January’s Best New Teen Books

Happy New Year! Or, more importantly, happy season of spending those gift cards you just got for the holidays! This month has some utterly perfect delights for kicking off 2018, and whether you opt for brilliant fantasy, nuanced contemporary, or straight-up superhero, you’ll find something fantastic to curl up with on this list.

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black
Fantasy queen Holly Black’s new Folk of the Air series starts with the story of a mortal girl named Jude whose parents were murdered by one of the fey, before abducting her and her sisters to the High Court of the Faerie. The time spent among feykind is made even more unbearable by how much so many of them hate humans, especially the beautiful, terrible Prince Cardan. But now, ten years after arriving, Jude is finally in a position to take action, winning a position working for Cardan’s brother and placing herself right at the center of Faerieland’s bloody and dangerous politics. But civil unrest turns the world of the fey upside down, and Jude is caught in the middle, endangering the lives of everyone she loves.

Thunderhead, by Neal Shusterman
This B&N exclusive edition of the sequel to Shusterman’s New York Times-bestselling Scythe contains chapter-by-chapter commentary by the author himself. What better way to jump back into the world of Citra and Rowan? The former apprentice Scythes have parted ways, with Citra having picked up the mantle and Rowan having vanished, turned into something of a mythic vigilante who hunts corrupts Scythes. The Thunderhead, of course, cannot interfere in any of the goings-on…but will it anyway, if it’s necessary to maintain the perfect world that’s threatening to crumble?

Batman: Nightwalker, by Marie Lu
Gotham City’s wealthiest are being targeted by the Nightwalkers via the security systems in their mansions, and Bruce Wayne is about to turn eighteen and inherit enough wealth and family industry to become the richest of them all. It’s on the way home from celebrating that he lands himself in community service at Arkham Asylum, home to the city’s most dangerous criminals…and to Madeleine Wallace, who’s mysterious, brilliant, has a tie to the Nightwalkers, and will only communicate with Bruce. But is she really on his side? Or is she using him to destroy Gotham, proving to be the most nefarious criminal of them all?

Before I Let Go, by Marieke Nijkamp
New York Times bestseller Nijkamp’s sophomore novel jumps from the southern setting of her blockbuster debut up to the considerably chillier Lost Creek, Alaska, where Corey’s returning for the first time, just days after her best friend Kyra’s death. But mixed in with her grief and trepidation is confusion and suspicion—why does the town she left behind seem more than okay of Kyra’s suspicious death, including Kyra’s parents? Why are there salmonberries everywhere? And how is she supposed to cope with the loss of her best friend when it seems like she’s the only one who feels it?

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
This fabulous, award-winning debut is becoming a movie called Love, Simon in March, and to celebrate, you can add this beautiful tie-in edition to your collection! And if you haven’t discovered it yet, you’ll want to devour this smart, charming, affirming comedy featuring an epistolary romance between two boys who know they attend the same school but don’t know the other’s identity. Pressing on Simon is the fact that he’s being blackmailed by classmate Martin into being his wingman. If he doesn’t come out on his own terms, he might lose both his chance to control his own narrative and the mysterious guy he’s falling for. But while coming out is always a risk, doing so might net him more happiness than he could ever imagine.

The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert
With the darkness of Grimm, the beautiful and twisted visuals of Carroll, and the sharp, blunt narration of your contemporary YA faves, this critically acclaimed fantasy debut stars a girl named Alice, who has spent her entire childhood on the run with her mother, only to have her disappear shortly after news of her own mother, Althea’s, death. Althea was notorious as the author of Tales from the Hinterland, a book of out of print fairytales Alice has never been able to find and read. Though Alice has never met Althea, her mother’s disappearance means she has no choice but to head to the Hazel Wood, Althea’s home, to find her. Enlisting a classmate who’s a total Althea fanboy, Alice winds her way toward the mysterious estate, encountering chilling obstacles along the way—including characters that seem to have sprung from Althea’s book. But nothing is as terrifying as the truth that awaits her, and the future that may or may not exist beyond it.

Gunslinger Girl, by Lyndsay Ely
In the new west that remains after a second Civil War, seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones is tired of being her father’s punching bag. But when running away doesn’t go as she planned, she ends up in Cessation, getting by with nothing but the sharpshooter skills her mother passed on. It’s a lawless way of life, but one that lends itself very well to Pity’s skills and may be the only chance at both freedom and a future she’s got.

S.T.A.G.S., by M.A. Bennett
Creepy, bloody boarding school books are one of my favorite bookish subgenres, and a book hailed as The Secret History meets Pretty Little Liars is everything I could’ve asked for now that the Private series has ended. St. Aidan the Great School (a.k.a. STAGS) isn’t friendly to newcomers, and it isn’t about to change that for new scholarship student Greer MacDonald. So no one’s more surprised than Greer when the school’s top clique, the Medievals, invite her to an exclusive weekend retreat at the de Warlencourt estate, promising a weekend of outdoor fun. Of course, they never said what they’d be hunting…or who.

Losing Brave, by Bailee Madison
It has been a year since Dylan disappeared, and Payton Brave is missing her twin sister so much, it’s tearing her apart. She’s losing her memories of her last day with Dylan, she’s blowing up and losing her social status, and her group of friends seems to be shifting…landing her right in the arms of Dylan’s boyfriend, Cole. Then another girl’s body is found in a lake nearby, and her resemblance to Dylan is way too close for comfort, forcing Payton to keep digging into her own memories. But doing so puts her in increasing danger—and so, when she figures it out, will the truth.

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