It’s beginning to feel like every year is a great year for young adult literature, isn’t it? From fantastic new debut authors to the next book in your favorite series, the start of a new year brings zillions of wonderful YA words just waiting to be discovered. But I’m particularly excited about this coming year, and the amazing titles I’m either rabidly anticipating or have already been privileged enough to read. It was nearly impossible to narrow down my 2014 must-reads list, but here are ten of the YA titles I’m most psyched to see enter the world in the next twelve months:
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
Few contemporary YA writers possess the emotional and stylistic range of Ms. Lockhart, author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver Quartet series, among other favorites of mine. So when I saw that her 2014 offering is a psychological thriller? It absolutely shot to the top of my would-have-a-firstborn-just-to-sell-it-for-this-book list. Then I read an ARC, and now I can officially say that as long as your heart can take the soul-shattering pain this book will inflict, it should jump to the top of your list, too. Just don’t read it on a day you need to function.
The Retribution of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin
I have a personal rule about waiting until a trilogy is complete before I torture myself by reading book 2 and then needing the final book more than air, so I’m pretty much dying of relief that the Mara Dyer trilogy, which began with Unbecoming and Revolution, is seeing its completion in June. After finding the first book unputdownable, I’m psyched to read the rest!
Sekret, by Lindsay Smith
Yulia is part of an elite group of psychic teen spies forced to work for the KGB during the Cold War in this debut novel with a touch of romance, a lot of history, and a whole bunch of heart-pounding moments that’ll make you tear through this exciting heartbreaker and promptly demand the sequel at your doorstep the second you reach the end. Not that I did that, out loud, forcefully, to an empty room. Of course not.
Guy in Real Life, by Steve Brezenoff
If, like me, you fell for Cath and Levi in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, it’s hard to imagine not desperately wanting another thoroughly modern romance. In this case, both of the vastly different main characters are gamers, and as someone who’s logged a little RPG time in her day, I love the idea of it playing a role in this story, and contributing to the characters’ understanding each other on a secret, personal level. Definitely a romance for the 21st century!
Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins
For anyone who has read the first two installments of Perkins’ romance trilogy—Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door—it’s no secret that she delivers on humor, quirky characters, and general adorableness. If you haven’t read the first two, you’ll definitely want to before the long-awaited and much-anticipated cap to the trilogy comes out in May.
The Break-Up Artist, by Philip Siegel
With all the serious issues and gut-wrenching romances filling YA lit, sometimes you just want something that’ll reliably make you laugh. This debut about a girl who breaks up couples for money fits the bill, with tons of humor and heart, an unconventional lead, and a surprisingly touching family subplot.
Tsarina, by J. Nelle Patrick
If I could use just one word to describe this historical novel about the tumultuous revolutionary period of early 20th-century Russia and the fall of the House of Romanov, it would have to be “gorgeous.” Beautifully descriptive and featuring a brief but heart-melting romance between the title character and a slightly aged-up Alexei Romanov, this release, penned by Jackson Pearce under a pseudonym, is a Russophile fiction-lover’s dream.
Pointe, by Brandy Colbert
Colbert’s debut sounds fabulous enough on its own—dark, emotional, thrilling, and serious book-nip for lovers of all things dance. But add recommendations by two of my all-time favorite YA authors, Courtney Summers (Cracked up to Be, Some Girls Are) and Nina LaCour (Hold Still, The Disenchantments)? Now I need this on my shelf yesterday.
Everything Leads to You, by Nina LaCour
And speaking of LaCour, her third novel also comes out in 2014. Given my love for her first two books, there isn’t much she could write that I wouldn’t wait in line to buy on release day. Thankfully, a Hollywood romance between two teen girls living very different lives happens to be right up my alley, and I’m always happy to see LGBTQ additions to the world of YA.
Life by Committee, by Corey Ann Haydu
Haydu’s brave, anxiety-inducing, masterfully crafted 2013 debut, OCD Love Story, was one of my favorite contemporary YAs of the year, so I knew whatever she wrote next would be an instabuy purchase for me. And that was before I learned the awesome premise of her follow-up, about a girl who turns to an online forum to keep her secrets in exchange for forcing her to complete boundary-pushing assignments to earn their silence.
What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2014?