Want to live in a world where a brand-new must-read (or seven) hits your mailbox or ereader every single week and you never have to say, “I have nothing to read” ever again? We want that, too! Get ready to plan your reading for the first half of 2017 with our epic, oft-updating, not at all comprehensive but nonetheless extremely exciting guide to the books you’ll want to pre-order right now!
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, by Chelsea Sedoti (January 3)
Hawthorn is a misfit girl whose imagination leads her down some wild paths—but now, it just might help her solve a mystery. When former high school popular girl Lizzie Lovett goes missing, Hawthorn finds herself increasingly drawn to find out what happened to her and why, drifting into the orbit of the life Lizzie left behind. Taking over the missing girl’s abandoned restaurant job and getting involved with her ex-boyfriend leads Hawthorn not only toward increasingly frightening hypotheses about what happened to her—could her ex be a murderer?—but also to confounding revelations about Lizzie’s post–high school fate.
Life in a Fishbowl, by Len Vlahos (January 3)
Vlahos’s gift for writing blackly comic heartrenders was made clear in his debut The Scar Boys, and his latest promises to do it again. Jackie’s still reeling from her father’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis when her family is hit with another blow: in a last-ditch effort to support them before he’s gone, her father auctions off his life on eBay. A ghoulish cast of characters are drawn in by the promise of a “human life…to control,” including the eventual winner: a reality TV exec who sees it as the premise of his next hit show. As her family life becomes a fishbowl, Jackie works behind the scenes to derail the network at every step.
Maresi, by Maria Turtschaninoff (January 3)
Translated from Finnish, Turtschaninoff’s dark fairy tale opens in the heart of the Red Abbey, where girls and women who’ve survived abuse and misfortune learn to move on from their dark pasts—or hone their desire for revenge. Maresi tries to escape her fears by focusing on her happy, bookish new life in the abbey, but newcomer Jai hungers for retribution against the father who killed her sister. When the demons of her former life encroach on the abbey’s safety, its inhabitants and their triple-aspect goddess must fight back or lose their way of life.
Freeks, by Amanda Hocking (January 3)
As the daughter of a performer in a mystical traveling carnival, Mara is accustomed to a life lived against the backdrop of magic. When she meets a cute boy named Gabe in the Louisiana town where they’ve set up camp, getting to know him gives her a peek at the normal life she craves. But there’s something lurking in the atmosphere, a darkness that sets off the radar of the carnival’s performers and eventually explodes into violence. In order to save the ones she loves, Mara must come into the powers she has long suppressed.
Love and First Sight, by Josh Sundquist (January 3)
In YouTuber Sundquist’s debut novel, blind teen Will Porter has a rocky start at his new high school—but it all seems worth it when he meets Cecily. The two seem destined for romance, but an experimental surgery changes everything: for the first time, Will can see, and readers, too, will see the world fresh through the eyes of someone who was born blind. When he learns both Cecily and his friends were dishonest about her appearance, his response is a complicated blend of disappointment, guilt, and anger at his blindness being taken advantage of.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies, by Louise Gornall (January 3)
OCD and agoraphobia have left 17-year-old Norah housebound for years, with the exception of visits to her therapist. But when the adorable Luke moves in next door, Norah finally has a compelling enough reason to try to show herself to someone new, with all her truths and fears. No matter how much she’s dying to let him in, though, Norah’s brain is a complicated place, and every step forward comes with internal steps back as her anxiety digs in its claws.
Wayfarer, by Alexandra Bracken (January 3)
In Bracken’s Passenger, modern-day teen violinist Etta is shunted back through time, becoming a hostage on an era-hopping ship. She quickly learns she’s a member of one the remaining few families with the ability to time travel, and forms a dangerous alliance with the ship’s captain and her abductor, former slave Nicholas. The two travel across a patchwork globe of different time periods to retrieve an artifact hidden by Etta’s mother—but at the start of sequel Wayfarer, Etta is separated not just from her mother and Nicholas, with whom she has fallen in love, but from the era she was born to. Nicholas and Etta fight their way back to each other, across a crinkled timeline that takes them to places around the globe and across history.
Because of the Sun, by Jenny Torres Sanchez (January 3)
Dani’s entire life is an existential crisis; that’s the only way to tolerate living with her mother. But then her mother is violently killed, and her life is thrown into upheaval when she moves in with an aunt she doesn’t know, in a state she’s never called home. To survive her new existence, Dani takes long walks to clear her head and get some space, and it’s on one of those sojourns that she meets Paulo, who just may be the key to making her care about life again, and bridging the gap between her and the mother she’s just lost.
Whenever I’m With You, by Lydia Sharp (January 3)
Forget about admittedly adorable fluffy romance for a second; if that’s what you’re expecting when you crack this one open, you’re gonna be thrown for a loop fast. Not that Gabi and Kai don’t have their cuteness down from page one, but this contemp isn’t about their solid ship; it’s about what happens when their bond potentially makes Kai feel a little too invincible. Empowered by Gabi to pursue whatever it’ll take to fix his sullen mood of late, Kai sets off to do just that. But when it turns out that means trekking through the Alaskan wilderness on foot in order to hunt down a father who may or may not still be alive to receive him, Gabi grabs Kai’s near-estranged brother and sets out on a survivalist adventure of hope, survival, and strengthening bonds that seemed shattered beyond repair.
The Cursed Queen, by Sarah Fine (January 3)
Ansa is a warrior, one of many among the Krigere people…at least until their ranks are decimated by a storm created by a Kupari witch, taking their chieftain with them. Now Ansa watches as Thyra, the girl she loves, takes the leadership position, and steers them in the only way she can: to live among Thyra’s family, who betrayed them once and have since conquered another land. But not everyone is ready to except Thyra’s new position, and as new battle plans arise, the questions of who can be trusted and who has everyone’s best interests at heart become harder and harder to untangle. But the biggest mystery of all is what happened to Ansa on the day of that storm, and why she seems to have inherited the very same powers that took her people down. This is a great companion to last year’s The Impostor Queen (which also features a bisexual heroine, that one featuring a male love interest), and a badass addition to the very tiny world of f/f YA epic fantasy.
Assassins: Nemesis, by Erica Cameron (January 9)
Blake Marks may be an orphan now, but that doesn’t have to come with powerlessness—not when the Calvers, a family of vigilante bodyguards, are on the case to find out who put a hit out on Isaac Marks. But then the Calvers’ safe house is attacked, and Blake is barely spared. What to do with a safe house gone, no way to hide, no father, and no clue what you’re doing? You listen to the experts. If the Calvers can’t put Blake’s life back together soon, there may be nothing to save.
RoseBlood, by A.G. Howard (January 10)
Howard’s first book since completing the Splinter series is a haunting take on The Phantom of the Opera, set at contemporary arts school Roseblood. New student Rune has a double-edged gift: she’s compelled to sing, producing music that’s unearthly in its beauty, but each performance leaves her sick and depleted. Her mother sends her to Roseblood in the hopes of helping her, but it’s there that her gift may have deadly consequences. The school has alleged connections to the phantom of Gaston Leroux’s original book, and when Rune meets a mysterious masked boy named Thorn, she believes she has found the legend. But the truth is more complicated, and far more dangerous, in this tale.
Windwitch (Witchlands #2), by Susan Dennard (January 10)
Truthwitch introduced friends and allies from two very different worlds: Safiya, a noblewoman who fled a comfortable life in order to conceal her abilities as a Truthwitch, able to suss out deceit, and Iseult, a lowborn Threadwitch, who can discern the emotional bonds between people. On the eve of a dangerous war, with a violent Bloodwitch on their heels, the two girls, “Threadsisters” bound by affinity and love, find themselves battling their way across a broken empire in pursuit of freedom. In Windwitch, titular Windwitch Merik, believing his beloved Safi to be dead, takes on the mantle of a hero from legend, while Bloodwitch Aeduan enters a doomed alliance with Iseult as they seek the missing Safi.
Frostblood, by Elly Blake (January 10)
As one of the few remaining firebloods in a world ruled by frost, Ruby lives in semi-isolation with her mother, concealing her untrained fiery abilities. But a raid by the wicked Frost King’s men ends with her mother dead and Ruby a prisoner. After months of grief and detainment, she’s rescued by a contingent of rebels seeking to depose the king, and finds herself navigating a world of questionable allies and corruption as she learns to wield her abilities. But the king’s forces are on her trail, and she may play a larger part in the rebellion than she realizes.
Poison’s Kiss, by Breeana Shields (January 10)
Marinda is a perfect assassin: a visha kanya, or poison maiden, whose natural toxicity has been nurtured till even her kiss is fatal. Ordered by her land’s raja to kill off his enemies with a touch of her lips, she’s reluctant but obedient until ordered to kiss the wrong boy. Marinda knows Deven doesn’t deserve to die, and even while being blackmailed into acquiescence by way of her younger brother’s medical needs, his innocence forces her to question what she’s doing and why. This series starter is set in a fantasy world touched with Indian myth and culture.
The Last Harvest, by Kim Liggett (January 10)
Exactly one year ago, quarterback Clay Tate watched his father die on the floor of a barn, a crucifix clutched in his stiffening hand. All he wants to leave the past behind, but the town of Midland, Oklahoma, won’t let it go, especially not the member of the farmer-filled, cultlike Preservation Society. Everyone wants something from Clay, whether it’s to take his father’s spot on the council or rejoin the football team, and even his ex-girlfriend and his biggest rival are inexplicably worming into his life. As increasingly creepy and terrifying things start happening in Midland, Clay isn’t sure who or what he can trust, including his own mind. Liggett already made her name in rural terror with Blood and Salt; it’ll be fun to watch her up the ante…with the lights on this time, maybe.
Factory Girl, by Josanne La Valley (January 10)
Roshen is a 16-year-old Muslim Uyghur girl living in northwest China, at least until she’s forced to travel south in order to work in a uniform factory to save her family’s farm. The arduous journey is only the first in a long chain of painful, infuriating, and humiliating conditions, as it’s made clear those with Roshen’s roots are second-class citizens. Headscarves are forbidden, pork is served, and Mandarin is the only language permitted, making the brutal hours and invasive surveillance all the more unbearable, especially when she has to work off the cost of the trip to the factory before she’ll even see payment. It will take all the strength Roshen possesses to hold onto her culture and not just survive, but thrive.
Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth (January 17)
Roth’s sci-fi fantasy novel, her first book set outside the world of the Divergent series, takes place in a distant galaxy where everyone develops a different power known as a currentgift. Cyra is the sister of the tyrannical ruler of the Shotet people, and Akos is her brother’s latest hostage. Cyra’s unwanted currentgift subjects her to intense pain flares that she’s able to transfer to others with a touch; her brother uses her as an instrument of torture. Akos has the ability to disrupt other people’s currentgifts, which allows him to both relieve Cyra’s pain and touch her without fear. The two become unlikely allies despite rising tensions between their people, and the fates hanging over their heads.
History is All You Left Me, by Adam Silvera (January 17)
If you’ve already fallen in love with More Happy Than Not, the fact that Silvera again hurts your soul in his second book won’t shock you. But while the main character is once again a gay teen with mental health issues, this sophomore makes a whole lot of departures from the debut. History—the story of a boy named Griffin grieving the loss of the ex he’d always thought was his future, and seeking solace in the guy said ex was dating when he died—is wholly contemporary, told in alternating timelines between the present (from Theo’s funeral onward) and the past, when Griffin and Theo first fell in love, from the start of their magical relationship up until distance tore them apart. Throughout, Griffin suffers from increasingly flaring OCD, and as with his grief, although his dealing with mental illness is shown as a journey, it’s never a straight line. If Silvera’s debut didn’t cement him as an instabuy author for you yet, this one definitely will, just in time for his third, They Both Die at the End, to release in September.
Dawn of Spies, by Andrew Lane (January 17)
In this update on Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, the titular hero is reimagined as a 17-year-old, recently rescued from a deserted island alongside companion Friday (here female). In a meta twist, the duo is approached in London by a writer named…Daniel Defoe, who believes their survivalist abilities make them perfect recruits for undercover spy organization Segment W. Young Crusoe moves through a cutthroat new world in an effort to stop a dastardly crime against the royal family, populated with historical figures including Isaac Newton and King Charles II himself.
The You I’ve Never Known, by Ellen Hopkins (January 24)
YA’s queen of verse about tough subjects returns with a novel about Ariel, a girl abandoned by her mother who has been living an essentially transient lifestyle with her father, constantly picking up and leaving behind everything she knows. But this time it has been a whole year, and moving again would mean leaving behind Monica, the best friend who has become something more. As Ariel manages life with her abusive father and the possibility of leaving her first shot at love and exploring her sexuality, her story intersects with that of Maya, also 17, and taking measures to escape her own harmful parent.
Dreadnought, by April Daniels (January 24)
If Danny thought watching superhero Dreadnought die was scary enough, she had no idea what she was in for when she took up his mantle, at least inasmuch as a minor is permitted to do. But picking up where Dreadnought left off does come with one huge perk: she finally has the body she’s always dreamed of; no one could possibly look at her and see a boy now. As she gets used to both her new body and new responsibilities, she also has to deal with those struggling to respect her transformation, including everyone from her father to at least one of her new colleagues. But there are more pressing, immediate problems at hand, because Dreadnought’s killer is still at large, and Danny could very well be her next victim. A clever and creative debut that explores transmisogyny, sexism, and the power/responsibility dichotomy, and, best of all, continues with a sequel just six months later.
City of Saints and Thieves, by Natalie C. Anderson (January 24)
Tina, a Congolese refugee living in Kenya, was 12 when her mother was murdered while working as a maid for a wealthy family. At 16, Tina has spent the past four years on the streets, plotting revenge against her mother’s employer and former lover, whom she’s sure was also her murderer. As part of the Goondas gang, Tina has the backing she needs to bring rich Mr. Greyhill down—but after reconnecting with his son, her childhood friend, during a failed break-in, what she thinks she knows falls apart. With the help of Tina’s tech genius pal Boyboy, the two race toward the truth, which may be darker and more complicated than Tina’s thirst for vengeance allowed.
Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson (January 24)
When Mary was 9 years old, she was thrown into “baby jail” for a hideous, headline-making crime: the savage killing of the infant in her and her mother’s care. Now Mary is 16 and living in a group home, taking it day by day and trying to stay away from the raw memories of what she’s alleged to have done. But when she becomes pregnant, everything changes. Suddenly she has someone else to worry about, and the terror of having her baby taken away drives her to do something she never dared do: fight back against her mother’s claims that it was Mary who killed baby Alyssa all those years ago. What unfolds from there is a savage tale of vengeance and absolution, that keeps spinning the twists till the final page.
After the Fall, by Kate Hart (January 24)
Triangles are complicated, but Raychel’s situation with two brothers isn’t quite what it looks like. Andrew’s a secret relationship, the one she’s actually sleeping with; his brother, Matt, is her best friend, soother of her nightmares, and supporter as she deals with her world falling apart and the aftermath of being assaulted by a classmate. But when tragedy strikes, Raychel’s forced to reexamine her relationships, her life, and what can still be salvaged when everything seems beyond hope. Early reviews would suggest this debut is best read in private unless you’re down to bawl in public.
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen (January 24)
This diverse, multi-format compendium of feminist writings is a fabulous gift for young readers looking to ground themselves in the contemporary feminist landscape and a must for readers of any age hungry for stories and insights from a troupe of blazingly smart women (and a few men). It’s broken down into seven sections—Starting the Journey; Body and Mind; Gender, Sex, and Sexuality; Culture and Pop Culture; Relationships; Confidence and Ambition; and Go Your Own Way—and includes contributions from such YA superstars as Laurie Halse Anderson, Nova Ren Suma, and Brandy Colbert, as well as luminaries including Roxane Gay and Amandla Sternberg (and B&N Teen contributor Kayla Whaley!). Buy it, read it, pass it on.
Caraval, by Stephanie Garber (January 31)
This fantasy debut (and duology starter) is a synesthetic delight, carrying readers away to a dream city of luminous magic and dark secrets, all seen through an enchanted haze that blurs the lines between real and make-believe. Scarlett Dragna is the abused daughter of a brutal man living on an island in a distant world. She sees marriage to the mysterious count with whom she has been exchanging letters as her only chance for escape—but her wild younger sister, Tella, has different ideas. The sisters have always longed to attend Caraval, a floating annual game in which participants navigate a fantastical arena in pursuit of a supernatural prize. A pair of free tickets from Caraval’s elusive ringmaster, Legend, leads the sisters into the heart of the game, where one will go missing and one will risk losing herself to Legend’s dangerous enchantments.
The Edge of Everything, by Jeff Giles (January 31)
As a blizzard rolls in one winter night, Zoe sets off in pursuit of her little brother, Jonah, who wandered off in the snow. What she finds will change her life: while hunkered down in a neighbor’s empty house, Zoe and Jonah are attacked by a man so evil hell itself—imagined here as the Lowlands, a place where the world’s most despicable criminals are pressed into service as bounty hunters of their own kind—has sent an agent to claim him. That agent is X, a man who committed no crime, yet lives his life out in underworld servitude. When Zoe stops him from reaping her attacker, it sets off a chain of events that leads to first love, terrible peril, and, maybe, a change in X’s world order.
Our Own Private Universe, by Robin Talley (January 31)
Talley’s the most prolific author of mainstream queer-girl YA right now, and bless her for it; her newest is coming less than six months after her awesome As I Descended, and marks a return to her contemporary roots with a coming-of-age story YA has desperately been needing. Aki knows there’s more to life than she’s living, especially since she’s well aware she’s bisexual, but has yet to actually get with a girl. Then she meets Christa, a member of another church on the same rebuilding mission in Mexico, and sparks immediately fly. But Aki doesn’t actually know how to get with a girl, or how to parse her feelings. She’s not above learning, though, and if you’ve ever wished queer girls had a book like Judy Blume’s Forever to cover the ins, the outs, and the safety, get ready to finally get your wish in this honest and lovely interracial YA romance.
Fire Color One, by Jenny Valentine (January 31)
Life with a criminally self-absorbed mother leaves Iris desperate for an outlet, which she finds in setting fires. But one act of arson too many sends them across the Atlantic, from America to London, where the father Iris never knew is dying on his massive estate. Iris grew up believing he abandoned them, but the truth is far more painful. As the two fight to fit a lifetime of love into the days they have left, connecting over art and pain and a shared longing for true family, Iris’s mother cases the place, ready to inherit the breathtaking art collection her ex is leaving behind. But Iris’s father may yet find a way to save both himself and his daughter, even as his time is ticking down.
The Dark Days Pact, by Alison Goodman (January 31)
Lady Helen’s Presentation Ball doesn’t really go as planned; life with scandal and demons rarely ever does. In book two in the Lady Helen trilogy, she’s exiled from her family and recuperating in Brighton, where she’s receiving training from her controversial mentor to polish her powers as a Reclaimer. But those powers come with a price, and Lord Carlson is already in the process of paying his. With his sanity slipping, a nemesis looming, and a potential marriage prospect calling, everyone wants something from Helen she may not be ready to give.
The Careful Undressing of Love, by Corey Ann Haydu (January 31)
Lorna loves being a Devonairre Street girl: it means she’s part of a tribe of beautiful, long-haired teens, who walk around their native New York drawing gazes and causing a ripple. But there’s a flip side to being part of their small, bohemian kingdom: the girls of Devonairre Street are cursed to lose any boy they dare to love. Their mothers lost their husbands in an attack known as the Bombing, but the curse still feels like a distant thing—until one of the girls loses a boy that all of them loved. When Lorna starts to fall in love herself, she must decide what risks are worth taking, against the backdrop of an alternate, lightly enchanted Brooklyn.
Wires and Nerve, by Marissa Meyer (January 31)
Meyer returns to the world of her bestselling, beloved Lunar Chronicles, this time with a story told in graphic novel form. Android Iko takes center stage, banding together with a royal guard to fight back against a military threat to Earth and Luna’s uneasy peace. Other favorites, including Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, make appearances, so don’t miss your chance to see them in illustrated form.
How to Break a Boy, by Laurie Devore (January 31)
Olivia rules high school with her best friend, Adrienne, and an iron fist. And when Adrienne betrays her at the worst possible time, Olivia will use every tool in her arsenal for revenge. The newest tool? Whit Du Rant, who’s posing as Olivia’s tutor as part of her grand plan. Only the fakery in his role is becoming a little less fake, and as Olivia starts falling for him for real, she’ll have to reevaluate exactly who she wants to be if she wants to keep the boy and keep herself in the process.
Long Way Home, by Katie McGarry (January 31)
McGarry kicked off her Thunder Road series with Nowhere But Here, a sexy fish out of water romance entwined with a family mystery. In book two, Walk the Edge, a hot moment between good girl Breanna and a bad boy motorcycle clubber Thomas turns into blackmail fodder for a cyberbully—and an opposites-attract love story. Now, in Long Way Home, when Violet’s father is killed in the course of doing work for his motorcycle club, she decides it’s time to cut herself off from that part of her life completely—until threats from a rival club pull her back in.
Empress of a Thousand Skies, by Rhoda Belleza (February 7)
Rhiannon Ta’an isn’t just the last surviving member of her massacred family, she’s the last hope of the Ta’an people, meant to return to power when she has come of age in order to keep her royal father’s diplomatic efforts in play. But an assassination attempt en route to her coronation sends Rhee on a fugitive journey across the galaxy, where she gets wise to an even bigger conspiracy threatening her world. Her story entwines with that of reality star Alyosha, refugee of a decimated planet, who finds himself falsely accused of Rhee’s murder by a world that believes her to be dead. Belleza has created a satisfyingly lived-in sci-fi world, full of the same dusty vistas and historical awareness that make the best Star Wars films so relatable. She also presents an interesting plot thread in her world’s dichotomy of memory: everyone has access to both the “organic” stuff, “slippery and uncertain,” and the memories saved on the feed-like cube embedded in people’s brains, rendering every piece of their past ready for replay—and ripe for exploitation.
Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones (February 7)
Jae-Jones’ debut is a lush, evocative fantasy with its roots in dark myth, Labyrinth, and the poetry of Christina Rossetti. Liesl is the daughter of a struggling innkeeper whose family’s hopes rest on her musician brother’s shoulders. But Liesl, too, has a great gift: she’s a composer, whose musical talent makes her irresistible prey for the dangerous, changeable goblin king. When the king abducts her headstrong younger sister, Kathë, Liesl offers to take her place as his bride, entering an enchanted underground kingdom animated by art and obsession. In the Underground she’s able to submit to both creation and attraction—but at a cost she may not be willing to pay.
King’s Cage, by Victoria Aveyard (February 7)
In Red Queen, 17-year-old Mare Barrow’s red blood made her a member of the powerless peasant class, in a world where the silver-blooded have both position and supernatural powers—until she’s revealed to have immense abilities of her own, despite the red in her veins. Sequel Glass Sword picked up right where its predecessor left off: reeling from a brutal betrayal and covered in the blood of battle, Mare Barrow sets out to recruit an army of her own, to fight back against her people’s Silver oppressors. Now, in King’s Cage, Mare is paying a terrible price for her missteps: she’s imprisoned, powerless, and under King Maven’s control. But her rebel forces are readying themselves for battle, and fallen prince Cal hasn’t given up on Mare.
To Catch a Killer, by Sheryl Scarborough (February 7)
Erin’s life is marked by an event she doesn’t even remember: her mother’s murder, when Erin was a toddler, in a sensational unsolved crime. Now 14 years later, Erin finds herself at the center of another homicide, when she’s the first to find the slain body of her biology teacher. As a fledgling forensic scientist, Erin and the teacher were working together toward Erin’s eventual goal of solving her mother’s cold case–and now she’s sure the teacher paid for their prying with her life. With the evidence mounting against her and her life thrown into increasing danger, she must dig deep to discover the killer first.
At the Edge of the Universe, by Shaun David Hutchinson (February 7)
The worst part about losing Tommy isn’t just that Ozzie has lost his great love; it’s that no one even remembers he existed. The universe is shrinking, and it took Tommy with it, and now even his own mother doesn’t remember him. But Ozzie can’t stop searching, even when it lands him with a new therapist every week or so, alienates his friends, and puts a huge barrier between him and Calvin, his new lab partner and the first guy to crack into his heart since Tommy disappeared. As the world continues to close in around him, Ozzie becomes harder pressed to move forward, even when doing so might require his biggest leap of faith yet. Hutchinson is deep in his “light at the end of a long, dark tunnel” thematic element here, which feels all too necessary for our current times and shows why he remains one of gay YA’s most relevant and prolific authors.
Denton Little’s Still Not Dead, by Lance Rubin (February 7)
Denton Little did the impossible and lived past his death date, but not without upending his life, leaving his family behind, and drawing the ire of the Death Investigation Agency, who can’t have anyone know their determinations can be thwarted. Now that the certainties of his life have been rendered anything but, he’ll have all new questions to wrestle with. If you’re looking for literal LOLs, this speculative duology is a safely hilarious bet. (If you’re just checking Denton out for the first time, consider the audio version, which is narrated by the author and somehow manages to up the funny by at least fifty percent with his delivery.)
Nowhere Near You, by Leah Thomas (February 7)
In the followup to the Morris Award–nominated Because You’ll Never Meet Me, pen pals Ollie and Moritz are keeping up their epistolary friendship, despite the fact that their respective medical conditions make it life-threatening for them to hang out in person. Big changes are happening for both of them now, with Moritz adjusting to life at a new school and Ollie road-tripping with his doctor to find other kids who spent time in the same lab he did as a kid.
Starfall, by Melissa Landers (February 7)
In last year’s Starflight, Solara Brooks—an orphan and felon sick of being defined by her past—and Doran—a spoiled rich man’s son being framed for a crime he didn’t commit—must rely on each other as they take off on a spaceship leaving Earth behind. In companion novel Starfall, a princess who once ran from her royal duties and an arranged marriage on her home world returns to claim her crown…but must balance a rising rebellion and the longings of her own heart.
Traveler, by L.E. DeLano (February 7)
DeLano had me at “mirror portals.” Daydreaming teen writer Jessa likes to lose herself in her own fantastic fictional worlds, but even she’s not prepared for it when one of her characters turns out to be very, very real. Finn reveals to Jessa the truth about her life: she’s a Traveler, capable of moving around the multiverse, changing the realities she finds there, and even creating new characters. But he has darker news to deliver—versions of Jessa are being killed off in other realities, sending the pair on a reality-hopping journey to figure out why, before original Jessa loses her life, too.
Wanted, by Betsy Schow (February 7)
In Spelled, the first book in her Storymakers series, Schow introduced Princess Dorthea of Emerald, a spoiled Emerald Palace native who just wants to get out of an arranged marriage with an arrogant prince. But after she wishes on the seriously wrong star, her parents are magically exiled, her kingdom’s put in peril, and she’s forced to leave the palace walls to save her world from a big, bad witch. Wanted is another bent fairy-tale mashup, centering on Rexi Hood (daughter of the infamous Robin), Dorthea’s sworn companion since they took down a villain side by side. But Rexi isn’t just Dorthea’s friend, she has inadvertently become her sidekick. In order to write an indelible tale of her own and not lose her place in the storybooks, Rexi sets out to steal Excalibur, whose magic will ensure she’s never forgotten.
Lessons in Falling, by Diana Gallagher (February 7)
Gymnastics were Savannah’s life, until she blew out her knee and killed her shot at a professional future. Now she’s abandoned them entirely, instead letting her best friend, Cassie, plan her social calendar and falling for Marcos, a boy neither of them ever saw coming. Then Cassie tries to kill herself, and the girl who returns from the hospital doesn’t like any of the ways Savannah is moving forward—not with Marcos, even though he saved Cassie’s life, or with her considering a return to gymnastics. Keeping Cassie happy is important to Savannah, especially now that she knows how much her best friend had been suffering in silence, but moving forward may just be impossible with Cassie at her side. If Hold Still meets Perfect Chemistry meets Tumbling sounds like your jam, pick this one up ASAP.
