10 2016 YA Books with Utterly Irresistible Concepts

Shut Up and Take My Money booksMake ready your pre-order hand: 2016 is gonna be a doozy for books whose concepts are so insanely compelling you’re going to freak out, pass out, and wake up in Milwaukee, covered in hardcovers and in terrible book-buying debt. (It’ll be worth it.) Here are 10 titles you won’t be able to say no to…unless you’re a lot stronger than me.

The Love that Split the World, by Emily Henry (January 26)
Natalie has long been dogged by strange supernatural visitors, who come in the night and don’t always seem to see her. Soon after her favorite visitor, known to her as Grandmother, disappears, leaving behind nothing but an urgent warning, Natalie’s reality jumps the tracks. The landscape skips back and forth in time, the details of the world she knows change…and a boy she has never seen before—but is irresistibly drawn to—seems to be living in an altered world running parallel to her own. YES, you want to watch Henry unravel this delightfully tangled web!

The Girl from Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (February 16)
If you can hear “time-jumping pirate ship that can travel to any mapped territory, real or imagined, helmed by a lovelorn captain and his street-smart daughter” and not want to read it, you should probably get your robot parts replaced. With its lush settings, genuinely compelling love triangle, complex heroine, and completely fascinating hybrid plot (part fantasy, part caper, part romance, part family drama…), it’s also one of our most anticipated debuts of 2016.

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro (March 1)
Okay. Okay, ready? Charlotte Holmes, descendant of literature’s most famous detective (in a slightly altered world in which he’s real, and Conan Doyle was his literary agent), and James Watson, descendant of literature’s most famous put-upon sidekick (and delightful weirdo in his own right), meet in an east coast boarding school, and are promptly presented with a murder to solve—lest they take the fall, in what’s shaping up to be an elaborate frame job. Take Watson and Sherlock’s inimitable chemistry, shave just a bit off the top of Sherlock’s inability to emotionally connect, and add a fresh, open-ended take on the possibilities of the friends-to-love trope, and you’ve got the most ridiculously fun character-driven mysteries I’ve read in ages.

The Lifeboat Clique, by Kathy Parks (March 1)
Social pariah Denver dares to crash a ritzy Malibu beach party, and gets way more facetime with the cool kids than she bargained for: a tsunami hits, sweeping the party out to sea. Denver finds herself trapped in tiny lifeboat alongside her mean girl former best friend, two of her flunkies, and a very cute boy. As survival seems less and less likely, social status stops mattering (as much), and Denver and her former bestie are forced to finally face the bad blood between them. I’m getting some awesome Breakfast Club vibes off this premise, but darker and with more mortal terror.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, by Anna Breslaw (April 19)
First off, it’s the debut YA of the hilarious Breslaw, whose work has appeared everywhere you’d expect to find smart and funny writing on the internet (here’s a personal favorite). Secondly, it’s about a smart-mouthed, fanfic-writing Jersey girl, who, following the cancelation of her beloved supernatural trope-spinning TV show—and egged on by her tightknit community of fellow ficcers—starts writing fanfic about her classmates instead. YES. That’s the kind of bad fictional decision-making I can get behind, and binge-read till 2 a.m.

Down with the Shine, by Kate Karyus Quinn (April 26)
When Lennie sneaks her uncles’ famous moonshine to a house party she wasn’t invited to, she carries on an old family tradition: everyone who takes a swig makes a wish, and seals it with a toast (“May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.”) By the time she wakes up, hungover and miserable, the world has changed. Every single wish made has come true, for better or much, much worse—including Lennie’s own, for the return of her murdered best friend. This promises to be the perfect blend of twisted and fantastic.

The Spark, by Holly Schindler (May 17)
Romeo and Juliet update + decaying old theater/movie palace + magic = a book I’d like to have in my hands YESTERDAY, thanks. In fair Verona, Missouri, many years ago, two star-crossed lovers died onstage at the Avery Theater, precipitating the death of the theater and the decline of the town. Now, according to Quin’s great-grandmother, all it’ll take to revive the theater is two lovers to get the story right. As Quin watches her best friend and her best friend’s crush step into the roles, and the Avery start creaking back to life, only she knows what’s at stake if they fail.

Never Ever, by Sara Saedi (June 21)
Can you resist a promises-to-be-gritty Peter Pan update in which Peter stand-in Phinn carries a girl and her juvie-bound brother away to a tropical island that seems to be a haven of carefree partying but is actually harboring some very dark secrets? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Never ever will I resist a good Pan retelling, and this one sounds especially promising.

The Smaller Evil, by Stephanie Kuehn (August 2)
Like her 2015 release, Delicate Monsters, Kuehn’s latest promises to be a brutal, beautifully told tale, simmering with human frailty (and cruelty), bad intentions, and jarring twists. In a last-ditch attempt to straighten out his life and head, Arman steals some cash and buys his way into an isolated self-help retreat in Big Sur. There, he’s inducted into the cult-like world of the program, led by dangerously charismatic leader Beau. And when Beau dies, leaving Arman the only, extremely unreliable witness, he finds himself in more danger than ever. A cult and its leader, as written by Kuehn, is bound to a frightening, glorious thing.

Into White, by Randi Pink (September 13)
We revealed the cover of Randi Pink’s debut earlier this month, but the world has to wait till September to read it. LaToya Williams, bully magnet, is one of just a few black students at her Bible Belt high school. After being humiliated one time too many, she prays to Jesus to change her race. And when she wakes up the next morning, she finds her prayers have been answered…sort of. Then Jesus himself pays a visit. Things, I can only assume, just get more fascinating from there.

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