The weather’s less gross (for those of us in gross-weather parts of the world), the great books keep coming, and life is good! Put on your SPF 5,000 (the kind they recommend for bookish types crawling out of their winter hovels), break out your jorts way too early, and check out 25 amazing books that are going to make your spring.
Pointe, Claw, by Amber J. Keyser (April 1)
Jessie and Dawn, one-time best friends who were painfully divided years ago, are both pursuing perfection. Jessie is a ballet dancer in a prestigious program, fighting to gain a spot in a professional company, who finds herself undone by her casting in an avant-garde piece—and the older male dancer who’s behind it. Dawn, working her way toward a spot at Stanford, is afflicted with a strange malady including lengthy blackouts. Through dark, vividly physical prose, Keyser explores the commodification of female bodies, and the web of damage it creates.
What Girls Are Made Of, by Elana K. Arnold (April 1)
Taught by her mother from an early age that unconditional love doesn’t exist, Nina has no reason to doubt it—even her relationship with the boy she’s crazy about is dependent on what she can give him. But when he unexpectedly dumps her, leaving her heartbroken, she turns toward other sources for support. Arnold weaves short stories into her tale of a girl finding her way toward cherishing herself and finding her place in a larger, often violent, narrative of girlhood.
Geekerella, by Ashley Poston (April 4)
In this fandom-powered Cinderella retelling, the titular heroine is a geek girl living under her appearance-obsessed stepmother’s thumb, her prince is a Hollywood heartthrob with a secret nerd streak, and the pumpkin coach is…a vegan food truck. Elle grew up with a wonderful, supportive father who passed his superfandom of cult TV show Starfield down to her, but after his death she’s got nobody to save her from her cruel-to-indifferent stepfamily. Enter Darien Freeman, cast as lead Prince Carmindor in the Starfield reboot, and totally wrong for the role—or so Elle thinks. Unbeknownst to her, Darien is not only a Starfield fan from way back, but also the mysterious boy she has been falling for via an anonymous text conversation. Standing in for the ball is the Starfield convention Elle’s father cofounded, where she might just find her happily ever after.
Letters to the Lost, by Brigid Kemmerer (April 4)
For years Juliet wrote letters to her photojournalist mother as she traveled the globe, and she hasn’t stopped writing them even after her mother’s death: now Juliet leaves them at her graveside as a way to maintain their connection. When someone finds and responds to one of her letters, she’s first angry, and then intrigued, as an epistolary friendship develops into something deeper. But her mystery correspondent is closer than she thinks, a classmate who seems nothing like the sensitive, understanding soul she’s getting to know through his letters.
Alex, Approximately, by Jenn Bennett (April 4)
Bailey has long been conducting a slow-burn online romance with a fellow film geek she knows only as “Alex,” but there are higher stakes to their matchup: he happens to live in the same coastal California town as her father, which makes an IRL meetup only a matter of time. But when Bailey moves in with her dad, she’s too shy to reveal it to Alex, and their anonymous chats continue…as she finds herself falling for Parker, the seriously exasperating Hapa surfer boy she meets at her part-time job. But in a time-honored, never-gets-old twist, Porter is, of course, Alex. The two bond over sharp banter, online and off, in a warm summer setting perfect for romance.
Defy the Stars, by Claudia Gray (April 4)
Noemi and Abel are on opposite sides not just of a war but of the nature of existence: she’s a human soldier sworn to protect the people of her home planet Genesis, and Abel is a machine, lost in space, who has started to evolve into something more. When the two are forced into an alliance, it may be the beginning of the end of interplanetary warfare. But are they willing to make the sacrifices required?
Definitions of Indefinable Things, by Whitney Taylor (April 4)
Taylor creates an unexpected love triangle with three points: Reggie, a pragmatic girl who struggles with depression and finds it’s easier to push people away than to be disappointed; Snake, the tattooed, sometimes exasperating boy who’s breaking through her defenses; and Carla, Snake’s heavily pregnant sort-of ex. Told from Reggie’s perspective, the book explores the complications of life with depression, and the complications of life, period.
Gem & Dixie, by Sara Zarr (April 4)
Gem has spent most of her life protecting her younger sister, Dixie, from the harsh realities of their home life: their father is rarely around, and their mother has no interest in mothering. But the older they get, the more Dixie pushes her intense, troubled older sister away—and the easier things seem to come for her and her sunny disposition. Then their father’s sudden, disruptive reappearance in their life sends the girls on an impromptu journey, where Gem will reevaluate the relationship she has built her life around.
