February may be the shortest month of the year, but there’s nothing lacking in its bookish offerings. Kicking off with some of the most anticipated new voices in YA, sprinkled with gorgeous releases from some already beloved voices, and ending with a collection of historical rainbow joy, it’s truly a month of magic both figurative and literal. Below, check out twenty-eight of the titles we’re most excited for, and treat yourself to a new book for every day of the month!
The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, by NoNieqa Ramos (February 1)
Macy’s dictionary is full of so many words that describe all the tough times she’s having right now, but the only one people want to label her with is “disturbed.” Never mind that she doesn’t feel safe even in her own home, with the guys her mom brings in and a regularly empty fridge. Never mind that her father’s in prison and her brother’s been taken by Child Protective Services. Never mind that her two best friends are all she has, and they have their own struggles. Ramos is a powerful new voice in YA that you won’t forget anytime soon.
The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (February 6)
Pause for a moment of cover admiration. Okay, now, let’s discuss one of the most highly anticipated fantasy YAs of ever, shall we? Camellia is a Belle, someone who controls beauty in the world of Orleans, where beauty reigns supreme. And she’s angling to be the top Belle, chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family and be accepted all over as the best. But when the Belles get to court, they see that in the palace of beauty, dark and ugly secrets have taken hold, and being top Belle is nothing like what she imagined it would be…and her powers aren’t either. When she’s put to the ultimate test, forcing a choice between loyalty to the Belles and aiding the royal family, what will she choose?
All We Can Do is Wait, by Richard Lawson (February 6)
Noted entertainment writer Lawson may be known for his humor, but his first foray into noveldom is a heartbreaker for sure. It explores loss, grieving, moving forward, and changing relationships in the aftermath of a Boston-area bridge collapse that changes the lives of five teens forever, forcing long-held secrets and unspoken fears out into the open as they contemplate how they’ll move forward if their loved ones are lost.
American Panda, by Gloria Chao (February 6)
This fresh-voiced debut introduces Mei, a Taiwanese American teen who can’t quite seem to live up to her parents’ plans, though that won’t stop her from trying. They want her to be a doctor and marry Taiwanese; she can’t stand biology and her affection lies with Darren Takahashi, her Japanese classmate. She pushes forward anyway, a seventeen-year-old freshman at MIT, exactly as her parents dreamed. But then she reconnects with her brother, Xing, whose failure to comply with his parents’ wishes regarding dating led to his ostracization from the family, and now she can’t help asking herself: is it worth it to be exactly who they want her to be, or is it time to strike out on her own?
Winterfolk, by Janel Colby (February 6)
Rain’s settled into life among the Winterfolk, the homeless people living outside the fringes of Seattle whom she imagines to be invisible. Then word comes that the Winterfolk will be swept out, and her only hope for survival is to have her fellow homeless friend King take her to Seattle. But when they’re separated during a dangerous night in the city, Rain learns there’s more to urban survival than she imagined, and that she isn’t quite as invisible as she imagined, either.
Down and Across, by Arvin Ahmadi (February 6)
Scott’s a bit of a flake,—a problem when college applications are nearing deadline and your parents are the “pick a practical career” type. His master plan? Sneak off to D.C. to find the psychology professor whose study about stick-to-itiveness strongly resonated with him, making him think there might be a solution to his problem. Instead he finds Fiona, a college girl who aspires to write crossword puzzles and takes Scott on a wild ride through a night of mishaps, crosswords, and the unexpected that he’ll never forget.
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, by Shaun David Hutchinson (February 6)
Elena isn’t like everybody (anybody?) else. For one thing, she’s the product of a virgin birth. For another, she hears voices—one that tells her she can heal her crush, Freddie, from a gunshot. One that keeps telling her to heal, even though every time she does, people disappear. Are the powers a gift from God? Is the world coming to an end? Mysteries follow Elena wherever she goes, and faith may be the only explanation.
The Last to Let Go, by Amber Smith (February 6)
When Brooke’s mother kills Brooke’s abusive father, it throws all the plans she had for positive life changes into upheaval. Now she’s barely keeping her head above water as she navigates a new school, her relationships with her remaining family, and what a new crush says about her sexuality. Meanwhile, no one’s sure exactly what happened on the day that changed everything, but Brooke will need to confront it if she’s to move forward and embrace her new life.
Tempests and Slaughter, by Tamora Pierce (February 6)
Few names translate to “highly anticipated” like Pierce’s, and today, she kicks off brand-new fantasy adventure series the Numair Chronicles. Powerful mage Arram, a student at the Imperial University of Carthak along with his two best friends, Varice (who may become more than a friend) and Ozorne (who just may find himself on the throne). Get to know them in this opener to the story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall.
Shadowsong, by S. Jae-Jones (February 6)
This sequel to the New York Times–bestselling Wintersong is set six months after the first book’s end, as Liesl is back at her family’s inn and working toward a musical career. But she misses her Goblin King, and her brother has become distant. When the barrier between the worlds threatens to crumble, Liesl is forced to return underground in this story of love, sacrifice, and the mysteries of one’s own mind.
