New Releases: Fierce Fantasy, Romance on the Rebound, and Batman as a Boy

It’s the first release week of the new year and oh, man, has YA delivered an auspicious start! Killer new voices mix with some of fantasy and romance’s reliable best, and everything from dark to contemp to futuristic Western is at your fingertips.

Before I Let Go, by Marieke Nijkamp
Corey and Kyra had their problems—what best friends don’t?—but before Corey left Lost Creek, Alaska, she promised Kyra she’d return. She’s keeping that promise now, but Kyra isn’t alive to see it; her body was found beneath the ice just a few days earlier. So why doesn’t the community of Lost Creek seem more broken up about it, including Kyra’s family? Why aren’t they questioning the suspicious nature of her death? Why are they acting like this was somehow an expected and maybe even welcome thing? Corey only has a few days to get to the bottom of it all, and she’ll need to if she’s ever going to get the peace she needs to say goodbye to her friend in this haunting and powerful sophomore novel.

Love and Other Train Wrecks, by Leah Konen
What could be a more perfect setting for romance than a long-distance train ride? Well, maybe that’s something Ammy would’ve thought once upon a time, but that was before her parents’ broke up over another woman, and the train ride to her father’s second wedding is anything but romantic. Noah, however, is hoping for Cupid to be smiling on this particular train ride, not because he’s looking for new love but because he’s off to make amends with his lost one. Neither is prepared for their train to break down and both of them to get stranded, leading to a night of mishaps, confessions, and a connection they couldn’t possibly have seen coming. But in the light of morning, their chemistry is put to the ultimate test, and both Ammy and Noah have to examine if they’re still the same people they were when they boarded the train or whether they can be open to something new and wonderful.

Meet Cute, edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Romance master Armentrout helms this anthology dedicated to those first moments when it all comes together…or doesn’t, but works out eventually anyway. From Nina LaCour’s beautiful piece on girls who click over a Tweet to Jocelyn Davies’ fun and scientific take on Missed Connections, Nicola Yoon’s clever, speculative story to Katharine McGee’s sweet and achy near future–set one, this is a seriously squee-worthy collection full of some of the most talented romantics in YA.

The True Queen, by Sarah Fine
First, Elli learned she had no magic. Then Ansa learned she had the magic. In this final book of the Impostor Queen trilogy, the queen that is and the queen that should be alternate perspectives as magic and nature go awry in the Kupari land. At the end of these final and fatal clashes, who will be left living? And who will be left on the throne?

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, by Rachel Lynn Solomon
You know it’s a good sign for an author’s career when their debut novel starts off this strong. Tovah and Adina are twins, but that doesn’t mean they’re close. They have different approaches to everything, from their future plans to the way they present themselves to their observance of their Jewish faith to whether or not they want to know if they’ve inherited the gene for Huntington’s Disease from their Israeli mother. For all their differences, nothing divides them more than when they find out that only one of them has tested positive. They’ve ruined their relationship just when they need each other most, but is it too late to fix things?

Busted, by Gina Ciocca
Marisa wasn’t looking to become her high school’s most prominent detective, but when she catches her best friend’s boyfriend cheating, word of her scumbusting skills spreads like wildfire. Suddenly everyone wants a piece of Marisa and her camera, including Kendall. Marisa’s not exactly dying to help her recently returned ex-frenemy figure out the deal with her boyfriend, TJ, but a job’s a job…until Marisa finds TJ may not have been cheating before she sure wishes he’d make himself available now. Charming, funny, smart, mysterious, and romantic, this sophomore novel is the perfect fun read for when you’re holed up in the snow with a mug of hot cocoa.

Someone to Love, by Melissa de la Cruz
Liv is obsessed with perfection at all costs; how could she possibly achieve any less when her father’s running for governor, her friends are the epitome of style, and she’s looking for love? But the price of looking Instagram-ready at all times grows too high when she finds herself struggling with bulimia. Her illness overshadows her dreams and tears her body apart, but is she strong enough to ask for the help she needs?