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn, by Marianna Baer (April 4)
Quinn Butler is the daughter of a Brooklyn politician, a 16-year-old virgin…and pregnant. Her staunch denial of any memory of having had sex divides her friends, puts her relationships (and her father’s career) on the rocks, and draws a legion of the devout to her home, believing she’s carrying the next savior. As her life falls apart, Quinn forges her way deeper into the mystery of what is happening to her, and why.
The Freemason’s Daughter, by Shelley Sackier (April 11)
This historical debut follows early 18th-century Scotswoman Jenna MacDuff, who’s traveling the countryside with her clan in the guise of masons—while covertly gathering support for the exiled King James. When they cross into England, their situation rapidly becomes more dangerous. And when they find themselves enlisted to build on a duke’s estate, Jenna’s growing connection with the duke’s son must end of one two ways: with the betrayal of her clan, or her heart.
The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli (April 11)
Albertalli’s heartwarming, wise, eminently quotable sophomore book proves (as if we needed it) that her beloved debut was just the beginning. Molly’s story takes place in the same universe as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (everyone’s favorite Oreo lover even makes a brief cameo), but it focuses on new characters. Molly’s a maestro of unrequited crushes, but it has never bothered her so much as it does now that her twin sister and BFF, Cassie, is falling for a just-right girl and, maybe, pulling away from Molly. Then two boys enter her life: one the extremely cute, seemingly interested friend of Cassie’s new girlfriend, who comes highly pre-approved, and the other her new coworker Reid, a Ren Faire–loving, white-sneaker-wearing nerd who could be just the thing to break Molly’s unrequited streak—if she can get over her fears of whether her friends will accept him. Alongside her journey is that of her mothers, finally getting married in the wake of the nationwide legalization of gay marriage, and of Cassie, navigating her own first-love feels. Albertalli knows a thing or two about the way crushes, heartbreak, and growing pains feel, and she’ll make you feel it, too.
The Takedown, by Corrie Wang (April 11)
In a tech-saturated, near-future Brooklyn, popular girl Kyla lives on top of the food chain…until a video of her having sex with her English teacher brings it all crashing down. The worst thing about it? The video’s a fake, created by someone with a grudge, but nobody believes her. With the views skyrocketing and her reputation plummeting, Kyla takes desperate measures to achieve the seemingly impossible: scrub the video from the internet, and figure out who to trust, in a world even more perilously plugged in than our own.
Fireworks, by Katie Cotugno (April 11)
Two best friends—one with dreams of stardom, one with dreams of escape—find their bond tested when both are cast in a new girl group. Dana was just tagging along with trained singer Olivia on an audition when she was pushed to try out, too. When both are cast, they’re thrown together into a grueling world of performance prep and cohabitation with their fellow band members. Professional jealousies and romantic rivalry drive a wedge between them, as Dana feels her way toward a future that may or may not include Olivia.
Given to the Sea, by Mindy McGinnis (April 11)
McGinnis envisions a world threatened by an impending tidal wave, that can be held back only by the ritualistic death of a young woman born to make that sacrifice. Khosa knows she must give up her life to save the kingdom of Stille, but can’t bear the physical costs of first producing an heir. As the sea rises, the world order the kingdom rests on is changing: magic recedes, an army goes on the march, and a young man in line for the throne questions his royal duty in the face of unexpected love.
Spindle Fire, by Lexa Hillyer (April 11)
Two heroines are at the center of Hillyer’s Sleeping Beauty retelling, royal half-sisters who’ve each lost something to the brutal fae who tithe things from the humans under their sway: Isabelle, the king’s bastard daughter, has lost her sight, and Aurora, his daughter by the queen, lost both her sense of touch and her voice. Aurora is set to be married to the prince of a neighboring kingdom, to unite the two forces against the perils of faerie magic. But when Aurora’s betrothed is killed, and Isabelle faces banishment to a convent, the sisters find their story transforming in ways they never dreamed.
Literally, by Lucy Keating (April 11)
Annabelle loves her life, but it turns out it’s picture-perfect for a reason: she’s actually a fictional character, created by author Lucy Keating. No longer able to trust even her own intuitions, Annabelle turns to figuring out how, exactly, to break free of the story being told about her, in a metafictional tale complete with tropes fighting to take over, background characters who want a bigger role, and Annabelle’s fight to write her own story.