The Wish Granter, by CJ Redwine (February 14)
Thad and Ari might be royals, but there’s nothing happy about their situation. They’re bastard twins whose mother was murdered, and the only reason Thad’s on the throne of a land in upheaval is because the rest of the royal family is mysteriously dead. Well, not the only reason, as princess-to-be Ari comes to realize: a Wish Granter named Alistair helped put him there. Now Thad’s grooming the reluctant Ari to take his place, even though it means ruling a miserable people because surprise! Thad was tricked into trading away their peace and safety for power.
The Last of August, by Brittany Cavallaro (February 14)
After a brutal fall semester at boarding school that saw them become both murder suspects and nearly murder victims, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are taking it easy over winter break. The best friends (who are sort of more) and descendants of the original Watson and Holmes are chilling at the Holmes estate in Sussex when Charlotte’s uncle disappears, dropping them into yet another dangerous mystery that’ll have them questioning how much they can trust a Moriarty…or anyone else, including each other. Beginning with A Study in Charlotte, this series is my favorite YA Sherlock adaptation to date, and this sequel may have broken my heart but it definitely didn’t disappoint.
We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour (February 14)
Marin isn’t okay. Her mother drowned when she was a kid, and now the grandfather who raised her is gone. It’s winter break, her roommate is away, and Marin is completely alone. But Mabel, the best friend-turned-more she left behind when she moved from the west coast to the east, won’t let her vanish without a fight. When Mabel shows up to visit and reconnect with her one-time BFF, Marin is forced to confront what happened in her grandfather’s last days, the fact that she’s pushed everyone away, and whether she’ll be able to handle life after loss. This was a deceptively quick but beautiful read that had me crying like a baby once it all settled in, highlighting just how terrifying it is to love people whose loss could destroy you. Another favorite from one of my instabuy authors.
Piecing Me Together, by Renée Watson (February 14)
Jade needs an escape from her neighborhood, and she works her butt off to make sure she gets a permanent one someday. Until then, she’s focusing on Spanish, with her eye on the prize of a trip abroad. But what she gets instead is a mentor for “at-risk” girls, an opportunity she neither needs nor wants, especially if her mentor’s gonna be a huge flake. But having a mentor does help Jade find her voice to speak up for herself and educate those around her on how they’re failing her and girls like her, and that’s where Watson’s awesome always shines: in depicting teen girls learning the importance of their own activism, their own words, and their own worth.
A Season of Daring Greatly, by Ellen Emerson White (February 14)
Fans of the TV show Pitch are well advised to check out this YA about—you guessed it!—the first female pro pitcher in the modern MLB. Jill Cafferty is more than ready to put college on hold and start on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season Team, but that doesn’t mean the team, or the rest of the country, is ready for her. As Jill navigates the ins and outs of not just the coolest first job anyone has ever had, but entering pro sports as a teen and as the first woman in her particular job, the spotlight is entirely on her, and many are just waiting for her to crash and burn.
American Street, by Ibi Zoboi (February 14)
Fabiola leaves Haiti to claim her piece of the American dream, but when her mother is detained, it casts a shadow over Fabiola’s new Detroit life with her aunt and trio of tough-as-nails cousins. Zoboi’s debut is set in America but never forgets its heroine’s Haitian roots, seen in the texture of her homesickness, the food she cooks, the Creole that colors her words, and the Haitian voudou beliefs that give her story a magical realistic flavor. As Fabiola falls in love, navigates her family’s extralegal activities, and takes increasingly desperate risks to bring her mother safely to her side, she’s watched over by an old busker who may be Papa Legba in disguise, and sees aspects of Haitian spirits in her family members and in the violent boyfriend her cousin can’t manage to leave. Fabiola is a steely, pure-hearted heroine whose beautifully specific American journey reminds readers this is a nation of immigrants.
The Valiant, by Lesley Livingston (February 14)
Princess Fallon’s older sister was a warrior, killed in battle during an invasion by Julius Caesar, and now that Fallon is 17, she’s ready to follow in her sister’s military footsteps. But before she can, she’s kidnapped and sold into a school for female gladiators patronized by none other than Caesar himself. Now she’ll have to fight her way to the top…and handle her feelings for one of the enemy Roman soldiers.
#famous, by Jilly Gagnon (February 14)
Rachel, an aspiring writer who’s (mostly) happily invisible at school, loses her anonymity in a big way when she takes a fateful photo of hottie crush and classmate Kyle while he’s obliviously working at the Burger Barn. One Tweet and an embarrassing hashtag (#idlikefrieswithTHAT) later, and Kyle is fast becoming a viral social media star…while Rachel faces mockery and body-shaming from strangers around the country for having posted it. The plot thickens as Kyle pulls Rachel into his efforts to capitalize on his fleeting fame, including a date that starts as a setup but might become something more. This is a super-cute, opposites-attract romance that explores the double-edged sword (and gendered double standards) of fame in the social media age.
Island of Exiles, by Erica Cameron (February 14)
Shiara is an isolated desert in which dying young is the norm and the clan comes before all. A warrior, Khya has always abided by this…until it meant putting her brother in mortal danger. Now her home is unsafe, she’ll never join the council as she’d hoped, and the only person she can trust to help her save her family is her greatest rival, Tessen. But on a desert island, how far can you possibly run? And how long can Khya and Tessen possibly survive on their own?
Ahgottahandleonit, by Donovan Mixon (February 14)
Cinco Puntos Press has established itself as an indie publisher to watch for introducing killer voices into YA, with 2015 Morris Award winner Gabi, a Girl in Pieces, by Isabel Quintero, and 2017 nominee Rani Patel in Full Effect, by Sonia Patel. Now it’s introducing the voice of musician Donovan Mixon in a novel about an undiagnosed dyslexic Black teen living in Newark and navigating bullies and gangbangers, harsh family circumstances, and his academic struggles.
Long May She Reign, by Rhiannon Thomas (February 21)
Twenty-third in line to the Eprian throne, aspiring scientist Freya is used to spending uninterrupted hours in her lab, free from anyone’s expectations but her father’s. But when the king and all his descendants, straight on down the line to Freya, are killed during a banquet she snuck away from, she finds herself thrust suddenly into the land’s highest office. Expected to keep her mouth shut and let her councillors do the talking, despite constant threats to her kingdom and her life, Freya refuses to be a puppet…and soon finds herself dealing with both the hunt for the murderer of the king and his court, and a civil uprising within her own palace.
The Education of Margot Sanchez, by Lilliam Rivera (February 21)
Margot will do anything to fit in at ritzy Somerset Prep, even if it means leaving her best friend and artsy style behind, and lying about her family’s South Bronx grocery stores. But when an ill-advised shopping trip with her parents’ credit card leads to a summer spent working it off her debt at the family store—instead of sunning herself at the Hamptons beach house of a prep school friend—Margot thinks she’s in for the most boring three months of her life. Instead she gets a crash course in community activism, real friendship, and family secrets, including the ones she’s keeping from herself.
Beautiful Broken Girls, by Kim Savage (February 21)
In her sophomore novel following 2016’s After the Woods, Savage explores the lead-up to a pair of sisters’ double suicide, which is far more complicated than it initially appears. Ben is one of the left behind: he loved younger sister Mira, and now she’s speaking to him through a string of notes whose hidden locations each correspond to a place where Ben touched her, from her palm to her heart. But the tale revealed by the notes has more to do with her sister, Francesca, than with Mira, revealing a dark history beyond Ben’s comprehension.
Dreamland Burning, by Jennifer Latham (February 21)
The discovery of a skeleton on her family’s property kicks off contemporary, biracial Tulsa girl Rowan’s investigation into a century-old mystery, and links her story with that of Will, a white 1920s teen who finds himself swept up in the Tulsa race riots that led to the urning of the town’s African American community. The two share narration in an intriguing historical mystery that casts light on one of history’s worst—yet not widely taught—episodes of racist terrorizing.
Ronit & Jamil, by Pamela L. Laskin (February 21)
Laskin’s verse novel retells the star-crossed romance of Romeo and Juliet against the backdrop of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Ronit is a Jewish Israeli girl, Jamil a Muslim Palestinian boy, and though ideology and a blockade may have conspired to keep them forever apart, their fathers’ uneasy professional relationship allows them, briefly, to meet—and from that meeting, despite fear and barriers and their own engrained prejudice, grows a forbidden, border-crossing love story.
Day of Ice, by Andrew Lane (Febuary 21)
In this follow-up to Dawn of Spies—an update on Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe that found the titular hero reimagined as a 17-year-old and recruited by undercover London spy organization Segment W—Crusoe and his pal Friday are ascending the spy ranks. Friday is shaken when she witnesses her dastardly father, who once had designs on her life, walking through the city. She and Crusoe set off to uncover the nefarious workings of a secret society, as well as her father’s role in their plot.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (February 28)
Thomas’s hotly awaited debut, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and already the subject of a planned film adaptation: believe the hype. The story of Starr Carter, sole witness to her childhood friend’s killing by a white cop during a traffic stop, is a breathless, topical, and heartbreaking take on an issue that trends with horrifying frequency. But it’s also a warm, hilarious look at the life of a family and a neighborhood, rendered with vivid, loving specificity. Her eye for telling detail is true, her dialogue is perfect, and her characters are so concisely drawn you can see every one of them with perfect clarity. Pre-order this one now, it’s going to be huge.
The Ship Beyond Time, by Heidi Heilig (February 28)
At the end of Heilig’s magnificent debut, The Girl from Everywhere, Nix, wayfaring daughter of the captain of a time-traveling pirate ship, has been handed the keys (as it were) to the ship. After spending her entire life searching for a map that will bring him back to his wife prior to her death giving birth to Nix—a bit of time-folding that might result in Nix’s winking out of existence—her father, Slate, swears he’s done with that foolhardy addiction. Their ship is able to travel to the terrain of any map, to lands real and imagined; or, if traveling without a map, to wash up in Slate’s original timeline, that of contemporary New York. It’s there that Nix meets an oddly dreamy girl, who gives her a map and disappears into the rain. The map will carry them to the mythical, doomed island of Ys, where they imagine they can solve all the problems that ail them. In Ys they find a madman, a tangled, myth-touched mystery, and further explorations into the perils of trying to save the past without sacrificing the present.
Frogkisser, by Garth Nix (February 28)
In Nix’s latest skewed fairy tale, Princess Anya is the oppressed ward of an evil stepmother and an even eviler duke step-stepfather, with a magical lip balm–enhanced knack for turning her sister’s suitors, transformed into frogs by the evil duke, back into men. But with lip balm supplies running low and her sister’s latest love stuck in amphibian form, Anya sets off on a quest to replenish her magical toolkit—and to escape the duke’s wickedness—while being dogged by annoying heralds and in the company of three animal companions, two of whom would like to be human again.
The Beast Is an Animal, by Peternelle van Arsdale (February 28)
In this fairy tale that’s as haunting as the darkest chapters out of the Brothers Grimm, a village’s entire adult population is decimated by the soul eaters, twin sisters who were transformed by their father’s abandonment into something inhuman. Alys is among the children left behind, a group of refugees “rescued” by a neighboring village and forced into service as night watchmen against the return of the soul eaters. The villagers see the children as marked by their tragedy, and fear any hint of witchcraft, but Alys communes in secret with the forest’s mysterious forces, and knows the world can’t be seen in stark shades of good and evil. Soon her strange connection not just with the sisters but with the misunderstood beast living in the trees will send her on a life-changing journey through a fairytale wood.
Daughter of the Pirate King, by Tricia Levenseller (February 28)
Alosa’s the tough as nails titular pirate king’s daughter, and she’s not about to get captured unless it’s her idea. At the start of this debut, she sets out to do just that, allowing herself to be taken by a rival gang of pirates in order to case their ship for a treasure map. Though she’s tough and resourceful (and then some), she didn’t reckon on the wiles of irritatingly appealing first mate Riden, who matches her trick for trick. As she attempts to locate her quarry without giving up the game, she reckons with a growing attraction to the enemy.
10 Things I Can See From Here, by Carrie Mac (February 28)
Anxiety has plagued Maeve for as long as she can remember, and it’s only heightened when her mom (i.e., the only one who Gets It) leaves for six months, forcing Maeve to relocate to Vancouver to live with her dad. But while the move brings its own stresses and new things to be anxious about, it also brings Salix, the superchill girl who helps get her through everything from her dad’s shaky sobriety to her stepmother’s pregnancy. Salix embodies the fearlessness Maeve would kill to possess, and the romance that blossoms between them may not “cure” Maeve, but it sure does help make the move worth it. Definitely a welcome addition to the all-too-small list of queer-girl YAs about mental health.
A Good Idea, by Cristina Moracho (February 28)
Even after she left town, Fin still planned to spend her immediate future with Betty, two best friends taking on NYU together. But then Betty drowns, and though her boyfriend, Calder, confesses to the crime, his confession being thrown out means no one has to pay. Fin can’t stand the injustice, and she returns to her Maine hometown of Williston for one last summer to get to the bottom of what really happened to Betty. It’s there that she meets Serena, the only person who seems to care as much as she does about Betty’s demise, and in her Fin finds not only a partner in her quest for the truth, but an irresistible attraction that quickly turns into an intense romance. But how well do they really know each other? Hell, in this town, in this noir, how much does anyone really know anyone? How well did Fin even really know Betty?
Rebels Like Us, by Liz Reinhardt (February 28)
When her mother’s tanking relationship sends the two of them fleeing Brooklyn for a new life in the small-town south, biracial city girl Agnes plans to stay quiet and escape as soon as she can. Her plan quickly goes awry, as she draws the eye of her new principal, the school’s queen bee…and popular Doyle, who’s soon serving as her unofficial guide. But there’s a more troubling side to her new life: a depth of racism she has never encountered, laid bare in a traffic stop and in her school’s tradition of holding two segregated proms. As Agnes helps plan an alterna-prom, she makes herself a target—and discovers the power of taking a stand.
