The excellence of April’s YA releases can best be expressed through that gif of Jonah Hill screaming, but you need to save your eyes for READING. Here are 30 new books to lose yourself in, including a dark and mystical debut from Roshani Chokshi, an (already!) award-winning feminist fantasy by Frances Hardinge, and the final book in Maggie Stiefvater’s epic, realm-hopping Raven Cycle. I’m not saying throw your phone in the river and hock your Xbox to buy these books, but I’m also not saying that would be an OVERreaction. Happy reading!
Future Shock, by Elizabeth Briggs (April 1)
Elena Martinez’s eidetic memory has been her closely guarded secret for years, but now it has drawn the attention of a powerful corporation. Aether Corp. recruits her and four other highly gifted teens to make a data-gathering trip 30 years into the future, in exchange for the kind of compensation she can’t refuse. But when their trip doesn’t go as planned, they make the worst mistake possible: checking in on their own future lives. As their one-day window ticks down, Elena, with the help of science genius Adam, must find a way to return to where she came from and stop a dark course of events from coming to pass.
Don’t Get Caught, by Kurt Dinan (April 1)
When rule-following teen Max receives a mysterious invite from the anonymous Chaos Club, he ignores his suspicions in the hopes of something exciting finally happening in his humdrum life. Instead, he finds himself the butt of one of their pranks, alongside four of his classmates. In response, the fivesome forms their own club hellbent on revenge, setting off a prank war of epic proportions.
The Glittering Court, by Richelle Mead (April 5)
In Mead’s new series starter, a steely-spined orphaned countess flees an arranged marriage with a dullard to take her maidservant’s place in the Glittering Court. The Court is equal parts school and training ground, devoted to transforming lowborn Osfridian girls into delicate ladies, destined for marriages in the wild frontier country of Adoria. Adelaide quickly takes to her new life, but it’s complicated by a doomed attraction to the son of the Court’s founder—and further perils await her among the eager suitors and unmapped lands across the sea.
Tell the Wind and Fire, by Sarah Rees Brennan (April 5)
In a world filled with cities Dark and Light, Sophie and Ethan live in Light New York, protected by Light magic and by guards keeping watch for the work of both Dark magicians and the rebel group Sans-Merci. Sophie is a Dark city refugee with power and a bitter secret, and Ethan is the lucky rich boy who seems to steer clear of their world’s danger…until the day he’s arrested for the capital crime of treason. The appearance of a boy who shares his face both saves his life and reveals his darkest secret: he has a doppelganger, a dark magic creation to which he’s inextricably bound.
The Haters, by Jesse Andrews (April 5)
Three friends meet at jazz camp, make musical magic, then promptly hit the road, leaving the lameness of camp behind in favor of an impromptu summer tour for their hastily formed trio. Best friends Wes and Corey (on bass and drums) are joined by female guitar player Ash, finding adventures ranging from run-ins with eccentrics to a very bad drug trip, in pursuit of a chance to get great. This sophomore novel from the author (and screenwriter) of Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl promises to be funny, offbeat, and profane.
Read an excerpt here.
The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), by Amy Spalding (April 5)
In the latest from Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) author Spalding, type-A overachiever Jules finds her plans for academic and extracurricular domination waylaid by the arrival of new kid (and one-time celebrity pop star) Alex Powell. Romance starts to brew…until Alex joins the school’s video news team, making him an insta-rival to print reporter Jules. Obsessed with maintaining journalistic dominance, Jules goes deep to make her enemies pay, but may just find her way back to love at the end.
Asking for It, by Louise O’Neill (April 5)
O’Neill’s brutal examination of rape culture centers on 18-year-old Emma, a golden girl in her small Ireland town until her gang rape at a summer party. While Emma struggles to remember what happened after she drank too much, her attackers fill in the gaps with explicit photos of the assault posted online. A criminal investigation begins and Emma’s story spreads, till she’s facing alienation and public shame at home, and the curiosity and censure of the wider world.
