The Must-Read YA Anthologies of 2019

The rising trend of YA anthologies continues, and I for one could not be more thrilled. This year’s lineup contains collections organized by source material, theme, and identity, and it’s such amazing collection of so many of our favorite authors and lots more who are well on their way to that status. Check ’em out!

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America (January 8)
Who’s Editing? National Book Award longlisting MG and YA author Ibi Zoboi (American Street)
Who’s Contributing? A tremendous collection of notable Black authors from longtime MG and YA legends like Jason Reynolds (The Long Way Down), Coe Booth (Bronxwood), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Kekla Magoon (Light it Up), and Varian Johnson (The Great Green Heist) to standout newer voices like Jay Coles (Tyler Johnson Was Here) and Liara Tamani (Calling My Name).
Why You Should Be Excited: This one has already been out for a few months, so I can confirm that it is fantastic; truly one of the best collections I’ve read in YA. It contains a wide variety of intersectional representation and includes a lot of bestselling faves and general superstars like Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles), Nic Stone (Dear Martin), Lamar Giles (Spin), Justina Ireland (Dread Nation), Brandy Colbert (The Revolution of Birdie Randolph), Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls), and Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together). Plus, it includes Middle Grade authors contributing their first YA offerings, like Leah Henderson (One Shadow on the Wall) and Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies), so you can find authors with experience who are still brand new to you!

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience (March 12)
Who’s Editing? Poet and experienced anthology editor Patrice Vecchione (Truth and Lies) and book pro-of-all-trades Alyssa Raymond
Why You Should Be Excited: Do you know how rare poetry anthologies are in YA? And to get one with highly decorated bestselling YA authors Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X), Samira Ahmed (Internment), and Erika L. Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter) alongside well-known adult poetry superstars like Ocean Vuong, Ada Limón, Chrysanthemum Tran, and Kaveh Akbar? But even if all the names were new to you, at a time when immigrant and refugee voices are being so loudly silenced, here’s the perfect way to give sixty-four of them a listen.

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love (June 18)
Who’s Editing? Experienced anthology editrix Elsie Chapman (A Thousand Beginnings and Endings) and alt-universe historical queen Caroline Tung Richmond (The Darkest Hour)
Why You Should Be Excited: Despite being intertwined stories (which makes for really fun cameos), this anthology is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of authors uniquely highlighting what they do best, from an adorable romance by Sandhya Menon (There’s Something About Sweetie) to a food-centered meditation on life on death by Adi Alsaid (North of Happy) to a wildly fun and Muslim superhero story by Karuna Riazi (The Gauntlet) to questions of identity at a Jewish deli by Phoebe North (Starglass) to a magical tale with an edge by Rin Chupeco (The Never Tilting World) to a delightfully dangerous tale by Chapman (Caster) herself. We also get our first YA bites ever from Riazi and Hugo- and Nebula finalist Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning), gorgeous queer dishes from reliable anthology staples Anna-Marie McLemore (Blanca & Roja) and Sara Farizan (Here to Stay), and get some fine family dining in a brilliant variety of ways from S.K. Ali (Love From A to Z), Sangu Mandanna (see below), and Jay Coles.

His Hideous Heart: Thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Stories Reimagined (September 10)
Who’s Editing? I am, in fact! Or as some might call me, Dahlia Adler, author of stuff that includes short stories in other anthologies such as All Out and The Radical Element
Why You Should Be Excited: Look, I am mildly biased, but I only wrote 1/13th of this gorgeously Gothic volume of Poe retellings that also includes the original stories. The rest is done by absolute masters of YA thrillers and horror, including Kendare Blake (Anna Dressed in Blood), Stephanie Kuehn (When I Am Through With You), Rin Chupeco (The Girl From the Well), Caleb Roehrig (Last Seen Leaving), Marieke Nijkamp (Before I Let Go), Hillary Monahan (The Bloody Mary Saga), Tiffany Jackson (Allegedly), Emily Lloyd-Jones (The Bone Houses), Tessa Gratton (Strange Grace), Lamar Giles (Spin), and Fran Wilde (Updraft). Even if they weren’t reimagining some of the greatest works of American literature, there’s no way this could be anything less than a killer collection, especially with a poem by bestselling scribe Amanda Lovelace (To Make Monsters Out of Girls).

