13 of Our Most Anticipated Sophomore YA Novels of the Second Half of 2017

Been dying to see what your favorite debut authors come up with next? We’ve got the answers on thirteen of ’em! (Well, more like sixteen: For more sophomore standalone magic, check out our fantasy preview for info on the utterly gorgeous The Library of Fates, by Aditi Khorana, and the LGBTQIAP preview for details on Pointe author Brandy Colbert’s Little & Lion and Rani Patel in Full Effect author Sonia Patel’s Jaya and Rasa!) This stable of authors includes major award nominees, skilled genre-benders, and unforgettable voices, ensuring these will be their second books of many to come.

See all 2017 previews here.

A Map for Wrecked Girls, by Jessica Taylor (August 15)
You won’t know who to trust in this gripping sister-centric YA survival story by the author of Wandering Wild, but that’s part of the fun of this compelling sophomore. When a boat explosion leaves sisters Emma and Henri stranded, they have no one to turn to but each other…and Alex, the guy who washed up with them and is rapidly capturing Emma’s heart. As Emma and Alex grow closer, Emma and older sister Henri grow further and further apart, until the once-close siblings are practically strangers. Can they find their way back to each other in time to be saved? Or will revelations from both before and after the shipwreck tear them apart for good?

The Art of Feeling, by Laura Tims (August 15)
Tims rocked some worlds with her diverse debut thriller, Please Don’t Tell, and this time around, she’s upping the emotional stakes…in a book about shutting them off. Sam Herring would do anything to stop feeling the pain that has been lingering with a vengeance since the car accident that broke her leg and killed her mother. Eliot isn’t capable of feeling any pain at all, having been born with a condition that renders him immune to it. Sam thinks he’s basically living the dream, until she realizes that his inability to feel physical pain has mired him in apathy, especially toward his own well-being. But Sam’s not going to lose someone she cares about again, even if falling for Eliot pushes her to her breaking point.

The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes (August 22)
Morris Award nominee alert! Not only was Oakes’ debut, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, one of the best-written YA debuts I’ve ever read, but in a time when The Handmaid’s Tale is topping book lists, she seems utterly prescient for having entered the YA scene with a book perfect for its fans. So what can we expect from her second entry? A fascinating merging of historical and contemporary when Molly, the daughter of a convicted murderer, and Pepper, a Kuwaiti immigrant boy with epilepsy and a hefty amount of summer schoolwork, team up to solve the mystery of who killed an East German resistance fighter named Ava back in 1989.

The Rattled Bones, by Shannon M. Parker (August 22)
Parker’s debut, The Girl Who Fell, has been hailed as one of YA’s most realistic depictions of an abusive romance. In her sophomore, she changes tacks entirely with a ghostly mystery about an island’s shady history and a girl named Rilla who teams up with an architecture student named Sam to uncover its secrets and the people of its past. The deeper they dig, the more spectral visions visit Rilla. Then they learn there’s more to the island than they ever imagined—which means there’s far more to Rilla’s past, too.

Right Where You Left Me, by Calla Devlin (September 5)
Another Morris Award nominee alert! The author of Tell Me Something Real is back with the story of a girl whose journalist father is kidnapped on assignment in Ukraine, and the complications that arise in her life as she and her Russian mother, with whom she has a complicated relationship, scheme to get him back at any cost. When the FBI falls short of Charlotte’s expectations, she and her friends quietly take over, while Russian folklore abounds throughout the story.

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, by Krystal Sutherland (September 5)
Sutherland returns from her debut, Our Chemical Hearts, with another story of first love, this one featuring a female protagonist from a family that has been cursed with mortal fears. Unlike the rest of her family, Esther doesn’t know what she’s deathly afraid of; she’s spent her whole life avoiding all the possibilities. Then she’s pickpocketed by an old classmate, and among the items he’s stolen is her list of fears. Dubious circumstances to their reunion aside, the two end up going through the list together and knocking off the fears one by one. Esther may not know for sure how she feels about spiders or elevators, but the more time she spends with Jonah, the more she stumbles into the most terrifying emotion of all.