When We Collided, by Emery Lord (April 5)
Jonah is one of six kids struggling to keep their seaside family restaurant afloat after their father’s death, and to survive their mother’s crippling depression. Then Vivi moves to town, a vibrant girl whose manic peak—she’s off her medicine for bipolar disorder—looks a lot like the kind of lust for life Jonah is longing for. But their new love might not be enough to keep both of them afloat, as Vivi’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic.
Tell Me Three Things, by Julie Buxbaum (April 5)
Two years after her mother’s death, Jessie finds herself yanked out of the familiar and dragged across the county to Los Angeles, to live with the woman her dad just eloped with. She feels completely out of place at her new prep school, until an anonymous guide who calls themselves Somebody Nobody starts emailing her a piecemeal survival guide to her new life. As the connection between them grows to encompass anything and everything, she tries to reconcile her IRL crushes with the person behind the email address.
Fifteen Lanes, by S.J. Laidlaw (April 5)
Noor is being raised in a Mumbai brothel, destined for a life in the sex trade like her mother before her. Across town, Grace is a white expatriate, the privileged daughter of a CEO, whose tenuous sense of self is destroyed by a bullying campaign. As Grace begins to self-destruct, Noor accesses her inner tiger, attending school and rising to the top of her class despite the abuse and instability that dictate her life. Their stories combine during Grace’s mandatory community service, kicking off a bond that transcends pain and circumstance.
The End of FUN, by Sean McGinty (April 5)
Aaron lives in a world where choosing to live wholly in the real world comes at a steep cost. The book takes the form of his Application for Termination of augmented reality system FUN. As one of the program’s earliest adopters, Aaron has had all kinds of empty, expensive, FUN-approved fun, but now he wants out. Even though his real life isn’t that great either—he’s in debt, his fun is turning to fail, his grandpa has just died—he wants to take a chance on building a worthy non-virtual existence.
Away We Go, by Emil Ostrovski (April 5)
Westing is an elite boarding school with a fatal catch: every one of its students is dying of Peter Pan Virus, an epidemic sweeping the nation’s youth population. Inside their walled garden, cut off almost entirely from the outside world, Noah lives his last days as hungrily as he can, drinking, hooking up with both his girlfriend and the boy he’s fallen for, and looking for meaning in a life with a looming end date.
Daughters of Ruin, by K.D. Castner (April 5)
In a brutal fantasy world, four girls, each heir to a different kingdom, are being raised by a greedy king. One is his daughter, the rest are hostages, and all are being raised—and trained in the arts of both diplomacy and war—with the aim of one day uniting their kingdoms. Then a violent attack breaks a 10-year peace, setting off an uprising and bringing the girls’ jealousies, weaknesses, and hidden strengths to the surface in a story told in alternating narration by all four would-be queens.
My Kind of Crazy, by Robin Reul (April 5)
Reul’s comic debut kicks off with a bang—or a spark, as her impulsive romantic hero, Hank, attempts a fiery promposal that nearly burns his crush Amanda’s house down. Unfortunately for Hank, pyromaniac classmate Peyton saw what happened and takes Hank for a fellow traveler. Their bond starts with a misunderstanding, but deepens as Hank comes to see the pain behind Peyton’s obsession with fire. The relationship is complicated both by Amanda’s search for her arsonist admirer and by the leads’ painful family pasts.
Girl in the Blue Coat, by Monica Hesse (April 5)
In Amsterdam in 1943, Hanneke buries her grief for her boyfriend, killed in combat, in delivering black-market goods. Her work is illegal but flies under the radar in a dangerous time—until a customer asks for her help in locating not an item but a person, a Jewish teen who disappeared from her hiding place within the woman’s house. Soon Hanneke has seen too much to remain uninvolved, and her life is transformed by her commitment to the Resistance.
