Ever Made. CreateSpace Publishing Platform, 2014. (Self-published)
SETTING NOTE: Numerous Iowa locations: Teen chooses to support transgender best friend
NOTE: for high school students

Eliason, R.J. Bear Naked. TheWordVerve Inc., 2013.
SETTING NOTE: Dubuque, Iowa and Hempstead High School
NOTE: Teenage girl discovers boyfriend is a were wolf
NOTE: Book 1 of Bear Naked series, for high school students

Eliason, R.J. Bear Naked 3: The Hunted. TheWordVerve Inc., 2015.
SETTING NOTE: Davenport, Iowa: Teen searches for missing uncle
NOTE: Book 3 of Bear Naked series

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Crash Club. New York: Random House, 1958.
*New York: Bantam Books, 1963, 1958.
*New York: Bantam Books, 1973.
*Orion, MI: Group Promotions, 1990,1958.
SETTING NOTE: Probably in Des Moines area
NOTE:for teen drivers; discusses car accidents and auto safety./font>

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Hot Rod. New York: Dutton, 1950.
*New York: Amsco School Publications, 1950.
*New York: Bantam, 1960. 1950.
*New York: Bantam, 1963.
*New York: Dutton, 1966.
*New York: Bantam, 1966, 1950.
*New York: Bantam, 1972.
*Orion, MI: Group Promotions, 1990, 1950.
NOTE:for middle school and high school
SETTING NOTE: Probably in Des Moines area

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Rag Top: (the cup of fury). New York: Bantam, 1954 and 1956.
*Orion, MI: Group Promotions,1954 and 1990.
SETTING NOTE: Probably in Des Moines area
NOTE:for high school students, Part of Felsen car book series

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Road Rocket. New York: Bantam, 1963, 1960.
*Orion, MI: Group Promotions, 1990,1960.
SETTING NOTE: Probably in Des Moines area
NOTE: Originally titled as Boy Gets Car
NOTE:For high school students, Part of Felsen car book series

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Street Rod. New York: Random House, 1953.
*New York: Bantam, 1963, 1953.
*New York: Bantam, 1971. *Orion, MI: Group Promotions, 1990,1953.
SETTING NOTE: Probably in Des Moines area
NOTE:discuss teen drivers; Part of Felsen car book series

Felsen, Henry Gregor. A Teen-ager's First Car. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1966.
SETTING NOTE: Probably in Des Moines area
NOTE:Discusses teenagers driving, Part of Felsen car book series

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Three Plus Three. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1970.
SETTING NOTE: Possibly set in Iowa City area

Felsen, Henry Gregor. Two and the Town. New York: Scribner, 1952.
SETTING NOTE: Teenage couple in 1940s-1950s small-town Iowa

Gorman, Carol, and Ron J. Findley. Stumptown Kid. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, 2005.
*Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, 2007.
SETTING NOTE: Boy and Negro Baseball League player become friends
NOTE: Grades 5-8

Gorman, Carol. Lizard Flanagan, Supermodel?? New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1998.
*Newburyport: Open Road Media, 2014. (E-book)
SETTING NOTE: Iowa to Chicago: Girl tries to raise enough money to see baseball game
NOTE: Grades 4-7

Hall, Lynn. Denison's Daughter. New York: Scribner, 1983.
SETTING NOTE: Northeastern Iowa, possibly in Elkader area (Clayton County)

Hall, Lynn. Gently Touch the Milkweed. Chicago: Follett, 1970.
*New York: Avon Books, 1970.

*New York: Avon Books, 1977.