The Traitor Prince, by CJ Redwine (February 13)
The third book of the fairytale-inspired Ravenspire series mashes up The Prince and the Pauper and The False Prince in the story of Javan, crown prince of Akram, who returns from a decade at boarding school to see an impostor nab his throne. When the impostor’s assassins force Javan into prison, his only hope for salvation comes via fighting in the prison’s annual tournament and winning an audience with the king. But Javan has made many enemies, and only the imprisoned Sajda, a skilled fighter in her own right, is willing to help. If they can band together and emerge victorious, they’ll save both their lives. But if they fail, they may never see the outside of prison again.
Between the Lines, by Nikki Grimes (February 13)
It has been seventeen years since Grimes’ Coretta Scott King Award–winning Bronx Masquerade, but she hasn’t missed a beat in this companion; indeed, only a summer has passed between the books, but that’s enough time for Mr. Ward to get a whole new class. Darrian joins in the hopes that the emphasis on poetry will improve his wordsmithing enough to help him realize his dream of writing for the New York Times. But he learns a lot more than skills when he gets to know his classmates through the work they share and what they reveal about themselves and their families.
Honor Among Thieves, by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre (February 13)
When two New York Times bestselling authors team up for a futuristic sci-fi adventure, the results are nothing short of thrilling. Meet Zara, a petty criminal who’s on her own since refusing to move to Mars with her family. She’d be fine if she could just stay out of trouble, but when that becomes impossible, she finds herself instead recruited onto an elite team of humans called the Honors who’ll be charged with exploring the far corners of the universe as passengers aboard sentient alien spaceships the Leviathan. Zara clicks with both her ship, Nadim, and her partner, Beatriz, making for a better experience than she could’ve imagined…at least until dark secrets rear their heads, raising questions about the Leviathan and what they might be hiding.
Dark Goddess, by Amalie Howard (February 13)
In this sequel to Alpha Goddess, all is well in the Mortal Realm now that the Lord of Death has been removed from the throne and Sera’s best friend, Kyle, sits there instead…until demons suddenly descend upon them, and Sera is forced to desperately search for their source. When she beseeches the gods for assistance, they send Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, goddess of destruction. Kira will fight by any means necessary to preserve the heavens, even if it means the Mortal Realm suffers in the process. With their only hope for help now an entirely different kind of enemy, Kyle and Sera have to work together to protect their world and save everyone they love.
Hardcover $15.29 | $16.99
Sightwitch, by Susan Dennard (February 13)
This third entry of the Witchlands series is an illustrated novella set back in the beginning, when Ryber was but a Sightwitch sister tucked away at a convent and waiting for a call from a goddess who never comes. Suffused with the pain of being the only Sister who doesn’t possess the Sight, watching the others hurts her soul for years, right up until they’re all summoned into the mountain and don’t come back. Ryber is alone, and she’s the Sisters’ only hope, Sight or no Sight. It’s on her journey to save them that she meets Kullen and their perilous path changes things forever.
Web of Frost, by Lindsay Smith (February 13)
Smith has showed off both Russian expertise and major fantasy chops in her previous books, so what better way to go next than a book that combines them both? This first in the Saints of Russalka series is set in a Russian-inspired world in which Russalka is an empire protected by a royal family who works miracles from the saints. That family includes Princess Katza, who has been receiving visions she knows mean she’ll never take the throne. Then tragedy strikes, making her next in line just as the empire is on the verge of being torn apart by rivals and rebellion. Katza fears it may be the beginning of the end of Russalka, until she meets a prophet whose visions tell an entirely different story. But whose visions are correct, hers or the prophet’s? And what will happen to Russalka if she trusts the wrong ones?
The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Yang (February 13)
Prince Sebastian’s parents may have brides on the brain, but he’s not interested in getting married right now. The joy of his life is something else entirely: wearing beautiful dresses and gallivanting around Paris as the fashion icon Lady Crystallia. It would never be possible without Frances, the dressmaker who both makes his beautiful outfits and keeps his secret. But keeping quiet about the fact that she’s the brilliant mind behind Lady Crystallia’s outfits is getting more and more frustrating for a girl who’s got ambitious dressmaker dreams. How long can she keep his secret if it means she has to stay one, too?
Blood of a Thousand Stars, by Rhoda Belleza (February 20)
The conclusion to the epic sci-fi fantasy duology that began with Empress of a Thousand Skies picks up with Princess Rhiannon in the throes of revolution, forced to make a choice between trusting her enemy or denouncing him no matter how great the cost may be. But she’s not the only one with the villainous Nero in her sights; Alyosha wants nothing more than to kill him in cold blood, but revenge may come at too high a price. Meanwhile, Kara’s still struggling with the secrets of her past and the fact that she’s the throne’s rightful heir…if she even wants to claim it.