Duels & Deception, by Cindy Anstey (April 11)
In this Regency romance, Lydia Whitfield, a young woman of good breeding tasked with running her inherited estate, is happy to toe the line. But her plans go awry when, in the midst of planning an advantageous future marriage with the help of law clerk Robert Newton, the two are kidnapped at the behest of whoever is after her estate. As Lydia and Robert fight to right the wrong and keep her reputation intact, they start developing feelings for each other that may lay all her best-laid plans to waste.
Bang, by Barry Lyga (April 18)
Sebastian has lived his whole life under the shadow of something he did when he was too little to understand it: he shot and killed his baby sister with his father’s unsupervised gun. His guilt and shame since then has only grown, and finally come to a head one summer. With his best friend away and nothing but a burgeoning friendship with a girl named Aneesa to keep his thoughts from growing dark, he starts to believe there’s only one way to move on from his polluted past: with another gunshot.
The Edge of the Abyss, by Emily Skrutskie (April 18)
In The Abyss Surrounds Us, Skrutskie introduced a distant future of genetic modification and unified government, and a heroine, Cas Leung, who’s in the family business: the training of sea monsters to protect ships against pirates. Then Cas is kidnapped by a pirate queen, who wants to use her to train a sea monster pup…as a weapon for the pirates. In this sequel, Cas has sworn allegiance to the queen, which gives her the best odds of chasing down an illegal trafficker in monster pups. As environmental disaster and hard choices loom, Cas’s romantic bond with fellow female trainee Swift, and the landscape of their brutal, watery world, continue to develop.
The Adjustment, by Suzanne Young (April 18)
In the world of Young’s the Program series, teens displaying dangerously volatile emotions may be subject to a program that removes them, in the face of a suicide epidemic. In The Adjustment, Tatum is sure her boyfriend, Weston’s, memories of their love will survive his stint in the Program—and even when they don’t, she refuses to give up on him. Then they learn of a new path: through a procedure known as the Adjustment, she can donate to him her own memories of their time together. But memory is a tricky thing, and these implants may be an even greater threat to Weston than forgetting.
The Whole Thing Together, by Ann Brashares (April 25)
Though Sasha and Ray have never met, they’re connected by tangled family ties including a trio of shared half-sisters, by curiosity, and by the summer home they love. His mother and her father were once married, before an acrimonious divorce and remarriage to other people. When Sasha and Ray finally meet one fateful summer, at their older half-sister’s engagement party, they share an undeniable romantic spark, complicating the web of family secrets and tensions in advance of a family tragedy.
Legion, by Julie Kagawa (April 25)
In Soldier, book three in Kagawa’s Talon series, dragon Ember Hill chose risk over safety, rejecting membership in Talon, an organization of dragons embedded in the modern world who hide behind human faces. It was a decision that estranged her from her twin brother, a Talon adherent, and aligned her instead with a group of rogue dragons. Now, in Legion, she knows more than ever about the dark truths behind Talon—and as the day of their planned attack on the human world draws closer, she must stand strong in opposing all that she loves, and all she once thought she knew, to do right.
Between Two Skies, by Joanne O’Sullivan (April 25)
Expert fisherman Evangeline loves the quiet rhythms of life in her tiny Louisiana hometown, Bayou Perdu, far from the beating heart of New Orleans. Then Hurricane Katrina comes, and the rising waters wash her way of life away. In the difficult aftermath of disaster she meets fellow refugee Tru, who both understands her pain and may help her to heal.
North of Happy, by Adi Alsaid (April 25)
Mexico City resident Carlos is a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., a student at an elite school, and a good son who’s happy to follow the path his parents have laid out for him…until a tragedy opens his eyes to a wider, less predictable world. Following the sudden death of his older brother, a free-spirited wanderer, Carlos defies expectation and lets his love of cooking lead him to a job on the lowest rung of a revered restaurant, where he meets a girl, communes with his brother’s spirit, and considers a life driven not by duty but by passion.
Lucky Girl, by Amanda Maciel (April 25)
Rosie has always been the most beautiful girl in the room, and until now she hasn’t minded it defining her. Then her best friend, Maddie, comes home from a summer away having grown into her own looks, and admits to a crush on Rosie’s latest fling. Rosie steps aside for bestie, but when the boy in question tries to rape Rosie at a party, Maddie mistakes it for a consensual encounter and their friendship is destroyed. A victimized girl afflicted by a baseless guilt over her own assault, compounded by her former friend’s misguided anger, Rosie finds solace in a new boy who sees what’s behind her facade.