Sad Perfect, by Stephanie Elliot (February 28)
Pea lives life under the power of avoidant/restrictive food disorder, which makes her relationship with eating one of anxiety and terrible dread. A supportive best friend and the interest of a good-hearted boy help her feel like she’s on a path toward wellness, but a dangerous decision—to go off her antidepressants—puts her on the path to a setback that threatens to drag her under. Pea’s painful, ultimately hopeful journey immediately draws readers in with its urgent, second-person narration.
Future Threat, by Elizabeth Briggs (March 1)
In Future Shock, Elena was saved from homelessness by a job offer from a corporation that sent her on a secret mission into the future, but while she returned from the journey successful and alive, not everyone she went with can say the same. As survivor’s guilt tears her apart, she also learns she’s by no means done with her work. She’s being sent on a rescue mission, and although it’s once again into the future, it isn’t a future Elena recognizes—a sickening realization, considering this is a mission with deadly consequences. As Elana fights to alter the future, save her friends, and keep herself safe, she’s putting everything on the line…love included.
Ultimatum, by K.M. Walton (March 1)
Oscar and Vance may be brothers, but they couldn’t have less in common. Oscar is quiet, insular, passionate about drawing and classical music. Vance is one of the most popular guys at school and a lacrosse star with a promising future. But both are facing orphanhood as they keep watch together over their alcoholic father in his final days. Alternating between Oscar’s narration of the present and Vance’s of the three years from the accident that killed their mother until now, the book comes to a head with the brothers forced to figure out how to progress into the future when they’ve never been able to connect in the past.
Camp So-and-So, by Mary McCoy (March 1)
When twenty-five girls are invited to a lakeside retreat, they have no idea what they’re in for. Rivalries, curses, and deadly threats abound in this horror thriller by the author of YA noir Dead to Me, but the one thing that doesn’t? Adults to keep them safe. Each of the five cabins is plagued by its own dangerous issue, and the girls will have to work together not just to solve them but to survive.
Confessions of a High School Disaster, by Emma Chastain (March 7)
A diary-style contemporary tale made crazy bingeable by way of its Austen-level observational wit, Confessions of a High School Disaster is the funniest, most painfully real high school story you’ll read this year. Over the course of 365 diary entries covering her freshman year, Chloe Snow has high highs—school play stardom! Flirtation with a sexy upperclassman!—and low lows—BFF awkwardness, sort of accidentally trying to steal the coolest girl in school’s boyfriend—all under the shadow of missing her mom, who has jetted off to Mexico to finally finish her novel. Chloe is a hilariously sharp, ridiculously relatable teen, who grows up a little bit (but not too much) during a year of disasters both comic and heart-tugging. I’ve already read her diary twice.
Done Dirt Cheap, by Sarah Nicole Lemon (March 7)
Life changed for both Tourmaline and Virginia at 15. That was when Tourmaline accidentally got her mother arrested, and earned the ire of her mother’s boyfriend, who’s out of prison and looking to track her down. That was when Virginia’s mother turned her over to the neighborhood lawyer-slash-drug dealer to earn off her debt, setting down a path for the rest of Virginia’s adolescence. And now, at 18, the two teens bond as they come together to solve the same mystery: exactly what does the motorcycle club led by Tourmaline’s father do, and why do some seriously dangerous people find that question so damn interesting? Let’s just say this isn’t your standard romance-tinged BFF YA.
Traitor to the Throne, Alwyn Hamilton (March 7)
In 2016’s Rebel of the Sands, Hamilton combined a hardbitten western setting and hardboiled narrative style with eastern myth and a restrictive, patriarchal social structure. Amani is a brilliant sharpshooter, an orphan who lives unwanted amid the casual violence of her aunt and uncle’s home. When a horrific arranged marriage looms, she realizes she can’t wait any longer to escape. She sets out with a fugitive stranger, on the back of a magical horse, to the distant promise of the capital city of Izman…but instead encounters rebellion, romance, and self-discovery in the wild expanse of the desert. In sequel Traitor, Amani is at the heart of the uprising against a brutal sultan, embedded in his palace and hungry for liberation. But not everything is as it seems, and soon she’s questioning where her loyalties should really lie.
The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco (March 7)
When Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, the dark ability marks her out as a bone witch, and a pariah. Cast out by her community, she and her brother are taken in by a more experienced bone witch who becomes Tea’s mentor, training her to take on the mantle of a “dark asha,” who can defang the demonic forces threatening their world. But power comes with a price, and Tea is asked to trade in her own life force in order to keep a world that would ostracize her safe from encroaching evil.
Seven Days of You, by Cecilia Vinesse (March 7)
It’s Sophia’s last week living in Tokyo before her mother’s job prospects carry them back to their native U.S., and she’s on a seven-day countdown of saying goodbye to all the things she loves about her expat life: the food, the glittering, kinetic city, her best friend Mika and longtime crush David. Then Jamie comes back to town just in time to crash her weeklong goodbye party—Jamie, who was once on the verge of being her favorite person. Jamie, who crushed her feelings just before he moved away back in junior high. But as Sophia’s life starts coming apart in the face of her imminent departure, she realizes she may have been wrong about him…and starts to think seven days won’t be long enough to say goodbye.
You’re Welcome Universe, by Whitney Gardner (March 7)
Gardner’s art-infused debut centers on an escalating graffiti battle between a deaf Indian teen and the unknown provocateur who keeps adding their own work to the pieces she’s spraying around town (and maybe even improving them). Since being ratted out by her supposed best friend for tagging the wall of their high school, Kingston School for the Deaf—and subsequently getting kicked out—Julia hasn’t had much use for friends. She’s attempting to fly under the radar in her new, mainstream school, but it’s hard to avoid bullies when you have an interpreter trailing you to every class. And it’s hard to avoid trouble when you’re being pulled into a street art battle you didn’t mean to start. A breezy introduction to both graffiti and deaf culture, with a heroine whose need for and love of creating is palpable.
Goodbye Days, by Jeff Zentner (March 7)
One accident. One text message. And just like that, Carver’s three best friends are dead, their car spun out of control while the driver was responding to Carver’s messages. Now the loved ones they left behind are torn: some want to see Carver fry for his role, but some want to take advantage of his closeness with the deceased and his creative brain to celebrate Goodbye Days with him—days that celebrate the boys with their favorite pastimes and allow everyone to live out the last day they had no way to know they were already spending. Will he ever bring the others around, or is he doomed to forever be blamed for the greatest loss of their lives? Morris Award nominees are always the most interesting to watch in this category, and rest assured that Zentner’s follow-up will definitely not disappoint.
The Names They Gave Us, by Emery Lord (March 7)
YA’s newest queen of simultaneously hurting your heart and opening it up to new book boyfriends is back with the story of Lucy, a girl whose faith is seriously put to the test when her mother’s cancer reappears, her boyfriend puts their relationship on hold, and her cushy summer Bible camp job turns into one caring for troubled youth instead. Lucy’s determined to make it work, though, spending Sundays with her mother, making friends with her new co-counselors, and even finding a new guy to crush on. But no matter how resilient she is, even Lucy may not be able to withstand the blow of unexpected family secrets…
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (March 7)
Sal’s life has been calm and happy thus far, despite the bumpy start at its beginning, when he lost his mother and found a loving adoptive father. But suddenly things are changing, and so is he, and he’s not sure he likes who he’s becoming. This new Sal is the violent sort of protective, taking a swing at anyone who might attack his gay dad or hurt his best friends. And his dad and best friends need him now more than ever, as they go through their own life changes. The more he learns about his dad’s sacrifices for him, the more he wonders about his place in his evolving family. Can he be the son and friend he needs to be? If you’ve already read Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, you don’t need me to tell you how lovely and gently raw his writing is. It’s a pleasure to see it again here.
Piper Perish, by Kayla Cagan (March 7)
Piper Perish wants to live and breathe art, and there’s no better place to do that than art school in New York City. But right as she’s ready to let go of the past and move onto a bright, art-star future, her life in Houston seems to be doing everything it can to hold her back. Piper faces friend drama, boy drama, and family drama in the final months of her senior year, in a book told in the form of an artist’s diary, bursting with handwritten quotes, sketches, and more.
Freya, by Matthew Laurence (March 14)
A new series starter introduces a world in which the gods live among us, growing increasingly weak as faith in them diminishes. Sara Vanadi was once known as powerful Norse goddess Freya, but now spends her days in an institution. When a corporation sniffs her out and tries to lure her into their employ with the promise of worshippers, Sara goes on the run…straight to Disney World, where she works as a park princess. And when she finally gives into the demands of Finemdi Corp., the sinister truth behind their gathering of the gods sets her on a path of opposition, with the help of fellow goddesses. This one promises to be a wild, original read.
The Heartbeats of Wing Jones, by Katherine Webber (March 14)
One of the hardest things to wrestle with is someone you love unconditionally doing a terrible thing, and that’s exactly the situation Wing is in when her brother’s drunk driving has fatal consequences. As they await the news of his fate, Wing finds the only way to escape her brother’s shadow is to do so quite literally, by taking up running. Turns out, she’s damn good at it, and as she finds a way to redefine herself with this new passion, she manages to find love and empathy in an unexpected place as well. Rife with romance, heartache, new challenges, and fabulous grandmothers who give great windows into Wing’s multicultural heritage (she’s half-Black, half-Chinese), this is a lovely debut that’s not to be missed.
These Ruthless Deeds, by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas (March 14)
In These Vicious Masks, Evelyn discovered she possesses powers of healing that everyone thought belonged to her sister. Now, still reeling from a tremendous loss, she’s on the lookout to save others with gifts from those who would exploit them, experiment on them, or worse. But when she fails during a rescue, she lands in a secret society devoted to her exact goal, and suddenly, the ills in her life seem to have been magically fixed, including her relationships with both her primary potential suitors. But nothing that seems perfect ever is, and Evelyn must find out exactly what’s going on before it’s too late. The first book in this series was so utterly fun and delightful, I can’t wait to see how this next one picks it up!
Queens of Geek, by Jen Wilde (March 14)
One of my absolute favorite subgenres is LGBTQ fandom books, and Wilde’s dual-POV contemporary is an utterly delightful addition. Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie are best friends headed to SupaCon for the first time, where vlogger Charlie is surprised to find she’s far more well known than she anticipated, even with her first movie coming out. On the downside, this means a lot of attendees are focused on her breakup with her costar, but that pales in comparison to learning whose attention she’s holding: Alyssa Huntington, the superstar vlogger she has been crushing on for ages. Charlie and Alyssa are both out and proud and afreakingdorable, and both Charlie and Taylor meeting strong, successful artists who share their marginalizations (Charlie is a bi woman of color, and Taylor is autistic) makes for some very real empowerment.
A Psalm for Lost Girls, by Katie Bayerl (March 14)
Callie’s sister, Tess, was taken away from her in life, by people who wanted to believe she could perform miracles. Now, after Tess’s death from an undiagnosed heart condition, they still want to take her and make her into something she’s not: because Tess could hear a cryptic voice, which helped her warn people away from impending disasters, the church is considering canonizing her. Before she died, a neighbor girl went missing, and the voices that spoke to Tess weren’t enough to get her back. Afterward, the girl escaped her captor and was found, alive, at one of Tess’s makeshift shrines. With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend, Callie fights to debunk this last miracle and force the world to remember her sister not as a saint but as the human she was. Instead the two find themselves tangled in a mystery with unexpectedly deep roots—as well as in a forbidden attraction.
The End of Oz, by Danielle Paige (March 14)
The last time we saw Amy Gumm, the heroine of Danielle Paige’s delightfully gritty Dorothy Must Die series, she was fighting warped tyrant Dorothy Gale’s threat against both Oz’s magic and the Kansas cornfields both girls came from. Now, in The End of Oz, Amy is en route to the strange land of Ev, ruled by the dangerous Nome King, where she may discover her ruby-slippered foe isn’t as vanquished as Amy thought.
Hunted, by Meagan Spooner (March 14)
As in the classic tale, this Beauty and the Beast retelling finds a daughter risking her life to save her father from a mysterious beast. But Spooner brings in very welcome McKinley vibes and elements of Russian folklore, in a feminist story of a young woman who must keep her family alive when their fortunes dwindle. Yeva (Beauty) spends her days hunting to survive and ducking the unwanted attentions of a suitor. But when her spiritually broken father goes missing, she sets out to hunt the beast that was his obsession—and when the two finally cross paths, the relationship that springs up between them is a complicated one, as they go from adversaries to allies to something more.
Nemesis, by Brendan Reichs (March 21)
Every two years on her birthday, Min is murdered by the same cold stranger—only to wake up unscathed, and completely alone with the dark knowledge of what happened. How this might tie in with an approaching asteroid, as well as the experiences of classmate Noah, will slowly be revealed in this high-octane series starter. Narration alternates between Min and Noah, as planetary destruction looms and Min discovers, finally, that she might not be as alone as she thought.
The Hidden Memory of Objects, by Danielle Mages Amato (March 21)
Contemporary books with a speculative element are my jam, so I knew I’d love this book, about a girl affected by the trauma of her brother’s sudden death in a wholly unexpected way: she discovers she has the ability to read memories attached to objects that were meaningful to him, from a coat button to a mysterious box found hidden among his possessions, engraved with the likeness of Abraham Lincoln. Through these objects Megan gets to know a different Tyler from the one she thought she knew—one with an angry streak and a passion for justice, and one who had heroin in his system when he died. With the help of a classmate unafraid of crazy theories and a boy whose full connection to her brother’s life remains tantalizingly unclear, Megan navigates a world of dark memories, uncovering secrets that extend back decades and putting herself at risk of getting sucked under by her increasingly powerful psychic gift.
