Although Gender Studies play an important role in many academic institutions and disciplines all around the world, there is still a lack of research on the aspect of gender in young adult literature. In fact, most existing studies mainly focus on childrens books. As the concept of gender is negotiated as a process, adolescence is an important period for determining ones adult gender identity. Cultural representations in media and literature play an important role, and therefore young adult literature needs to be examined in terms of aspects of gender development. The aim of this thesis is thus to analyse representation of gender and gender development in four contemporary young adult novels from the Americas. This thesis tries to explore several new paths by using an Inter-American approach, analysing constructions of femininity and masculinity, and by focusing on a largely unexplored topic and on unexplored novels. A short overview of existing studies on gender in childrens and young adult literature will be provided, followed by an in-depth analysis of four award-winning young adult novels, which will be the thesis main focus. The novels have been analysed using a combination of a gender studies approach and feminist literary theories. The analysis focuses on gender stereotypes and (subtle) sexism in general and on (the development of) the protagonists gendered identities in particular. My analysis indicates that the portrayal of gender in young adult literature has become somewhat less stereotypical. Two novels contain a feminist portrayal of gender, while the other two contain subtly sexist and ambivalent ideologies. On the whole, all of these novels constitute valuable contributions to young adult literature, because they depict and discuss important aspects of growing up and thus provide role models in form of strong female protagonists, giving adolescents help and guidance in the process of becoming young women and men.