Chainbreaker, by Tara Sim
Our favorite timekeeper and clock spirit return in this long-awaited sequel, but all is not sunshine and making out in clock towers for Danny and Colton—not with attacks on clock towers now plaguing India. Of course, Danny is sent to investigate, but even his expertise can’t prepare him for what he’ll find about his own past and about the effects of the British occupation.

Don’t Cosplay with My Heart, by Cecil Castelluci
Team Tomorrow is about to be turned into a movie, but even great news about Edan’s favorite comic book can’t fix all the fear and stress that come with her father’s new legal troubles. Still, she never feels better than when she’s cosplaying as Gargantua, so going to Los Angeles Comic Con is exactly what she needs right now. What she doesn’t need is a bunch of geekworld sexism or an unsupportive boyfriend. But then, maybe it’s a good time to learn exactly who’s in her corner and what makes her happy.

A Conspiracy of Stars, by Olivia A. Cole
This debut (in YA, anyway; you may already know Cole from Panther in the Hive) duology opener centers around Octavia, who’s long held a dream of becoming a whitecoat, i.e. a scientist from the colony of N’Terra who studies the natural wonders of the planet Faloiv. Then she gets access to new information about their experiments and how they’ve been harming the native population, the Faloii. Things are coming to a breaking point, and Olivia’s nearing the center of the firestorm when she clashes with the charming and hostile new N’Terra council leader. Now, it may lie to her and her friends to prevent civil war from destroying everything and everyone they know and love.

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 family was violently torn apart, with her and her sister having been abducted to the High Court of the Faerie. The time spent among the fey is made even more unbearable by how much so many of them hate humans, including the beautiful, terrible Prince Cardan. But now, ten years later, Jude is finally in a position to take action, by getting herself a position for Cardan’s brother and placing herself right at the center of Fairieland’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.

Together at Midnight, by Jennifer Castle
Perfect for a post-New Year’s Eve read, this romance brings together Max and Kendall, two teens currently in different phases of life who’ve just witnessed a bus accident in New York City. Feeling guilty that they perhaps didn’t do enough to stop it from occurring, they take it upon themselves to perform random acts of kindness for strangers. Their mission takes them all over the city and introduces them to different kinds of people, expanding their minds and their hearts and bringing them closer together. They weren’t strangers when the night began, but there’s no telling who they’ll be when it ends and the new year begins.

Between the Blade and the Heart, by Amanda Hocking
In a near-future fantasy in which Valkyries pass their immortal-slaying powers from mother to daughter, Malin is more than ready to take on the official position. Then she learns her mother failed to kill an immortal she had sworn to, leading to the death of one of their own and putting everything in jeopardy. Together with her ex-girlfriend, the son of a Valkyrie who has his own score to settle, and her sorceress-in-training roommate and best friend, she travels to the gates of the underworld herself to set the balance of good and evil right again.

Everless, by Sara Holland
Time is currency in the kingdom of Sempera, and by extension, so is blood, since that’s how the aristocracy get it to consume and live for centuries. The Gerlings is one of the families that’s benefited from this malevolent practice, and Jules Ember, who was once their servant at Everless along with her father, hates them with a passion. Unfortunately, she also needs them, as her father is dying and she doesn’t know where else to turn to get him more time. Despite her father’s warnings, she returns to Everless to find that while some things have never truly changed, plenty of surprises and life-changing secrets still await, along with a mystery she may risk losing everything to solve.

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.

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 and 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?

As You Wish, by Chelsea Sedoti
The desert town of Madison has a secret: in it, if you make a wish on your eighteenth birthday (within the town guidelines, which include things like “no bringing back the dead”), it’s guaranteed to come true. It’s the kind of thing you might spend your whole childhood planning for…unless you’re Eldon, who’s twenty-five days away from his eighteenth with no idea what to wish for. After years of watching wishes hurt the people he loves, how can he know what’s safe to wish for himself? The wishing window may be open one day, but the consequences of that wish last a lifetime…

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