Honestly Ben, by Bill Konigsberg (March 28)
Those who read and loved Konigsburg’s Openly Straight will recognize protagonist Ben Carver here as Rafe’s failed love interest, but he stands well on his own (as does the book) as an introverted, insular guy raised to quietly please, who’s starting to explore what made him that way and whether it’s really who he wants to be. What helps break him out of his shell is finding a new romance in Hannah, a great girl who says what’s on her mind and encourages him to do the same. Unfortunately, what’s on his mind a lot lately is Rafe, and the fact that although Ben knows his sexuality hasn’t changed, his feelings for Rafe haven’t really either. All he can do is be honest, with Hannah, with his family, with his friends, with Rafe, and, most importantly, with himself. While “gay for you” is a well-known trope in adult romance, we really haven’t seen much in YA, but I really like the way Konigsburg handles Ben’s thought process here. Potential labels aren’t ignored; they’re considered and discarded by Ben for not feeling like they truly fit. And while that may change later, YA is about right now, and so, rightfully, is Ben.
Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman (March 28)
Frances has her eyes on the prize, and nothing will get in the way of her admission to a top university. But when she learns her schoolmate Aled is the voice behind her favorite podcast, the incredible friendship and collaboration that sparks between them feels like the first real thing in her life in a long time. But Aled is also the brother of Carys, the girl Frances used to know (and like) until she disappeared, for reasons only Frances knows. And when Frances royally screws up and blows Aled’s anonymity, her only goal in the world becomes to make things right for everyone. There are so many reasons to love this book, which I suspect will feel like coming home to anyone who has ever been afraid to show their weird, but the one that’s going to make it stand out forever is the presence of a major on-page demisexual character.
Overturned, by Lamar Giles (March 28)
Nikki’s home life is irrevocably messed up by her father’s murder conviction, but as he sits on death row, she looks to the future: an escape from her hometown of Las Vegas, by way of the cash she wins playing cards. But all her plans are swept away when her father’s conviction is overturned. He reenters her life a changed man, bent on uncovering the secrets behind why he was framed for murder. Soon Nikki is caught in an increasingly dangerous web alongside her father, and risking everything to discover who landed him behind bars.
Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor (March 28)
In her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, a portal fantasy spanning Earth and the angel- and chimaera-populated land of Eretz, Taylor established her bona fides as a creator of rich, expansive worlds, author of impossible love stories, and spinner of narrative spells. In Strange the Dreamer, the first in a planned duology, she introduces a less likely hero: Lazlo Strange, an orphan-turned-librarian whose obsession with the lost city of Weep leads him, finally, to its borders. Years ago Weep’s hero, known as the Godslayer, killed the supernatural beings that held their city in thrall, but they left a dark legacy behind that he’s battling to erase. Meanwhile, a blue-skinned goddess girl and her supernaturally gifted companions walk the halls of an empty citadel, surviving on plums and rainwater. When the girl and Lazlo meet inside a dream, it’s the beginning of one of those lush, long-shot love stories Taylor excels at, from opposite sides of a seemingly unbreachable divide. TL;DR: this book is too heady and stuffed with gorgeous prose to describe in a blurb. Just read it.
A Crown of Wishes, Roshani Chokshi (March 28)
In debut The Star-Touched Queen, Chokshi introduced a world shaped by Eastern myth and rich invention, in which a princess born under ill-favored stars breaks free of her father’s control and claims her destiny in a distant supernatural kingdom. A Crown of Wishes is set in the same world, but the story belongs to Gauri, Maya’s younger sister, a warrior princess whose brother has ordered her execution following a failed uprising. Instead she escapes with the help of Vikram, a prince fighting to break free of his future as a puppet ruler. The two make their way to the Tournament of Wishes, a magical contest in a dreamlike city that can have only one winner. Crown is a celebration of myth and magic and the heady superpowers of storytelling, drenched in the same lush language that made Chokshi’s first book a must-read.
Blood Rose Rebellion, by Rosalyn Eves (March 28)
Anna has long believed herself to be “Barren,” a daughter of a powerful magical family with no magical ability of her own. But when she accidentally breaks her sister’s spellwork at her debutante showing, Anna is sent away in disgrace to live with family in Hungary. But what got her exiled may also change her life: outside the bubble of high society, she starts seeing how the real world works, and how it perceives the magical elite. She also realizes the power she inadvertently displayed is its own kind of magic, one that could change the course of her world’s history.
Dead Little Mean Girl, by Eva Darrows (March 28)
Emma hates her stepsister, Quinn, a girl with a nasty streak a mile wide who’ll take down anyone who gets in her way—the opposite of quiet loner Emma, who’s content just to chill with her video games. But then Quinn dies unexpectedly, leaving Emma in a shocking state of mourning in which she learns there was a whole lot about the girl in the room next door she never knew. Definitely looking forward to checking out the subversive author of The Awesome tackling how reliance on typical teen stereotypes will ultimately show us we don’t know jack.
What Girls Are Made Of, by Elana K. Arnold (April 1)
Nina’s mother has trained her well to know that love always comes with strings attached; anything professing to be unconditional is mere myth. But now Nina’s in love, and she’s determined to do anything possible to keep her guy. When it doesn’t work, and he breaks up with her, Nina is lost; what ever ensures love? Was her mother right that it’s never without its limits? Between her mother’s teachings of the saints who died for devotion and her volunteer work at a high-kill animal shelter, she’s getting some brutal, enlightening lessons on the subject.
Geekerella, by Ashley Poston (April 4)
Danielle, aka Elle, is an orphan, stuck with a stepmother who hates her and two stepsisters who are no better. Her only respites are her job at a vegan food truck and the love she used to share with her dad for the show Starfield, which is finally returning in movie form. But when the leading role goes to a vapid teen TV star, Elle needs more than ever to connect with true fans. One stumbles upon her via text, and as the connection between them builds, so does Elle’s determination to get herself to the fan convention her dad founded…where anything can happen, including finding love in the most unexpected place. This charming and funny twist on Cinderella is the perfect YA fandom fairytale.
Get it Together, Delilah, by Erin Gough (April 4)
I rushed to buy this book (published in Australia as The Flywheel) before I knew it was coming to the U.S., so I’m so glad to see it making its way across the Pacific. This sweet and charming romance centers around 17-year-old Delilah, who drops out of high school in response to love gone wrong and ends up forced into the position of caring for her father’s café while he’s traveling. While having a huge job at her age is chaos, the best part of the day is when she sees Rosa, the dancer across the street. But even when Rosa returns her interest, things remain complicated, as Del may be out to her family but Rosa is nowhere near ready for that.
Letters to the Lost, by Brigid Kemmerer (April 4)
Juliet’s life seems to have lost its color since her mother, a noted photojournalist, was killed in a car accident, and the only way to bring any of it back is to write her mother letters and leave them at her tombstone. But when one of those letters comes back with a reply in decidedly masculine handwriting, she’s furious someone has not only been reading her notes, but thinks they understand them. Little by little, though, it becomes clear the guy on the other end does understand the kind of loss and heartbreak she’s feeling, and the friendship they strike up through the letters they exchange becomes the most important thing in both their lives. There’s just one problem: they know each other in real life, too; they just don’t know it yet. And when they each find out the other’s identity, it might tear them apart forever. This is Kemmerer’s first contemporary after making her name in YA with the Elemental series, and fans of Katie McGarry and Trish Doller will definitely be begging her to stay.
Alex, Approximately, by Jenn Bennett (April 4)
I was a little late to Bennett’s YA debut, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, but as soon as I devoured it, I knew whatever her follow-up was, it would go right to the top of my to-read list. Bailey’s totally falling for a guy, but thus far, she only knows “Alex” online. Then she moves in with her dad, and just like that, she’s living in Alex’s town. But she can’t exactly tell him that without sounding like a creepy stalker, and she can’t exactly make a real romance happen with a guy who doesn’t even know she’s in walking distance. So maybe Bailey should just settle for Porter? Sure, he’s a pain in the butt, but she’s already stuck with him all the time, given they work at the same museum. When they both get stuck there one night, Bailey has to make a choice: reach for the dream by holding out for Alex, or suck it up for the guy who’s right in front of her? Or, you know, deal with the fact that it turns out they’re actually one and the same.
Defy the Stars, by Claudia Gray (April 4)
Noemi and Abel are on opposite sides not just of a war but of the nature of their existence: she’s a human soldier sworn to protect the people of her home planet of Genesis, and Abel is a machine, lost in space, who has started to evolve into something more. When the two are forced into an alliance, it may be the beginning of the end of interplanetary warfare. But are they willing to make the sacrifices required?
Definitions of Indefinable Things, by Whitney Taylor (April 4)
Taylor creates an unexpected love triangle with three points: Reggie, a pragmatic girl who struggles with depression and finds it’s easier to push people away than to be disappointed; Snake, the tattooed, sometimes exasperating boy who’s breaking through her defenses; and Carla, Snake’s heavily pregnant sort-of ex. Told from Reggie’s perspective, the book explores the complications of life with depression, and the complications of life, period.
Gem & Dixie, by Sara Zarr (April 4)
Gem has spent most of her life protecting her younger sister, Dixie, from the harsh realities of their home life: their father is rarely around, and their mother has no interest in mothering. But the older they get, the more Dixie pushes her intense, troubled older sister away–and the easier things seem to come for her and her sunny disposition. Then their father’s sudden, disruptive reappearance in their life sends the girls on an impromptu journey, where Gem will reevaluate the relationship she has built her life around.
The Freemason’s Daughter, by Shelley Sackier (April 11)
This historical debut follows early 18th-century Scotswoman Jenna MacDuff, who’s traveling the countryside with her clan in the guise of masons—while covertly gathering support for the exiled King James. When they cross into England, their situation rapidly becomes more dangerous. And when they find themselves enlisted to build on a duke’s estate, Jenna’s growing connection with the duke’s son must end of one two ways: with the betrayal of her clan, or her heart.
Blacksouls, by Nicole Castroman (April 11)
Anne seemed doomed to life as a maid, saving every penny with the dream of sailing to the West Indies, home of her deceased mother. Then Teach came home, with similar dreams for different reasons. Now, both of them are living out their plans of sailing on the Caribbean, but while Anne’s fearing the danger of Spanish attacks, Teach is leading a mutiny to stop them—and even landing safely at the port of Nassau doesn’t mean the threats are over. In fact, for Teach, they might only be beginning. But for readers, it’s a great next phase in this Blackbeard origin story that began in 2016 with Blackhearts.
The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli (April 11)
Molly’s lack of a love life is not for lack of imagination. She’s got crushes; it’s reciprocity that’s the problem. But never has she felt it so starkly as she is right now, watching her twin, Cassie, fall head over heels for a new girl. Cassie does her best not to leave Molly in the dust, pairing her up with a cuter guy than Molly ever dreamed of having. For the first time in her life, Molly has a chance to “catch up” to the romances around her…so why is she stuck thinking about the guy who fits in even worse than she does? I have never in my life fallen so hard, so fast for an entire cast of characters as I did while reading Albertalli’s sophomore novel, and I can’t watch to watch this book become a massive teen favorite.
Fireworks, by Katie Cotugno (April 11)
Katie Cotugno is one of my favorite instabuy authors, because she always brings something unique and nuanced to the YA moral complexity playground. With her third novel, Cotugno pulls us
back into the 90s at the height of boy-band fandom, for a fabulous BFF contemp that reads like being backstage at American Idol. Dana’s only supposed to be keeping Olivia company at her girl-band audition; everyone knows her best friend’s the one with the singing chops. But when both of them get selected for stardom, it becomes increasingly clear there’s only room for one onstage. And if they can’t be buddies in the spotlight, can they stay buddies when they’re out of it?
Given to the Sea, by Mindy McGinnis (April 11)
McGinnis envisions a world threatened by an impending tidal wave, that can be held back only by the ritualistic death of a young woman born to make that sacrifice. Khosa knows she must give up her life to save the kingdom of Stille, but can’t bear the physical costs of first producing an heir. As the sea rises, the world order the kingdom rests on is changing: magic recedes, an army goes on the march, and a young man in line for the throne questions his royal duty in the face of unexpected love.
Spindle Fire, by Lexa Hillyer (April 11)
Two heroines are at the center of Hillyer’s Sleeping Beauty retelling, royal half-sisters who’ve each lost something to the brutal fae who tithe things from the humans under their sway: Isabelle, the king’s bastard daughter, has lost her sight, and Aurora, his daughter by the queen, lost both her sense of touch and her voice. Aurora is set to be married to the prince of a neighboring kingdom, to unite the two forces against the perils of faerie magic. But when Aurora’s betrothed is killed, and Isabelle faces banishment to a convent, the sisters find their story transforming in ways they never dreamed.
Literally, by Lucy Keating (April 11)
Annabelle’s life has always been pretty sweet, which kinda makes sense…when she learns she’s a fictional heroine created by bestselling YA author Lucy Keating. But Annabelle doesn’t want a life that has already been planned out; she wants to get free of Lucy’s pen and make her own destiny. But how does a girl who has only just learned she’s someone else’s creation take control of her own life? Having loved the movie Stranger Than Fiction, I am definitely excited to see how the premise translates in YA, and if anyone can rock a cool and meta storyline, it’s the author of Dreamology!
Duels & Deception, by Cindy Anstey (April 11)
In this Regency romance, Lydia Whitfield, a young woman of good breeding tasked with running her inherited estate, is happy to toe the line. But her plans go awry when, in the midst of planning her advantageous future marriage with the help of law clerk Robert Newton, the two are kidnapped at the behest of whoever is after her estate. As Lydia and Robert fight to right the wrong and keep her reputation intact, they start developing feelings for each other, that may lay all her best-laid plans to waste.
Bang, by Barry Lyga (April 18)
Sebastian has lived his whole life under the shadow of something he did when he was too little to understand it: he shot and killed his baby sister with his father’s unsupervised gun. His guilt and shame since then has only grown, and finally come to a head one summer. With his best friend away and nothing but a burgeoning friendship with a girl named Aneesa to keep his thoughts from growing dark, he starts to believe there’s only one way to move on from his polluted past: with another gunshot.
Legion, by Julie Kagawa (April 25)
In Soldier, book three in Kagawa’s Talon series, dragon Ember Hill chose risk over safety, rejecting membership in Talon, an organization of dragons embedded in the modern world who hide behind human faces. It was a decision that estranged her from her twin brother, a Talon adherent, and aligned her instead with a group of rogue dragons. Now, in Legion, she knows more than ever about the dark truths behind Talon—and as the day of their planned attack on the human world draws closer, she must stand strong in opposing all that she loves, and all she once thought she knew, to do right.
