January’s Best New Teen Books

Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth
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.

The You I’ve Never Known, by Ellen Hopkins
Two girls seeking freedom from their current circumstances—Ariel is a closeted bisexual under the control of a hate-mongering father, and 17-year-old Maya chose motherhood and marriage with an older man in order to escape an abusive mother—find their stories colliding in unexpected ways in Hopkins’ latest, a blend of poetry and prose. Ariel has always believed her mother abandoned her years ago, and is left reeling when she learns her father may instead have kidnapped her. Meanwhile, Maya starts to realize her escape route may be as unbearable as the life she ran from.

City of Saints and Thieves, by Natalie C. Anderson
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.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, by Chelsea Sedoti
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.

Wayfarer, by Alexandra Bracken
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.

RoseBlood, by A.G. Howard
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
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.

Caraval, by Stephanie Garber
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
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.

Wires and Nerve, by Marissa Meyer
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.

Dawn of Spies, by Andrew Lane
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.

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