This month’s haul of books, glorious books, includes a blindingly good sophomore novel from the author of one of 2015’s best love stories, a dark new series starter from the twisted brain behind Pretty Little Liars, and a royal fantasy in which the prince doesn’t get the girl, his sister does. Here’s what to pair with your longer nights and shorter days.
The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon (November 1)
Yoon’s stupendous sophomore novel takes some of the themes she introduced in her best-selling debut Everything, Everything—the power of human connection, love’s ability to both save and destroy—and expands on them to tell the fast-burning, possibly doomed love story of Daniel, a dreamy Korean American teen on his way to an alumni interview he doesn’t want to ace, and Natasha, a girl on a last-minute mission to save her family from deportation to Jamaica. The two meet in a record store and have an epic stop-and-go romance all stuffed into a single day that might be Natasha’s last in New York. Told in alternating narration, the book also makes room for a whole chorus of other voices and perspectives, transforming it into a big compassionate tapestry of New York City, life, and everything. It’s an absolute knockout.
Saving Hamlet, by Molly Booth (November 1)
Emma is psyched to assistant stage manage her high school’s production of Hamlet, until everything—from the performances to the backstage drama—starts to go south. Then she falls through an onstage trap door and right into the 17th century, where the Globe Theatre is preparing to put on the very first production of Hamlet the world has ever seen. She starts bopping between the two eras, finding crushes and intrigue in both, but it’s all leading up to the killer question: where, exactly, is she really meant to be?
You in Five Acts, by Una LaMarche (November 1)
LaMarche’s latest, set at an elite NYC arts high school, is narrated in turns by five teens pursuing their passions while contending with intense expectations, creation under pressure, and unrequited love. The diverse group at the book’s heart includes a lovelorn playwright, a hard-partying actress, a friend-zoned dancer, an infamous former celeb, and an African American ballerina attempting to break into the infamously non-diverse world of classical dance. The novel counts down from page one (“127 days left”), to an impending tragedy that will redefine the lives of the central five.
Blood for Blood, by Ryan Graudin (November 1)
The heroine of Graudin’s supernatural alt history thriller Wolf by Wolf, concentration camp survivor Yael, was transformed through Nazi experimentation into a shape-shifter able to pose as Aryan. In a world in which the Axis Forces won the war, she used her gift to take over the life of media darling and motorcyclist Adele Wolfe, planning to use the identity to get close enough to Hitler to kill him. In follow-up Blood for Blood, she’s dealing with the fallout of her plan, and grave new threats to the resistance’s mission.
The Amateurs, by Sara Shepard (November 1)
Shepard takes on a cold case in her latest series starter, which brings together three amateur sleuths to solve the mystery of what really happened to Helena Kelly after she disappeared five years ago. Seneca, Maddy, and Brett are all regular posters on the Case Not Closed site, devoted to unsolved crimes. When they join forces with Helena’s sister, Aerin—also the last person to see her alive—they uncover new clues and the missing girl’s own dark secrets, on their way to solving the mystery of what really happened to her.
We Are Still Tornadoes, by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen (November 1)
This cowritten 1980s-set story unfolds through letters, sent between two childhood best friends whose paths diverge when Cath heads to college while Scott stays home to work in the family store. Their powerful connection and the way they relate is warm, funny, and sweet, as the two explore life beyond high school on two very different tracks. Whether or not their friendship turns into something more, theirs is a tale worth telling.
The Diabolic, by S.J. Kincaid (November 1)
Nemesis may look like a girl, but in truth she’s a weapon: a ruthless, not-quite-human assassin in a futuristic world. She’ll do anything it takes to save the life of the senator’s daughter she was made to protect—including standing in for her as a hostage of their galaxy’s mad emperor. While hiding her abilities and waiting for a brewing revolution to reach the emperor’s doors, Nemesis discovers there may be more to her makeup than violence.
The Romantics, by Leah Konen (November 1)
The story of heartbroken teen Gael is narrated by Love herself, as she attempts to steer him toward the right kind of solace after both his first real relationship and his parents’ marriage fall apart. With the help of Love’s occasional clear-eyed intervention, Gael navigates rebound flings with a wrong girl or two, before finding his way to the right one in a sweet, sunny-hearted rom-com you’ll want to drink down in a sitting.
Heartless, by Marissa Meyer (November 8)
Meet the Queen of Hearts before her ascension to legendary villainy in Meyer’s newest retelling, which opens on super-eligible royal Catherine doing what she does best: baking. Following her heart would mean open opening a bakery with her bestie, but her parents forbid her to duck her royal responsibilities. Then she meets Jest, a court jester she falls for hard, and all bets are off. Though Cath is determined to be with the one she loves, she can’t predict how the dark and sometimes monstrous magic of Wonderland may change her path.
The Infinity of You and Me, by J.Q. Coyle (November 8)
Alicia believes she’s at the mercy of a strange psychological condition that causes her to hallucinate alternate worlds, but learns instead that she’s in possession of the keys to the multiverse. When her long-absent father crashes her birthday party, she learns the truth about herself, and sets off on a high-stakes mission to save the world—as well as Jax, the boy she meets in another, fading world, who just might be her soul mate.