Between Two Skies, by Joanne O’Sullivan (April 25)
Expert fisherman Evangeline loves the quiet rhythms of life in her tiny Louisiana hometown, Bayou Perdu, far from the beating heart of New Orleans. Then Hurricane Katrina comes, and the rising waters wash her way of life away. In the difficult aftermath of disaster she meets fellow refugee Tru, who both understands her pain and may help her to heal.
The Edge of the Abyss, by Emily Skrutskie (April 18)
One of my absolute favorites of 2016 picks back up three weeks after Cassandra returned to the pirate queen, Santa Elena, and pledged her allegiance, even though it meant letting go of the last thing she held dear and working alongside Swift, the girl who captured her heart and then betrayed her. But as a trainer of the enormous sea monsters called reckoners, Cas has even more work cut out for her than she expected when it’s revealed she’s not the only one who has let one free. While fighting the reckoners means saving the seas, it also means attacking the very creatures she used to train and love. Just how ruthless can she really be?
Meg & Linus, by Hanna Nowinski (April 18)
Fans of the BFF dual-POV dynamic in last year’s You Know Me Well would do well to check out Nowinski’s debut, which alternates between the perspectives of passionate, anxious, chubby gay nerd Linus, who has a desperate crush on barista Danny, and his similarly nerdy and theater-loving best friend, Meg, recently dumped by her long-term girlfriend. Linus’s fear of approaching Danny makes for the perfect distraction project for Meg, and Linus has his own secrets to keep when Meg’s ex starts contact him, fearing she made a mistake. Cuteness abounds as the BFFs trip over themselves trying to make the best choices to keep the other one happy.
The Adjustment, by Suzanne Young (April 18)
In the world of Young’s the Program series, teens displaying dangerously volatile emotions may be subject to a program that removes them, in the face of a suicide epidemic. In The Adjustment, Tatum is sure her boyfriend, Weston’s, memories of their love will survive his stint in the Program—and even when they don’t, she refuses to give up on him. Then they learn of a new path: through a procedure known as the Adjustment, she can donate to him her own memories of their time together. But memory is a tricky thing, and these implants may be an even greater threat to Weston than forgetting.
North of Happy, by Adi Alsaid (April 25)
Carlos is a rule follower with a passion for cooking and a life path that has already been laid out for him, which he’s more than happy to follow. Until his brother is killed in a tragic accident, and Carlos starts hearing his voice guiding him to live the life less traveled. A dual citizen, Carlos runs away across the Mexican border to start a new life in the U.S. under the tutelage of his dream chef to the stars. But a little too much happiness throws everything into upheaval, and Carlos has to find the right middle ground of who he’s gonna be from here on out.
The Wonder of Us, by Kim Culbertson (April 25)
Riya and Abby are childhood best friends who’ve been torn apart by distance, and as determined as they were not to let the Atlantic get between them figuratively as well as literally, it may have proven to be too much for them to handle. But Riya has a plan to fix them: a six-week adventure around Europe. But what kind of BFF trip can you have when you haven’t spoken in weeks, and there are still so many things left you couldn’t say if you were?
Looking for Group, by Rory Harrison (April 25)
Dylan may be in remission, but his anxiety and dependence on painkillers didn’t automatically disappear along with his cancer, and recovery didn’t magically improve his relationship with his neglectful mother, either. The one thing Dylan’s been able to depend on is gaming, so what better way to escape from his life for a while than with a quest? And of course, he can’t complete the quest alone, which leads him to pick up Arden, who’s also struggling at home, thanks to her absent mother and transphobic father. As Dylan and Arden cross the country, the journey to the sea becomes a quest for all the things they’ve failed to find at home but warmly embrace in each other. Harrison manages to mesh gaming and road tripping into a warm, hopeful love story with a friendship that inspires the knowledge there are people out there to fill all your missing pieces.
Lucky Girl, by Amanda Maciel (April 25)
Rosie’s the prettiest girl at school, but this year, she’s determined to be more, especially when her best friend, Maddy, returns from a summer abroad and isn’t looking too shabby herself. Thankfully, Alex, the new guy she’s interested in, seems to reciprocate for reasons that go beyond her attractiveness, leaving her feeling just fine that her ex is now with Maddy instead. But when said ex shoves himself back in the picture and rips Rosie and Maddy apart, she’ll have to face a lot of hard truths to keep it together with Alex, repair her fractured relationship with her best friend, and deal with a hurt she never expected. Having been a big fan of Maciel’s Tease, I anxiously await more exploration of high school’s dark side as it revolves around teenage girldom.
Sucktown, Alaska, by Craig Dirkes (May 1)
Confession: any YA set in Alaska automatically jumps onto my to-read list. This one stars Eddie, an 18-year-old boy who’s looking for an adventure and a second chance, and finds potential for both in remote Kusko, Alaska, where he has secured a job as a journalist. But when his new home doesn’t quite live up to expectations, Eddie gets even more desperate to get out than he’d been to get in. Too bad he can’t afford to leave. At least not without getting up to some serious no-good to buy his way out…
Girl Out of Water, by Laura Silverman (May 1)
Anise can’t wait for summer with her friends, their final one spent surfing together before their lives begin splitting off for good. Then her aunt’s accident forces Anise’s father to move to Nebraska for the summer to care for her kids, bringing Anise with him, no matter what she wants. But leaving surfing, her best friends, and the guy who was maybe turning into more than a friend turns out not to be so bad when she replaces them with skateboarding, bonding with family, and Lincoln, a hot boarder who easily steals her heart. The girl has definitely been taken out of Santa Cruz, but how much of Santa Cruz has been taken out of the girl?
Avenged, by Amy Tintera (May 2)
Emelina Flores’s mission to rescue her sister, Olivia, was successful in trilogy starter Ruined, and now the two of them have returned to Ruina together to restore their home to its former glory. But rebuilding isn’t Olivia’s only mission; her capture by Lera has left her wanting total destruction against anyone who makes a move against them. Em isn’t feeling quite as bloodlusty—not since she spent actual time in Lera, posing as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in an effort to free her sister. She doesn’t want to destroy Cas or his people, but is that because she truly believes peace is attainable? Or because she left her heart behind in Lera’s throne room? And if she can’t make Olivia see reason, will betraying the sister she risked her life to save be her only option?
Say No to the Bro, by Kat Helgeson (May 2)
Ava’s not looking to rock any boats at her new school; all she wants is to get through senior year with no complications. But then she’s drafted into the Prom Bowl, which means not only competing in challenges along with other senior girls, but getting auctioned off as a prom date. Luckily, Ava has found a buddy in the school’s star quarterback, and together, they team up to free her from the competition. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go any more smoothly, and the Prom Bowl itself is turning into a dangerous disaster. Ava and Mark know they have to shut it all down for good, but whether they can come out of that unscathed is anybody’s guess. Even if this weren’t my favorite title of the year (but seriously, how great is it?) I’d be psyched for this one; it may be Helgeson’s sophomore novel, but with her having shared a byline with Hannah Moskowitz on the fab Gena/Finn, I look forward to checking out her first solo project!
A Court of Wings and Ruin (Court of Thorns and Roses #3), by Sarah J. Maas (May 2)
In 2015 series starter A Court of Thorns and Roses, a huntress trying to feed her starving family becomes key to saving the faerie realm of Prythian. After Feyre kills a wolflike beast in the woods bordering Prythian and the human world, a frightening fae comes to collect: her life for the life she took. But living with gorgeous faerie lord Tamlin isn’t the doom she thought it would be—nor is Prythian as settled as she once believed. In follow-up A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre is more powerful than ever, but has sacrificed much to return to the Spring Court. The dark deal she made with the Night Court still hangs over her head, and the safety of herself, her love, and her two-realm world are far from secure. In A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre must navigate the changeable High Lords of Prythian, under the shadow of approaching war.
How to Make a Wish, by Ashley Herring Blake (May 2)
Grace just wants some semblance of permanence in her life, and that’s something she knows she’ll never be able to expect from her mother, Maggie, especially when Maggie moves them in with Grace’s ex. But then she meets Eva, new to town and living with Grace’s best friend, and grieving the loss of her own mother. Eva too needs something to hold onto, and as chemistry flares between the two girls, they may have finally found what they were looking for. But romance enough isn’t quite enough for Eva, who knows what it is to have a loving, dependable mother in a way Grace never has. And when Maggie seems to offer that to her, Grace doesn’t know how to make Eva understand that Maggie’s nothing but false promises, especially when she seems to do a better job mothering Grace’s new girlfriend than she ever did with Grace. And if there’s one person Grace is sick of fighting for control over her own happiness, it’s her mother. This is a gorgeous and moving novel of love, connection, romance, mother-daughter relationships, and the way pain inextricably links them all.
Noteworthy, by Riley Redgate (May 2)
When Jordan learns it’s her vocal range that has been keeping her from getting roles at her performing arts high school, it’s impossible to resist trying her hand at open auditions for the most prestigious all-boys’ a capella group in the school. But she doesn’t expect to fall deeply in love with the experience of being in the Sharpshooters, or for the guys to feel like the family she’s desperately been seeking as financial issues tear her real one apart 3,000 miles away. The closer she gets with the others, the worse her lies feel, especially when they get entangled with her figuring out her bisexuality. But with a life-changing competition on the horizon, she can’t afford to lose the Sharps, and they can’t afford to lose her, either. Fans of Redgate’s Seven Ways We Lie won’t be remotely surprised to see how much she handles here, from feminism and toxic masculinity to intersectionality and gender identity, or how entertainingly she does it.
And We’re Off, by Dana Schwartz (May 2)
Being an artist is in Nora’s blood. It’s a talent her grandfather not only passed down but is more than happy to nurture, to the tune of an all expenses paid trip to Europe. There’s only one condition: Nora has to send him an original piece of artwork at every stop. Not exactly a catch when you’re dying to paint across Europe! But Nora’s mother isn’t quite as excited as her daughter, and is afraid of how the trip might derail her future. After weeks of fighting, the time to leave has arrived, but things don’t go down quite as Nora planned. Because her beautiful, dreamy, artistic solo trip across Europe? Suddenly isn’t quite so solo anymore.
The Pearl Thief, by Elizabeth Wein (May 2)
Code Name Verity prequel? CODE NAME VERITY PREQUEL! In this long-awaited companion to the bestselling, beloved World War II–set heartbreaker that introduced friend duo for the ages Maddie and Queenie, we get to know Queenie—aka Julie—before she became a spy. Julie wakes up in the hospital, her body and her memory broken. Figuring out what happened to land her there becomes her burning quest, as she befriends the Scottish boy who found her after she was hurt, gets to know his family and the bigotry they face, and untangles the way her own injuries connect with the disappearance of one of her father’s employees.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean, by Jenny Han (May 2)
Han’s New York Times-bestselling trilogy comes to a close with the final chapter of Lara Jean Covey’s romantic saga. She’s finally blissful and boyfriended for her senior year of high school, not to mention watching her dad get remarried and her sister coming home for the occasion. But senior year is a tricky time, especially for a girl in a relationship, and Lara Jean’s got choices to make—about college, her love life, and her future.
Windfall, by Jennifer E. Smith (May 2)
A momentous lottery ticket changes everything in this tale of two friends who bonded over loss…and might be blown apart by an unexpected win. Alice has long known she’s in love with her best friend, Teddy, and it seems like he might finally be wising up to it. Then she buys him an 18th-birthday lottery ticket, and the impossible happens: he wins. Now he’s $140 million richer, and everything is changing. As the distance between them grows, Alice starts to wish he’d never won at all.
The Duke of Bannerman Prep, by Katie A. Nelson (May 2)
In a contemporary take on The Great Gatsby, quietly observant outsider Nick Carraway is reimagined as Tanner McKay, a scholarship student whose presence at Bannerman Prep is thanks entirely to his debate-team prowess. He’s ready to keep his head down and ride his good fortune straight into Stanford, until he’s partnered for debate with infamous party boy Duke. At first Tanner is turned off by his partner’s unwillingness to work—but soon he’s pulled in by Duke’s glittering, easy-come world. Until he learns the ground under Duke’s feet might be as shaky as it is beneath his own.
The One Memory of Flora Banks, by Emily Barr (May 2)
Flora Banks has one new memory: of kissing a boy on a beach (a boy she shouldn’t have kissed). That kiss blows up her life, first alienating her from her best and only friend (the boy was her boyfriend), then breaking the rule that runs her existence: the rule that says Flora can’t remember anything that happens to her. A childhood tumor removal at age 10 left her unable to make new memories, and she lives a small life under her parents’ care. But the fact that a new memory has hardened in her mind makes Flora certain her life is about to change—and that the boy she kissed is the key. She sets off on a dangerous journey to reunite with him in the distant land he traveled to, blowing up everything she thought she knew about her life along the way.
Kill all Happies, by Rachel Cohn (May 2)
In honor of both graduation and the impending bankruptcy of beloved town restaurant—and sole remaining tourist attraction—Happies, Vic Navarro is throwing the party to end all parties. All she needs to do is ensure her town’s vindictive councilwoman stays away, and she’ll be on the fast track to an unforgettable night of fun with her friends, and finally kissing her crush. Then Happies fans crash the party, and all her plans explode—and suddenly, on graduation night, it feels like anything can happen.
Dreamfall, by Amy Plum (May 2)
Seven teens taking part in a radical treatment for insomnia find themselves trapped in a subconscious hellscape when the treatment machines go on the fritz. Unable to recall how they got there, the teens navigate a psychological otherworld populated by their own nightmares. Their only hope of escape? Working together to vanquish their most secret fears.
The Black Witch, by Laurie Forest (May 2)
Elloren is the granddaughter of the last in the line of Black Witches, women who beat back the great evil encroaching on their people. While her grandmother was a hero, Elloren herself has no magical talent. She’s happy instead to pursue her dream of becoming an apothecary, heading to Verpax University to begin her studies. But among her fellow students are a winged race in sworn opposition to her grandmother’s family line, and Elloren learns that being unmagical doesn’t mean she has nothing to fear.