A Fierce and Subtle Poison, by Samantha Mabry (April 12)
A girl out of myth. A boy with a bruised heart. A series of mysterious, impossible letters. I haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, but it’s topping my 2016 TBR. Lucas is the son of a rich developer father, spending his summers on Puerto Rico’s mainland. Isabel is a girl about whom strange stories are spun: it’s said she lives in the overgrown garden of a tumbledown island house, with veins full of poison and the ability to grant wishes. After Lucas’s new girlfriend goes missing, he starts receiving letters from Isabel, coaxing him into her mystical world. This sounds like a fantastic addition to YA’s recent canon of stellar magical realism.
Dreamology, by Lucy Keating (April 12)
For years Alice has spent every night with her beloved, Max, enjoying adventures around the world…until she wakes up, leaving her dream boyfriend behind and reentering the real world. Until, following a move with her single father to Boston, she learns Max is not only real, but a classmate at her new prep school. It turns out he knows her as well as she knows him, and the two set about trying to uncover the mystery of their shared dream life—and to build a connection in the not-so-perfect real world.
The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge (April 19)
Hardinge has written a dark and magical feminist masterpiece you’ll race through, centered on teenaged Faith, whose disgraced naturalist father drags her family to a grimy island where he hopes to hide out from a myterious scandal. Instead, the scandal follows them—and the day after Faith’s father reveals to her the location of a valuable botanical specimen, he’s found dead on their land. But was it suicide, an accident, or murder? Faith is betting on the latter, and must prove it by uncovering the secrets of the Lie Tree he left behind, which feeds on the spreading of falsehoods and produces fruit with strange powers for the liar.
Saving Montgomery Sole, by Mariko Tamaki (April 19)
Montgomery Sole is a self-sorted misfit in her tiny California town, happiest in the company of Thomas and Naoki. The three make up the Mystery Club, devoted to exploring the strange and uncanny, from ESP to paranormal happenings. But they meet their match in the mysterious Eye of Know, an amulet Monty wears in an effort to suss out the intentions of a new boy in town: the son of a homophobic priest, whose presence could endanger both Thomas, a bullying target for being out of the closet, and Monty and her two moms. A diverse, magical story from the cocreator of 2014’s unmissable This One Summer.
Original Fake, by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (April 19)
In a fast-paced story studded with graphic novel panels, loner artist Frankie tries to carve out his own corner in a loud, dramatic family and a school where he doesn’t feel he belongs even in art club. When cute classmate Rory and her gender-bending cousin David ask him to join them in helping a street artist make his mark, he goes all in, finding his own artistic voice in the process. But Frankie’s combative relationship with his combustible little sister, and his feelings for both Rory and David, complicate his new life.
The Darkest Corners, by Kara Thomas (April 19)
Tessa’s life hasn’t been the same since her testimony, along with her former best friend Cassie’s, helped put a man away for the murder of Cassie’s cousin. When she returns to the scene of the crime, small-town Fayette, for the first time in a decade, it’s only to say goodbye to her father before he dies in prison. But she finds herself sucked back in not just to her old life, but into the mystery that lingers around the murder, which may have links to her own life she could never have imagined. This one is a genuinely surprising thriller with a satisfyingly twisted tight plot.
The Land of 10,000 Madonnas, by Kate Hattemer (April 19)
I can’t wait to read Hattemer’s sophomore novel, following her hilarious, deeply satisfying debut The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. The people who loved Jesse Serrano always knew he’d die young, falling victim to the hole in his heart, but that doesn’t make them grieve any less when he passes at age 17. But he leaves a strange legacy behind: plane tickets and a map for his best friend, girlfriend, and cousins, who must navigate grief, their own relationships, and a quest through Europe in honor of their departed friend.
Mr. Fahrenheit, by T. Michael Martin (April 19)
All Benji wants to do is escape his small town, where his family’s roots run deep and nothing ever happens. Until the night something does: he and his three best friends shoot down a flying saucer, then bind themselves in a conspiracy to keep it a secret. But as the stakes around their discovery rise, their friendship is tested, and Benji starts to question why he wanted things to change so badly. This one has a Spielbergy vibe I can’t wait to explore.