SETTING NOTE: Willard's Ford, fictional Iowa settlement in middle 1800s

Hall, Lynn. Where Have all the Tigers Gone? New York: Scribner, 1989.
SETTING NOTE: Woman reminisces about Iowa high school years on way to reunion
NOTE:Grades 7-12

Hall, Lynn. Dagmar Schultz and the Angel Edna. New York: Scribner, 1989.
*New York: Aladdin Books, 1992.
SETTING NOTE: Teen girl in fictional, small town of New Berlin, Iowa

Hall, Lynn. Dagmar Schultz and the Green-eyed Monster. New York: Scribner, 1991.
SETTING NOTE: Teen girl in fictional, small town of New Berlin, Iowa
NOTE: Grades 5-7

Hall, Lynn. Dagmar Schultz and the Powers of Darkness. New York: Scribner, 1989.
*New York: Aladdin Books, 1992, 1989.
SETTING NOTE: Teen girl in fictional, small town of New Berlin, Iowa
NOTE: Grades5-8

Hall, Lynn. Just One Friend. New York: Scribner's, 1985.
*New York: Collier Books, 1988, 1985.

SETTING NOTE: Present-day Decorah, Iowa (Winneshiek County)
NOTE: Grades 5-9

Hathaway, Jill. Slide. New York, NY: Balzer + Bray, 2012.
* London: HarperCollins Children's, 2012.
* Balzer + Bray, 2014. (E-book)
SETTING NOTE: Resembles Iowa City: High school student tries to identify killer
NOTE: Book 1 of Slide series; Grades 8-12

Hathaway, Jill. Imposter. New York, NY: Balzer + Bray, 2013.
* [S.l.]: HarperCollins, 2013. (E-book)
* New York: HarperCollins, 2013.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa City: Teen's secret power is discovered
NOTE: Book 2 of Slide series, Grades 10 and up.

Hewitt, William. Across the Wide River. Alburquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2003.
SETTING NOTE: Burial of a 1950s Winnebago Indian, Korean war hero in Sioux City, Iowa
NOTE:Grades 7 and up

Heynen, Jim. Cosmos Coyote and William the Nice. New York: Holt, 2000.
*New York: HarperTempest, 2002.
SETTING NOTE: Seattle teen moves to small, Iowa community

Holl, Kristi. Haunting of Cabin 13. New York: Atheneum, 1987.
*New York: Dell, 1989, 1987.

*Unionville, NY: Royal Fireworks Press, 1997.
SETTING NOTE: Backbone State Park (near Dundee, Iowa) (Delaware County)
NOTE: Grades 4-7

Holmes, Marjorie. Cherry Blossom Princess. Philadelphia, PA: Westminister Press, 1960.
*New York: Dell, 1982, 1960.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa winner competes in national beauty pageant

Holmes, Marjorie. Senior Trip. Philadelphia, PA: Westminister Press, 1962.
*New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1962.
*New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1972, 1962.
*New York: Dell, 1982, 1962.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa high school trip to Washington, D.C.

Irwin, Hadley. We are Mesquakie, We are One. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press, 1980.
*London: Sheba Feminist, 1984, 1980.
*New York: Feminist Press and CUNY, 1996, 1980.
*Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press, 1996, 1980.
SETTING NOTE: Profile of Meskwawki settlement in Tama, Iowa (Tama County)
NOTE:Grades 7 and up

Irwin, Hadley. Kim/Kimi. New York: M.K. McElderry Books, 1987.
*Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Lanesport, Iowa: Teenager looks for answers about father she never knew
NOTE: Grades 7-12

Irwin, Hadley. Moon and Me. New York: Atheneum, 1981.
*New York: Atheneum, 1983, 1981.
*New York: New American Library, 1987, 1981.
SETTING NOTE: Rural Iowa farming community
NOTE: Grades 8 and up

Johnson, Lois Walfrid. Fiddler's Secret. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1998.
NOTE: Book six of the "Riverboat Adventures" series
SETTING NOTE: 1850's steamboat travels Mississippi River in Iowa and Minnesota
NOTE: Grades 4-7

Johnson, Lois Walfrid. Race for Freedom. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1996.
NOTE: Book two of the "Riverboat Adventures" series
SETTING NOTE: 1857 steamboat travels northward on Mississippi River to Minnesota territory
NOTE: Grades 4-7