Brave New Girl, by Rachel Vincent (May 9)
Dahlia 16 is just one of five thousand, a girl with the same face and genome as other girls all over her city. She’s not made to think or stand out—but meeting Trigger 17 makes her do both. His attraction to her means she’s marked with a fatal flaw: girls like her should’t be noticed, nor should they notice back. Stepping out of line will mark her and the rest of her kind for destruction, but taking a step toward claiming her own story just might be worth it.
That Thing We Call a Heart, by Sheba Karim (May 9)
After getting into a fight with her best friend, Farah, Shabnam Qureshi makes some bad life choices that set her up for a totally boring and isolated summer. Then she meets Jamie, who’s working at his aunt’s pie shack and finds Shabnam totally entrancing. But Farah isn’t quite as enamored with Jamie as Shabnam is, and together, the two of them dig a little deeper not just into him but into her family’s past, specifically what happened to them during the Partition of India in 1947. Now Shabnam wants nothing more than the rebuild the relationships she’s wrecked, and to figure out who she truly is and what she wants.
Dear Reader, by Mary O’Connell (May 9)
English teacher Miss Sweeney is bookish Flannery Fields’ favorite thing about life at Sacred Heart High School. So when the woman goes missing, leaving her purse behind, Flannery is on the case. Inside the purse is her only clue as to her teacher’s whereabouts, the supernatural item that tips this book into the realm of fantasy: a copy of Wuthering Heights, whose original text has been replaced by a diary account of Miss Sweeney’s spontaneous escape to New York City, where, off her medication and increasingly unwell, she searches for her recently deceased former love. Flannery follows her to Manhattan, then is led on a chase around the city, accompanied by a very interesting boy and the constantly updating diary. This genre-bender features lit-up language and a story unlike any I’ve read.
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, by Misa Sugiura (May 9)
Sana’s got a whole lot of secrets, and they’re starting to pile up into more than she can handle. So when her family moves to California and she develops a crush on the beautiful Jamie, she wonders if maybe it’s not time to start letting them go…at least the one that reveals she likes girls. But life is getting increasingly complicated, and with her friends not liking Jamie’s, Jamie’s friends not liking her, a guy very much liking her, and her dad’s affair threatening to bust out of its own secret zone, Sana’s maybe got enough on her plate. How much room is there for her own honest happiness in a world that seems destined to keep her from having any? This is one of my most anticipated books in the history of ever, not least because it’s an ultra, ultra rare f/f YA with an interracial romance that involves no white girls. Is it May yet??
Ramona Blue, by Julie Murphy (May 9)
Ramona has always been able to see her entire future with clarity: stay in Eulogy with her sister, Hattie, forever; go straight from high school to working full time as a waitress; and end up with a nice, cute girl. That’s what happens when you live in a part of Mississippi that never quite recovered from Katrina, where everyone in your family struggles to make ends meet, you’ve been out as a lesbian since freshman year of high school, and your sister gets knocked up by a guy who’s so clearly not a long-term prospect, no matter how much he’s hanging around now. But when her childhood friend Freddie returns to town just as Ramona’s dealing with the tail end of a summer romance that may or may not be over, he’s exactly the companionship she needs. Now she’s swimming again, and learning it might give her a future she’d never thought possible—and speaking of things she never thought possible, how on earth does she find herself having feelings for Freddie she has never had for a guy in her entire life? Murphy does a beautiful job depicting small-town southern life without ever denigrating it, and of flipping the “gay for you” trope and all the identity considerations that come with it on its head, in this touching, nuanced book about cracking through the glass cages we force ourselves into.
Grace and the Fever, by Zan Romanoff (May 16)
A fangirl from way back is forced to confront the reality behind the image in Romanoff’s perfectly titled sophomore novel. Grace is the only one of her friends who never got over tween heartthrob boy band Fever Dream, and only her community of fellow online fans knows the truth about her. Then a chance meeting with band member Jes turns, impossibly, into an IRL romance, in a book that sounds kinda sweet, kinda dark, and eminently pre-order-worthy.
Grit, by Gillian French (May 16)
Darcy’s a girl with a bad reputation, in a town too small to outrun it. Painted through the magic of gender double standards as the town “slut,” the whispers behind her back only get louder when her best friend goes missing. But there’s more to Darcy than meets the eye, and sometimes acting out is the only way she can suppress the pain of her friend’s disappearance, and the nightmare of what happened to her on a life-changing Fourth of July.
Seeking Mansfield, by Kate Watson (May 16)
This Mansfield Park update reimagines Austen’s shy, displaced Fanny Price as orphaned Finley, whose godparents take her in after her parents’ death. She finds solace in friendship with their son Oliver, and in performing—if only she were brave enough to audition for the Mansfield Theater. Then the arrival in the neighborhood of young movie star siblings Emma and Harlan changes everything: suddenly Emma is gunning for Oliver, and Harlan—could it be?—seems to care for Finley. Though she’s drawn to him, she can’t help but feel he’s not her destiny…and that it’s time to fight for what is.
Thick as Thieves, by Megan Whalen Turner (May 16)
The bookternet about lost its mind with the announcement of this forthcoming fantasy novel, the fifth set in the world of Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. It arrives 21 years after the series kicked off with The Thief, and centers on ambitious secretary and slave Kamet. Despite his humble beginnings, he’s sure he’s on a path to power—until he receives a warning that immediately changes the course of his life.
Seeker (Riders #2), by Veronica Rossi (May 16)
In series starter Riders, aspiring U.S. army ranger Gideon Blake has a fatal freak accident…and is resurrected, with a confining bracelet on his arm, a mystical healing ability, and a whole new identity: he has become the physical embodiment of War, joining Famine, Death, and Conquest to make up the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In follow-up Seeker, Daryn is a teen whose strange visions presaged her transformation into a Seeker, capable of helping people with her gift of seeing the future. But after she inadvertently banishes a young man to a dark, demon-plagued dimension, she knows it’s up to her to lead the riders to his rescue, no matter how high the cost.
A Million Junes, by Emily Henry (May 16)
The O’Donnells and the Angerts have been at war forever, and June has never cared that she doesn’t really know why; as an O’Donnell, hating the Angerts is just in her blood. But when the prodigal Angert son, Saul, returns, June is shocked to discover that though he may be a jerk, and the enemy, she’s…not quite as repulsed by him as she wants and needs to be. But are the curses that run through their bloodlines destined to keep their families enemies forever, no matter how desperately they want the feud to end? Or does learning the truth behind what tore their families apart mean they can finally bury the hatchet for good? Henry’s gorgeous writing prowess was on full display in The Love That Split the World, and if cursed bloodlines and forbidden love don’t promise more literary beauty, what does??
Love Interest, by Cale Dietrich (May 16)
In the secret teen spy group the Love Interests, Caden is a Nice, the kind of guy you get close to and tell all your secrets to because you know you can trust the boy next door. Dylan is a Bad, and, well, we’ve all seen the powers of persuasion those guys can have, even when you should know better. Each one has a responsibility to lure in a girl important to their agency’s investigation, and it’s a fight to the death in the truest sense: whoever she doesn’t pick as her life partner bites the bullet. But what if neither one wants the prize at hand? What if they’re too preoccupied…wanting each other? Basically, this is the cutest premise ever, guaranteed to be the most charming spy novel YA has ever seen.
Flame in the Mist, by Renée Ahdieh (May 16)
Mariko may be a gifted alchemist, but she’s also a dutiful daughter in Feudal Japan, where the expected extent of a girl’s ambitions is an advantageous marriage, not a future of her choosing. Her samurai father pushes her into a match with a man whose relation to the Emperor will raise Mariko’s entire family’s position, but on the way to fulfilling her duty Mariko’s party is set on by murderous bandits. When she learns they were contracted to kill her, she disguises herself as a boy and attempts to embed in their ranks. Instead she’s taken as a prisoner to their leader and his right-hand man, kicking off a dangerous and deepening relationship with two men who believe her to be the boy she’s masquerading as, and whose confidences will change her life.
The Crown’s Fate, by Evelyn Skye (May 16)
The Crown’s Game saw Vika and Nikolai competing for the honor of being the tsar’s enchanter, and now that Vika has walked away with the prize, she sees just how dangerous her new role really is. Meanwhile, Nikolai has escaped the death to which the competition’s loser is sentenced, but the shadow world he’s stuck in is no substitute for the beautiful and magical world outside. And all the while, Pasha—heir to the throne and Nikolai’s best friend—is fighting his own battles to keep his title, defeat a new challenger that would take his seat, and protect his kingdom from the growing threat of dark magic.
Dove Alight, by Karen Bao (May 23)
Sci-fi lovers, the wait is nearly over for the conclusion to the Dove Chronicles, which sees good girl turned rebellious fugitive Phaet now leading a revolution. She and the Earthbound are set on recapturing the moon from those who’ve held it prisoner for decades, but the casualties of war are rising—possibly too high for someone with siblings and a boyfriend she loves in the mix to withstand. She has already lost her mother; will she have to lose someone else near and dear to win?
Lord of Shadows, by Cassandra Clare (May 23)
Clare kicked off her hotly anticipated new Dark Artifices series, set in the world of the Mortal Instruments, with Lady Midnight, centering on the Los Angeles Shadowhunters and bringing in characters old and new. Bound Nephilim warriors Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, grieving the tragedies of their pasts, navigated both new supernatural challenges and old grudges in a deadly, alluring world readers were itching to return to. In Lord of Shadows, Emma has finally gotten the revenge she hungered for, but finds it hasn’t brought her closure. She turns to a relationship with Julian’s brother, Mark, a former faerie prisoner who may be even more changed than she realizes. In the meantime, relations with the Unseelie court are increasingly uneasy, and the hard-won peace threatens to tip into war.
In a Perfect World, by Trish Doller (May 23)
Ever since her debut, Something Like Normal, Doller has been a personal fav. Everything she writes jumps onto my to-read list, and her newest is no exception. Caroline’s summer is thrown into upheaval when her mother opens an eye clinic in Egypt, taking her family from Ohio to North Africa in a heartbeat. Caroline’s dreading spending her summer and beyond surrounded by the unfamiliar, but what she doesn’t expect is to fall in love with her new home, and a wonderful new guy in it.
House of Furies, by Madeleine Roux (May 28)
Louisa believes she has escaped the worst life has to throw at her when she leaves a punitive boarding school for the relative comforts of Coldthistle House, where she has found employment as a maid. But there’s something darker at play in Mr. Morningside’s boarding school, where the guests get something different from the rest they’re paying for. When one of the guests faces a fate Louisa is certain he doesn’t deserve, she must fight to save him from the house’s dark justice. Like Roux’s Asylum series, this series starter features creepy images, including illustrations and photo collages.
When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon (May 30)
This book is a hug you can carry, but it’s also a smart exploration of how hard it can be to hold onto who you are and what you want if you dare to let someone else in. Dimple is a hardheaded coder who dreams of making life-saving apps and fights hard against her traditional Indian mother’s expectations (makeup, marriage, mini-Dimples). Rishi is a born romantic, deeply respectful of tradition and his parents’ wishes and sacrifice. The two first-generation Americans meet at Insomnia Con, a coders’ paradise where Dimple hopes to win the grand prize and Rishi hopes to win Dimple, whose parents have failed to reveal they sent her to the con in order to throw her together with their friend’s son. Despite herself, Dimple finds herself falling for Rishi, and the two must navigate parental hopes, the even heavier burden of self-expectations, and nefarious fellow con attendees on their way to a Bollywood-worthy romance (complete with a Bollywood dance number).
Dark Breaks the Dawn, by Sara B. Larson (May 30)
Larson kicks off her new duology, a reimagining of Swan Lake, with a tale of magic dark and light. Having just turned 18, Princess Evalayn of the Light Kingdom can finally wield the full complement of her magical powers. But with her mother away at war and the king of the Dark Kingdom plotting to overthrow Light rule and bring both kingdoms under his command, she’ll have to make new allies and come into her shapeshifting ability before she loses everything.
One of Us Is Lying, by Karen McManus (May 30)
When Simon, the widely feared and detested creator of a savage gossip app, dies while serving detention, the police quickly classify it a homicide…and the four teens who served detention alongside him are all suspects. Each had a reason to fear Simon, as each had a starring role in the app update he was planning to run the day after he died. Each survivor takes turns narrating in a twisty, breakneck ride toward determining whether it’s all a big setup–or whether one of them is a killler.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo (May 30)
Desi has mastered a lot in her academic and intellectual life, but her impressive skill set doesn’t quite extend to romance. More specifically, she has never had a boyfriend, and if you’ve ever seen her try to flirt, you’ll understand why. But Desi’s ready for a change, and she knows the perfect source for her education: K-Dramas! If the heroines in her father’s favorite TV shows can find love, so can she, right? But reality isn’t exactly like it appears onscreen, and Desi has a lot to learn about life, love, and the art of pursuit. If there’s anyone I trust to rock this premise with a whole lot of heart and humor, it’s the author of Since You Asked.
Eliza and Her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia (May 30)
Eliza is as awkward as they come IRL, but online, she’s a borderline celeb as LadyConstellation, creator of a hugely popular webcomic. She’s fine with her social divide exactly how it is, until Wallace transfers to her school, and makes her consider whether an offline social life might have perks of its own. But Wallace has no idea he’s one of Eliza’s fans; he thinks their love of Monstrous Sea is just something they have in common. And when the truth comes out about her identity, she might lose everything on both sides of the screen. This is definitely one of my most anticipated books of the year, not just because I love web-centric plotlines, but because Made You Up had me so hooked, it was proof “unputdownable” needs to be added to the dictionary ASAP.
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index, by Julie Israel (May 30)
The death of Juniper’s older sister is still fresh when Juniper discovers the intriguing letter she left behind: a breakup letter to a mysterious recipient referred to only as “You,” written on the day Camille died. Juniper devotes herself to discovering the intended recipient and delivering the letter, but what she finds instead is a whole host of revelations about who her sister was, a web of discoveries that might just help her move on from the darkest days of her grief.
