August’s Best New YA Fiction

Thrills, chills, a trio of sequels, and an original love story set in the world of Star Wars will have YA fans eagerly devouring this month’s new reads. A special edition of Tomi Adeyemi’s 2018 smash, Children of Blood and Bone, will prepare readers for the second book in the series later this year. Rainbow Rowell teams up with Faith Erin Hicks for a delightful graphic novel set at a pumpkin patch. And a gothic fairy tale about a dozen sisters whose lives are in mortal danger round out the list.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones (B&N Exclusive Edition)
Two high school seniors from disparate backgrounds—Lena is black, confident, and believes in her future; Campbell is white, new to school, and determined not to make waves—are thrown together in the midst of unexpected violence at a Friday-night football game. As fellow concession workers, but not friends, the two girls have little in common, but soon they’re leaning on one another to survive the chaos surrounding them. Angie Thomas calls the book “compelling and powerful,” so you know you’re in for a thought-provoking and deeply engaging read. The B&N Exclusive Edition includes extra chapters, a map of the neighborhood the girls must navigate, an author Q&A, and more.

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (5 exclusive editions by clan)
The only thing that could possibly make this fantasy debut even better is a set of Barnes & Noble exclusive editions highlighting the five clans—that’s right, FIVE special editions. The first book in the Legacy of Orïsha series includes elements of West African history and folklore. Prepare to fall hard for its female leads, diviner Zélie and fierce princess Amari, as they flee Amari’s brother on a life-or-death quest to restore magic to the land of Orïsha. Come for the detailed worldbuilding, mesmerizing characters, and female deity. Stay for the enchanting new voice in YA fiction. And be sure to mark your calendars for December 3, when the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeancehits stores!

#MurderFunding, by Gretchen McNeil
After the events of #MurderTrending, in which Dee Guerrera took on Alcatraz 2.0 and its fiendish cast of serial killers, newcomer Becca Martinello is tossed into the lion’s den when she learns that her recently deceased, stay-at-home mom was none other than Molly Mauler, one of the gruesome state-sanctioned executioners. To prove her mom’s innocence (an impossible task?), Becca joins the cast of a fresh reality show, “Who Wants to Be a Painiac?”, which purports to cater to non-lethal killers. However, behind the scenes, Becca’s about to discover just how deadly reality TV can be. McNeil returns with another biting satire-thriller that’s sure to keep readers gasping.

Here There Are Monsters, by Amelinda Bérubé
The follow-up to Bérubé’s chilling debut, The Dark Beneath the Ice, introduces teenage Skye and her difficult younger sister, Deirdre, who have recently moved to a new town in the middle of swampy nowhere. Skye hopes to extricate herself from her role as Deirdre’s perpetual rescuer, but then Deidre disappears, and a horrifying visitor at the window tells Skye she’s the only one who can save her sister. Co-dependency and toxic, sacrificial relationships are just a few of the monsters served up in this riveting, psychologically complex tale.

House of Salt and Sorrows, by Erin Craig
The Virgin Suicides meets the Brothers Grimm in this gothic fairy tale debut about the seven remaining sisters (out of twelve) who dwell with their duke father and stepmother at Highmoor manor by the sea. Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and four older siblings, Annaleigh is desperate for a glimmer of happiness. She thinks she’s found it via an enchanted door that leads to another world, full of dancing and romance—but as with all magical realms, the cost of visiting is steep. This looks to be a haunting fantasy brimming with lush detail.

Star Wars: Crash of Fate, by Zoraida Córdova
Fresh off her work in the best-selling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and the stellar Brooklyn Brujas series, Córdova shines with this stand-alone novel about two childhood best friends who grow up to fall in love after a long separation. But with Jules’s staid life as a farmer who’s never ventured beyond Batuu, and Izzy’s risky transformation from orphan to smuggler, can they make it as a duo? Their devotion to each other will be tested every step of the way when Jules’s latest job goes haywire and they find themselves in the crosshairs of an angry pirate.

Pumpkinheads, by Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)
The author of Eleanor & Park and the author of Comics Will Break Your Heart (whose artwork can be seen in multiple award-winning graphic novels) have joined forces for this delightful tale of friendship with Can’t Hardly Wait vibes. “Seasonal besties” and Omaha teens Deja and Josiah spend every fall together as co-workers at the local pumpkin patch. Now that they’re seniors, feeling bereft about their last shift on their last night on the job, outgoing Deja decides it’s time for reticent Josiah to stop speculating about his crush (aka Fudge Girl) and do something. Soon they’re taking full advantage of their surroundings—not just sampling every delectable treat and attraction at the patch, but possibly learning new things about each other and the ways in which they relate.

Swipe Right for Murder, by Derek Milman
The author of Scream All Night is back with a another cinematic thrill ride. All Aidan wanted was a no-strings hookup during an overnight stay in NYC, but what he finds instead is a dead body, a mysterious flash drive, and a case of mistaken identity. On the run from the Swans—a pro-LGBTQ group violently targeting bigoted politicians—as well as the FBI, Aidan (who is gay) attempts to clear his name of murder and hacking charges. While he agrees with the Swans’ viewpoints, he can’t condone their violence, and he refuses to be anyone’s pawn. But how will he possibly free himself from the noir-ish nightmare he’s trapped in?

Midnight Beauties, by Megan Shepherd
In last year’s Paris-set Grim Lovelies, Anouk (an animal magicked into human form to serve the witches who secretly run the world) had three days to prove she didn’t kill her creator. In the conclusion to this addictive duology, Anouk has a new mission: save the friends who are stuck in their animal forms or lose them forever. Standing in her way are a forced marriage, a series of trials to prove her potential as a witch, and a conspiracy to wipe out a powerful coven. So, you know, nothing much.

Vow of Thieves, by Mary Pearson
The final book in the Dance of Thieves series—set in the same fantasy world as Pearson’s popular Remnant Chronicles—finds reformed thief / queensguard warrior Jase and outlaw leader Kazi dedicated to each other and the shared life they yearn to enjoy. But when Kazi’s home of Tor’s Watch falls under the control of a sinister enemy who’s fueled by vengeance, Jase and Kazi must use every bit of strength they possess to overcome him. Their love is strong and their skills are sharp, but will that be enough to triumph over betrayal?

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