Timekeeper, by Tara Sim (November 8)
Sim’s debut takes place in an alternate Victorian England, in a world where clocks don’t just tell time, they determine how—and whether—it passes. Danny Hart is a brilliant clock mechanic obsessed with rescuing his father from a town where time has stopped altogether, and who falls in love with a boy whose relationship with time is even more potent and tangled than his. When a series of clock tower attacks points to a dark plan to stop their cities’ time, Danny has to fight to save himself, his father, and the boy he’s falling for.
Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity, by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (November 8)
Artist and transgender teen Jess is on a road-trip mission with her best friend, Chunk, in tow. The destination: her father’s wedding to her mother’s (former) best friend, which they plan to crash. But while Jess is sensitive to her own fears about passing, parental disapproval, and the dangers she might encounter on the road, she doesn’t immediately see all the ways in which she disappoints Chunk, whose nickname is based on his size. Her journey toward self-acceptance ends up being bittersweet in ways she didn’t anticipate.
Dead Girls Society, by Michelle Krys (November 8)
For Hope, having cystic fibrosis means long absences from school, being treated like she’s made of glass, and having medical and financial fears most teens never face. So when she gets a mysterious invitation from the “Society,” inviting her to partake in a game of dares that might result in life-changing prize money, she jumps at the chance to misbehave for once. Slipping out from beneath the watchful eye of her mother—and of Ethan, the best friend she’s falling for—Hope embarks on an increasingly deadly game alongside four seemingly randomly selected classmates.
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman (November 15)
Four beloved YA authors take on the journey of Simon Lewis from novice to Shadowhunter in this collection of short stories, now in print for the first time—with the addition of 10 bonus illustrations. By the end of City of Heavenly Fire, one-time vampire Simon was scrubbed of his memories; in Tales he has found a new identity and purpose in training to take out demons. Stars of Clare’s beloved world, including Magnus Bane and Tessa Gray, make appearances throughout this collection fans will race through.
My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier (November 15)
Australian teen Che is the son of parents whose jobs have them constantly on the move, most recently to New York City. Feeling alienated from his distant friends and life back in Australia, he throws himself into honing his gift for boxing…but his real trouble is Rosa. His beautiful, doll-faced little sister draws attention everywhere she goes, and knows how to manipulate people into giving her what she wants. Despite his parents’ willful rejection of the notion, Che believes she’s a genuine psychopath. He not only attempts to protect the world from her, but tries to instill in her notions of what’s good and right, in a thriller that’s constantly ticking down to a frightening worst-case scenario.
This Is Our Story, by Ashley Elston (November 15)
The case of the River Point Boys is the biggest thing to hit Kate Marino’s small town since ever: a boy is killed on a hunting trip, and any one of the four survivors could be the shooter. An intern with the district attorney’s office, Kate sets out to make sure the killer doesn’t get off clean, despite attempts by the boys’ rich families to quash the investigation. But Kate has connections to the boys and her own secrets to hide, in a twisting tale that leaves room for anyone to emerge as the culprit.
Trouble Makes a Comeback, by Stephanie Tromly (November 22)
Last year’s hilarious and wonderful Trouble Is a Friend of Mine introduced a motley crew of teen detectives headed up by new girl in town Zoe and Digby, the irritating yet charismatic oddball who enlists her help in investigating two disappearances. In follow-up Trouble, Digby return to town right as Zoe is starting to enjoy her Digby-free life of dates, new friends, and preparation for Princeton. It’s no question what she’ll choose between a chance to be normal and the hurricane that is Digby, as he draws her into another screwball mystery.
Of Fire and Stars, by Audrey Coulthurst (November 22)
Coulthurst’s hotly anticipated debut centers on a princess who possesses fiery supernatural abilities in a world where magic is outlawed, and who has spent her entire life preparing for her marriage to a prince she has never met. When Princess Dennaleia arrives in her royal fiancé’s kingdom, she feels very little for her husband to be—but a lot for his infuriating sister, Mare, a skillful horsewoman who prefers the stables to the castle. When a shocking turn of events throws them together, their combative relationship starts to tip into something more tender—and more dangerous, considering Denna’s betrothal to Mare’s brother.
Scythe, by Neal Shusterman (November 22)
The latest dystopian series starter from the brilliant mind of Unwind author Shusterman takes place in a world where death by disease no longer exists, and it’s up to “scythes,” or professional reapers, to keep the population down. Two teens find themselves pitted against each other in a battle in which the winner will become the next scythe—and the loser will be eliminated. But the scythes they’re apprenticed to have very different relationships toward killing, pointing toward a fatal flaw in their perfected world order.
Girls in the Moon, by Janet McNally (November 29)
Phoebe Ferris is the daughter of rock royalty, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Her mother, Meg, is a sculptor who fled the spotlight to raise her two daughters alone in upstate New York. Her father craved the fame he and Meg found with their 90s rock band, Shelter, and chose a life making music over being a dad. But now Phoebe’s older sister, Luna, is gaining momentum with her indie rock band in Brooklyn. When Phoebe crashes with her during the last week of summer before senior year, the visit becomes a compressed voyage of self-discovery: she tracks down the father who stopped calling three years ago, tests a new connection with Luna’s bandmate, and spreads her wings as a nascent lyricist. The book also incorporates brief chapters from Meg’s point of view, highlighting key moments in her ascension to rock goddess, and her disillusionment with both her marriage and fame.