Royal Bastards, by Andrew Shvarts (June 6)
Is it too early to say that this is guaranteed to be one of my favorite YA fantasies of the year? Whatever, this debut was far too delightful and adventurous for me to care. It stars Tilla, the illegitimate daughter of Lord Kent and one of the province’s royal bastards—the very same royal bastards Princess Lyriana chooses to sit with when she and her uncle, the royal archmagus, comes to visit. Little does anyone know that that choice will save her life when rebellion comes, with Lord Kent at the helm. Now none of them are safe from the forces determined to topple the monarchy…even though those forces are their own families.
Dramatically Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira (June 6)
After watching her best friend land a guy in Bookishly Ever After, Em Katsaros is flailing. It’s senior year, her exchange-student boyfriend is gone, and her dad just got laid off, which means if she doesn’t get a scholarship, she can say goodbye to her first-choice school. Her best shot is winning a speech competition that’ll land her the money she needs, but when she learns her despicable, irritating classmate Kris will be attending the finals in Boston as well, it takes a whole bunch of the wind out of her sails. But on the trip, Kris is…not a complete jerk. Not that Em’s fooled; she knows this is exactly how he operates, and she’s not going to let his charm get in the way of her victory. Instead, she’ll use his weapon right back on him, and see how he functions with a massive flirt getting up in his brain. After all, Em’s an acting pro; she’d never get confused between drama and reality, especially with her eyes on the prize…right?
Perfect 10, by L. Philips (June 6)
I know what you’re wondering: can any book possibly be as cute as this one looks? And I am delighted to report that yes, in fact, this book is afreakingdorable, and the best part is that it does it without predictability or sappiness. In fact, my favorite part of this debut about a guy who’s finally looking for love a couple of years after his way-too-intense first love fell apart (who then finds a whole lot of options after his Wiccan BFF talks him into a love spell) is how realistically it explores being a teen who knows he’s not ready for a happily ever after. Even better, it’s a great exploration specifically of being a queer teen who actually has options, and the challenge of monogamy when you’ve never really had guys to choose from before. Buy it for the adorable cover; read it over and over again for the realness.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy, by Kathryn Ormsbee (June 6)
Tash is used to her corner of the internet being a quiet one, until her web series blows up thanks to a superstar blogger and she suddenly becomes a viral sensation. She’s cool with most of the things that come with stardom, including the tens of thousands of fans who now regularly tune into her Anna Karenina–themed series…and the cyber-flirting she’s got goin’ on with a guy who’s nominated for the same prestigious award she is. But while the work of her heart is out there in the world, the fact that she’s a romantic asexual isn’t. In the midst of figuring out how to handle all her newfound fame, how does Tash go about revealing the rest of herself to the people (or at least the one person) who matter? I’m pretty sure my entire corner of the internet squealed aloud the day this book was announced with the word “asexual” right there in the blurb, which just might be a first for YA from a mainstream publisher. But is the book as awesome as the milestone? Sources say “Oh God yes I can’t believe you haven’t read it get yourself a copy RIGHT NOW,” so, probably!
The Possible, by Tara Altebrando (June 6)
Kaylee Novell lives a pretty normal life, playing softball, crushing on another girl’s boyfriend, hanging out with her best friend. Except she used to be Kaylee Bryar, and her past life has just come calling. When Kaylee was four, her mother, Crystal, an alleged telekinetic whose abilities had been debunked, went to prison for life for the killing of Kaylee’s brother. But she has always maintained her innocence, and now a podcast producer has set her sights on telling Crystal’s story. In deciding whether to help her, Kaylee must decide also whether to invite her mother and her dark legacy back into her life–and to accept the possibility that she, too, might have impossible powers.
Song of the Current, by Sarah Tolcser (June 6)
Tolcser’s debut, set in a watery world of nature gods, royal intrigue, and the river-faring life, is a good old-fashioned (irresistible) fantasy adventure. Caro is a wherryman’s daughter, sailing up and down the river delivering goods, with a side of smuggling. But when she’s blackmailed into making a dangerous run without her father, who will be held in prison until her return, it makes her life a lot more complicated—and her horizons a lot bigger. The world building is delicately done, weaving a slow, convincing spell, and life on Caro’s wherry is rich with sharp detail and an undertone of magic. The combative relationship between her and her unwanted cargo, an alleged courier with a secret, shades satisfyingly into something richer. And all along there’s the tingling sense of something more under the surface of her life: like the wherries’ river god, speaking to his chosen people from beneath the water, there’s something bubbling up in Caro, a mystery that starts with strange dreams and hints at a bigger magical destiny to come. This is second-world fantasy you won’t want to miss.
Once and for All, by Sarah Dessen (June 6)
As the daughter of a celebrated wedding planner, Louna knows what happy ever after is supposed to look like—she’s just not sure she believes in it. Her own first love story ended badly, and she’s determined not to go through that again, especially when the latest boy to show interest, Ambrose, has a serial dating history. But Ambrose is sure he and Louna are meant to be, and now he wants to convince her to see it.
Midnight at the Electric, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (June 13)
The latest from Tiger Lily author Anderson draws together the tales of three girls separated by space and decades. Adri is a Kansas girl in 2065 who’s about to leave everything she knows behind for a life on Mars—then discovers a more than century-old journal that engrosses her in an earthbound mystery. Catherine lives in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl with her family in 1934, and is on the cusp of a life-changing sacrifice. Lenora is a grieving British girl planning to emigrate to America the year after World War I ends. I cannot wait to see how their stories entangle.
Thief’s Cunning, by Sarah Ahiers (June 13)
Assassin’s Heart introduced trained assassin Lea Saldana, a member of one of nine families in the kingdom of Lovero for whom murder is legal. When an act of late-night arson killed her family and destroyed her home, the betrayal set her on a path of bloody retribution. In this companion novel, Lea’s niece takes center stage. She’s a girl born with a target on her back, who’s about to learn truths about herself that will change the course of her life.
The Suffering Tree, by Elle Cosimano (June 13)
Drawn by an unexpected inheritance—a house and parcel of land—Tori and her family move to a small Maryland town with a tortured history. It’s bad enough that they’re seen as thieves and interlopers by the Slaughter family, who believe the land belongs to them, but there’s something far darker at play: a curse, that begins to unfold when Tori sees a young man, Nathaniel Bishop, literally rise from a grave in the house’s backyard. She must dig deep into the past of both the town and the Slaughter family if she’s going to help the person she’s beginning to love.
Want, by Cindy Pon (June 13)
In a dystopian future Taipei divided by those who can afford the suits that protect them from a fatally harsh environment and those who can’t, Zhou is mourning the loss of his mother to a preventable poisoning, and ready to fight back against his corrupt world order. He insinuates himself into the upper crust, and learns the horrible truth: the company that makes the protective suits may also be the primary cause of the poisonous air they’re guarding against. But when Zhou starts getting too close to the CEO’s daughter, he has to choose between his mission and his heart.
Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2), Victoria Schwab (June 13)
With 2016’s This Savage Song, Schwab introduced the dark city of Verity. Its streets teem with monsters that are born out of human violence, but very, very real, subsisting on bones and blood and human souls. Kate, a crime lord’s daughter, and August, a monster in human form, became unlikely allies on the run after he saved her life, and she discovered his monstrous secret. In duology ender Our Dark Duet, tensions between monsters and humans have given way to all-out war. Kate, betrayed by her sole remaining family, has become a hunter, and August an unlikely leader on the side of humanity. When an evil more deadly and insidious than any they’ve faced starts stalking the city, the two are thrown back together in the battle to vanquish it.
Bad Romance, by Heather Demetrios (June 13)
Demetrios has an absolutely killer record with excellent contemps that cut unexpectedly deep and pull no punches when talking about the tougher side of adolescent life, so this one is absolutely at the top of my to-read list. Grace needs to escape her life, to get out of her house and away from the mother and stepfather who make her feel like she can’t breathe, let alone be the vibrant, cosmopolitan artist she dreams of being. So when she meets the charismatic and talented Gavin, he feels like the first stroke of good luck she’s had in a long time. Which means she can overlook the fact that he’s controlling, manipulative, and downright dangerous; after all, he loves her, and isn’t he the only one who does? But what happens when the relationship you’ve used to escape everything else in your life becomes the worst trap of all?
Obsidian and Stars, by Julie Eshbaugh (June 13)
Mya knew Lo was not to be trusted, and now she’s living in the aftermath of being proved right. But the battle is over, she has Kol, and they’re about to be betrothed…when Mya’s brother announces he’s betrothing their little sister, Lees, to his friend, Morsk. Mya is desperate to rescue Lees from the marriage, but it’ll mean sacrificing her own love and happiness when she learns the only solution is to marry Morsk herself. Mya’s not planning to give up Kol for anything, which means it’s time to grab Lees and escape to an island where no one will be able to find them. But when they’re followed, a whole lot more than Mya’s betrothal is on the line. If you’ve been looking for something seriously different in your fantasy settings—this one is set in prehistoric times—I highly recommend starting with this one’s predecessor, Ivory and Bone!
The Fallen Kingdom, by Elizabeth May (June 13)
The Falconer trilogy comes to a close with Lady Aileana Kameron, killer of the murderous fae, having just been brought back to life by fae magic. Now she can’t remember her past or control her powers, but she must somehow bring peace to the two factions of fae whose feud might destroy life as both they and the humans know it. If she can get her hands on the right ancient book, she just might be able to succeed, even in her current state. But the book is protected by Morrigan, a cruel fae she can’t possibly defeat unless she learns the ways of her new dark magic. As this fierce and magical thrill ride hits its final climax, it’s on Aileana to save everyone she loves
Saints and Misfits, by S.K. Ali (June 13)
Muslim teen Janna has a crush she’s not sure she should act on, and a secret she’s not sure she should tell: she knows what’s behind the mask a member of her religious community wears, and it’s on her to decide whether to reveal his true character. As the daughter of her mosque’s sole divorcée—who’s considering breaking the rules to go after her crush, Jeremy—Janna must decide how much she’s willing to rock the boat to be happy, and to do right.
Be True to Me, by Adele Griffin (June 13)
The latest from The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone author Griffin takes readers to the privileged shores of 1970s Fire Island, where two girls—poor little rich girl Jean and outsider Fritz—become rivals, first in tennis and then in love. But the boy they’re falling for has secrets of his own, in this dual-narrated tale that summons up the nostalgic haze of summer love and the pain of nonbelonging.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee (June 20)
If anyone can make historical fiction a delightful queer adventure, it’s Mackenzi Lee, and if you want a book that’ll have you grinning like a fool the whole way through, look no further than her sophomore novel about a privileged and troublesome boy named Monty who can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble or in a decent boarding school. Thankfully, his European tour is the perfect opportunity for a little freedom and mischief, and the additions of his ambitious and brilliant little sister, Felicity, and his best friend, Percy, don’t do much to keep him in check. Or do they? Because there is one thing that would calm Monty’s wandering, er, eye: for Percy to return his illicit affections. But yet another poor choice of Monty’s soon has the trio scrambling across the continent, and when a secret Percy has been keeping comes to light, it calls everything into question for all of them.
Now I Rise, by Kiersten White (June 27)
Lada’s back in Wallachia as she wished, but she still doesn’t have the throne. She doesn’t have anything at all except bloodlust, really, having left her beloved, Mehmed, behind, and with her brother, Radu, off in Constantinople. But Lada’s not the only one missing a sibling: Radu would love for his strong sister to be at his side. But his love for Mehmed, for Islam, and for the Ottoman Empire that has adopted him keeps him firmly rooted in his mission, even when Lada comes calling. The Dragula siblings are determined to achieve their dangerous goals, but what will they have to sacrifice to do it, and who will they lose in the process? And I Darken was in my top three favorites of 2016, so while I’m sure you’re lovely, dear reader, this is the one I’d most likely sell your organs for.
Aftercare Instructions, by Bonnie Pipkin (June 27)
When Genesis is left at Planned Parenthood by her boyfriend, Peter, just after she has ended her pregnancy, the betrayal razes her plans for their future together. Gen is an aspiring actress whose family tragedies—a deeply depressed mother, a dead father, and all the gossip that surrounds his death—have caused her to put her dreams aside. In a book that incorporates passages written out as acts of a play, Gen navigates her life’s new order, making wild missteps and taking crazy chances on her way to figuring out who she’s meant to be—and claiming who she’s allowed to be, after everything she has endured.
If Birds Fly Back, by Carlie Sorosiak (June 27)
Ever since her sister climbed out her bedroom window one night and never came back, Linny has been obsessed with disappearances—and returns. Sebastian is an information junkie, who’s missing one of the must crucial facts of all: his birth father’s name. The sudden reappearance after three years of Alvaro Herrera, their favorite cult film director and novelist, sets them both on a path of discovery, as they learn why Herrera dropped off the map, while exploring the terrain of their own private mysteries.
Midnight Jewel, by Richelle Mead (June 27)
Mead’s The Glittering Court introduced the world of Osfrid, Adoria, and the Glittering Court, where Osfridian girls including fugitive countess Adelaide were trained as marriage prospects for men in Adoria’s wild frontier. Book one’s story belonged to Adelaide, but Midnight Jewel turns the tale over to her friend and roommate Mira, a dark-skinned refugee who encounters bigotry even among the other strivers of the Court. Soon she finds herself preoccupied less with marriage and more with change, the kind that could get her killed if the scope of what she’s doing is discovered.
Girl on the Verge, by Pintip Dunn (June 27)
It’s hard for Kanchana to feel like she fits in, being a Thai girl in a predominantly white Kansan school and neighborhood, but it’s not like she’s looking to seamlessly blend; she just wants to find a way to balance her two cultures. When her mother takes in a girl named Shelly, Kan feels she has finally found her calling in helping the newbie fit in. But her desire to balance straddling two worlds and her aim to help Shelly fit in collide when Shelly gets a little too close to Kan’s life, coveting everything she has and trying to step into her shoes, and leaving Kan to examine exactly who Shelly is, what that means for her, and what it means for her future.