Neighborhood Girls, by Jessie Ann Foley (September 12)
Foley’s debut, The Carnival at Bray, earned both a Printz Honor and a Morris nom, which is about as good as it gets, so she could write a thousand-page treatise on the history of the platform shoe and you’d still be wise to check it out. Her newest revolves around a cop’s daughter named Wendy who has just watched her father get taken away in cuffs, wrecking her family and making her a town target. She knows she needs to make some major changes to get herself into a safe zone in her social life, and when she meets tough girl Kenzie, she thinks she’s found her answer. Getting in with Kenzie’s group provides protection, but it does so at a cost. The more time Wendy spends with her new, dangerous crowd, the more of herself she loses.

The Memory Trees, by Kali Wallace (October 10)
Wallace debuted in early 2016 with super voice-y and thoughtful paranormal Shallow Graves, making her an instant must-watch. She continues in the speculative angle with this story of a girl named Sorrow Lovegood who spends eight lovely years in her family’s Vermont apple orchard before a tragedy changes her life forever. After being moved to Miami, Sorrow can barely remember her time in New England. When she returns the summer she’s sixteen, she’s desperate to know more about the life she left behind. But digging into the past may threaten her future.

All the Wind in the World, by Samantha Mabry (October 10)
Mabry’s debut, A Fierce and Subtle Poison, combined magical realism with mystery. In her sophomore, magical realism meets Western with Sarah Jac and James, ranch workers who specialize in harvesting maguey for tequila and hiding their compromising secret romance. But conditions on the ranch are brutal, and when an accident leaves a target on Sarah Jac’s back, they’re forced to move along, to work at the Real Marvelous. But their new home may carry with it a curse that will destroy their relationship in a way drought and hard labor never could.

Girl in a Bad Place, by Kaitlin Ward (October 31)
Ward follows up her unique lesbian apocalyptic debut Bleeding Earth with this creeptastic contemporary about best friends who always have each other’s backs…until they find themselves in what just may be a cult. At least, Mailee’s pretty sure that’s what it is; Cara would be perfectly happy to stay there forever. When she decides to live at Haven permanently, it’s up to Mailee to draw her out of the commune and save both themselves and their friendship.

Here We Are Now, by Jasmine Warga (November 7)
Fans of emotional and romantic mental health contemp need zero introduction to Jasmine Warga, whose My Heart and Other Black Holes is a staple on lists of YAs about depression and suicidal ideation that “get it right.” Her sophomore novel stars Taliah, a huge music lover whose fandom helps ease the pain of never knowing her father. Then she discovers her dad is none other than rock star Julian Oliver, and so begins a three-year process of trying to connect. One day, it works, but there are strings attached to Julian’s visit: he wants her to join him on a trip to meet his estranged family, including his dying father. It’s an intense way to bond with the family she’s never met, but it will also teach her more about herself than she ever knew.

Not Now, Not Ever, by Lily Anderson (November 21)
If you’re not already familiar with Anderson’s rom-com chops, you missed out on a seriously delightful (and hilariously nerdy) debut in her Much Ado About Nothing–inspired The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You. Don’t make the same mistake when she takes on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, set in a three-week camp for geniuses…that Ever Lawrence is definitely not supposed to be in. But with her parents (who each have different goals and expectations for her future) each believing she’s somewhere else, she’s free to pursue the future of her dreams by attempting to win a college scholarship at camp so she can study to be a sci-fi novelist. Or, at least, she would be free if her cousin, Isaiah, didn’t have a similar plan and threatens to blow her cover. As the competition gets tougher, her relationship with Isaiah gets more fraught, and a romance with a fellow nerd starts to consume her, Ever has to make a choice: please one of her parents? Or pursue her own dreams? And just how many of her dreams will she get to pursue?

Shadow Girl, by Liana Liu (December 19)
Liu’s The Memory Key makes clear she’s no stranger to writing emotionally infused mystery, and she kicks it up a notch in her second book, about a girl named Mei who’s spending the summer in an island mansion, tutoring a seemingly easygoing girl while falling for said girl’s less easygoing brother. But the most complex thing of all is the secrecy behind the Morison family and its home, and the haunting sounds that keep Mei awake at night. She knows it can’t be ghosts, because they’re not real, so what exactly is going on in the Arrow Island mansion? And how much danger lies in wait for the Morison family…and for Mei herself?

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