It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories (September 17)
Who’s Editing? Jewish YA superstars Laura Silverman (You Asked for Perfect) and Sidney Taylor honoree Katherine Locke (The Girl With the Red Balloon)
Why You Should Be Excited: This entire collection is not only authentic and varied in its all-Jewish representation, but it’s all contemporary, which means an entire volume of Jewish fiction by Jewish authors that contains zero Holocaust fiction. If you read (or even just follow) Jewish fiction, you know why this is a huge deal, and this combines a great collection of authors who both do and don’t feature Judaism in their works, including Hannah Moskowitz (Sick Kids in Love), Alex London (Black Wings Beating), Goldy Moldavsky (No Good Deed), Nova Ren Suma (A Room Away From the Wolves), David Levithan (Wide Awake), Rachel Lynn Solomon (Our Year of Maybe), Matthue Roth (Never Mind the Goldbergs), Adi Alsaid (Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak), Lance Rubin (Crying Laughing), me (Just Visiting), Dana Schwartz (And We’re Off), and newcomer Elie Lichtenstein, plus a foreword by Blossom/Amy Farrah Fowler herself, Mayim Bialik!

The Other F Word: a Celebration of the Fat & Fierce (September 24)
Who’s Editing? Librarian and diversity advocate extraordinaire Angie Manfredi
Why You Should Be Excited: This non-fiction collection of fat-positive essays and art promises to give space to a host of experiences that are so rarely represented in YA, and even less frequently represented well. It also has one of the more unique contributor pools I’ve ever seen for a YA anthology, combining established and new authors in both young adult and middle grade (like Dumplin’ author Julie Murphy, Undead Girl Gang author Lily Anderson, Belly Up author Hillary Monahan, George author Alex Gino, I Wish You All the Best author Mason Deaver, and up-and-comers Sarah Hollowell and Adrianne Russell) with well-known fat activists and celebrities like Fat Girl Flow blogger Corissa Enneking and comedian and essayist Samantha Irby.

Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance (October 1)
Who’s Editing? Your new fave, Bethany C. Morrow, who debuted with the critically acclaimed adult sci-fi Mem, but already has a 2020 upcoming YA on the books called A Song Below Water
Why You Should be Excited: What could be more inspirational than a diverse group of your faves writing about activism? What if I told you it has a rare #ownvoices trans story by Ray Stoeve, whose work you get to read for the very first time? (I am a complete nerd for authors’ first publications being in anthologies.) What if I also mentioned that you’d get Yamile Saied Méndez (Random Acts of Kittens), Sofia Quintero (Show and Prove), Jason Reynolds, Laura Silverman, L.D. Lewis (A Ruin of Shadows), Connie Sun, disability activist Keah Brown (The Pretty One), a poem by Samira Ahmed, and a two-parter from Indigenous SFF author Darcie Little Badger (Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time)? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love (November 12)
Who’s Editing? Sangu Mandanna, the very same author who brought the Mahabrahata into space with A Spark of White Fire and also contributed to the aforementioned Hungry Hearts
Why You Should Be Excited: You know that feeling of maybe seeing yourself represented every now and again, but never quite seeing it done right? Imagine feeling that alllll the time as a biracial reader, and then bam, you get a whole book of joyful and romantic stories by people who actually know what they’re talking about, like Adam Silvera (Infinity Son) Lori M. Lee (Gates of Thread and Stone), Eric Smith (The Girl and the Grove), L.L. McKinney (A Blade so Black), Lauren Gibaldi (This Tiny Perfect World), Tara Sim (Scavenge the Stars), Danielle Paige (Mera: Tidebreaker), Michelle Ruiz Keil (All of Us With Wings), Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker (These Vicious Masks), Lydia Kang (Toxic),  Karuna Riazi, Caroline Tung Richmond, Samira Ahmed, and Anna-Marie McLemore.

This is 18: Girls’ Lives Through Girls’ Eyes (November 12)
Who’s Editing? Jessica Bennett, gender editor for a little publication known as The New York Times
Why You Should Be Excited: This collection is an expanded version of the feature that first appeared in the Times and gave insight into the lives of real 18-year-old girls all around the world. The anthology is full of interviews and photo essays, spanning six continents, making for a beautiful and colorful volume full of insight and varied experiences.

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