Johnston, Tim. Never So Green. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002.
SETTING NOTE: 1970's Iowa town
NOTE:Grades 7 and up; discusses sexual abuse

Kladstrup, Kristin. The Story of Book Beginnings. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa girl discovers mysterious notebook with clues to her family's past
NOTE: Grades 4-7

Kraus, Daniel. Rotters. New York: Delacorte Press, 2011.
* Paw Prints, 2012.
* New York: Ember, 2012 (1st Ember edition)
* Turtleback Books, 2012.
* New York: Delacorte Press, 2013. (E-book)
SETTING NOTE: Rural Iowa: Teenager sent to live with father he’s never known.
NOTE: For high school students

Larson, Kirby. Hattie Big Sky. New York: Delacourte Press, 2006.
*Waterville, ME: Thorndike Press, 2007. [large print ed.]
SETTING NOTE: Iowa orphan inherits Montana homestead during World War I
NOTE: Grades 7 and up

Lester, Audrey. The Junior High Blues: What Could Go Wrong Next?
Cedar Rapids, IA: Audrey Lester, 2006.
SETTING NOTE: New student starts at Iowa middle school

Lowry, Lois. Switcharound. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
*New York: Dell Yearling, 1985.

*New York: Dell, 1987, 1985.

*[s.l.]: Lions Press, 1992, 1985.

SETTING NOTE: New York City kids go to Des Moines for summer
NOTE: Grades 4-6

MacKall, Dandi Daley. Degrees of Guilt: Kyra's Story. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2003.
*[S.l.]: Thirsty Books, 2003.
SETTING NOTE: Mason, Iowa high school seniors deal with death of classmate
NOTE: Work is first title in "Degrees of Guilt" series

Marlow, Herb and Julie Caffee. Twisters, Bronc Riders, and Cherry Pie. Prairie, AR: Ozark Publications, 1997.
SETTING NOTE: Childhood on an Iowa farm
NOTE: Grades 5 and up

McCall, Virginia and Vana Earle. The Road to the Valley; A Novel for Young Adults. New York: D. McKay, 1961.

Medary, Marjorie. College in Crinoline. New York: Longmans, Green, 1937.
SETTING NOTE: Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, ca. 1860 (Linn County)

Mullin, Mike. Ashfall. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood, 2011.
*New York: Tanglewood Press, 2011. (E-book)
*Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood, 2012.
SETTING NOTE: Cedar Falls, Iowa: Teen must find family after volcano eruption
NOTE: Book 1 of Ashfall trilogy, Grades 9 and up

Mullin, Mike. Ashen Winter. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood, 2012.
*Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood, 2012. (E-book)
*Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood Press, 2013.
SETTING NOTE: various locations in Iowa mentioned: Anamosa, Maquekota, Worthington, Iowa City, and Sabula
NOTE: Teen retraces steps to find parents.
NOTE: Book 2 of Ashfall trilogy. Grades 9 and up

Murphy, Robert William. A Certain Island. New York: M. Evans and Co., 1967.
*New York: Avon Books, 1968.

SETTING NOTE: University of Iowa student goes to Hawaiian Islands in 1910s

O’Guinn, Chris. Exiled to Iowa. Send Help. and Couture. Createspace Independent Pub, 2014. (Self-published)
SETTING NOTE: Teenage from L.A moves to small town Iowa against his freewill.

Olsen, Violet. View from the Pighouse Roof. New York: Atheneum, 1987.
SETTING NOTE: Danish-American, Iowa farm family during Great Depression
NOTE: Grades 6-8

Ripslinger, Jon. Last Kiss. Woodbury, MN:Flux, 2007.
SETTING NOTE: Murder case in fictional State Center, Iowa, placed in author's created Cedar County
NOTE: Grades 7 and up

Shepard, Sara. Unbelievable: A Pretty Little Liars Novel. New York: HarperTeen, 2009, c2008.
SETTING NOTE: Wealthy, Philadelphia teen is sent to live with Iowa relatives
NOTE: Book is number four in the "Pretty Little Liars" series