Consider, by Kristy Acevedo (April 19)
When holograms claiming to be humans from the future appear around the world, they bring with them a terrifying warning: stay on Earth, which will soon be destroyed by a comet, or travel through a vortex to the safety the holograms promise. As the deadline for the comet’s arrival approaches, Alex, already struggling with an anxiety disorder, has to decide whether to trust these strange beings, who might not be what they say they are, or take her chances staying on a possibly doomed Earth.
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, by Anna Breslaw (April 19)
First off, it’s the debut YA of the hilarious Breslaw, whose work has appeared everywhere you’d expect to find smart and funny writing on the internet (here’s a personal favorite). Secondly, it’s about a smart-mouthed, fanfic-writing Jersey girl, who, following the cancelation of her beloved supernatural trope-spinning TV show—and egged on by her tightknit community of fellow ficcers—starts writing fanfic about her classmates instead. YES. That’s the kind of questionable fictional decision-making I can get behind, and binge-read till 2 a.m.
The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater (April 26)
Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle started with a dark prophecy: that Blue Sargent, the unmagical daughter of a houseful of female psychics, would kill her true love if she dares to kiss him. Over the course of the first three books, she fell in with the raven boys—doomed Gansey, angry dream thief Ronan, proud, self-sacrificing Adam, and barely-there Noah—helping them on their dangerous quest. Spearheaded by golden Gansey, they sought the resting place of the Welsh king Glendower, who will grant whoever wakes him a wish. Stiefvater’s storytelling is lyrical and layered, full of sucker-punch twists, creepy darkness, sly humor, and pagan magic. The story concludes with The Raven King, in which questions will be answered, kisses kissed, and ships transmogrified into canon or not. Stiefvater’s brain is hooked up to a ley line for sure. Do not miss this series.
The Star-Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi (April 26)
Reviled because of the dark stars she was born under, Maya lives like a leper among the vicious-tongued women of her raja father’s harem. She’s saved from politically motivated self-sacrifice by a mysterious stranger, who takes her away to his lonely palace. But who, exactly, is her new husband, and what darkness lies behind the chilly beauty of her new home? As Maya harnesses the power that lies within her and learns the truth about her past, she must decide what’s real and what’s illusion. Chokshi weaves a mystical fantasy that drips with lush enchantments, pushing past the tropes and older tales it nods toward to walk a fresher, more perilous path.
The Rose and the Dagger, by Renée Ahdieh (April 26)
In The Wrath and the Dawn, Ahdieh’s lush retelling of The Thousand and One Nights, Shahrzad is both storyteller and warrior, intent not just on surviving the night as the wife of matricidal caliph Khalid, but on killing him to avenge the death of her best friend and the rest of his murdered wives. But there’s more to the man and his crimes than she foresaw, and soon she finds herself falling, impossibly, in love. In The Rose and the Dagger, Shahrzad, ripped from Khalid’s side, is reunited with the childhood love who can’t understand her betrayal and a father who’s dabbling in black arts he can’t control. She must decide how to be true to herself while walking a dangerous line between old and new loyalties, with the help of the ancient magic she started to uncover in book one.
Down with the Shine, by Kate Karyus Quinn (April 26)
When Lennie sneaks her uncles’ famous moonshine to a house party she wasn’t invited to, she carries on an old family tradition: everyone who takes a swig makes a wish, and seals it with a toast (“May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.”) By the time she wakes up, hungover and miserable, the world has changed. Every single wish made has come true, for better or much, much worse—including Lennie’s own, for the return of her murdered best friend. This promises to be the perfect blend of twisted and fantastic.
The Last Boy and Girl in the World, by Siobhan Vivian (April 26)
In Vivian’s love story set on the eve of disaster, Keeley becomes literally the last girl left in her hometown of Aberdeen, which faces mandatory, permanent evacuation in advance of the rains that will put it underwater. But Keeley chooses to fight for every minute she has left in her home, including parties, dares, and making a play for the boy she’s crushed on since forever—even as her family and the life she loves are falling apart.