The Precious Dreadful, by Steven Parlato (February 20)
Teddi’s had a tough time of life, between past trauma, an alcoholic mother, and a deceased father. To occupy herself with better thoughts, she joins a writing group at her library called SUMMERTEENS, hoping for a solid distraction. Instead, inexplicable and bothersome memories of a childhood friend surface, and suddenly, Teddi has questions for everyone she knows, including herself.
Pitch Dark, by Courtney Alameda (February 20)
Laura is a shipraider, trying to piece together history by searching the galaxy for its missing pieces. Tuck has been stuck in statis on a ship for centuries, one that contains a piece of Earth. When Laura and her family discover the ship and what’s aboard, they know it’s the key to saving the human race. But deadly monsters abound, and in order to save humanity, they’ll have to work together to save themselves first.
These Vengeful Souls, by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas (February 20)
The “Victorian X-Men” trilogy that begin with These Vicious Masks comes to a close in 1883 England with the powerful Evelyn on the run with Sebastian, who’s still in mourning. She’s determined to get revenge on Captain Goode, but will the cost be too great? And if he and his lies have their way, will she have any choice at all? This has been such a fun series, mashing up powers, history, and romance in a delightful way that makes me hope there’s plenty more ahead for this writing duo.
Where I Live, by Brenda Rufener (February 27)
Linden’s got a secret life. By day, she’s a blog editor with great friends and a bright future. By night, she’s living at school, where no one knows she’s homeless. Then she learns another classmate’s secret—that her boyfriend is abusive—and the only way she can help is by revealing her own. Can she come forward even if it means revealing her own painful truth? And what will her life and relationships look like if she does?
Heart of Iron, by Ashley Poston (February 27)
Billed, irresistibly, as Anastasia in space, this sci-fi stars Ana, a girl who was saved as a child by a ship’s captain who found her floating through space with a sentient android named D09. When D09 starts glitching, Ana’s desperate to save him, but it’s a dangerous journey to find the information she needs—and someone else beats her to it. When she and the Ironblood who stole her treasure end up as fugitives from a kingdom that wants it every bit as much as they do, their lives are on the line, their future is uncertain, and Ana ends up facing an impossible choice.
This Tiny, Perfect World, by Lauren Gibaldi (February 27)
Penny loves her life, her friends, and her boyfriend, and she’s perfectly cool with her plans to attend community college and take on the family business. Then she gets a scholarship to a prestigious theater camp, and spending the summer in an environment that’s completely new to her brings with it a major shift in perspective, as does adding both new friends and an intriguing new guy into the mix. Now, Penny has to consider whether the life she’s always expected to lead is truly the right one for her.
People Like Us, by Dana Mele (February 27)
Kay Donovan is an queen at Bates Academy, a mean girl soccer captain with secrets to spare and a painful, complicated relationship with her best friend. When she and her clique stumble upon the dead body of a classmate none of them claim to know, it’s the start of a wild spiral for Kay, who receives blackmail notes threatening to expose her if she doesn’t expose her friends first. How far will Kay go to protect herself, and who out there is desperate to ruin her and everyone she cares about? You’ll find out when you absolutely devour this compelling thriller in one sitting.
A Girl Like That, by Tanaz Bhathena (February 27)
“I’m gonna be really mad if we don’t routinely acknowledge this as one of the best books of 2018,” I thought when I finished this, so here’s me living up to my word: this book is powerful and nuanced and rare and good. Zarin is a Zoroastrian Indian expat living in Muslim majority Saudi Arabia, or at least she was living. When the book opens, she and Porus, the dedicated boy who’ll do anything for her, have been killed in a car crash in Jeddah. How they got there, how Zarin became thought of as “a girl like that,” and the lives of not just the two of them but two other teens unfolds in a stark, memorable story of mental health, sexism, religion, expat life, and more.
Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (February 27)
Tess isn’t the ladylike woman she’s expected to be in the medieval kingdom of Goredd, and she can’t seem to stop getting herself in trouble. So much trouble, in fact, that her family sends her to a nunnery. But Tess isn’t meant to be a nun, and she isn’t meant to follow the rules. So she chops off her hair and hits the road, looking for a life in which she fits. Along her journey, her backstory slowly unfolds in this thoughtful feminist fantasy.
All Out, ed. by Saundra Mitchell (February 27)
Marginalized teens have seldom gotten their due in history, but in this anthology, previously sidelined queer teens throughout the ages are front and center. In it, you can find stories by Malinda Lo, Anna-Marie McLemore, Shaun David Hutchinson, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Kody Keplinger, Scott Tracey, Sara Farizan, Nilah Magruder, Kate Scelsa, Mackenzi Lee, Robin Talley, yours truly, and more, spanning the ages with gay, bi, lesbian, transgender, and asexual representation. I realize I’m slightly biased, but is that a dream collection or what?