Sheth, Kashmira. Blue Jasmine. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2004.
*New York: Hyperion Paperbacks for Childen, 2006.
SETTING NOTE: Indian immigrant family settles in Iowa City, Iowa. (Johnson County)
NOTE: Grades 4-7

Smith, Andrew. Grasshopper Jungle. New York,NY: Dutton Books, [2014].
*Richmond: Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. (E-book)
*London: Electric Monkey, 2015.
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Ealing, Iowa and Cedar Falls/Waterloo
NOTE: Teenagers unleash army of six feet tall hungry and sexually aroused praying mantises.
NOTE: Grades 9-12

Stromberg, Ronica. Living It Up to Live It Down. Unionville, NY: Royal Fireworks Press, 2009.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa schoolgirl seeks friendship with local minister's daughter.
NOTE: for middle school and up

Talbert, Marc. The Purple Heart. New York: Willa Perlman Books, 1992.
*New York: Avon Books, 1993, 1992.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa Vietnam veteran struggles to regain life at home
NOTE:Grades 5-8

Taylor, Theodore. Walking Up a Rainbow: Being the True Version of the Long and Hazardous Journey of Susan D. Carlisle, Mrs. Myrtle Dessery, Drover Bert Pettit, and Cowboy Clay Carner and Others.
New York: Delacorte Press, 1986.

*New York: Dell, 1988, 1986.

*San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1994, 1986.

*New York: Avon Books, 1996, 1994.

SETTING NOTE: Journey from Iowa to California in 1852
NOTE:Grades 6-9

Thomas, Jane Resh. The Princess in the Pigpen. New York: Clarion Books, 1989.
*New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
*New York: Avon Books, 1989.
*[s.l.]: Collins, 1991.
*New York: Avon Books, 1993.
*London: Lions Press, 1993, 1989.
SETTING NOTE: Elizabethan princess time-travels to modern Iowa farm
NOTE: Grades 5-7

Walker, Mary Alexander. Brad's Box. New York: Atheneum, 1988.
SETTING NOTE: Iowa farming community

Weidemann, Dennis. This Water Goes North. Fitchburg, WI: Manitenahk Books, 2007.
SETTING NOTE: Four Iowa college students undertake canoe trip to Hudson Bay

Wells, Helen. Cherry Ames, Rural Nurse.New York: Springer Publishing, 1961.
*New York: Springer Publishing, 2007.
*New York: Springer Publishing, 2008.
SETTING NOTE: Rural Iowa public health nurse uncovers dangerous folk medicine company (southeastern Iowa).
NOTE: Grades 4-9

Woodson, Jacqueline. Beneath a Meth Moon. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012.
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Galilee, Iowa; High schooler moves to the town after Hurricane Katrina .

Wyrick, Robyn. Eviction Notice. CreateSpace Publishing Platform, 2010. (Self-published).
*Tantor, 2010. (E-book)
SETTING NOTE: Boone, Iowa and Ames
NOTE: Teens create crop circle that attracts aliens to Earth

Yansky, Brian. Utopia, Iowa. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2015. (1st edition)
*Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2015 (e-book)
SETTING NOTE: Fictional Utopia, Iowa: Aspiring screenwriter sees dead people that want him to solve their mysterious deaths
NOTE: Grades 8 and up

Iowa Literary Landscape

Editor's Forward



Recent Project Additions

Adult Books A-F

Adult Books G-H

Adult Books I-R

Adult Books S-Z

Short Stories & Novellas

Children's Books

Young Adult Books

All Authors

All Titles

Iowa Towns

Iowa Counties

Iowa Regions


Appendix: Landscape Literature

Appendix: Poetry Sources

Appendix: Feature Films

Appendix: Electronic Works

Appendix: Audio Works

Appendix: Non-English Editions

Appendix: Iowa Folklore


©Busse Library, Kristy Raine, Linda L. Scarth, Marilyn Murphy
Contact: Busse Library, Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402
telephone: 319-368-6465
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last updated 26 June 2016